Dive into the captivating world of Yale College staff members as we bring you the "Yale College Voices" podcast! Join us on a journey that spotlights the incredible diversity of roles and innovative projects that drive the heartbeat of Yale College. In each episode, we'll introduce you to passionate and dedicated staff members who are eager to share their invaluable experiences with the Yale College community. Our podcast celebrates the kaleidoscope of talent that shapes the Yale College experience.

Episode 10, Season 02 - Empowering Future Leaders through Diversity with Yale College's Thomas Near

Tom Near imageThis captivating episode of “Yale College Voices” welcomes Thomas Near who is Saybrook Head of College, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Bingham Oceanographic Curator of Ichthyology at the Yale Peabody Museum. Listeners will explore Tom Near's remarkable journey from his difficult youth, marked by personal challenges, to becoming an influential leader within the Yale College community, dedicated to fostering an environment of representation and inclusivity. 

Throughout the episode, host Darice Corey and Tom Near engage in a powerful discussion about the hurdles and successes of diversity initiatives at Yale College. Tom shares his firsthand experiences and highlights significant achievements, such as the increased retention and representation of underrepresented groups in STEM majors due to programs like Yale's foundations of biology. Furthermore, the discussion extends to the broader impact of having a diverse faculty, which not only enhances the learning environment but also significantly improves program rankings, creating a buzz of positive changes across campus. 

Moreover, the episode takes a personal turn as Tom recounts pivotal experiences that shaped his leadership and mentoring style. He emphasizes the value of empathy, understanding, and resilience in creating supportive spaces for students and professionals alike. His stories reveal the transformative power of embracing one’s past and using it to connect and lead with authenticity. 

This conversation also touches on broader systemic issues in higher education, such as the need for better representation of BIPOC students, reflecting on how these changes could foster a sense of belonging and encouragement among students. 

This episode of "Yale College Voices" presents a candid and inspiring exploration of how Tom’s personal history interweaves with his professional endeavors to produce environments where diversity is not only acknowledged but celebrated. Join us as we uncover the challenges, triumphs, and ongoing efforts to make Yale College a beacon of inclusivity and how such efforts can serve as a blueprint for other institutions striving toward similar goals.     

  • Podcast Host: Darice Corey | Senior Director of Web and IT Planning | Yale College Dean’s Office DEIB Advisory Committee Co-Chair 
  • Podcast Guest: Tom Near | Saybrook Head of College, Professor | Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | The Bingham Oceanographic Curator of Ichthyology at the Yale Peabody Museum 
  • Video/Podcast Producer: Ryan McEvoy | Yale Broadcast Studio  Social Media Team and Content Creators: Lisa Dong ’24, Khulan Erdenedalai ’25, Will Gonzalez ’26, Corine Huang ’26, Esther Donald Mwakisambwe ’25, Marcos Membreno ’27, Ava Seymour ’27, Kai Zhang ’26 

Season 2 heroes
Yale College Voices Season 2 Host and Guests

Season 2 Episode List

Episode 01, Educating Minds, Leading Change: The Academic Journey of Dean Pericles Lewis
Episode 02, Southern Identity and Academic Triumphs: A Conversation with Crystal Feimster
Episode 03, Identity, Education, and Resilience: Lessons from Ricky Belizaire
Episode 04, From Humanities to Higher Ed Leadership: Andrew Forsyth's Story
Episode 05, Building a Supportive Space: Matthew Makomenaw's Mission for Indigenous Mentorship
Episode 06, Nourishing Minds and Communities with Jacquie Munno
Episode 08, The Transformative Impact of Language Immersion and Fostering Connections: Kripa Bhagat’s Journey
Episode 09, Threads of Tradition: Charmayne Allen's Fusion of Indigenous Culture and Excellence
Episode 10, Empowering Future Leaders through Diversity with Yale College's Thomas Near
Season 1 image
Yale College Voices Season 1 Host and Guests

Season 1 Episode List

Episode 01: Cultivating Diversity and Mentorship: A Conversation with Daisy Abreu
Episode 02: Embracing Hospitality and The Impact of Interactions: A Conversation with Anita Sharif-Hyder
Episode 03, Exploring Diversity, Inclusion, and Empowering Voices in Film: A Conversation with Yale College Film Advisor, Susan Youssef
Episode 04: Emerging, Thriving, and Leading with Grace: Marisa Figueira's Yale Journey
Episode 05: Harmonies of Belonging: Poetry and the Inclusive Verse at Yale College: A Conversation with Julia Bakes and Brian Robinson
Episode 06: Bridging Borders: A Journey from Neurosurgery Dreams to Global Education - A Conversation with Dr. Mya Fisher
Episode 07: Wellness Pathways Explored: Navigating Life and Health at Yale College – A Conversation with Corinne Coia and Vanessa Blas 
Episode 08: Fostering IT Inclusivity through User Experience: Sam Cohen’s Unconventional Journey
Episode 09: Nurturing Diversity on Transformative Journeys: A Conversation with Earle Lobo
Episode 10, Season 01 - Empowering Voices: Kristin McJunkins’ Journey of Advocacy and Volunteerism 
Episode 11, Season 01 - Cultivating Greatness: Ferentz Lafargue's Blueprint for Student Success
Episode 12, Season 01 - Building a Better Tomorrow: Sergio Gonzalez's Sustainable Impact on the Silliman College Community