Kaelyn Apple ’26 PhD studied American history at her local community college, and whenever she came across a topic in class that she wanted to know more about, she turned to the YouTube page of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Their free resources gave her a deeper understanding of slavery and led to her realization that she wanted to become a historian.
Now, Kaelyn is at Yale and makes YouTube videos of her own. Aspiring academics watch her channel, where she dispels myths about graduate school and demystifies academia for underrepresented groups.
“As a nontraditional student, there was so much I didn’t know about graduate school,” Kaelyn says. “My YouTube channel is a mechanism to provide the representation that nontraditional students don’t typically see and to share the institutional knowledge that I’ve learned here at Yale.”
For example, Kaelyn says that many of her followers are surprised to learn that PhD students at schools like Yale receive a stipend, rather than having to pay tuition to attend.
“It’s so important to spread that information to students who otherwise might not apply to a school like Yale because they don’t think they can afford it,” Kaelyn says.
Kaelyn is pursuing a PhD in history and African American studies, focusing on the seventeenth century law of slavery in the English Atlantic World. She says Yale has been the ideal program for her research interests.
“Yale has so many of the best scholars in the field, and resources available to graduate students are really unparalleled,” Kaelyn says. “There are so many internal grants and fellowships here that allow me to take my research in new and exciting directions.”
Working alongside the same scholars she watched online back in community college, Kaelyn says she could not be more grateful for the support that allows her to pursue her goals.
“Yale was always at the center of the way I saw history being produced, and now I’m here,” she reflects. “It’s the dream.”