Yale Bulletin
and Calendar

May 31-June 21, 1999Volume 27, Number 33

Some Yale graduates dancing down a different path

"I've thought about this since I was a little kid," said Bryan Koplin '99 of Davenport College of his intended post-graduation journey to every baseball stadium in America.

Like many of his classmates, Koplin lost no time in trying to realize a long-postponed ambition.

Indeed, graced with a job market that has never been as favorable, the typical graduating senior is free to travel down roads not usually taken -- for a while, anyway.

Traditional fields continue to attract many Yale graduates, according to Sandra Goodson, who counsels students at the Office of Career services. The Class of 1999 has its share of aspiring doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, scholars, consultants and captains of industry, she says.

"A significant portion of the class has chosen jobs in the non-profit, service sector," notes Goodson, with many joining such national organizations as Teach for America, Americorps and Inner City Teaching Corps, or working for local programs like LEAP (Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership). The Peace Corps continues to attract those who seek to share their good will and knowledge on an international scale, Goodson adds.

But some members of the last class of this century are taking a detour from their chosen career path or blazing new trails altogether. Among the 1999 graduates are individuals pursuing an interest in professional tennis, studying the Spanish theater, becoming a forest ranger, developing technical tools for "gaze tracking" and running an offshore clam bar, among other less-traditional activities.

Some, like Bryan Koplin, are only taking a short respite to follow their dream through the summer, before settling in to more remunerative work -- in Koplin's case, as a business consultant in New York. That job, he noted, will leave him time to have a life as well as a career. He said he might even devote some of his leisure hours to finishing a book on his summer at the stadiums.

Lincoln Else of Davenport College is spending this summer and part of the fall in Yosemite National Park as a wilderness ranger, a job he has held for several summers. Else will patrol back-country trails on foot and assist in search-and-rescue missions. He said in "some weird" way his study of philosophy, with a focus on ethics and morality, has been useful in his work as a forest ranger.

Despite his love of the outdoors -- during his college years he was a leader in Yale's Freshman Outdoor Orientation Program and an active member of the mountaineering club -- Else easily imagines moving to Manhattan after his stint at Yosemite. He hopes to make documentaries and pursue another interest, photography. Naturally, the natural world will figure in his future endeavors, he noted.

Alexander Selkirk of Timothy Dwight College will be riding out his dream in a solar-powered car. Project director of Team Lux during his senior year (see related story, below), Selkirk will join his team members this June to race a solar car of their own design from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida. In October the group will reunite in Australia for a 2,000-mile race from Darwin to Adelaide. A political science major, Selkirk confesses he is "less interested in building solar cars than in building a team." Also this summer, he will work with another team from Yale building an internet company "with a top secret product." Meanwhile, he is preparing for graduate school, where he will pursue the study of public policy.

Political science major Jonathan Beardsley of Davenport College is setting a conditional time limit on his quest to realize his dream. Before the ink dried on his diploma, Beardsley was headed for Montreal, his first stop on the professional tennis circuit.

"After a year and a half, I'll sit down and decide whether it's worth it," Beardsley said, explaining his formula for calculating the likelihood of making it as a "pro." If after traveling all over the globe -- from satellites through challenger games to the hightest-ranked tournaments -- he fails to attain the winning numbers, then it's off to law school, he said. Either way, Beardsley acknowledged, courts seem to be in his future.

Jennifer Lagerquist and Yue Yin were roommates at Pierson who are both pursuing an interest in dance after graduation. Lagerquist was an art history major who did her senior project on a Barbara Morgan photograph of Martha Graham at the Yale University Art Gallery. "I never thought I was going to get into dance at all," said Lagerquist, who began dancing as a toddler and continued it at Yale as a member of Yaledancers. In the fall she will enroll in the dance program at New York University's Tisch School. After five years or so of professional dancing, she hopes to find or create a professional outlet combining her interests in biology and art history.

Yue Yin is currently assisting with a documentary dance video about Australian aboriginals, a project she worked on during her senior year. Later, given her interest in musical composition and choreography, she plans to use audio-visual technology to explore the innate connection between rhythm and movement. Meanwhile she is scouting graduate schools for a multidisciplinary arts program that can cater to her unique interest.

Among those graduates who are putting their commitment to social justice into action -- albeit in very different ways -- are Loren Stewart of Branford College and Brian Ingram of Silliman College.

Stewart is working for a nonprofit group in Dallas, Texas, called Proyecto Adelante (Project Onwards), which provides legal counseling and other services, such as physical therapy, to survivors of political torture. There, he works with Guatemalan and Salvadoran refugees who were denied political asylum to the United States in the 1980s under the Reagan administration. While guiding refugees through often-complex U.S. immigration regulations, he will pursue certification as an "accredited representative," someone with sufficient knowledge of immigration law to become a legal representative in court even without a law degree. Eventually he does hope to go to law school.

Ingram is attempting to develop an investment strategy consistent with Islamic teaching. "Islamic economics is all about social justice," said the Near Eastern studies major. While the Koranic code of conduct governing all financial transactions -- which favors the good of the community over individual interests -- might seem at odds with the spirit of a market economy, the idea of reconciling the two is not altogether new, said Ingram. When he began researching the subject on the Internet, he found that a Yale alumnus, Nicholas Kaiser, had already established such a fund in the United States, called Amana Funds. Ingram will work for the fund after graduation, but foresees attending business school in the not-so-distant future. Much farther down the road, he said, "I would like to open an Islamic bank."

If there were a "Different Drummer" award for the Yale Class of 1999, two strong nominees would be Warren Jones of Davenport College and John Bockstoce of Berkeley College.

Jones has found a unique application for the disciplines that were his double-major at Yale. In his work on a device that reads eye movement -- a gaze-tracking tool -- Jones draws on his experience as a student of mechanical engineering and of art. He became interested in this technology because of his work with autistic adults. Ironically this "virtual seeing" machine, which can communicate the perceptions of those isolated by autism, was originally developed for use in air warfare, he noted. Jones has received a grant to continue working to improve gaze-tracking methods at the Yale Child Study Center.

"My art really is my research," he said. "We are creating drawings out of the way people look at things."

Every summer for the past four years, John Bockstoce has manuevered his floating raw bar among the yachts and pleasure cruisers anchored at Newport harbor. The 17-foot motor boat that serves as his retail outlet for fresh shrimp, clams and oysters has become a familiar sight in the harbor and a welcome snack venue -- especially during cocktail hours. Bockstoce, who got the idea for his enterprise from a former teacher who floated a similar raw bar in Cuttyhunk, has found a very lucrative market in Newport. He employs one full-time and about a dozen part-time employees and insists on a strict dress code consisting of bow ties, dress shirts and white aprons.

This summer, Bockstoce is again following the routine, pulling up his blue sea ox beside the boats of potential customers and offering his wares. Eventually, he noted, he might tire of it and sell the enterprise to another budding entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, "it's a really fun thing and a great learning experience," he said, recalling the time one satisfied customer looked at him and said. "Hey, this is a great idea. You must go to Yale."

-- By Dorie Baker


Yale celebrates 298th Commencement
Yale launching a more user-friendly home page on the World Wide Web
Anthony T. Kronman reappointed as Dean of Law School
Festival will bring world of art and ideas to city
Endowed Professorships
New Haven attorney Julie Carter joins Office of General Counsel
To eat well, relax at the table, advises master chef Pépin
Reunion programs will both educate and entertain returning alumni
Some Yale graduates dancing down a different path
Yale's new student-built solar car headed for Sunracye '99
New alumnae's nursing training included health work overseas
Harold Samuel dies; brought musicians' archives to Yale
Dining staff friendliness ranks high on survey
Prostate Cancer Awareness Stamp to be unveiled at campus event
Conference to explore the future of language
Dr. William F. Collins is recognized for lifetime contributions to neurosurgery

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Jennifer Lagerquist is spending her first years out of Yale in the world of professional dance, but hopes some day to find a career combining her interest in biology and art history.