Eli Whitney Student Profiles

What are Eli Whitney students like? This is a difficult question to answer because there is no “typical” student in the Eli Whitney Students Program. They come from all walks of life. They are entrepreneurs, community or social activists, veterans, parents, business professionals, and they range in age from mid-twenties to fifties.

After graduation Eli Whitney alumni do remarkable work with their Yale degrees. Explore EWSP alumni profiles

Eli Whitney Student Stories


Jaweria immigrated from Pakistan and successfully bridged a ten-year educational gap after marrying at a young age, following cultural traditions. During the break in her education, she dedicated herself to raising her two beautiful children. After completing her associate’s degree in Biology at Kingsborough Community College in New York, Jaweria and her family moved to Connecticut to begin her Yale experience. Jaweria is currently pursuing a major in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology. Alongside her studies, she is actively involved as an Eli Whitney Peer Mentor, offering guidance and support to fellow Eli Whitney students. Simultaneously, she engages in meaningful volunteer work for Humanities, Arts and Public Health Practice at Yale and gains invaluable experience by shadowing surgeons at Yale School of Medicine. Jaweria is a participant in Yale’s Science, Technology and Research Scholars Program which led her to conduct research investigating the off-target effects of anti-cancer drugs. She has been named as a first co-author on a paper currently under review at Cell Chemical Biology. Envisioning a future as a neurosurgeon, she aspires to revolutionize the field of medicine and hopes to make significant scientific contributions.


Originally from Senegal, Awa immigrated to the United States to be closer to her family. Deprived of the opportunity to study science in her home country, she challenged herself by earning an associate’s degree in Biology at Georgia State University community college. She embraced the world of science and developed her laboratory skills by participating in different research projects during her time there. Awa continued her academic journey at Yale through the Eli Whitney Students Program, where she is encountering non-traditional students who have inspiring passions for their respective fields. In this environment, she feels secure pursuing more rigorous science classes and working part-time as a research assistant in an epidemiology lab. She published her first scientific manuscript as a first author in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part B. Awa is pursuing majors in both Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and French Studies. Outside of the lab, she finds ways to be connected with her home country by being an active member of the Yale African Students Association. Moreover, she is involved in groups that focus on health equity and promote the inclusion of underrepresented groups in science.


Originally from Mexico, Rudy’s parents immigrated to Chicago when he was two. As the product of the Chicago public school system and parents valuing education, he expected to graduate college after enrolling in Fall 2007. Unfortunately, due to the Great Recession, family obligations rerouted his commitments to full-time employment. He took the opportunity to develop a career in logistics, operations, international compliance, and fin-tech. After working closely with a data-science team, he decided to pivot his ambitions and attend night school to better align his professional goals with his academic ones. He learned about the Eli Whitney Students Program through partnerships with his community college and Phi Theta Kappa. Yale’s commitment to academic excellence through a liberal arts education and investment in STEM was a significant reason for choosing Yale over other non-traditional programs. At Yale, Rudy has served as an Undergraduate Learning Assistant in the Mathematics department, a STEM volunteer for the Yale Prison Education Initiative, an ONEXYS (a Yale summer math program for incoming students) Supercoach, co-president for the Eli Whitney Students Society, and was recently awarded the John Alan Lewis Summer Research Fellowship as a Mathematics and Computer Science major. 


Hailing from Brooklyn New York, Avrohom originally never intended to pursue higher education. He enlisted in the Army in 2013 just after graduating high school. While he served as a satellite network coordinator, he began taking classes at his local community college where he discovered his passion for learning. After completing his time in the Army, he worked during the day and continued community college classes at night before matriculating into Yale. After taking a wide variety of courses, Avrohom decided to major in Global Affairs. At Yale he is engaged in a variety of student organizations that focus on veteran’s advocacy, effective altruism, and rock climbing. Between his junior and senior years, Avrohom was awarded a Light Fellowship from Yale which allowed him to spend a fully-funded year in Taiwan. He also received other fellowship opportunities that supported study in India and the American West. During his free time, he enjoys biking, climbing, and running in Connecticut’s beautiful outdoors, as well as enjoying the wonderful food, sights, and sounds that New Haven has to offer.


Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Rachel entered the workforce straight out of high school to help support her family. She worked in numerous fields including retail, public libraries, and office administration. Upon turning 30 she enrolled at her local community college and learned about the Eli Whitney Students Program through involvement in Phi Theta Kappa. Rachel received her Yale acceptance email en route to her community college commencement which made for a very memorable evening! Rachel is a Physics major pursuing an Advanced Language Certificate in Modern Hebrew. She has served as co-president of the Eli Whitney Student Society; student member of the Eli Whitney Advisory Committee; an officer in her sorority and was a student leader at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life. She was inducted into Yale’s chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society. Rachel also works as an Academic Strategies Mentor at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, and as a peer tutor in the introductory University Physics sequence. As part of a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates, she conducted summer discipline-based education research in Physics at Rochester Institute of Technology. After Yale College, Rachel plans to attend graduate school in Physics with the goal of one day becoming a university professor.