HarvardOCS

Harvard FAS Office of Career Services

Where will you be next year? 
Atlanta, Georgia

What will you be doing?
Investment Analyst at Reicon Capital

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
Visit the Office of Career Services as soon as possible and many times. Also: be in close contact with advisers to get ahead on recruiting and planning your college classes so they cater to your interests/goals.

See additional senior spotlights.

Where will you be next year? 
Back home in Denver, Colorado

What will you be doing?
Teaching 5th grade in a K-8 charter school through Teach For America

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
The advice I would offer to Harvard undergraduates is to not be afraid. This means to take risks in what classes you take, by speaking up in class despite being shy or unsure, and to not be afraid to question what happens here at Harvard through the classes, in dorms, and overall. Be bold and wise enough to question what you see and hear rather than being complacent. Harvard is a phenomenal place, but can only get better by supporting and challenging others to improve - this includes challenging yourself! 

See additional senior spotlights.

Where will you be next year? 
Cadiz, Spain, through the Michael C. Rockefeller Fellowship

What will you be doing?
Practicing Spanish, studying flamenco dance, and setting up dance therapy programs at local rehab centers; planning to attend medical school

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
Take risks: don’t assume you won’t get an opportunity because you’re not qualified enough. Believe in yourself: you got into Harvard!

See additional senior spotlights.

Arts & Museums Fellow: Jinzhao Wang

Having immigrated with my parents to Boston from Nanjing, China, at the age of thirteen, I recall one of my father’s favorite facts: that the first thing that he—a Chinese country boy—read about Boston was not on its universities or sports teams but its symphony orchestras.

So it is with this distance that my family has come in mind that I have appreciated every hour of my internship enabled by the OCS Arts and Museums Fellows Program at the Handel and Haydn Society (H+H), which is America’s oldest performing arts organization. I am grateful for this opportunity because it has opened up new possibilities for not only my career but also for future cultural exchanges between China and America, in which I hope to take a part.

On the front-end of my internship, I have witnessed the power of classical performing arts in bringing joy to its audience. From being asked about release dates for CDs of concerts audience members were just watching in an H+H concert, to hearing proud grandparents sharing their excitement for their grandchildren’s performances with H+H in a Collaboration Youth Concert, I feel even more encouraged to involve myself in culturally enriching groups.

On the back-end, I have found out that H+H’s organizational energy dwells in each of its staff member’s dedication to every detail in each operation of H+H as a non-profit. As an intern, I have worked with databases of donors’ information, merged letters sent to patrons, stuffed envelopes using stuffing machines, and helped to spot bids during live auctions. But none of these tasks could nearly match the moving commitment of my supervisor, who under high pressure, still manages to keep the online and offline records of H+H organized.

Even not at H+H, I enjoy the internship because each trip to and fro H+H allows me to pass by familiar places in the neighborhood, including my high school. So I guess it is a testament to the beauty of the advice “follow your heart,” because our favorite things become so surprisingly connected this way.

Jinzhao Wang '14
Arts & Museum Fellows Program
Handel & Haydn Society

Learn more about the Arts & Museums Fellows Program:

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When we think of “bouncing back,” we usually of think of sports. But failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. It happens at work. It happens with relationships. What is the relationship between trying, risking, and succeeding? At a recent panel, Tommy Amaker, Jon Dienstag ‘05, and Jessica Gelman ‘97, MBA ‘02, shared their expert tips on how to deal with failure and come back stronger than before:

There’s always a lesson in the loss.

Sometimes your greatest rejection can lead to your best direction. Don’t just walk away from failure, but think about why it happened and how you can use it as ammunition in the future.

Change tactics, but don’t change principles.

Recognize that you might have to change the way you do something in order to get the desired result, but make sure you do not compromise your vision or values.

Your team is important.

You need to be able to have confidence in those on your team. Working together is crucial, and being able to rely on your teammates is often crucial to success. Invest in your team. Stay loyal to them.

Listen to the criticism.

Be open and willing to hear constructive feedback. Listening will help you go beyond that moment of failure in order to be able to move forward. Learn from your mistakes and teach yourself how to improve.

Always think about the next play.

Register your failure, but always be looking forward. Regroup and respond. What’s next on the agenda?

Valleys are necessary for the peaks.

One of the panelists advocated for failure, because failure allows you to grow and make your successes that much better. You won’t be able to enjoy the highs as much—and you won’t know how to bounce back—if you never experience the lows.

Complacency is dangerous.

Even if you’re in a good spot, always strive to be better. Live up to what’s important to you. Keep making goals. As Coach Tommy Amaker advised: “You should always worry ‘Where am I?’ Everyone thought we should win the NCAA tournament this year, but last year nobody thought we could win the second game against New Mexico.” Keep setting the bar higher.

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Julia Eger, ’14

"Bouncing Back: Lessons from Athletics on Success, Failure, and Resilience" was sponsored by the Department of Athletics, the Bureau of Study Counsel, and the Office of Career Services, and featured Tommy Amaker,Head Coach of the Harvard Men’s Basketball team; Jon Dienstag ‘05, Senior Manager at the Boston Red Sox; and Jessica Gelman ‘97, MBA ‘02,VP at the New England Patriots.

Arts & Museums Fellow: Leah Schulson

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Leah Schulson ‘14
Arts & Museum Fellows Program
Boston Children’s Museum

Sure, most of the walls are lime green. And it’s hard to go more than a few minutes without hearing a kids talking, or giggling, or banging on old pots and pans to learn about the physics of sound. But my time at Boston Children’s Museum (BCM) hasn’t been all play. I’ve been working with Grants and Development, helping to research potential funders, edit grant proposals and follow-up reports, and update records of past grants.

The nature of grant work, though, is such that you really have to understand the details of the project for which you’re seeking funding: how it was developed, its importance, and how it will fit into the rest of the museum’s work. Therefore, I’ve been exposed to so many facets of the museum. I’ve gone into Boston to sit in on meetings with a community partner about a potential collaboration. I’ve combed through old grant proposals to get a sense of how BCM thinks about healthy lifestyles. I’ve researched hundreds of foundations to understand what they’re funding. And I’ve gotten the chance to talk to my incredible coworkers about what they’re doing, and the challenges that they’re facing.

And, when things slow down a little, I’ve gotten the chance to walk through the museum and see everyone’s work come together into shining moments: toddlers concentrating on construction work, kids examining live turtles, and whole families rocking out (and learning about healthy exercise) on the Kid Power dance floor.

Learn more about the Arts & Museums Fellows Program:

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Photo of Boston Children’s Museum from Wikimedia Creative Commons user Twp.

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One of our bloggers reports from the recent Careers in Africa panel, sharing nine tips for work in Africa—and beyond! Panelists included Freeman Awindaogo, MPH ’14; Lydia Hsu, EdM ’14; Laura Melle, MPP ’15; Seni Sulyman, MBA ’14; and Kerry Williams, MPA ’14.

Here are nine things you must know if you want to go into a career in Africa: 

1. School is just a toolkit

A diversity of degrees is good for any post-graduate career. But don’t forget the other skills that can be even more important — can you learn quickly? Can you work well with other people? Can you think on your feet?

2. Have a vision

It’s critical to have a general vision of what you want to accomplish in your career. With a vision you can basically sway in the wind. You can take different skills from different jobs and apply them to get to where you want to be.

3. Embrace the awkward

In Africa, it’s going to be awkward to begin to assimilate to an entirely new culture. Don’t shy away from that. Use the language barrier to your advantage. Ask questions that push the boundaries, think of everything as a cultural exchange. Go in with an open mind.

4. Be flexible

For those considering fellowships, there is a lot of flexibility and opportunity to structure your time the way you want it. You’ll have the opportunity to meet so many people outside of your bubble. Enjoy this flexibility, even if you don’t necessarily have a plan.

5. Explore beyond the city

Sometimes, living in a smaller community outside of the city can be a better expatriate experience because you can work more directly with members of the community. Living outside the city is often a better way to integrate into the culture.

6. Be aware of your impact

If you’re going out in the world to “do good,” be aware that your good intentions might have unintended consequences. Spend time listening and looking at what’s going on around you.

7. Watch out for corruption

Be extremely careful about the company or organization you’re working for, and who runs it. Make sure you do your research before you start because corruption can be a huge issue.

8. Don’t stick to your plan

You’ll find out that it’s not about having a plan, but it’s about life’s plan for you. If you try to follow a path, you’ll just fall off of it. Branch out. Expect the unexpected.

9. Write home

Even if your work is based in Africa, you have a responsibility to educate people in the United States about what’s happening in these countries. Help spread awareness of what you’re working on.

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OCS adviser Loredana George welcomes guest panelists.

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Regional cuisine enjoyed during the event.

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Julia Eger, ’14

Careers in Africa was cosponsored by: The Office of Career Services, The Committee on African Studies, Harvard Africa Business Investment Club (HABIC), and Harvard African Student Association (HASA).

Arts & Museums Fellow: Katherine Price

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Katherine Price ’14
Arts & Museum Fellows Program
Boston Casting

I first heard Angela Peri, founder and co-owner of Boston Casting, speak at an OCS event my freshman fall. She was so passionate about casting and the entertainment business that the experience stuck with me even three years later. When I saw that OCS had partnered with Boston Casting to offer the opportunity to intern for the company, I knew I had to apply. I’ve continued my internship into the spring semester, so I go to the main office in Allston all day Tuesday and Thursday. The office is always busy, and there is never a dull moment! The most exciting days are when we have multiple casting sessions going on. I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on the sessions themselves, watching auditions for commercials and even feature films. One of the most important and common tasks I do is helping to prep auditions. Scheduling and confirming actors for auditions takes a lot of time – sometimes leading me to make 50 or more calls in a single day! – but it also means that the actual audition day runs super smoothly. Overall, I’ve had an incredibly hands-on experience at Boston Casting, and I’m looking forward to spending my final month as a Harvard undergraduate working with them.

Learn more about the Arts & Museums Fellows Program:

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Read about Boston Casting’s role in casting American Hustle.

Arts & Museums Fellow: Civry Melvin

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Civry Melvin ‘14
Arts & Museum Fellows Program
Boston Center for the Arts (BCA)

My time at
Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) has been unspeakably wonderful. The BCA is an organization that was founded in the South End in the 70s, and is housed in the glorious Cyclorama building, which has been around since the late 19th century. The building itself is absolutely stunning, with remnants of its original redbrick castle-like structure, art deco chandeliers that were added when the building was used as a flower market in the 20s, and magnificent skylights that flood the dome-like interior with natural light. The BCA uses the space as one of its main sources of income, renting it out for cultural events such as food and wine tastings and galas. In addition, the BCA also owns an entire block of Tremont Street, which includes numerous theaters, a gallery space called “The Mills,” and an entire building for artist studios. 

In my time interning at the BCA, I have been immersed in all aspects of the organization, helping out with everything from conducting donor research for the development team, to serving as a docent at the Mills Gallery, to creating a detailed report analyzing teen art programs in the Boston-area and proposing ideas for how the BCA can implement its own program. I have had the opportunity to sit in on meetings concerning the BCA’s future as an organization, and from this I have learned how to evaluate programmatic goals and impacts for nonprofits. I have also gotten to help out with and attend numerous events, such as artist and curator talks, workshops, school field trips to the gallery, and events for Boston-area young professionals and college students. The BCA has also hired me as a freelance photographer to document events and create marketing materials. Overall, from this experience I have gained a better understanding of how to manage a nonprofit organization, which I hope to use in my future career!

Learn more about the Arts & Museums Fellows Program:

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Social Impact Expo: Top 10

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Need help navigating the non-profit and mission-driven organizations attending the Social Impact Expo? One of our student bloggers has assembled a list of ten organizations you don’t want to miss! Open to ALL Harvard University students, the Social Impact Expo is co-sponsored by OCS and HGSE. Explore the (growing) list of organizations.

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Art Resource Collaborative for Kids
Boston, Massachusetts
What it is: An organization that collaborates with the Boston Public Schools to provide art classes in support of the schools’ daily efforts of quality visual art programs, with special attention to deep learning and literacy.
Fun fact: Founder Sarah Mraish Demeter, who came to America from Jordan 20 years ago, began this mission after her son started kindergarten at a school that had no art teacher.

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Environment America
Washington, D.C.
What it is: A federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations.
Fun fact: Recently, Environment America helped fend off nearly 40 Congressional attacks on the Clean Water Act.

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Axiom Learning
Cambridge, Massachusetts
What it is: An after-school learning center focused on multiple intelligence and achieving kids’ potential for excellence through interdisciplinary 1-on-1 tutoring.
Fun fact: Axiom prides itself on its teaching staff: Fewer than 1 in 200 applicants are hired. All hail from top universities, have great personalities, and are completely dedicated to the success of their students.

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Boston Debate League
Boston, Massachusetts
What it is: A program supports academic debate teams in local high schools and trains BPS teachers to use debate as a regular part of their classroom practice. 
Fun fact: BDL is about to begin massive expansion and hopes to transform the academic structure of the entire district. 

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Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
What it is: The Public Defender Service provides and promotes legal representation to adults and children facing loss of liberty who could not afford counsel otherwise.
Fun fact: PDS provides representation for up to 60% of people who are financially unable to obtain representation; cases include criminal, juvenile delinquency, parole, drug court, and more.

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Boston Plan for Excellence
Boston, Massachusetts
What it is: A program that wants to improve Boston Public Schools, in hopes that every student can succeed. Its three-part strategy is to prepare and support highly effective teachers, ensure broad student success in partner schools, and create break-the-mold new schools.
Fun fact: BPE reaches 10% of Boston Public Schools students, helping to dramatically accelerate their progress. They are also creating new, replicable models for other school systems to imitate.

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Tenacity, Inc.
Boston, Massachusetts
What it is: A nonprofit that aims to improve the scholastic, character and physical development of urban youth by combining tennis instruction and academic support with a focus on life skills.
Fun fact: 95% of Tenacity alumni graduate from high school, while the estimated Boston high school dropout rate is 30%.

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College Advising Corps-Boston
Headquartered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (various locations)
What it is: A non-profit that works to increase the rates of college enrollment and completion among low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented high school students.
Fun fact: Founded in 2005, College Advising Corps has served over 189,000 students.

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iMentor
New York, New York
What it is: A program devoted to improving the lives of young people from underserved communities in New York City through innovative, technology-based approaches to youth mentoring and education.
Fun fact: Since 1999, iMentor has connected 11,000 students with mentors through their partnerships with public high schools in New York City and nonprofits nationwide.

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WGBH Educational Foundation
Boston, Massachusetts
What it is: WGBH is the single largest producer of PBS content, and while it’s a local organization, its TV and radio programming reaches an international audience. 
Fun fact: WGBH’s accolades include Emmys, Peabodys, and even two Academy Awards!

Arts & Museums Fellow: Brenna McDuffie

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Photo Credit: Jimmy Ryan

Brenna McDuffie ‘15
Arts & Museum Fellows Program
American Repertory Theater

“Hold on tightly, let go lightly.” These words, uttered by director Diane Paulus, served as a guiding mantra during the four-week rehearsal period of Witness Uganda, a new musical directed by Paulus that premiered at the American Repertory Theater in February. Paulus’ words demonstrate a softer phrasing of another common creative advisory: “You must kill your darlings.” But both maxims articulate the single, most important truism of new play development: The process requires a fine balance between making confident choices and remaining open to cooperative, and often drastic, change.

The pre-tech rehearsals of Witness Uganda at the New 42nd Street Studios in Time Square brought the project’s creative forces and performers together to engage with and develop the material for the first time. At the end of December, nine Harvard College students, including me, joined the ranks of the Witness team, each of us assigned to a creative or managerial department, including directing, producing, marketing, stage management, music, playwrighting and choreography. My work on Witness Uganda was made possible through the OCS Arts & Museum Fellows Program.

“Developing new musicals comes with countless unpredictable challenges,” Shira Milikowsky, A.R.T. associate director reflected more recently. “Unpredictable” is the key word here. For the four weeks of rehearsals in New York, I was the designated playwright intern, which allowed me to engage closely with the ever-changing script and with writer/lead actor Griffin Matthews. I quickly learned that in the development of a new work, the playwright’s job extends through rehearsals and previews, right up until the opening night.

During the period in which the script remains “unfrozen” and malleable, the playwright is in constant communication with the directing and dramaturgy teams, whose notes and script analyses contribute to daily changes in the musical’s book. Six days a week, all hours of the day, Matthews, the stage management team and I were making line changes, cuts and printing new pages to be distributed to the cast. Often, the following day would bring even newer versions of the same pages and would end with the reinsertion of a line that had been cut the day before. New script development felt like a fast-paced dance whose choreography was always subject to change, even before you had a chance to memorize the original steps. Each day, you remind yourself of the mantra. “Let go lightly, let go lightly.”

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Katrina Deutsch, Peace Corps recruiter for the Metro Boston area with professional experience in international education and international volunteer management and support, sat down to answer five key questions about working in international development. This post originally appeared in the Harvard Student / Alumni Advice Forum on LinkedIn

Q: What advice do you have for Harvard seniors looking to break into your field? 

If you want to get a job in international development overseas, consider finding fellowships or other programs to start. Programs such as the Peace Corps, WorldTeach, Fulbright, or university sponsored fellowships offer an opportunity to gain grassroots international experience without having years of professional experience. Another way to get started is being willing to move overseas for an internship or unpaid volunteer-work position with an organization in order to gain experience for your resume to get a good paying job overseas. In addition, organizations such as USAID and the UN have junior officer positions for those with less work experience, and applications are usually open annually.

Q: How has your concentration come into play (…or not come into play) in your work? 

My concentration from my undergraduate career no longer plays a role in my work. I majored in English and communication studies in college, hoping to go into a career in publishing, and am now a recruiter for the Peace Corps. My experiences overseas as a Peace Corps volunteer (something I did right after college) led me to pursue a master’s degree in international education policy, which is what my career has focused on. It is important to have a college degree, but it is definitely not a defining factor in a career once you have a couple of years work experience. I always use my brother as an example: he has a degree in sports management, but has worked in advertising and now data analytics, and is pursuing his MBA. 

Q: How do students find out about jobs/internships in your field? 

The Office of Career Services is a great place to start. There are also many listservs that send weekly job openings, including BNID (the Boston Network for International Development), Devex, DevNetJobs, the Foreign Policy Association, and even LinkedIn! The more specialized and up to date your LinkedIn profile is, the more relevant the job openings they email you will be. 

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