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.

In addition to the profiles below, a YTV video and a Yale Instagram Story provide additional insights about the backgrounds of some Eli Whitney students and what it’s like to be an EWSP student on campus. 

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


Originally from Upstate New York, Andrew enlisted in the military in 2014. He served four and a half years as an Army Ranger Team Leader with 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment—deploying once to South Korea and twice to Afghanistan. Since matriculating to Yale as a Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology major, Andrew has served as Co-President of the Eli Whitney Student Society, is a peer mentor with the STARS I Program, and works as a nontraditional student representative for the Yale Undergraduate Admissions office. He also serves as a Co-Director for Service to School and is a volunteer tutor with New Haven Reads and Paper Airplanes. Andrew currently works as a research assistant in the Yale School of Medicine and plans to attend medical school after graduation.


Originally from Detroit, Durel moved to Chicago to work in allied health with the intention of pharmacy school. Upon completing his associates degree, he realized his growing curiosity about the ways people encounter the education system and decided to transfer to Yale instead. Around campus Durel has learned more about the communities that surround the school by volunteering with Yale’s Urban Improvement Corps (UIC). As a student researcher, he has learned more about the priorities that shape education reform by working in a student working group for the Policy Lab. He is also an Education Studies Scholar and student Brady-Johnson program in Grand Strategy, where he focuses on school nutrition, physical education, and prioritizing civics as the primary purpose of public schools. Outside of the classroom and the library, he is also a regular at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.


Obed immigrated to the U.S. from Ghana and enrolled at Bronx Community College in New York where he received his associates degree while simultaneously co-founding a local non-profit servicing the greater New York City community. Hoping to gain greater knowledge and resources so as to equip him to create lasting changes within his home communities, he applied and was accepted into Yale’s Eli Whitney Students Program. Obed is pursuing a political science degree while serving as the acting President of the Harbor Scholars Program and continuing to volunteer in the local community. After graduation, Obed plans to pursue a career on Wall Street as a financial analyst. His goal is to one day start his own financial consulting firm with a preference for helping low-income and financially less-able families. A more detailed profile of Obed can be found here


Hailing from Brooklyn New York, Avrohom originally never intended to pursue higher education. He enlisted 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 for just under two years at OneWeb, a small aerospace start-up, before matriculating into Yale. After taking a wide variety of courses, Avrohom decided to major in Global Affairs. He is also active in various student organizations that focus on veteran’s advocacy, effective altruism, and outdoor activities. 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, intending to study elementary education. Her academic journey took a turn when she discovered a passion for mathematics, and under the mentorship of the college’s faculty and staff she developed a new goal: a career in higher education in a STEM field. Through involvement in the honor society Phi Theta Kappa, she learned about the Eli Whitney Program at Yale. Rachel received her acceptance email en route to her community college commencement, which made for a very memorable evening! Since matriculating at Yale in 2019 she has explored challenging courses in both Mathematics and Physics. She serves as an officer in her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and a student leader at the Joseph R. Slifka Center on campus. Rachel also works as an Academic Strategies Mentor at the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, where she helps fellow students navigate the academic landscape at Yale.