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  • Writer's pictureProject on Workforce Team

Introducing the Project on Workforce Summer Fellows of 2021

2021 Harvard Project on Workforce Summer Fellows

The Harvard Project on Workforce is proud to welcome our 2021 cohort of Summer Fellows! The Project on Workforce Summer Fellowship Program is a summer opportunity focused at the intersection of research and practice on the future of the US work(force). The fellowship brings together an interdisciplinary cohort of students and recent graduates from across Harvard University. Summer Fellows work in cross-school teams alongside national and local partners and contribute to research on key strategic topics threading education, skills, labor markets, and equitable employment.

About the Fellowship

The Summer Fellowship Program is led and advised by Harvard faculty and staff at the Project on Workforce, spanning the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Managing the Future of Work Project at Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Fellows contribute to research projects in collaboration with leading organizations and agencies in the field, including the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Rhode Island Executive Office of Commerce, the US Department of Labor, the US Department of Education and JFFLabs (Jobs for the Future). This summer, our fellows are tackling a number of critical research questions, including:

  • What is an effective strategy to source and grow an equitable workforce in America for emerging technology fields like AI/ML, XR, Quantum Computing, and Edge Computing?

  • What are the best methodologies for predicting automation risk? What should proactive models of support to workers at risk of dislocation look like?

  • How will the growth of hybrid and remote work affect the future of cities? What are the implications for office space, reskilling, live-work" housing models? How can policy help mitigate effects on workers who can't work from home but whose livelihoods have been disrupted by these changes?

  • What are sustaining business models for nonprofit technology platforms that expand access to reskilling?

  • How can we ensure that all students leave high school college AND career ready? What role can the business community play in achieving this mission, with a lens of racial equity?

  • What is the landscape of industry credentials in high school career and technical education programs? How can the value and quality of industry credentials in CTE be strengthened?

Meet Our Fellows

Martina Bedatsova

Harvard Kennedy School

Martina is a Master's in Public Policy candidate at HKS where she focuses on education and social policy. Prior to HKS, she worked in management consulting and with non-profits focused on advancing education equity. She is from Slovakia and received multiple scholarships that enabled her to complete high school and university abroad - an experience that motivates her to pass the opportunity forward. Utilizing her background in business and education sectors, she is interested in expanding her focus to understanding how effective government policies can promote access to good jobs for marginalized communities, including in the context of technological change and job market polarization.

Cathy Chukwulebe

Harvard Business School

Prior to HBS, Cathy was a manufacturing engineer at Caterpillar, where she became interested in creating more accessible pathways for underrepresented minorities into manufacturing roles using skilled trade apprenticeships. She hopes that the fellowship will help her understand the new agenda for the Dept. of Labor and map out the national ecosystem of partners in upskilling, training, and funding workforce development, particularly in middle and high skilled trade jobs.

Ashley Etemadi

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Ashley's interests lie at the intersection of innovation, technology, program development and workforce training. Over the last eight years, she has worked as a management consultant at Accenture New York, a Fellow at a company builder and venture capital firm in Colombia, and as an operations leader at Toptal, the largest global network of vetted freelance talent, where she helped build their first service offering in the business consulting space, Toptal Finance. Ashley currently helps conduct research focused on the application of the learning sciences to adult learning for the future of work and innovative educational technologies, such as AR/VR. Through this fellowship, she hopes to leverage her work experiences and research at Project Zero and to gain a better understanding of the policy space. In her free time, Ashley co-facilitates inquiry- and discussion-based learning settings for the personal and social development of displaced Middle Eastern university students. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Operations & Information Management (with a concentration in Decision Processes) from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Master's in Education (Human Development and Psychology) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Alexis Farmer

Harvard Kennedy School

Alexis is a recent Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School, specializing in policing, re-entry, and equitable urban and economic development. While at the Kennedy School, Alexis was selected to serve on two mayoral transition teams for Mayor James Mueller of the City of South Bend and Boston Mayor Kim Janey. Her work consisted of scoping an early childhood education program run by the City of South Bend and facilitating an equitable economic restart for small businesses and economic development in Boston. Alexis also worked as a Research Assistant for the Economic Development Seminar Series hosted by the Taubman Center for State and Local Government. As a Project on Workforce Summer Fellow, Alexis aims to help connect displaced and underemployed workers to opportunities and also build structural practices that foster economic mobility and long-term wealth creation for workers.

Pierce Henderson

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Earning his master of education, Pierce is a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). During his graduate studies, he focused on the intersection of policy, education, and workforce development to better understand how the redesigning of education-to-employment systems through policy can produce better outcomes for society. At HGSE, Pierce worked as a Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program policy research fellow, consulting for the minister of higher education in Zambia, and authored policy briefs for public sector leaders in North Carolina. Before coming to Harvard, he helped launch a North Carolina-based nonprofit, overseeing the development and execution of the organization’s strategic plan. For the Project on Workforce summer fellowship, Pierce hopes to focus on the ways organizations can build institutional capacity to support future of work-oriented projects and platforms.

Ari Hilliard

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Ari is extremely invested in creating educational equity and increasing opportunities for all students, particularly students of color. She loves studying data science and statistics, economics, and educational policy, which was what she chose to focus on during her Specialized Studies Master's program at HGSE. Ari's family has been in the educational field for generations. Her father is currently the principal of a vo-tech high school in Connecticut, and has helped spark her interest in this specific area. Additionally, she spent several semesters working and studying at community colleges in California, between her Bachelor's and Master's programs, and the talented faculty, some of whom wrote recommendations for her graduate programs, increased her desire to support such schools. Her love of educational research has led her to transform her and her family's lives with a move from Yonkers to Southwest Washington, D.C. (just across the street from the Department of Education, funnily enough!)

Ashley Hong

Harvard Kennedy School

Ashley is social policy researcher and an incoming MPP student at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to graduate school, Ashley worked at the Urban Institute and Mathematica, where she contributed to federal and philanthropic research evaluations around K-16 education, supportive housing, workforce development, and racial equity. Most recently, Ashley served as an Advisory Services Analyst within Mathematica’s Learning and Strategy function, where she provided technical assistance and strategy support to school districts and postsecondary institutions responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ashley believes in using data for good and is interested in pursuing a career that sits at the intersection of methodologically sound research, racial justice, and the social safety net.

Jonathan Ji

Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Divinity School

Jonathan is a recent graduate from the Technology, Innovation, and Education (T.I.E.) program at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a current graduate student at Harvard Divinity School’s Ethics and Politics program. Jonathan’s background is in User Experience (UX) research and Jonathan has helped develop digital products for different organizations including HBS and Harvard Dataverse. Jonathan’s academic research is on how issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion can be implemented in education, religion, and technology. Jonathan hopes to use this fellowship as an opportunity to explore diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in the workforce.

Mehraan Keval

Harvard Kennedy School

As the child of two Muslim immigrants to the United States and having witnessed patterns of poverty and exclusion throughout his international upbringing, Mehraan is deeply and personally motivated to combat structural inequality and contribute to an America that provides opportunity for all. Prior to beginning his MPP, Mehraan spent two years in local government working on anti-poverty policy in Stockton, California. His time in local government under the tutelage of Mayor Michael Tubbs cemented the reality that while talent and intellect are universal, resources and opportunities are not. He is committed to contributing to policy that breaks down traditional siloes and is embedded with the understanding that we do not live single issue lives. Mehraan is excited to contribute to the Project on Workforce, especially as we emerge from the pandemic and reimagine what the 21st century social contract should look like for all Americans.

Ethan Lyle

Harvard Kennedy School

Ethan spent seven years as a corporate advisory consultant, working with the CEOs and C-suites of large publicly traded and private companies on strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, media and investor relations, and crisis management. During this time, he advised numerous Fortune 100 companies on complex issues management, high-stakes capital market events, and business-critical public affairs campaigns. Ethan previously served in a number of government roles, including at FEMA within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and in the White House during the Obama Administration. Ethan was also a staffer on the Obama for America 2008 presidential campaign. Ethan is interested in promoting conscious capitalism, building an economy that lifts everyone, and improving our relationship with work. He is very excited for the opportunity to research, learn, and contribute to advancing scholarship on the Future of Work through the Harvard Project on Workforce Fellowship.

Rodrigo Medeiros

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Rodrigo brings expertise in learning sciences and workforce EdTech combined with leadership experience and technology knowhow from a professional career that spans over 15 years with focus on Data and AI. He was a technical trainer for five years, taught career changers, and created learning plans for Fortune 500 companies. During his master’s program in Technology, Innovation, and Education, Rodrigo focused on learning design of scalable and engaging experiences for adults. Rodrigo was also a research assistant for the Next Level Lab and part of the team who wrote a brief on EdTech for Workforce Development. Rodrigo is currently developing a social venture that offers programs to help individuals get higher-paying jobs. As a summer fellow of the Project on Workforce, Rodrigo will focus on the workforce development ecosystem in the US, with special attention to how people learn and prepare for careers connected to technology.

Nakul Nagaraj

Harvard Kennedy School

Nakul is a 2021 MPP graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School. He has experience working with informal labor groups in India and with a ride-sharing gig platform based in Singapore. He’s interested in working at the intersection of public policy and technology to make work better for workers across industries. Through the fellowship, Nakul hopes to learn from peers, mentors and experts on how to achieve these goals through well designed products.

Andrea Neyra Nazarrett

Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Andrea is an incoming student in the PhD in Political Economy and Government at Harvard. She holds a MPP from Harvard and a B.A in economics from ITAM. Originally from Metepec, Mexico, Andrea has worked as a consultant and research assistant at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in projects related to labor, public finance and economic development. Her main interest and experience is on the hidden part of labor markets, black labor markets and in general the economics of black markets.

M. Savio Nicholas

Harvard Kennedy School and UPenn Wharton

Savio is a current Harvard MPA / Wharton MBA dual-degree student and former Venture for America Entrepreneurship Fellow who focused on urban revitalization through technology startups in Detroit and Las Vegas. He’s seen many of the ways workforce projects influence other US urban issues like housing, mobility, and income equity, and is excited to assist Project on Workforce partners during the post-COVID recovery. After graduate school, he hopes to work on building smart, accessible, and equitable cities in America.

Chrissy Raymond

Harvard Kennedy School

Chrissy graduated with a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2021. She concentrated in Social and Urban Policy and earned a certificate in Management, Leadership & Decision Sciences. While at the Kennedy School, much of Chrissy's studies focused on labor market issues, the future of work, and the corresponding rise in inequality. Prior to the Kennedy School, Chrissy worked for Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) for four years, leaving the office as a Senior Policy Advisor. She holds a BA in Political Science from Boston College.

Melanie Shimano

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Melanie is a Summer Fellow with the Project on Workforce and a 2021 Technology, Innovation, and Education graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about conducting research and supporting programming and partnerships at the intersection of education, technology, public policy, and industry to address questions of how the American public will adapt to an evolving digital economy and the future of work. Melanie was recently named one of Forbes 30 Under 30, Baltimore’s 40 Under 40, and Maryland’s Leading Women for her work with technology educational programming in the Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore City government, and Johns Hopkins University. Melanie also holds both an MS in Engineering Management and a BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.


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