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  • Writer's pictureProject on Workforce Team

Introducing the Project on Workforce Summer Fellows of 2023

Collage of Project on Workforce's 2023 Summer Fellows

The Project on Workforce Summer Fellowship Program is a summer opportunity focused on both research and practice on the future of the U.S. workforce. 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 Benjamin Franklin Cummings Tech, the City of Boston, the Education Design Lab, Strada Education Foundation, the U.S. Dept of Labor, and the U.S. Dept of Transportation.

Meet Our Fellows

Yashmita Arora

Harvard Graduate School of Education '23

Yash recently graduated with a Master's in Education Policy and Analysis from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to this accomplishment, Yash received an MA from Edinburgh University in Spanish and Philosophy and dedicated herself to teaching English in various rural communities across Spain. Her interests lie in facilitating increased access to labour markets for emerging bilingual students and making substantial improvements in supporting and enhancing the teacher workforce. As a Project on Workforce fellow, Yash is now eager to apply her skills to support the city of Boston in their upcoming youth employment program. She is certain that this experience will be invaluable as she actively pursues a career which aims to improve communication between schools and governmental bodies.

Eliazar Chacha

Harvard Kennedy School '23

Eliazar Chacha recently graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School's Mid-Career MPA program. Before Harvard, Eliazar attended the University of California - Berkeley where he graduated with high honors after majoring in African American studies and interdisciplinary studies: law and race and minoring in education. He subsequently earned his M.A. in history from New York University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was an editor at the Columbia Law Review. After law school, Eliazar was a corporate lawyer, a fellow in Congressman Kweisi Mfume’s office, and most recently served as counsel to Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California. As a 2023 Project on Workforce Summer Fellow, Eliazar looks forward to working in conjunction with other Harvard students, graduates, faculty, and staff to help partner organizations address complex issues.

Emily Demsetz

Harvard Graduate School of Education '24

Emily is pursuing a Master's in Human Development and Education (Ed.M) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to graduate school, Emily served as a college advisor and Manager of Revenue for the college access nonprofit Matriculate, where she managed an $8M+ portfolio of funders while leading events, marketing and communications initiatives, and cross-functional partnerships. Emily is interested in the intersection of human development research, education, and social policy, community development, and impact evaluation. By exploring how professional learning occurs in both traditional and nontraditional contexts, Emily strives to make post-secondary education and upskilling/reskilling opportunities accessible to all. Emily holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She enjoys painting, watching local wildlife, and hiking with family and friends.

Hector Javier Ortiz Domenech

Harvard Kennedy School '24

Hector Ortiz Domenech is a current MPA degree student at Harvard Kennedy School studying international development and economic policy. Prior to graduate school, Hector obtained a BA and MA in Economics and taught economics and mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico. Additionally, he was an analytics consultant focusing on government and health projects in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As a Project on Workforce Summer Fellow, Hector looks forward to better understanding, measuring, and improving job pathways for New Majority Learners.

Richard Flahive

Harvard Graduate School of Education '23

Ricky is a recent Ed.M. graduate in Education Policy and Analysis from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also concentrated in Global, International and Comparative Education and served as an Equity and Inclusion Fellow. Born and raised in the South Bay of San Diego, he was a proud community college transfer student who attended both San Diego City College and UC San Diego. Ricky’s previous roles included work in both higher educa􀆟on and local politics, where he worked as a community theater teaching artist, served as the Job and Internship Engagement Tech for Strong Workforce Programs at the San Diego Community College District, worked as an intern with the United States House of Representatives, and most recently served as a Community Representative with the San Diego City Council. He hopes to continue work empowering the underrepresented and specifically researching how community colleges and institutions broadly can work to provide educational resources, transportation, and employment opportunities to low-income people. In his free time, he enjoys reading, practicing guitar, performing improv comedy, and acting in any small theater or film projects that come his way.

Katheryn Grice

Harvard Kennedy School '24

Kathryn is a rising second-year MPP candidate at HKS who is interested in digital equity and workforce fulfillment. Kathryn is drawn to the summer fellowship by her interest in connecting workers to jobs, increasing worker satisfaction (especially in remote/hybrid roles), and narrowing the "digital divide" to improve the economic outcomes of underserved communities. Prior to HKS, Kathryn studied Statistics at Williams College and spent five years working in economic consulting in Boston and Toronto. As an analyst, Kathryn specialized in data analysis, data management, and project management for teams that wrote economic expert reports in lawsuits.

Thoa Hoang

Harvard Kennedy School '23

Thoa Hoang is a recent graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS). She has over five years of experience working with State and Federal governments to design and implement poverty reduction initiatives. Prior to HKS, she worked on child nutrition regulation for several nutrition programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and went on to support the distribution of USD $87 million in grant funding to support career training and services for migrant and seasonal farmworkers at the Department of Labor. She is passionate about finding innovative ways to address social problems such as hunger, poverty, and social inequalities. Thoa is a first-generation college graduate and holds a BA in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a proud Californian and boba connoisseur.

Taylor Jones

Harvard Kennedy School '23

Taylor Jones is a recent graduate of the Master in Public Policy program at Harvard Kennedy School where she concentrated in social and urban policy. She is particularly interested in the pursuit of reparatory policy, and using an understanding of history to diagnose, assess, and assuage contemporary policy challenges facing Black communities. As part of this, during her time at the Kennedy School, she has focused on regional economic development, paying special attention to workforce development and training programs, small business development, and educational opportunities, with a goal of ensuring that the economies of the future lead to shared prosperity. As a Project on Workforce Summer Fellow, she is most interested in better understanding how cross-sectoral partnerships can improve school-to-career pipelines for young workers. She has served as a Transition Term Fellow and a Research Assistant at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government. Prior to HKS, Taylor assisted several organizations across the public and private sector design and operationalize equity goals. She received her B.A. in History, summa cum laude, from Howard University.

Yeti Khim

Harvard Kennedy School & Sloan School of Management ’24

Yeti Khim completed her Bachelor of Arts at Swarthmore College and is a current MPA / MBA dual degree student at the Harvard Kennedy School and MIT Sloan. In school, she is focusing on living boldly and unconditionally and creating systemic change so that she and others can be free to reach their full potential. Before graduate school, she worked as the VP Product at Gojek in Indonesia, where she scaled Gofood into one of the largest food delivery platforms globally, with a mission to democratize entrepreneurship. She subsequently served as the Chief Product Officer of the GovTech team within Indonesia’s Ministry of Education, building technologies to realize a more student-centric and equitable education. As a Project on Workforce Summer Fellow, Yeti is looking forward to learning about how to empower the next generation of workers to thrive in the face of present and future technological advancements.

Adeola-Ashabi Kristian Lawal

Harvard Graduate School of Education ’23

Adeola Lawal is a recent graduate from the Learning Design, Innovation, and Technology master’s program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she was an Urban Scholars Fellow. She is passionate about leveraging technology, education, and insights from cognitive science to improve learning outcomes for historically marginalized populations. As a graduate student at Harvard, she developed innovative ways to address disparities in the U.S. and advocated for STEAM education. Currently, she serves as the Founder and Executive Director of The Children’s Gift Foundation, a Maryland-based 501(c)(3) organization that was established in 2017 to support underserved youth and promote equitable learning environments. Adeola also tracked federal education policies as an intern for the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education during the Obama Administration. She is excited to join the Project on Workforce at Harvard to expand post-secondary opportunities for youth, and she hopes to enhance practical skills development using emerging technologies.

Krizia Rosario Lopez

Harvard Kennedy School '23

Krizia Rosario Lopez is a graduating Masters in Public Administration student at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was elected to student government and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Kennedy School Review. Krizia is passionate about improving socioeconomic opportunity for marginalized communities through strategic interventions, which she hopes to advance as a Project on Workforce Summer Fellow with the US Department of Labor. Prior to Harvard, Krizia founded Puentes Community Translators, a workforce development initiative in NYC training young adults from low-income immigrant communities as local translators. She worked at Google for six years in various international roles spanning from sales training in Ireland to diversity strategy in Brazil. She left Google to work directly on socioeconomic issues, becoming the founding operations director at a public school in a 95% Spanish-speaking, low-income neighborhood of NYC. Krizia earned her BA from Columbia University and was a Fulbright Research Scholar in Nicaragua, where she documented human rights policy issues impacting deaf Nicaraguans. Krizia is originally from Peru and immigrated to the US as a child. She speaks German, Spanish, and Chinese, which she honed as a US Critical Language Scholar in China. She became a mom while studying at Harvard, with the birth of her son Ruben in 2022.

Tracey Matheny

Harvard Graduate School of Education '23

Tracey is a 2023 graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she received her M.Ed. in Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship. Prior to graduate school, Tracey spent four years in public education and she is passionate about expanding educational access and agency to learners of all ages. In addition, Tracey served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda from 2018 to 2020, where she implemented a Volunteer-run program targeting career access for female students throughout the country. Tracey is an avid believer in workforce access as a pillar of community development and is excited to join the Project on Workforce to continue this work.

Charles Meynet

Harvard Kennedy School '24

Charlie Meynet is an MPA candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a board member for a foundation dedicated to Flint, MI, for which he recently established and currently runs an impact investing fund. He has experience supporting job training and education programs in the deindustrialized Midwest and has also worked as a software developer, product manager, and early-stage investor in the technology industry. As a Project on Workforce Fellow, Charlie is excited to support people and communities affected by the evolving economic landscape. Charlie holds an MBA from The University of Michigan and a BS in Computer Information Systems from Chapman University.

Mannat Singh

Harvard Kennedy School '24

Mannat Singh is a current MPP student at the Harvard Kennedy School. She has previously worked for an international nonprofit organization, TechnoServe where she led on-the-ground studies on student absenteeism and menstrual hygiene in remote villages of Rajasthan, India. She later joined the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), where she led coordination efforts for planning, monitoring, and reporting results on education in India. At Harvard, Mannat was part of the Economic Justice and Inequality team in the Future of Workforce study group where she engaged with students and experts to better understand barriers to education. As a Project on Workforce Fellow, Mannat looks forward to taking her learnings to a new context and deepen her understanding of the education system in the United States. She holds a B.A. (Economics) from Miranda House, University of Delhi, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Liberal Studies (Young India Fellowship) from Ashoka University.

Rachel Snyder

Harvard Kennedy School '23

Rachel Snyder is a Master’s in Public Policy candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Research Assistant at The Project on Workforce at Harvard. Previously, Rachel taught 8th-grade science and was a Coordinator at DC Public Schools, where she worked with business, government, and school partners to expand work-based learning, internship, and apprenticeship opportunities for all DC students.

Athena Tassis

Harvard Graduate School of Education '23

Athena's passion lies in the fields of education, policy, and workforce development, which makes her highly interested in The Project on Workforce. She firmly believes that technological advancements are constantly reshaping the workforce and that individuals must possess the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt to the evolving demands. Athena's previous work at Harvard's Next Level Lab has allowed her to explore the potential applications of AI in education and workforce development, and she believes that this work is crucial in preparing individuals for the challenges of tomorrow. Athena is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a Master’s in Education in Learning Design, Innovation, and Technology. Given her background and interests, the Harvard Summer Fellowship Program presents a unique opportunity for Athena to further develop her skills in consulting, policy, and workforce development. She is thrilled about the prospect of contributing to the critical work of supporting the workforce and skilling ecosystem in the United States, and collaborating with other fellows and key stakeholders to make a meaningful impact in these areas.

Nandini Thogarapalli

Harvard Kennedy School '24

Nandini Thogarapalli is a first year Master’s in Public Policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is passionate about using data for good and has effectively leveraged data to solve a range of problems in the public and private sector. Prior to her time at the Kennedy School, she worked as a Digital Projects Fellow at Generation, an education non-profit that prepares, places, and supports people into life-changing careers. She also advised a range of non-profit and for-profit organizations as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company.

Kimberly Turner

Harvard Kennedy School

Kimberly Turner is a postdoctoral Fellow with the International Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center and Brown University’s Watson Institute. She has extensive experience in corporate management and governmental affairs prior to pursuing her graduate studies. Kimberly will join the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of International and Public Affairs as an Assistant Professor of International Affairs this fall. Her substantive research focuses on civil resistance and the determinants and outcomes of nonviolent movements in authoritarian regimes. Her methodological research develops innovative measurement construction. Her dissertation, Education Bulges and Mass Protest: How Higher Education Influences Protest Onset and Outcomes, examines the role of university graduate unemployment and underemployment in incentivizing individuals to protest. As a Project on the Workforce Fellow, Kimberly is excited to explore and identify issues and program ideas addressing upskilling and job placement.

Laney Umland

Harvard Graduate School of Education '23

Laney is a recent graduate of the Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship masters program at Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she also pursued a concentration in Higher Education. She is passionate about increasing access to educational opportunities and in turn, quality jobs, particularly for underserved communities. Prior to HGSE, Laney helped local, state, and federal leaders to better utilize data and evidence-driven policy to improve education and workforce development outcomes. As a Project on Workforce Summer fellow, Laney is eager to help government leaders strengthen the bridge from school to career.

Jennifer Walker

Harvard Business School '24

Jen Walker is currently pursuing a Master's of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. She also serves on the Associate Board of UPchieve, a non-profit education organization that provides free online tutoring targeted at low-income students. Prior to HBS, Jen worked for several years in investing and is excited to bring her experience in market research and data analytics to the Project on Workforce. She is passionate about the pursuit of equity in the U.S. education system and will be working with the U.S. Department of Education during the fellowship. Jen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard College.

Cole Wilson

Harvard Graduate School of Education '23

Cole Wilson has devoted his life to uplifting and amplifying the voices of young people, specifically young Texans. That calling has brought him to the Project on Workforce. He is currently enrolled at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he studies education policy and analysis. Outside of his studies, Cole serves as HGSE's Graduate Student Government Representative. When not in class, he works with the Harvard Educational Portal to put together workforce access programming for local high school students and serves as a Research Assistant at the Project on Workforce. Before Harvard, Cole worked to increase civic engagement across Texas, fought for young people’s right to affordable healthcare, the workforce, and higher education with Young Invincibles, and served as a Legislative Director in Texas’ 86th Legislature. When he’s not working or studying, Cole enjoys playing music around town. If you’re lucky, you can catch him playing a show at the Midway Café.


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