November 2018 – Incoming Berkeley Heights Township Councilman Stephen Yellin credits Drew University with honing his critical thinking skills.
“Many decisions made by people in elected office are not easy to make, as compelling arguments backed by data or expert opinion can often be made for or against the options in front of you,” said Yellin C’10, who assumes his Council role on Jan. 1. “You have to objectively weigh the options in front of you and reach the best possible decision you can make. Going to Drew has given me the critical thinking tools I’ve used in my professional career so far and will be incredibly helpful in doing my job as a Township Councilman.”
Yellin, one of two candidates elected to three-year terms, was a history major in The Forest, where he also belonged to several clubs, including That Medieval Thing, the Drew University Improv Players and Hillel.
Key Drew mentors included Professor of Theatre Arts Rosemary McLaughlin, Associate Professor of History Sharon Sundue and Professor Emeritus Frank Occhiogrosso. Here’s how they helped him:
McLaughlin – “She was always there for me—even though I wasn’t even a theatre major or minor—and combined encouragement and support with a strong dose of common sense and honesty. I am grateful to her for all she said and did to help me with the ups and downs of college life.”
Sundue – “She gave me consistently good advice as my academic adviser while also helping me sharpen my critical thinking skills when researching and writing.”
Occhiogrosso – “As a teacher of Shakespeare, Frank was in a league all of his own. I had grown up loving—and acting in—Shakespeare, but Frank opened my mind to the brilliance of his works in ways I could never have imagined. His mentorship came from many long, wonderful conversations with him in his office and around campus, about not only The Bard but many other topics.”
After Drew, Yellin earned a master’s in communications and information studies at Rutgers University. Beyond the Township Council, he works at the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning in Scotch Plains. Previously, he was the individual giving manager at United Way of Greater Union County in Elizabeth.