Giving to Yale

Financial Aid Profile: Diana Tucci ’09

Diana TucciThis fall Diana Tucci ’09, of Trumbull College, returned to Yale’s campus to start her senior year. With plans to continue research in Professor Margaret Clark’s lab, work on her thesis, and apply to medical school, she will be busy over the next months. Thankfully, starting this semester Diana has one less thing to worry about.

With recent changes in the financial aid policy, Diana—like all Yale College students receiving scholarship support—will contribute significantly less toward her tuition costs. Students are now required to contribute only $2,500 per year, a reduction from the previous rate of $4,400. As a student employee in the admissions office, Diana can earn this amount by working for about seven hours a week, eliminating the need to take loans or to put in long hours during the academic year.

This change in policy is part of Yale’s renewed commitment to financial aid, announced in January 2008. In the coming school year, the new policy will increase the number of Yale students who qualify for aid from 43 percent to 48 percent, decrease the average cost of sending a student to Yale College by 50 percent, and increase annual grants to an average of $37,000 per recipient. With these changes, students like Diana will have more time to focus on academics and plan for life after Yale.

Diana, who is in the behavioral neuroscience track of Psychology, came to Yale anxious to be a part of the collaborative environment she heard so much about. Below, she discusses her Yale experience, her plans for senior year and the future, and how financial aid helped make it all possible.

I chose to attend Yale because:

In high school, one of my teachers encouraged me to consider Yale. He talked about its collaborative environment and how people really work together. When I came to visit, I fell in love with the place and Yale became my top choice. But I definitely wouldn’t be here without financial aid.  The financial aid package I received from Yale was better than what my state school offered me, and now that I’m here, I realize that my teacher was right. Yale has been a great place to learn and get an education and also a great place to live and make friends.

My favorite class:

This is a tough one. I have really enjoyed the material in all of my classes. But to choose just one, I would have to say Sex Evolution and Human Nature with Laurie Santos. She is a great teacher and does an amazing job of relating the material. For example, she found a way to connect Sir Mix-A-Lot to evolutionary psychology.

The professor who has taught me the most:

My advisor, Margaret Clark. When I was in her class Attraction and Relationships, she put an invitation up on the server asking if anyone was interested in getting involved with her lab, which focuses on research in emotions and relationships. When I responded that I was interested, Professor Clark invited me to a lab meeting, and I have been a part of the lab ever since. It has been such a great learning experience, and it really helped last year when I designed my own experiment with funding through Trumbull College. That research will be the basis of my senior thesis.

My favorite place to study:

In my room.

My preferred extracurricular activity:

Last year I started a dance group called Fusion, and it’s been an incredible learning experience. As a new group, we were very fortunate to receive Sudler funding from Trumbull College last year, and we put together our first annual show in Trumbull’s newly renovated theater. I spend a lot of time coordinating events for the group, but the best part is the dancing. We learn a lot from each other, and I’m always picking up new moves and listening to music to put those moves into action.

I also work in the Admissions Office and volunteer as an EMT in Stratford, Connecticut. I took a class through the Yale Student Emergency Medical Services (YEMS) and I learned how to drive an ambulance with Stratford EMS.

My plans for study or work abroad:

I haven’t had the opportunity to travel abroad during my time at Yale, because my work here has been so intense, but I’m planning a trip to Kenya soon, and I plan to travel around Europe after graduation.

My plans for after graduation:

Medical School. Then after school, residency, and maybe a few years in practice, I would like to participate in Doctors without Borders.

Something I’ve learned at Yale that I will always remember:

I’m not sure it is something tangible that I could put my finger on, but living here as a part of such a diverse group of people from all over the world, I’ve really grown as a person.

(September 15, 2008)