Zelda is a Yale alumna (BA `08 PhD`16) who conceived of and created YPEI after working with students enrolled in Wesleyan's Center for Prison Education at Cheshire Correctional Institution. She coordinates YPEI's partnership with the Connecticut Department of Corrections and its facilities; relationships with other national and statewide prison education programs and criminal justice organizations; and a passionate and broad assembly of Yale faculty, administrators, staff, and students who believe that our program represents the best of Yale's values and visions for the future.
Tow Foundation Fellow
James Jeter is a New Haven native and alum of the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education at Cheshire Correctional Institution, where he spent nearly 20 years incarcerated. With Wesleyan, he completed 20 credited college courses, and was a member of the Lifers Program, where he worked with at-risk youth, helped raise money for local food banks, and worked with the Hartford Police Chief to address gun violence in Hartford. Through this work, while still incarcerated, he fostered relationships with the Mayor of Hartford’s Chief of Staff, members of the Department of Justice’s Project Longevity Task Force, and the CEO of the Hartford Community Loan Fund, his employer post-release.
At the HCLF, James worked as a policy analyst, working on state and federal policy around banking and housing. In the time since his release, he has served on the board of Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education, has been honored with the 100 Men of Color Distinction, led participatory budgeting with Hartford City Council, and has returned to Cheshire Correctional Institution to speak to residents of its TRUE Unit. James is dedicated to the cause of prison education and has sought opportunities to apply his own experience to benefit those still incarcerated or returning home.
2020 Summer Fellows
Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Jack Frésquez (he/him/él) is a rising senior majoring in Ethnicity, Race & Migration, focusing on Queer political imaginaries in Cuba. As an ER&M student, a preliminary introduction to abolition led him to consider the wide-ranging impact that criminal justice reform can have on racial equity, educational access, and social justice more broadly. On campus, he’s been involved with Matriculate, Yale Rotaract, and La Casa. He is working with the Yale Prison Education Initiative as a President’s Public Service Fellow and is excited to be a part of YPEI’s team this summer.
Ananya Kumar-Banerjee (she/they) is a senior Ethnicity, Race & Migration major and Human Rights Scholar. She is interested in the study of borders, migration, climate change, and intimacy, especially in the South Asian Subcontinent. A New Yorker, she is passionate about local politics and has been engaged in numerous congressional and state elections; she was a leader for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's voter registration work on Rikers Island. Outside of her political and academic work, Ananya also enjoys writing and believes it is a form of kindness and tenderness. She previously has worked with the Asian American Writers' Workshop World Without Cages Program, which publishes the work of incarcerated writers. This summer, she will be focusing on building a creative writing workshop for the Yale Prison Education Initiative.
Minh Vu is a first-year Ph.D. student in American Studies studying AfroAsian intimacies across history and literature. As a Fellow for YPEI, he works on curriculum development and support, serving as a Teaching Assistant for various humanities courses and co-organizing programs such as the Introduction to Ethnicity, Race, & Migration seminar and remote creative writing workshop. As a Founding Member of YPEI’s Student Advisory Committee, he is committed to increasing student and faculty involvement across Yale College and the graduate schools.
Nicole Carroll is a second year MA student at Yale Divinity School studying American Religious History. Her research explores the disciplinary work of Christianity and secularism in American culture. Before coming to Yale, Nicole worked as a writing tutor, researcher, and administrative assistant at the Bard Prison Initiative. She is deeply committed to expanding access to liberal arts education in prisons and is excited to continue this work with YPEI.
Krista Naomi Arellano
Krista Naomi Arellano is a rising senior doubling in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration and Political Science and a Global Health Studies Scholar. Krista is from the rural Central Coast of California and currently lives in Salinas, CA. She is deeply passionate about both prison reform and expanding access to higher education for underrepresented students and is excited to work with both YPEI staff and students as a fellow this summer.
2019 Summer Fellows
Diana Saavedra '20
Diana Saavedra is a rising senior at Yale College from Bronx, New York. She is majoring in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration with a concentration in crimmigration—the intersection of criminal law and immigration law. She is working with the Yale Prison Education Initiative as a Dwight Hall Summer Fellow and will continue her work next year as a Dwight Hall Urban Fellow.
Mery Concepcion '20
Mery Concepcion is a rising senior at Yale College from Queens, New York. She is an Ethnicity, Race, and Migration major with a focus on racial equity, social justice and reparations. She is deeply committed to YPEI’s mission to expand access to education for incarcerated students and is thrilled to be working with them this summer.
Dustin Nguyen '20
Dustin Nguyen is a Yale College senior majoring in Economics and interested in the economics of education. He works on a range of YPEI programming: course facilitation, research, grant-writing, and general day-to-day support for the organization. He is originally from San Diego, California where as a justice-involved youth, he came to realize the importance of fair access to education, the liberal arts, and YPEI's mission.
Joshua Murray '20
Josh is an undergraduate student at Yale, heading into his fourth and final year. A student of political science, he is working with the Prison Education Initiative as a Summer Intern, a position which he excitedly pursued due to its combination of expanding access to high-quality educative resources and challenging what he views as the excessively punitive nature of the prison system. Outside of the Initiative, he works with Yale Rotaract and with various community groups in New Haven, and makes original music in his spare time.