University of Rochester

Colleges Partner to Connect Recent Graduates with the City, Youth

June 1, 2007

Three recent college graduates will be part of a new fellowship program that aims to connect young professionals with youth-serving agencies in Rochester.

Rochester Youth Year (RYY) was developed in collaboration with community leaders, students, and faculty and administrators from the University of Rochester, the State University of New York at Geneseo, and Roberts Wesleyan College.

The fellowships give new alumni a year of intensive community service—a popular option for college graduates—while keeping their talent in support of area youth. Beginning June 30, RYY fellows will participate for 10 weeks in the Urban Fellows Program, offered in partnership with Leadership Rochester, the area's premier civic leadership training organization founded in 1990.

Recent graduates Chelsea Allinger from the University of Rochester will be working for Biz Kids, a youth entrepreneurial program designed for city youth implemented locally by the City of Rochester's Bureau of Parks and Recreation; Jessica Spears from Roberts Wesleyan will be working for Grace Family Medicine, a medical practice on Arnett Boulevard that reaches an underserved population in the community; and Teale Kelly from SUNY Geneseo will be working with Garth Fagan Dance.

Jody Asbury, College dean of students at the University of Rochester, partnered with Brenda Myrthil, assistant dean for student programming at Roberts Wesleyan College, and Tom Matthews, director for leadership education and development training at SUNY Geneseo, to form the program. According to Asbury, the RYY fellowship builds on the successful Urban Fellows partnership program with Leadership Rochester and national models such as AmeriCorps, Teach for America, Phillie Fellows, and Promise Fellows.

"We were really trying to develop a new kind of collaboration among area colleges drawing on our various strengths as well as focusing on ways for students to deliver their talents to Rochester youth," Asbury said. "This just felt like it was a match all the way around."

Fellows will become full-time staff members at their agency beginning in June, the summer after their commencement. Along with the agency training they receive, fellows will participate in the Urban Fellows program, spending one day each week in faculty led seminars focused on a variety of urban issues including housing, health care, safety and education. In the afternoon the fellows will meet local civic leaders, attend community events, and constantly immerse themselves in city living under the direction of Leadership Rochester.

Throughout the year of service, additional training will be offered and the fellows will assist in the new University of Rochester leadership seminar called "Leader to Leader." It features a variety of local and national figures discussing their views and experiences on leadership and civic engagement. In return, the fellows will earn a $12,000 stipend for their service and housing on the University of Rochester River Campus. Special opportunities for fellows to network with potential employers and young professionals living in the area will also be provided.

The 2007-08 session is a pilot program, so the program's size and scope was determined by the level of funding received. Funding for the program has been provided through the generous support of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation for Entrepreneurship, a University alumnus, and SUNY Geneseo.

About Roberts Wesleyan College

With an enrollment of nearly 2,000 students and a tradition of excellence since 1866, Roberts Wesleyan College is a leader among liberal arts colleges with a Christian worldview. Roberts offers more than 50 undergraduate programs, as well as graduate programs in education, school psychology, school counseling, health administration, nursing administration, social work, counseling in ministry, strategic leadership, and strategic marketing. Roberts Wesleyan also offers innovative undergraduate degree-completion programs for working adults in nursing and organizational management. For more information, visit

About SUNY Geneseo

The State University of New York at Geneseo ( is a highly selective, residential, public liberal arts college located in the historic Genesee Valley. The college offers 54 degree programs and currently enrolls more than 5,000 students.