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Students Take Steps into Professional World Through Partnership with YAI

Stony Brook's Diversity Professional Leadership program and YAI staff

Students from the Career Center’s Diversity Professional Leadership Network (DPLN) program toured YAI‘s Brentwood Multi-Service Center in Long Island on March 6. 

Stony Brook's Diversity Professional Leadership program and YAI staff
Stony Brook’s Diversity Professional Leadership program and YAI staff

YAI is a non-for-profit organization that serves people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. YAI has a long-standing relationship with Stony Brook and is a member of the Career Center’s Partnership Council, a group of recruiting partners who are invested in hiring Stony Brook University students for top internships and full-time jobs.

The Career Center developed the DPLN to help underrepresented students increase their knowledge of careers and enhance their career skills. Through the program, students are able to learn more about professional and business etiquette by engaging in a mentor/mentee program to help successfully transition from school to work life. 

“Students in the Stony Brook DPLN program have been working with YAI mentors throughout the year. Visiting our Brentwood site allowed them to see firsthand the types of careers available to them at YAI,” Andy Chung, YAI’s Human Resources Manager for Long Island, explained.  

Students who participated at the program tour for YAI were able to sit around a panel of carefully selected YAI staff.

“We wanted to give students an opportunity to interact with people in many different roles at YAI,” Chung said. “Some panel members were more service-oriented, others were more administratively focused.”  

Some students have started mentorship programs with YAI. William Ruan, a DPLN member, is currently being mentored by Senior Residential Supervisor Patrice Graham, from the Johnson Avenue IRA. Ruan also works for YAI as a DSP at Three Village IRA.  

“Being mentored by Patrice Graham is a rare opportunity that I will forever be grateful for,” Ruan said. “Patrice has been extremely helpful and insightful with her guidance, and especially now, since I am in the same shoes she was in back in her undergraduate years. I find Patrice to be an impeccable role model. She is someone who shares the same core value as I do: a burning compassion to help others in the pursuit of radiating positivity to people.” 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted in-person visits, the Career Center is offering their services virtually and has found creative ways to continue providing panels and discussions between employers and students. Just recently, on April 7, they hosted their first live streaming session with Andrej Drofenik from YAI staff on Facebook Live.  

Follow @sbucareercenter on Instagram and Facebook to find the next live streaming event. Visit the Career Center website for a full list of virtual career and employer events. 

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