Alumni Profiles

After a semester in New York, CITYterm alums span the globe to discover new passions and engage with unique communities. Each month, we’ll highlight one of those alumni here and share the story of a student’s experience after CITYterm. Do you know an alumnus who would be great for such a spotlight? Please email Leigh Yakubowski to let us know.

Julia Rappaport, F'01

CITYterm - Fall 2001
Concord Academy - 2002
Brown University - 2006

Julia shares the ways that she carries her CITYterm experiences with her - both large and small.


There are many reasons why my semester at CITYterm will be forever ingrained into who I am as a person: I will always remember the cloudless late-summer day when, brand-new to the program and the city, my 29 classmates and I made our way to the top of the World Trade Center and, for a few hours, quietly and innocently looked out at the urban sprawl below us and sketched what we saw. The intent of the exercise was a bookend – that in three month’s time, we’d return here and draw the city with new and fuller understanding. But, just four days later, on a similarly cloudless September morning, I walked out of French class in Dobbs Ferry, the last of the morning before our group was to take the train into the city, to see that the news was on the normally dark TV. Still standing there, I watched, just moments later, as the second plane hit that sturdy tower and it came crumbling down. That day, and the days and weeks afterward, are defining ones, both in my life and in my education. In the uncertain time that followed, my class and our teachers did what CITYterm encourages: We got up close to people and to history, heading into the city to participate in vigils and bear witness to pain and suffering. But we also continued on, reading and studying the literature and events of New York (as well as French and math…), maintaining a semblance of the everyday in the face of adversity. We started laughing, the few of us that were seniors mailed in our college applications, we dressed up for Halloween.

The events of 9/11, and the particular circumstances in which I experienced them, shaped me in a big way. But there are a slew of other, smaller, but incredibly important ways in which CITYterm left its mark on who I have gone on to become, both personally and professionally: reading Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and fully realizing for the first time how thorny and complicated the truth is, and what a tremendous responsibility writers have in trying to communicate it; researching and speaking with the people of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, then a neighborhood in the beginning stages of gentrification, for the neighborhood project; listening (after I stopped swooning) to a young Junot Diaz read his collection of short stories about identity, love, and the complicated nature of people. I loved to read and write before I came to CITYterm, and it wasn’t until college that I had a professor suggest to me that I should try to do both as more than just a passing interest, but I like to think that the semester in Dobbs Ferry piqued and honed some of those skills that have become indispensible in my career, first as a newspaper journalist and today as a magazine editor writing about food and cooking: curiosity, looking at the new or the different and finding places of similarity and connection from which to ask questions, researching beyond the internet (people and books are amazing resources…), active listening, observation, and allowing myself time and space to think and process.

Julia Rappaport is the managing editor for several food and cooking magazines for John Brown Media, including the award-winning fresh. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Boston Herald, the Providence Journal, Edible Boston, and Modern Farmer, among other publications. In addition to her journalism career, she spent four years as the managing editor of communications and social media at the international educational non-profit Facing History and Ourselves

Calendar

More Events
  • April 2017
    • FriApr28 Neighborhood Study Presentations 5:00 PM to 7:00 PMBarnard College - Held Auditorium
    • FriApr28 Alumni Reception 7:00 PM to 9:00 PMMel's Burger Bar
    • SatApr29 Neighborhood Study Walking Tours 10:00 AM to 4:00 PMNeighborhoods TBA!

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Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522

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