Mentoring ninth-graders at an inner city public school might seem like an odd stepping stone to a job with one of the world’s largest accounting firms. But not for Taylor Scult ’15, who landed in New York City as a federal analyst for Deloitte after a 10-month service as an AmeriCorps City Year member. “My job today is directly related to my City Year experience,” said Scult, who majored in international studies at Kenyon and assisted teachers at Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.
While working for City Year, Scult developed proficiencies in communication, organization and collaboration that are useful at Deloitte, where she helps federal agencies establish productive and satisfied workforces. In City Year, she said, “I was able to interact on a personal and professional level with a diverse range of people different from myself.”
City Year was formed in 1988 to help students and schools succeed in high-need communities. Scult is among hundreds of City Year alumni from Kenyon, which annually ranks among the nation’s top City Year feeder institutions. Twenty-two members of the Class of 2018 have been accepted by the program, and at least 14 have chosen to enlist with City Year: the most so far of any college or university in the United States. Kenyon’s record is a heady accomplishment, given that City Year accepts an average of only one in four applicants.
Participants receive a living stipend and health insurance benefits, and usually work 10-12 hour days. Scult calculated her pay to be about $5 per hour, “but it was worth it,” she said.
Another City Year alumnus, Kaleb Keyserling ’09, is not surprised that Kenyon is a leader in City Year placements. “Kenyon inspires an idealistic spirit in students,” said Keyserling, who majored in biology and is now a second-year internal medicine resident in Portland, Oregon. “They leave thinking they can make a difference in the world.”
His experience as an assistant teacher in Columbus, Ohio, helped Keyserling as he charted his course into medicine. Seeing many of his students’ parents suffer from chronic diseases “made me more cognizant of the importance of preventive medicine and working with patients over a long period of time,” Keyserling said.
Many students use City Year as a springboard to teaching careers. Kenyon psychology major Lily Rosenthal ’14 parlayed her time with City Year, working with third-graders in a low-performing Boston-area public school, into a job as a head teacher at Storefront Academy in Harlem. “When schools interviewed me for my first job, they took note of my City Year experience,” she said. “I already had the skills and strategies they were seeking because I spent a year in the classroom.”
Other members view City Year as a sort of post-graduate gap year, a way to give back to society while they determine their future course. “I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” Keyserling said. “At that point, I was not ready to apply to medical school. I thought it might be a good idea to find out what the real world is like and give back to those less fortunate than I.”
Regardless of their eventual careers, City Year alumni agree that the experience leaves a lasting impression. “I still think about those students today and wonder if I had any influence on them,” Keyserling said. Added Scult: “I think about those kids every single day. They showed me that everyone needs to be heard, that every voice matters.”