Living in New Haven After Graduation

Cover

tl;dr

Email me if you want:
to talk about bikes.
to talk about what it’s like to work at a startup.
to talk about what it’s like to work at SeeClickFix.
to talk about what it’s like to live in New Haven after graduation.
to be connected with folks who know a lot more than I do about all of the above.

I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky and for most of my life looked something like this. In 2010, I was still sporting a baseball cap when I graduated from my big ol’ public high school and took the longest plane ride I had ever been on in my life to go to school at Yale in New Haven, CT.

Now, I’ve graduated and am proud to be one of a growing number of young people who are choosing to stay in New Haven — also known as the greatest small city in America (#gscia).

New Haven is known for its world-record beating pizza (which, with Modern Apizza just around the corner from my apartment, I do not forget), but there was a whole lot more to New Haven that made choosing to stay here post-graduation the easiest and best decision of my life.

Growing up, I had been parts of sports teams and packs of friends but I never quite knew what community could feel like – what community in a city could feel like – until I lived in New Haven. At school, I started doing work in New Haven for an education initiative in New Haven high-schools called The Future Project. I made friends that took me up New Haven’s running trails and to wicked fun bars; and I fell in love with someone who had grown up their entire life in New Haven and saw the city through their eyes. I began to see that the reason why New Haven was the greatest — it was because of the citizens who worked hard every day to make it even greater.

Then, in 2012, I met Ben Berkowitz, CEO of SeeClickFix (@SeeClickFix). I read about SeeClickFix in a daily, local newsletter called The Daily Nutmeg and emailed Ben immediately to learn more about that was changing our city.

After meeting the team in SeeClickFix’s new (at the time) office with paint still drying on the walls and boxes everywhere, I fell in love again. I fell in love with the real possibilities of what SeeClickFix could do/was doing to fundamentally change cities by building a public network for neighborhoods that allowed citizens to report non-emergency issues (like potholes and graffiti) in their neighborhoods and tools for government to manage and address those issues – in New Haven and other cities around the world.

Now, at the time, I didn’t think about SeeClickFix as a company or a movement I would eventually work for. To me, SeeClickFix was what I used on my laptop, library desktop, or phone to report light outages to the city on Howe Street to ensure that my friends came home safely. SeeClickFix was where my favorite biking advocacy group, Elm City Cycling, could report potholes in Fair Haven to make sure that folks biking to work got downtown safely. SeeClickFix was what connected me and other volunteers with neighbors during Snowstorm Juno and others to shovel them out (and get rewarded with hot chocolate) in the winter. SeeClickFix was what gave me trust that the City of New Haven was listening to me, setting realistic expectations, and going to involve me in their public services. It was what made me know I wanted to stay in this city — with people I love who organize swiftly and earnestly around the issues they care about the most.

new haven

And now, I’m the luckiest lady in the world because I am a New Haven citizen who has been working for SeeClickFix since I graduated in 2014 – telling the stories of how SeeClickFix is changing communication in our partner cities not just in New Haven but all around the world. I can bike to work every morning down Orange Street and go for a run down Chapel Street in the evening. I’m gearing up with a team of volunteers to co-organize New Haven Bike Month 2016 in May. I get to work on and watch campaigns and projects that are mutually led by New Haven residents, Yale students, business-owners, and elected officials. I have difficult conversations with people I love about what it means to “plant a stake” in this city. I work really hard alongside citizens who work even harder. I’m writing this and wearing pretty much the same looking outfit I’m sporting in the candy apple picture (^).

And, yeah, I get to eat the best pizza in the world whenever I want.

As I said at the beginning in the tl;dr: email me! Email me if you want:
to talk about bikes.
to talk about what it’s like to work at a startup.
to talk about what it’s like to work at SeeClickFix.
to talk about what it’s like to live in New Haven after graduation.
to be connected with folks who know a lot more than I do about all of the above.