James Doss-Gollin

Doss-Gollin-JamesDoss-Gollin — a member of the first cohort of New Haven Promise Scholars — is graduating from Yale University this spring and will probably continue to explore the world and solve some of its problems. But his heart will be forever in New Haven.

As a high schooler, he spurned private schools because, to him, they didn’t offer “the real world.” So he attended Wilbur Cross High and took advantage of all the opportunities it had to offer. After enrolling at Yale, he and Cross classmate Jordy Padilla — also a Promise Scholar — founded New Haven REACH, a program designed to help college aspirants, mostly first-generation students, find their voice on their college essays.

A mechanical engineering major, Doss-Gollin has also used his talents with Engineers Without Borders. He has worked on water delivery initiatives in Paraguay, Cameroon and Brazil and in the field of water purification with the Dean Kamen-founded DEKA Research.

But no matter his travels, his heart is always in the Elm City. “New Haven is my home. I love New Haven,” he says. “There’s always stuff going on, yet it’s small enough to know the City. I have friends in every neighborhood here.”

That’s among the reasons he focused on the REACH organization, which partnered with New Haven Promise on college-readiness initiatives and received its first grant from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. “Promise is not only about money,” he said. “It motivates those who haven’t thought about college.”