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  • Project on Workforce Team

The Project on Workforce Summer Fellowship

Students from across the Harvard community join forces to support local organizations on the frontlines of the employment crisis.

In the Summer of 2020, the Project on Workforce created its first-ever cross-school and cross-disciplinary fellowship program. The initiative brought together masters candidates and recent graduates from the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education to support the Greater Boston region’s workforce and skilling ecosystem in responding to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. Summer fellows, advised by Project on Workforce staff and faculty, participated in a cross-school cohort that combined project support for local organizations on the frontlines of the employment crisis, inter-institutional collective response across the city’s educational and workforce institutions, and research projects focused on current labor market issues.



Will Dorsey Eden Harvard Kennedy School, MC-MPA 2020

Will Dorsey Eden is an organizer, and high school teacher and principal. Most recently, he founded and led a high-performing high school in San Jose, California. After graduating from the Kennedy School's MPA program this spring, Will hopes to join a post-secondary institution in North Carolina to create pathways to greater economic opportunity for traditionally underserved students. Outside of education, Will loves to write, trail run, and spend time with his wife and dog, Zucchini.

Graciela Watrous Harvard Business School, MBA 2020

Graciela Watrous is interested in working between government and the private sector to solve intractable problems. She spent the years prior to her MBA working for the City of Detroit's Housing and Revitalization Department on their public-private partnerships team. Negotiating with development teams and working with communities, she ensured more mixed-income housing was built in Detroit, increasing opportunities for residents. She looks forward to working on the workforce challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presents.

Adfer Muzaffar Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed. M 2020

Adfer recently graduated from Harvard University with her Masters degree in Mind, Brain & Education. Prior to Harvard, she was part of the Human Resources team at Unilever for 8 years. As an HR professional she worked on a wide range of initiatives ranging from large scale organizational restructuring to the design of Talent & Learning programs & systems. She is keen to use her experience & skills to help address the challenges facing workers & organizations in the wake of the current employment crisis.

Balaji Alwar Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed. M 2020

Balaji is graduating from the Ed M - Technology, Innovation, and Education (TIE) Program at HGSE. He has prior experiences as a software engineer, teacher, and program manager and was part of the founding team of the National Teacher Platform (DIKSHA) in India with a focus on teacher professional development & content aggregation. He believes that technology can reshape the lives of marginalized communities by providing high-quality professional development. Hence, he thinks the summer fellowship leverages his interests, prior expertise, and help him learn from committed peers about how professional development support for affected communities via technology can look like during crisis.

Bryan Cortes Harvard Kennedy School MPP 2020/ MIT Sloan MBA 2020

Originally from Los Angeles, Bryan is a first-generation college graduate and earned a degree in Economics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He has a background in financial services and spent his graduate school internships in state government and corporate finance. Bryan is passionate about financial inclusion and economic justice and the fellowship was a unique opportunity to help develop solutions that deliver on the latter.

Kelsey Roberts Harvard Business School, MBA 2021

I began my career in healthcare manufacturing and became passionate about workforce development from seeing the changing landscape of jobs in rural manufacturing towns. Before HBS, I ran entrepreneurship incubators and accelerators as a way to help teach people to create their own jobs and to fuel job growth around the world. Throughout my time in school, I have been expanding my interest in workforce development to include more in regional economic development, state and local labor policy, career services, and reskilling talent. Creative solutions are needed for charting the future pathway for workers, and I am excited about this fellowship as a way to start developing useful methods, particularly to address the additional challenges and needs brought about so quickly by COVID-19.

Jess Northend Harvard Kennedy School, MC-MPA 2020

Jess has spent the majority of her career working at the intersection of business and public policy in the UK, with a focus on the future world of work. Jess most recently worked on a national campaign to improve productivity and competitiveness, supported by the UK government and some of the country’s most senior business leaders. Prior to that, she managed public policy for a major British retailer, with a focus on retraining as automation restructures the UK retail market. She is a graduate of the MPA program at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Chida Balaji Harvard Business School MBA 2020

A first-generation immigrant to the US, I moved to suburban Mahwah, New Jersey at the age of 16 to complete my final two years of high school before attending Cornell University. Prior to getting my MBA at HBS, I worked at Procter and Gamble – first for 3 years as an engineer at a manufacturing plant that made Bounty paper towels and Charmin toilet paper, and then for 2 years marketing and selling Bounce dryer sheets and Tide laundry detergent. Through my experiences moving countries and working in completely different environments I have learned that people can not only survive but also thrive in completely new settings if given the right coaching, mentorship and support. I am a part of the Project on Workforce because fundamental changes are being made to how people will live, eat, shop and work post the COVID crisis, and I want to be on the front lines working to ensure that the people most affected by these changes will be prepared when the economy comes back to (semi) normal.

David Summer Reiff Harvard Business School/Harvard Kennedy School, MBA/MPP 2020 David Reiff is a recent joint MBA/MPP degree graduate from HBS and the Kennedy School. Prior to Harvard he worked as a product manager at an early-stage fintech startup working with banks in emerging markets to expand financial inclusion. While at Harvard, he helped launch a social enterprise focused on financial health solutions for low- and moderate-income workers in the US, which gave him exposure to the broader economic mobility challenges faced by many in low-wage and low-skill jobs. He spent his final year at HBS and HKS researching new solutions at the intersection of workforce development and employment technology. His medium-term career aspiration is to develop new technology-based solutions to help young working-age adults and dislocated workers gain access to middle-skill jobs.

Myer Johnson-Potter Harvard College, BA 2021

Myer is studying Environmental Science and Public Policy with a secondary field in Government. He has conducted environmental health field research in Madagascar, researched campaign finance reform at a political non-profit in the Bay Area, worked on the 2018 midterm elections with the Nevada State Democratic Party, interned in the California State Senate, and interned with SCRB Strategies. This summer, he is excited to be working as a research assistant at the Harvard Kennedy School Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy Analysis and as an intern with Muir Consulting, where he’ll be working on two campaigns in the Bay Area. On campus he’s been involved with Harvard Undergraduate Political Consulting and the Institute of Politics, focusing on youth engagement in politics at the Institute’s national youth poll and campus voter registration program. Outside of politics, Myer enjoys playing the violin, cycling, and playing pickup basketball.

Mary Guay Harvard Kennedy School, MPP 2022 / Dartmouth Tuck MBA 2022

Mary Guay is a concurrent MPP/MBA Candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Tuck School of Business. Prior to graduate school, Mary worked for the Massachusetts House of Representatives, most recently as a Fiscal Policy Analyst for the House Committee on Ways and Means. Mary is interested in the importance of cross sector engagement to create meaningful opportunities and thriving economic ecosystems. As a Summer Fellow, she is eager to collaborate with partners on workforce development strategies to improve the Greater Boston Area.

Karyn Bruggeman Harvard Kennedy School, MPP 2020

Karyn is a former journalist and communications specialist who graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2020 with a Masters in Public Policy. At HKS she specialized in Social and Urban Policy with a sub-focus on labor and employment policy. She spent the summer of 2019 as a Rappaport Public Policy Fellow in Boston's Office of Workforce Development working on projects related to the city's Tuition-Free Community College plan, and completed her second year Policy Analysis Exercise for the City of San Francisco's Office of Economic and Workforce Development evaluating how the city could best facilitate the expansion of apprenticeships in the tech sector. Karyn is dedicated to pursuing a career building stronger postsecondary workforce training programs and advocating for fairer workplace policies that empower all workers to achieve economic security.

Caroline DiMatteo Harvard Business School MBA 2021

After working at an investment bank for five years between undergrad and HBS, I am excited to explore a new industry this summer. I have always had a passion for education and have become more convinced of the importance of education in helping people achieve better outcomes. Education can come in so many different forms, and COVID has highlighted the possibilities we have to use technology to improve its delivery. I am very excited to be working with Bunker Hill Community College and look forward to seeing how we can help and support their students in the current economic situation.

Allyson Pyers HGSE, Ed.M Technology, Innovation and Education 2020

Allyson Pyers is a recent HGSE graduate from the Ed.M program in Technology, Innovation, and Education. Before HGSE, she worked as a Senior Support Engineer at edX, where she worked on online masters' degree programs and massive open online courses. Her areas of interest include digital learning platforms, learning at scale, instructional design, and workforce development. She is excited for the opportunity to grow as a workplace learning professional and to serve the Boston-area community as it weathers this crisis.

Dana Ellis Harvard Kennedy School MPP 2020

I am a recent graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Master in Public Policy program. Last summer I worked at the City of Boston’s Analytics Team helping the Office of Housing Stability track the impact of their programs. Prior to HKS I worked at the MIT AgeLab doing social science research on issues in the context of an aging population, including the impact of changing demographics on workplaces and retirement. This summer I’m excited to explore the applications of skill focused research on workforce development.

Stephanie Nussbaum Harvard Kennedy School MPP 2020

Stephanie Nussbaum is a recent graduate of the Master in Public Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School. During the 2019-2020 school year, she worked at the Project on Workforce as a Research Assistant and evaluated the efficacy of public workforce programs for dislocated adults. She is continuing this work during the summer, and will be distilling key findings for policymakers. Additionally, Stephanie previously worked at the Robin Hood Foundation, New York City’s largest poverty-fighting organization, and in state and local government.

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