Recently, student residents may have noticed two new faces in the Graduate Housing Office (GHO)–managers Chris Taylor and Melanie Pagan both started in January. This dynamic duo brings diverse work life experiences to the GHO.
Chris Taylor recently joined Yale Graduate Housing as a new Housing Manager. He is primarily responsible for the maintenance, tracking, and upkeep of GHO’s eleven apartments and dormitories. A Connecticut native, Chris was born in New Haven and lives with his wife and two sons in Hamden. His undergraduate years were spent at Trinity College where he received a B.A. in Sociology.
A few years ago, he retired from the CT Department of Corrections, where he spent 20 years managing the operational and psychological needs of the department’s resident inmates who ranged in age from 15 to adulthood. While working, he continued his education completing two master’s degrees in sociology and criminal justice.
During his very short retirement, he puttered around the house, played golf, and fished. “I got bored quickly being home so I decided it was time to go back to work,” said Chris. His first job after retiring was at the Yale Art Gallery where he worked as a Security Supervisor. “Working at the Yale Art Gallery was both educational and rewarding,” said Chris. He also worked as a substitute teacher and mentor for the Meriden Public School system. Chris found that role to be extremely fulfilling. According to Chris “nothing is more exciting than taking part in helping a child master a complex math process or understand a challenging concept.”
Chris now finds himself in the thick of Graduate Housing–managing leaking faucets, HVAC issues, and maintaining diverse properties. Since starting in January, he’s been doing health and safety inspections, meeting student residents and ensuring they are complying with the requirements of their housing contracts, as well as monitoring building projects, facilities work orders, and checking off punch lists. “We are ramping up for summer improvements, and I’m developing an inventory program to make managing the housing operations simpler,” said Chris. He is not a man to sit still for too long.
When he does relax, Chris enjoys fishing with his sons and finds beauty in simple things like enjoying a round of golf and occasionally seeing a deer trot across the fairway. Chris can appear quiet, at times, but attributes that to being thoughtful about things. According to Chris “it takes a lot to get me upset, I’m really a big teddy bear.”
The second half of Graduate Housing’s new dynamic duo is Melanie Pagan. Last month she also started as a new manager of Graduate Housing with a focus on student life and programs. Melanie was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but grew up in Chicago, where she moved with her family at the age of 5. She studied art history at Bradley University in Illinois earning a B.F.A. Not long after graduation, she landed a job in New York City working as a residential life coordinator at Columbia University. That was followed by her most recent position at Connecticut College in New London, CT where she worked as the Assistant Director of its Multicultural Center. There she ran many social and educational programs for both undergraduate and graduate students.
No stranger to Yale—her sister went here as an undergraduate—Melanie felt very connected to the campus and had many friends living in town. “When I moved to Connecticut, Yale and New Haven continued to be a second home for me. I’ve kept coming back to visit friends and attend many campus events,” said Melanie. Wanting to work at a larger university, she was excited to see the graduate housing job posting. “I felt this job encompassed the experiences I’ve had working with diverse student populations. I see residence life as a happy marriage between student affairs and housing,” said Melanie.
Her primary responsibilities include student life programming which includes supervising the resident coordinators for both the dormitories and apartments, planning events and creating a comprehensive resident life program. The programming piece will include educational, cultural, health and wellness events, in addition to social activities. “I see my job as providing a safe and supportive residential life environment for our student residents that compliments their educational experiences at Yale. “
Besides starting her first day during a major snow storm, Melanie is quickly settling in. During off hours, Melanie likes to read, run half marathons, and enjoys music. Future student life events will definitely include among other musical events karaoke—a personal favorite of hers!