“I felt the program was flawless! I am so grateful this experience fell into my lap right when it did. Between the great benefits like free housing, several paid for activities, and a paid internship, it is hard to turn down. But beyond that, I was amazed at how much I grew. My internship was by far the central piece of my experience, working at Brooklawn will forever shape how I take care of kids and my pursuits in medical school. I loved the staff and the residents I worked with. I also felt I truly got to know Louisville, something I can’t even claim for my own hometown. I felt persuaded to learn more about the city, and walked away with a true appreciation for it. The activities and mentors made you feel comfortable and secure, not just dropped off in a random city with some job. You had a family to turn to, and that was extremely helpful as well. It really is a complete package, with no detail left out. I had several busy personal assignments this summer between the internship, medical school applications, and family emergencies, yet the intense support of the Bulldogs program made doing all of these things at once easy. Thank you for a summer I will never forget.”
“It’s August 18, one and a half weeks after the conclusion of Bulldogs in the Bluegrass. Earlier this morning, I was thinking about what to write for this final reflection. I’m a math person; I don’t usually write, and I didn’t know how I could ever sum up what this summer has meant to me. But just now, I came back from the kitchen after having lunch. I glanced at the frozen meals in the freezer—my usual choice of lunch at home—and grimaced at the thought of all the artificial, fake-tasting stuff. Instead, I pulled out a pan, struggled through the messy refrigerator for some basic ingredients, and cooked myself a quick lunch. It was so much better than any TV dinner could have been. And I realized that in that little incident alone, I had Bulldogs to thank. I’d never cooked for myself before this summer. I’d never given much thought to the benefits of fresh food, either. That was me before the farmer’s markets, before chewing on sassafras leaves right off the vine at Red River Gorge, before learning to cook from a fellow Bulldog.
This morning, I also drove a friend—another Bulldog alum—to the airport. Again, it seems like a simple enough action to take. But three months ago, I’d have needed my mom to drive him. I’d never driven on the highways at home; they weren’t necessary for short trips around town, and I was a fairly nervous driver. I came to Louisville with a car, knowing that I would need it for the commute to work. My well-intentioned, but very overprotective, parents plotted a non-highway route for me to take to and from work. “Maybe, if you feel comfortable enough at some point in the summer, you can take the highways,” they said, “But you don’t need to. Don’t push it.”
“Don’t push it” could have been a mantra of my personal development for the past several years. I admittedly was pretty coddled before coming to college, and even over my first two years of school I know I haven’t matured that much. Yale provides plenty of freedom, but limited responsibilities. I interact primarily with people of my own age, and while some of them are more mature than me, no one pushes you to act more like an adult. Bulldogs in the Bluegrass was different. While Ann and Rowan and the entire Louisville community were always there to back us, the experiences of the summer encouraged me to grow up. Try things that I wasn’t comfortable with before—everything from driving on highways to reaching out to upper-level community leaders to hiking and camping to getting up at 6:30 every day and not falling asleep at my desk. (A feat I never successfully accomplished in high school. It’s September 5 now, in the midst of shopping period, and I can say that, for the first time in 5 semesters at Yale, I’m strongly considering taking multiple 9 AM classes even though I don’t have to.)
Bulldogs also helped to focus my goals for the future. My internship offered me the opportunity to work on multiple projects in multiple stages, often interacting directly with clients. And the openness of the Louisville community allowed me to talk with several individuals regarding city planning and budgeting—a field I had not previously given much thought to, but now consider to be a potential career path. My summer in Louisville helped me to realize that I want to be in a position where I can develop projects and actually help see them through.
This reflection is getting really long now, and it’s also severely overdue. So I suppose, overall, I just have to say that I absolutely loved Bulldogs in the Bluegrass. The summer had an incredibly positive influence on me, and I’ve raved about it to anyone who has asked me about my summer. I cannot thank those who contributed to the program’s success enough, and I hope it continues for many years to come.”
Greater Louisville, Inc.
“I am so glad that I chose to come to Louisville. I had no idea that there would be so many activities and events. Since I was working at Greater Louisville Inc., many of the talks we heard complemented what I was learning at work. I received a comprehensive education of how a city functions, and I believe this understanding will aid me in different capacities. My experience this summer has helped me to discover my interests. When I began creating a list of courses I may take this fall, I was surprised by the host of economics classes that I genuinely wanted to take. I had thought I liked economics, but I worried that perhaps that I just wanted to like economics. Both working at GLI and learning about politics in Louisville had made me curious about economics, public policy, and current events. The greatest surprise of the summer was the friendships I made. We formed a great routine: wake up, go to work, drive home, play a sport at the gym, eat dinner in the kitchen, then play a board game or watch a movie. Having a group of people that I know across campus will enrich life at Yale, and I cannot wait continue to spending time with the bulldogs. Of all the activities, I enjoyed Churchill Downs most. I’ll always remember when I won my risky exacta bet and scurried down the stairs to collect my winnings, only to find Ben Crosby with his hands raised in celebration because one of my horses was disqualified. And I proudly lost every penny of my one hundred dollars. Camping also proved a fun experience, especially because it forced all the bulldogs to come together and get to know each other even more. Organizing ourselves and enjoying a successful trip brought us closer.”
Clifton Cultural Center/New Directions Housing
“Being a Bulldog in the Bluegrass was an awesome experience. Everyone I met in Louisville fell over themselves to be supportive, to open doors, to hook me up with contacts that were professionals and experts in areas that I was interested in, and simply serving as friends and mentors. Rowan and Ann are truly invested in the success of this program, and I felt that they were available whenever I needed their help or advice. The planned programming of the program was excellent; meeting with Kentucky civic leaders and other movers and shakers was rewarding. I had a great time with other Yalies!”
“I loved living in Louisville and getting to know the city, which I feel like I really managed to do during my time here. For me, though, my experience in Louisville has really been defined by the work I was able to do here. When I got here ten weeks ago I was nervous and uncertain about whether I would be able to handle the pressures of working with such a challenging population. Now, having just finished my last activity on my last day of work, I feel exhausted, happy, and so incredibly lucky. I don’t think very many people get to have summers like this, and I know that I will remember this experience for the rest of my life. THANK YOU for making it possible!”
“Spending this summer in Louisville was at once very new and very comfortable. It’s not very often that one can combine those two adjectives. I had never been remotely near this part of the country before, and while here, I got to experience a lot of Louisville and central Kentucky, certainly more than any locals would take in during ten weeks. And although everything was different, the people I met along the way were some of the friendliest I have ever met in my life. They welcomed us into their houses and businesses and made time out of their busy schedules to meet with us at our convenience. In ten weeks, I got to do meaningful work in an internship, learn about the history and present issues of the city, meet influential and involved citizens, connect with alumni, talk to professionals in our fields of interest, and make new college friends while going on genuinely fun outings. It was one of the best summers I have ever had.”
“Bulldogs in the Bluegrass is a fantastic program that teaches Yale students what it means to be a member of a community on two levels. On the first level, the more obvious level, it showcases how one should use his or her extremely privileged credentials to help the community that he or she lives in. This aspect is most evident from all the talks we receive from Yale alumni who have established themselves within the community and from the personal involvement in the program of members of the Yale Club of Kentucky. However, while this level of the program is the clearer of the two, and indeed, the more pronounced, it shouldn’t be taken as the only level. Rather, it is the mentors who provide the program’s deeper, more important level – that involvement in programs like Bulldogs is what good citizens do. Not all of the mentors are Yale folk – most are locals who simply care about the future of Louisville, recognize that this program will benefit the city, and who want to be a part of that improvement. And really, that’s the beauty of the program. It’s not just a way for Yale to show off how noble its students and alumni are – it’s a way for good citizens to show college students what it means to be a good citizen. As someone with complicated, very conflicted feelings about his time at Yale, I found the second level to be the most appealing – seeing community involvement not because one is expected to, but because one genuinely feels the desire to. Seeing this sentiment has reinforced my desire to be deeply involved in whatever community I might one day call “home.”
Metro United Way – Donor Relations
“I did so much this summer that it’s difficult to pick out a single thing… So here’s a list of the things that have been significant to me. Thinking about who I was, where I was, and where I was going before coming here compared to now is kind of strange. I’ve done so much and grown in so many ways. For example… This was: The farthest I have ever driven on my own (12 hours/700 miles). The farthest west I have ever been (Owensboro, KY). The farthest south I have ever been (Mammoth Cave National Park). My first time in a cave. My first time attempting to penetrate the enigma that is “business casual.” My first 9-5 (…and professional internship…and indoor summer job). My first time fending for myself foodwise. My first time eating Indian food (at Kashmir and Dakshin). My first time betting (at Churchill Downs, thanks to Mr. Jones). My first time gunneljumping (at Elkhorn Creek). My first time eating Derby Pie. My first time celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in one day (at Holiday World). My first attempts at truly networking. My first serious discussion with a lawyer (at the panel Rowan arranged at Wolfgang Pucks). My first Bluegrass concert (ROMP). My first time at a ex-quarry turned private-pool (Lakeside, with Rowan and my mentors). My first appreciation for Watermelon as its own food group. My first concert on a weeknight (Waterfront Wednesdays). My first time on a trolley (trolly hop). My first time eating modern Vietnamese cuisine (at Basa, home of the most delicious scallops and risotto). My first time paying fifty dollars for a single meal (at Jack Fry’s). My first encounter with a Green Building and thoroughly green people and films(Gill Holland and Peter Byck)… …and on and on, so much that I can’t possibly remember it all. Point is, I did so much this summer that I never would’ve been able to do on my own. I’ve met so many people, gotten a great work experience, and become familiar with a city where I can see myself moving to after I’m fully-educated and ready for my life to begin.”
The Humana Foundation
“This summer I was branded as “a Bulldog” and in Louisville that actually means something. My employer would proudly introduce me to others as “This is our Bulldog” and people would nod knowingly. For those people who didn’t know about the program, they were intrigued by the idea of what we were doing. For me, what I’m going to remember most about the summer is how involved and connected everyone is. Connections exist everywhere. During my last day of volunteering at the Americana Community Center, I learned that the head of the Fiberworks program, which teaches fiber arts to refugee and immigrant women, was actually the mother of a woman who worked at the CE&S Foundation, whom I had had interactions with because that foundation and the foundation I worked for were founded by the same person. If I mentioned that I had an interest in meeting someone or doing something, people went out of their way to help me meet them. Through this process, I’ve gone to great restaurants, and more importantly had wonderful meetings about career advice. Beyond that, the structure of the Bulldogs program allows Bulldogs, even the most difficult to please, to interact with such a diverse group of people through their lunch series, receptions and weekend events. At the same time though, Kentucky beyond Louisville also has a lot to offer and the program allows you to go off on your own and see things that interest you. The Bluegrass Festival (ROMP) is something that I’m never going to forget, and because of recommendations from my coworkers, I was able to plan a weekend trip for myself that took me around central Kentucky (and even included a ghost tour!) Finally, the mentors showed just how connected things are here in Louisville. Most mentors didn’t go to Yale, but they knew someone who knew someone who suggested they join. One of my mentors had gone to school with the daughter of the leaders of the mentor program and that was how they got involved. The mentors really allowed the Bulldogs to connect to the city in a way that few programs can. They did it because they wanted to show us Bulldogs about how great Louisville really is, and make us feel comfortable in a new community. My mentors were absolutely amazing and could not have done a better job introducing me to the city. (They even made me a surprise birthday cake!) I am so thankful for this summer- it has changed my life and shaped the way that I will look at events in the future.”
Metro United Way – Assistant to the VP
“I wasn’t expecting much when I applied for Bulldogs in the Bluegrass, just as I wasn’t expecting much when I moved into the Bellarmine dorms on my first day. I had left school only needing and only wanting a good summer job that would give me real experience, and as far as I was concerned, the quality of my summer was secondary to the quality of my job. But I was young then, and not very wise. Looking back on the last few months, I had so many great times in Louisville that any summary I would do of our activities would do the experience a grave injustice. I will instead recount my favorite memory of the summer: This day was an example of the opportunity Bulldogs gave us to make new friends in such a fun city. On a random, hot Saturday in July, six of us signed up for a beach volleyball tournament at Baxter Jack’s. We had been playing together on weeknights at the Bellarmine gym, and decided that we might be able to hold our own in a real tournament. From 9 am until 7, we were out in the heat, playing our hearts out and getting absolutely clobbered in the process. But we had a great time out there. Only two months before, not a single one of us knew one another, but Bulldogs had brought together this admirable squad of underdogs… Yeah. So much fun. Only in a program that forged such connections between participants could we have organized something like that. I LOVE BULLDOGS….Thank You!”
The Mary Byron Foundation
“Being a Bulldog… Oh my, where to begin? First of all, everyone knows who you are. Well, not who you are, exactly, but they know what it means to be a Bulldog. “Oh, you’re one of Rowan’s!” I’m serious. That is what they say. The fact that people know about the Bulldogs that flock in every summer also says something about Louisville. People are involved here. It is such an open and welcoming community. It sounds silly, but it really does have a small-town feel. And I come from the suburbs! Obviously, I know what I’m talking about. I’ll readily admit that I was a tad dubious about coming to Kentucky; after all, I am a native New Yorker. On top of that regional bias, I’m Jewish, lactose-intolerant and vegetarian. So, I didn’t think I’d take much of a fancy to the hometown of Hot Browns and Derby Pies. However, the first two people I met here (my mentors) told me they hailed from New York, as well. My jaw dropped. People choose to move here? From New York?? Seriously?! And they’re not the only ones. My boss is also a New York transplant. And she’s Jewish. As is Louisville’s long-time mayor and it’s representative in Congress. My second huge surprise came when I took the best yoga class ever in the whole wide world right on Baxter Street. The word that comes to mind when I think of Kristi, the owner, is elfin. She’s petite, charming and adorable, and she just happens to be the best yoga instructor I have ever had. I’ve been doing yoga for quite a long time and I’ve had different teachers and I’ve tried different styles, but I had never taken a class like Kristi’s. After my first class with her, I told her as much and she gave me a big smile and a high-five. She then asked me what I was doing here. I told her I go to school in Connecticut and am here interning for the summer. Her enthusiastic reply: “Oh! You must be a Bulldog!” Indeed. I must be a Bulldog.”
“I really cannot speak highly enough of my Bulldog experience. I had no idea this program was going to be so fulfilling and enjoyable. I loved my job at Maryhurst and am incredibly glad to have spent ten weeks with such an incredible agency. A paid internship and free housing would have been miraculous enough without the rich offering of events and unceasing generosity of the mentors and speakers. The calendar of events seemed a bit overwhelming at the start, but all the talks, screenings, and trips were unique, fun, and inspiring. I never would have learned as much about Louisville as a visitor. We also had plenty of time to just have fun as a group — it was wonderful to meet, and live with these other Yale students. Few came with friends in the program, but we will certainly continue to see one another back at school.
Finally, Ann and Rowan are amazing — they were constantly kind and helpful, and were always offering to connect us with folks in our fields of interest. I had a great, great summer and would recommend this program to anyone.”
Women 4 Women
“I came to the program with the idea that I would just work hard for a summer, make some money and get to know a part of the United States that I had never been to. While exploring a completely different America from New Haven or New York, I got much more out of the program than what I had initially expected. I learned a lot from Rowan’s wise words, from thought-provoking Wednesday lunches, from the generosity of my mentors, my boss and my coworkers, and from fellow Bulldogs! As a way of thanking my mentors, I cooked Korean food for them and a couple of Bulldogs. I thought that would be a more meaningful and memorable way of expressing my gratitude than just getting them a gift. I did the best I could, given I do not know how to cook anything Korean!, and I was glad that they appreciated my effort and enjoyed the meal! Also, I loved how my mentor – Mr. Teaford – wore the BAA T-shirt that I had given him at the luncheon for every time we would meet! It was a great summer and I truly appreciate Rowan and Ann’s effort in putting together this amazing program to ensure that the Yalies get the learning experience (and get paid for it!). I hope many more Yalies can enjoy and take advantage of this program – because frankly, without this opportunity, I would have been completely lost and not known what to do for the entire summer!”
A Mom’s Perspective
“I’m writing to express my appreciation for the Bulldogs Across America programs for Yale students and especially Bulldogs in the Bluegrass in Louisville, KY, where Emily spent two summers.
When Emily took her first Bulldog internship after her sophomore year (‘07), I was glad she had a summer job. When she returned the summer after she graduated, I began to understand that Bulldogs is way more than a summer job. For her, and I think for many others, it offers strong support for kids learning to be adults, support that I’m not sure they could find in any other summer program.
Like every other Bulldog, my daughter was presented with a lineup of interesting paid positions; but she had to apply for and land the job herself. She was given a place to live; but she rustled up her own food and transportation. She had the company of her peers, as she did at Yale; but she also dealt regularly with adults–not just her boss, but also her mentor, the Bulldogs leader, local leaders, among many others. She was working, and in Bulldog meetings was reminded what it takes to do well in a job; and when she wasn’t working, she got to have fun and to know and help the community and the program through volunteer work, camping trips, a day at the races, visits to local government, and presentations to the mayor.
All that is true for any Bulldog. If you are, as my daughter was, a new graduate returning to Bulldogs, you also have incredible, invaluable help–available nowhere else that I can think of–getting started as a job seeker.
Because of Bulldogs, my daughter was working her first weeks out of school, a morale booster and an invaluable in to the world of work. She was coached and mentored and bullied into networking–at scheduled Bulldog events, at special opportunities set up for her and other graduate jobseekers, at countless informational interviews she set up herself with people suggested to her by her peers, her work colleagues, her Bulldog adults, and her own new contacts. A couple of months after graduation, she knew many of the Louisville people who were doing work that interested her, and by the end of the summer job opportunities were starting to fall in her lap.
Now she’s extended her job search to her home area, and she’s bringing to it the confidence, optimism and skills that she developed at Bulldogs. My husband and I, who started our careers at a time when jobs were easy to get, marvel at her abilities, which far outstrip anything we ever had to develop. And what employer wouldn’t want these skills–assertiveness, thinking on her feet, framing a situation positively, eagerness to learn what others can teach her about themselves and their field, using time effectively, managing a large and complex project (for that’s what a job search is now).
I know that the Bulldogs program doesn’t exist by accident, but rather is the work of dedicated alumni led by Rowan Claypool and his colleague Ann Curtis. They orchestrated two powerful learning summers for my daughter and gave her life lessons one could never receive in the classroom. I know you appreciate the extraordinary effort these alumni put forth on behalf of young Yalies, but I thought you would like to hear of its value to us in the Stevens family. Thank you for helping make this a part of my daughter’s Yale experience.”
The Humana Foundation
“The Bulldogs in the Bluegrass experience has been a great one. I suppose that most people will write about how Louisvillew as better than they thought it would be, but as a Southern girl myself, my expectations of the city were actually quite high. I thought that Louisville would be like all Southern cities, like New York, but smaller and filled with nicer people. My assumption was correct, but I was impressed to find that Louisville was much more.
For one thing, the people of Louisville are more that just “Southern;” they are kind. I don’t think I have met as many people in one place that have been ready and willing to accommodate everything that I needed and asked for at the drop of a hat. Because of the kindness of the community and their belief that I was there to make their city better, I was able to volunteer and do hands on work in an ER, I was able to work with some amazing cancer survivors and patients at Gilda’s Club, and I got to shadow two pediatric oncologists for a day. In ten weeks alone, I was able to do four summers worth of internships.
Of all of the experiences I had, I would have to say that Gilda’s Club was the most important to me. Gilda’s Club is an organization for people living with cancer, and my boss/board member for Gilda’s introduced me to the organization.
Twice a week, I would volunteer, working with cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their families. Every Wednesday night I would volunteer with a special group, The Crazy Sexy Cancer Posse. These women were strong survivors, who taught me that even though cancer sucks it can be overcome. They gave me more reason to believe that I was meant to become an oncologist and more passion to work harder so that they never have to relapse again.
My summer in Louisville was a great one that I would not change for the world. I learned so much and hopefully gave back a little to the community. I hope to come back to Louisville in some capacity some day, and hope to stay in touch with my mentors, employers, and most importantly my crazy sexy cancer posse.”
Center for Interfaith Relations
“In the Northeast, life is focused on the bottom line of getting things done. People don’t like to wait, whether it is for their bagel in the morning or for the subway train to come. This extends often to personal life-dinners can be eaten quickly and without company, kids’ lives are scheduled to the brink, and professionals (my mother for example) often work straight through lunch. But over this summer Louisville has taught me to approach life in a different way. I’ve learned to live for the journey, not for the destination.
When I came to Louisville, I noticed a significant change of attitude. People there love and appreciate life, so much so that they’re happy taking things slow and unrushed. The little things first popped out at me. It’s extremely rude to honk, I learned surprisingly, and even outside crosswalks cars will usually stop to let pedestrians walk by. And soon enough us Bulldogs got caught up into the culture. We arrived at the mentor picnic at WillowParklate Sunday afternoon, and remained long after filling up on the scrumptious food just enjoying the lovely weather, the music, and each other’s company. Two of my friends started playing frisbee with a few local kids.
I don’t think it was a coincidence that it was food that served as our gateway into Louisville’s culture. When I was lucky enough to be invited to a mentor’s house for dinner, I noticed quite a strange ritual before dinner. After warmly greeting us, we’d sit outside in the fresh air on the patio sipping sweet tea and snacking on some vegetables with dip. Doesn’t sound too different, right? But then for 15, 20, 30 minutes we’d be relaxing outside, no food in sight, listening to the sound of the crickets and the summer breeze. We might even have started up a game of croquet. And sometimes what would surprise me most was that our hosts were out there joining us. When at my house we’d have company, we might also offer some drinks, but that was a time-delaying tactic to let us finish dinner. Instead, there was no rush to eat, no anxiety about finishing up the baking. The journey to the food was the destination.
And once we started our food, and the conversation began, it went on for hours as the sun set. I remember in particular the last Saturday night Rowan invited Flo and I to his house for dinner. We sat out on his little patio as the sun set, and though we intended to “leave early” at 8:30or 9 to finish packing up, we forgot about the time completely until we realized 9:30had rolled around. The warmth of the food was matched only by the warmth of our hosts. And there were no nagging thoughts of when we would leave. There was nowhere else we’d rather be but where we were.
What surprised this New Yorker most, however, was how this relaxed attitude prevailed even on the job. My first week I remember asking my employer when she wanted the excel spreadsheets of faith leaders done-an important document for the Center for Interfaith Relations. She replied, “Don’t worry…there’s no need for a deadline. Take your time!” At first I thought my co-workers must be slacking off a bit, but soon I saw how this dynamic staff of 4 was organizing a massive faith festival every year, working to expand its pilot youth program, and hosted delegations from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kyrgistan just in the time I was there, among other activities. All this from a nonprofit whose boss doesn’t care about deadlines!
That made me wonder how things actually got done. I soon realized it was because all of my co-workers sincerely loved their job. When the office manager returned from a two week vacation this summer after accumulating a ton of vacation days, she was so happy to be back at work. While at least one co-worker planned on leaving the organization soon, for the present my co-workers were in no rush to leave where they were. They took joy in the journey of their work, not just in the destination that it brought them to-be it money, experience, or a successful event. And the fruits of their labor reflected their passion.
From a leisurely dinner eaten to the tune of the crickets to a work assignment completed with passion rather than pressure, Louisvillehas taught me to relax and appreciate life for its own sake, rather than for where it might lead me. When I arrived at Newarkairport in New Yorkafter flying home, I suddenly noticed how fast everyone around me was walking. I soon felt myself speed up. But then I slowed down, and enjoyed the walk.”
The C E & S Foundation
“Being in Louisvillegave me the unique ability to explore a city until it felt like my own. I left with a true network of friends—one that will be back with me at Yale, and the other my mentors and employers in Louisville. Louisvillereally is the “city of possibility” right now— through the friendly Southern culture and its preservation of nature (the many many parks), it is a city that has maintained a hometown flavor. I will always feel like I have a home there. When I think of LouisvilleI think of the good people, the good parks, and (of course) the good watermelon.”
Humana, Corporate Communications
“I came to Louisvillewith no expectations, so that I could be pleasantly surprised and would not face certain disappointment. Although Louisvilleitself is a bit inconvenient to those without a car, the experience I have had with this internship is beyond what I could have hoped for. Everyone involved in the Bulldogs program, from mentors to employers to facilitators seem to really care about our well-being, and it was fascinating to meet so many people who are passionate about their interests—from horse-racing to rehabilitating young at-risk boys. The events themselves, in general, were incredibly entertaining; they really portrayed the best aspects of Louisville, while (perhaps unfairly) skimming over the not-so-perfect parts. Nevertheless, the best part of my all_star_group.JPGBulldogs experience was undoubtedly my internship at Humana under Tom Noland—it was a welcome challenge to submerge into a large corporate environment and complete the tasks at hand with any resources possible. On the topic of healthcare and the insurance industry, I have learned more than any class at Yale has taught me so far. On being resourceful, analysis, critical thinking, and writing/editing, I have likewise exercised my brain extensively. Despite a few speed bumps in the middle of the program, participating in the Bulldogs in the Bluegrasswas an excellent experience overall. I cannot think of a better way to spend a freshman summer.”
“I don’t think I could have been much happier with how I spent these ten weeks in Louisville. My internship was great because it gave me a variety of valuable experiences and allowed me to get a broad view of how a medium-sized for-profit company operates. I like Louisvilleand love its people; the city feels more like home to me than most cities, and everyone I met through the program was inordinately friendly and generous with his or her time and resources.
Due to my commitments this coming year, I specifically needed to learn much about various aspects of both for-profit and not-for-profit operations this summer, and as it turned out, Bulldogs in the Bluegrass was a perfect fit for those needs. Aside from my valuable internship, I also learned a great deal about these topics and more from Rowan, Ann, my mentors, other Bulldogs’ employers and mentors, speakers, and many other people. I hadn’t imagined I would be able to learn so much from so many different people during my time in Louisville.
My fellow Bulldogs were also fantastic. I had a blast spending time with them and have made what I believe will be many lasting friendships with people I probably never would have met were it not for this program. Though living in such close quarters led to some rough spots during the summer, I think many friendships were stronger for it, and those experiences taught us to handle stress and frustration with people more gracefully.20080530-IMG_1906.JPG
I’m extremely grateful for this experience that so many people put so much time into for our sakes. Thank you, and keep up the good work!”
American Printing House for the Blind
“This summer was a really great experience for me. All of the pieces of the summer: employer, mentor, fellow Bulldogs, and programs – fell together very nicely. Our group of Bulldogs really bonded and it was really nice to meet 33 other people that I would have never otherwise known. Louisvillefeels like a second home now and I look forward to coming back.”
Bulldogs in the Bluegrass/Teach Kentucky
“Being a part of Bulldogs in the Bluegrassthis summer really meant a lot to me. As a rising senior, I have taken this opportunity to meet with many older people with a great deal more life experience than I. Through the contact with the mentors and Wednesday lunch speakers, I was able to put together a coherent life plan for myself (well, really just for the next few years). Bulldogs has certainly helped shape what I plan to do after graduation, and who knows? I might just end up back in Louisville!”
Visually Impaired Preschool Services
“This summer was a whirlwind, what with events for the bulldogs program, assignments in work, and still maintaining somewhat of a social life outside of these areas. One of my favorite parts of this trip was by far the canoe trip on the Elkhorn Creek. One might say I’m not very much of an outdoors or nature person, so I of course had never canoed before. I was also assigned the very last canoe, the sweep if you will, and assigned to ride with an adult mentor, probably because I’d indicated I had no experience! I just remember canoeing down the creek and honestly thinking to myself “No, this can’t be real…this is just like a ride from Disneyland!” I think it took a while for it to really sink in and for me to realize that it actually, in fact was real. The dense trees and glistening water were all very real, as was the rushing water flowing at parts down the river. I even encountered a few bugs on my trip, and I did my best to not cause a scene when they appeared, but don’t like to dwell on those little guys when I remember my trip down the creek. However, I do remember that when I got out of my canoe that day after traveling 12 miles down the creek, a wave of pride and accomplishment rushed over me because I realized that even non-nature girls can learn to enjoy the outdoors every now and then too.”
Greater Louisville, Inc
“I really feel like I was immersed in and got to know Louisvillequite well because of the events and the fact that I was living with my peers (whereas if I were in some city alone, I would probably just stay at home and watch tv). Working at GLI was also great because it’s a large office and there were other interns and coworkers around my age, so I made a tight group of new friends who are local Louisvillians, which has made Louisvillea permanent part of me more than anything else.”
“This program is amazing. I was first attracted to it b/c it took care of housing, I got paid, there were many activities where I could meet other Yalies and I got to see another part of the country. While I came here and loved the culture, vibe and people of Louisville, I really fell in love with my job. I wasn’t able to go to many lunches b/c of my work and I really rather have stayed at work then go to a lunch b/c I wanted to spend time with the kids. Even though I didn’t do many events during the week, I did almost all the weekend activities and I loved it. There were a few programs like Blackacre and taste of Frankfurtwhere I felt like my time was wasted, but overall it was amazing. The housing was great and I couldn’t have asked for better roommates. I loved Louisvilleso much, I applied to the U of L medical school. I had never been outside the northeast for any occasion other than vacation, but now I can definitely see myself living in Louisvillelater in life. Also my mentors were amazing, I hope to keep in touch with them and people from work after I leave.”
The Children’s Foundation – Norton Healthcare
My childhood friend and I described our 8th grade class trip to Washington D.C. as the best experience of our lives. Although we were constantly brainstorming ways to recreate this best-time-of-your-life experience we never succeeded. That is until Bulldogs in the Bluegrass. Bulldogs in the Bluegrass was one of those experiences I was searching for. It was incredible and I take every opportunity to brag to my friend who went on the 8th grade trip.
Kentucky was a place I never thought I would experience. When I decided to take the plunge I had no idea what I was getting into, but I expected to experience “the South” and maybe have an okay job. What I didn’t expect to find was another place that felt sort of like home. I got to know a whole new city, from barber shops to restaurants to bars to neighborhoods and people. Louisville is now a place that I feel like I know.
Bulldogs in the Bluegrass also gives you the opportunity to meet with all sorts of alumni and important people in Louisville. I will preface this by saying that I hate “networking,” but I loved meeting the people I did. I met so many fascinating people and ate dinner at their houses and was made to feel like I was a part of their extended family. I got to meet people like the mayor, a member of the Fortune 500 (who was more humble and down-to-earth than you can imagine), and shared golf tips with the head coach of the University of Louisville football team.
Additionally I got to participate in many organized activities, such as canoeing, going to Churchill Downs, playing tennis on clay courts, going to a Taste of Louisville for free, camping in Appalachia, and much, much more. No internship offers such cool, fun activities like Bulldogs does. Not only did I get to work and get paid, but I got to do all kinds of awesome things and meet other Yalies, many of whom are now among my best friends.
Regular internship: Maybe paid, probably alone thus tough to meet people, housing?, what do you do after work?
Bulldogs: Paid, free housing (which is great by the way, you control your own AC which is key), hang out with and become best friends with 25 other Yale students, get to do all kinds of cool activities, eat free meal after free meal, meet all the most interesting, important people in the city. Plus, all you have to do is submit your resume and everything else is taken care of, its so EASY. I think Bulldogs is one of the most underrated programs at Yale and would encourage anyone and everyone to apply for it.”
New Directions Housing
“Have I told you what leaving Louisville for New York is like? It’s like having this great, big old dog that you’ve had for ages and that you love so much…and then getting to spend a little time with this adorable, tiny, hyper and friendly little puppy. You still love your dog, but oh my God the puppy is so cute! It’s just too adorable. And then you’re told you have to leave the puppy behind, and you don’t know when you’ll see it again, or even if it’ll be all different and grown up by then, to go back to your dog. It’s not like you don’t love your dog – it’s just that it’s not easy to say goodbye to something this adorable that you’ve come to love so very much. It’s going to be terribly hard to leave this place, but it’s somewhat consoling to make myself the promise of coming back. All the people to see, places to go, and Tastes of Frankfort to volunteer at already have me looking forward to the journey.”