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  • Writer's pictureProject on Workforce Team

Introducing the Researchers Advancing Economic Mobility at Community Colleges

We are pleased to announce the researchers for Data and Technology in Action: Advancing Economic Mobility at Community Colleges. The researchers will collaborate with four community colleges across the country to explore and help advance the ways colleges use labor market data and emerging technologies to improve student outcomes. Through in-depth qualitative research and data analysis, they will work alongside community colleges to learn from and help strengthen institutional data capacity.


Simba Gandari

Simba is determined to give back to community colleges and this journey begins at the Project on Workforforce at Harvard. Simba's education pathway began at a community college in South Carolina, and this pathway has eventually led him to Harvard. He now holds a master's in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education which compliments his MBA from Marquette University. Simba is a dedicated community builder and his dedication to historically marginalized and underserved communities of Chicago and Milwaukee was officially recognized in 2016, when he was awarded a Community Leadership Award by President Obama’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Simba is excited to go back to community colleges not as a student this time but as a researcher, ready to make a difference.

Ramiro Hernández

Ramiro (he/him/él) is a first-generation college graduate from the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. He holds an Associate of Science in Interdisciplinary Sciences from South Texas College, a Minor in Medical Spanish from the University of TX Rio Grande Valley, a Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies, Educational Studies, and Medical Anthropology from Swarthmore College, and a Master of Education in Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Ramiro’s trajectory includes wide-ranging work with 20+ organizations, including multiple national nonprofits and community development groups. He also has extensive experience in cross-functional leadership, strategy design and implementation, community outreach, financial stewardship, and policy research. 

In the last three years, Ramiro has partnered with the Biden Transition Team to increase representation in political appointments, published an international reporting project with the Pulitzer Center that focused on deported U.S. immigrant veterans, advocated for federal-state partnerships in funding higher education at Capitol Hill, and been named an inaugural Google-Poynter Misinformation Fellow.

Ramiro’s work has been recognized with awards and fellowships from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Google News Initiative, the Poynter Institute, Cornell University’s Migration Program, the Mellon Foundation, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, and the Center for Innovation and Leadership, among others.

As a community college graduate himself, Ramiro looks forward to continuing his work toward educational equity through the Project on Workforce at Harvard.

Courtnei Sanders

Prior to joining the Project on Workforce, Courtnei served as Chief of Staff at Ware2Go, a technology start-up backed by UPS that provides supply chain solutions for small businesses. Before that, she worked in Equity Research at Truist Securities, where she covered the technology sector. During her time at Harvard Business School, Courtnei served as a tutor in the Technology and Operations Management unit. She also served as an advisor to Support to Succeed, a workforce development non-profit supporting candidates from non-traditional backgrounds in attaining certification for licensed roles in the financial services sector. Courtnei received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She also holds a master's degree in finance and a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Florida.

Arnold Lopez

Arnold is an Educational Leader and Scholar-Practitioner with a M.Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and MBA from MIT Sloan. Arnold is committed to advancing socio-economic equity in the College to Career Ecosystem through Evidence-based Strategies. 

Born and raised in Southeast San Diego, Arnold strives to utilize his expertise in Educational Leadership, Organizational and Workforce Development to drive Economic Mobility and Academic Success for Marginalized Students in his community and beyond.



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