Harvard Extension
Commencement 2019

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Every May, graduates of the Extension School participate in Harvard University Commencement, earning their degrees alongside graduates from Harvard College, Harvard Business School, and all other Harvard schools.

Graduate Spotlights

At a Glance

1,184 Graduates

with 160+ undergraduate degrees and 880+ graduate degrees

Graduates from every stage of life

Average age of 37

49 Countries Represented

In the graduating class

2019 Grads: Share Your Story

We want you to share your success! Tell us a favorite memory from Harvard Extension or what makes you most proud about earning your Harvard degree. We'll feature your responses below to inspire future Extension students.

J Nancy Jagaselvan

Master of Liberal Arts, Management

My eyes were opened to a new world of learning at HES with no bias but good structure, creativity, and innovation. I worked harder despite my concerns and made time to learn concepts and did well. Quality was never compromised in the classrooms just because we had families or busy at work. There was tremendous amount of work involved for each course because the syllabus was carefully picked by each professor and they ensured we learnt well and reached our full potential for each subject. My professors and classmates valued my opinion which helped me to emerge as a well-rounded person to think, write, and speak with confidence and competence.
Every course fine-tuned my skills and helped bring out my creativity. Many professors duly pushed us out of our comfort zone and helped brainstorm several ideas to innovate. My life had changed for the better in these four years and I am grateful for the world-class education and also for lifetime friendships that were formed during this time. Because of the strong foundation of core courses and electives, I forgot about the stress at work but persisted to learn and do well in class. I encourage anyone who is thinking about pursuing education to give it all and see the transformation happen right before your eyes and you will be well prepared for the next challenge!

Anthony Elias

Master of Liberal Arts, Government

By far my favorite experience of the whole degree was meeting people from all over the country and different parts of the world. Having academic and personal conversations with people from different backgrounds provided a foundation for intellectual debate and thought, as well as a wellspring of reverberative energy both in and out of the classroom. I am forever grateful for the connections I've made with fellow graduates, and from all over.

Moritz Steller

Master of Liberal Arts, Information Management Systems

After finishing my undergraduate at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany in 2014, I decided to move to the United States pursuing a career in IT, focusing on Data Science and Analytics. I was driven by the dream of being part of future innovation in IT. I understood this decision would not allow me to earn a graduate degree in Germany. In 2015, I found a job at a large consumer electronics company, where my co-worker mentioned, if I ever want to pursue a graduate degree, I can combine work and education while studying at Harvard. After some research, I was sold. I enrolled for the spring semester 2017 for the graduate program in Information Management Systems focusing on Data Science and Big Data. This was my unique opportunity to be able to work full time and align my study with my professional interests. The graduate program brought hands-on experience to my job, while growing educationally and professionally. I was able to turn the HES experience into a journey of opportunities enabling innovative solutions in my professional career. 2.5 years later, I am as excited as my very first day. With the support of my family and friends, looking back, I can proudly say it was a true success story, especially as a non-traditional student. Throughout the semesters, connecting with students of many backgrounds all over the world was a fantastic experience. Looking back where I came from, and forward how Harvard changed my life this is a big step for me. More to come, hopefully!

Gregg Langevin

Master of Liberal Arts, Finance

I'm a transitioning U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and decided several years ago that I wanted to work in the banking sector upon leaving the military. I started the program 3 years ago with the intention of graduating right before retiring so I could leverage my degree to start a second career. I've been actively interviewing for jobs in the commercial banking industry across New England and started on my second round of interviews this week. Clearly HES was able to give me the background and credibility to be competitive for several roles and it looks like I may succeed in accomplishing the goal I set out to achieve when this journey began in the Spring of 2016.

Braxton Moral

Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Government

Harvard Extension School has been a truly transformative experience for me. Because of the Extension School I consider myself blessed as it relates to my education. My story starts at 11 when I began taking pre-admission courses at Harvard Extension. Soon after that I successfully completed the three pre-admission classes and was admitted about two weeks before my 13th birthdate. I then began to complete both Harvard and my high school curriculum at the same time. As a result of this world class education I am graduating from high school and Harvard within 11 days of each other, I plan on going to law school in the fall of 2019.

JAVIER SANJUAN

Master of Liberal Arts, Sustainability

Earning a Harvard Degree had been a dream since I was a child. Almost forty years later, I did make it. I accomplished my goal while having two jobs at the same time, and kept traveling all over the world most of the time due to my career in foreign trade. This academic challenge became more complicated as I also complemented this educational adventure with the intensive study of foreign languages.

NEHA MAHESHWARI

Master of Liberal Arts, Finance

My decision to go for this degree came at a point in my life where I was going through a major personal upheaval and depression. I wanted to do something positive in life and there is no better place than a school to learn and find that positivity. With the unique nature of this course, I could manage my 3 yr old son, my work, pay for my education, and enjoy the benefits of associating with the best university in the world. The learning through HES has been tremendous. The options for the degree courses are so many that I ended up doing 13 instead of 12 courses as they were so interesting. The quality of teaching staff is unparalleled and the content is very relevant to the present times. Above all, you are getting a degree from Harvard. It is such a career booster.

Mohammed Parvez

Master of Liberal Arts, Religion

I was down, out-of-luck, bed-ridden, and confined to my home with my two beautiful twins. After years of living a very busy work life, I wanted to get occupied doing something productive, and meaningful in life. I have been a devout & practicing Muslim, who truly believe that we all must return to God! My sense of deep spirituality has been a driving force to learn more about Islam. Motivated, I signed up to take a course on Islam online at HES, and precipitously felt the jolt and motivation to pursue it further. Success and satisfaction both spiritually and academically in one course led me, ultimately to the finish line of the Harvard ALM program.

I must admit I always dreamt of being a Harvard grad! Yes, it took me through a different academic contour, but in some form & fashion, I fulfilled my dream of being a Harvard grad!

Harvard has been an amazing experience --- its discipline, its faculties, and most importantly, the on-campus academic & life experience! My twins (Umayr & Umaiza) love it too --- playing in the Harvard Yard, bi-cycling around 1 Western Ave Harvard Tower, which they called home for a while! Not to mention the indelible memory my 3-year old son, Umayr made, accidentally pulling the fire alarm at the Harvard Tower, not once, but twice and then sharing pleasantries with the firemen during their visit with his fire truck toy in hand! We all still long for those memories! I hope my kids can keep the Harvard tradition alive!

Dominique Page

Master of Liberal Arts, History

When I started studying for my ALM in History 4 years ago, I did not really know what to expect. It has been a fantastic experience, on campus and off. I can only encourage people to sign up for classes, even if you don't yet know if you want to pursue a degree.
Learning and working with students from all walks of life has been tremendously enriching....It's a lot of work, but worth every minute of it!

Tifani Sadek

Master of Liberal Arts, Management

The thing I’m most proud of in earning this degree is having a baby in the middle of it and not missing a step. My daughter was born in November of 2017, just about the halfway point of my curriculum. I was concerned that if I took the next semester off, life would get in the way and that I would never finish my degree. So, newborn in arms, I enrolled for the Spring semester of 2018 and continued my educational journey. It was extremely difficult to balance the demands of a full-time corporate job, a new baby, and a full graduate course load. With the support of my husband, extended family, my professors, and my classmates, I did not miss a step. From a professor giving me personal encouragement when I had to take pumping breaks during class, to classmates cooing at my daughter when she popped her head up during online sessions, the Harvard community was beyond supportive and I could not have done it without their support.

Menka Hariani

Master of Liberal Arts, Information Management Systems

While pursuing this degree at Harvard, I always kept this one motto in my mind that - “it’s all about the journey and not the destination”.

My most rewarding moment was to be selected as the ‘Best Project Manager’ in the Project Management in IT class. I was also elated when the first business proposal that I wrote was chosen as one of the best in class and was selected to be used as a reference template for the new students. Having worked as an assistant with Prof. Ramesh Naggappan for his Cloud Security course has actually proved to be the best learning experiences in my life! I was able to see things with a totally different perspective and it was really nice to be on both the sides of the table.

My journey wasn’t smooth, and things were quite overwhelming at times but the zeal to earn this degree from Harvard was above everything else.

Harvard has proved to be a turning point in my life, both professionally and personally. Having completed this Master in Liberal Arts with a focus on Information Management Systems, I’ve developed this whole new set of skills that will help me in staying up-to-date with the market needs by having the ability to manage the latest technology projects like IoT, Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics, Cloud Computing and so on. I guess I’m all set to now take my career to the next level.

Anil Beephan

Master of Liberal Arts, Management

Shortly after graduating with my undergraduate degree in Political Science, I successfully ran for Town Council in my hometown of East Fishkill, NY. Holding elected office while maintaining a fulltime private sector career limited my options for graduate school. The HBS CORe program and Management degree offered a solution to my location and time constraints while providing the background in business and management that I was searching for. Since starting this degree, I have transitioned private sector careers. Many of the concepts covered in this program provided the background needed to evolve into a well-rounded project manager and community leader. The most challenging aspect of my experience at HES was the intensity of coursework. Online and hybrid programs generally carry a stigma compared to their on-campus counterparts. HES ensures that programs are of top-quality and challenges students to overcome academic obstacles. The most rewarding experience was obtaining a graduate degree without having to put my professional career on hold. I attended four on-campus weekends to fulfill my degree requirements. During that time, I had the opportunity to connect with classmates from a variety of backgrounds/locations. I also plan to take advantage of the networking opportunities of the Harvard Alumni Association and the Harvard Extension School Alumni Network.

bimjhana bishwokarma

Master of Liberal Arts, Biotechnology

Today, I can proudly say that I am a Harvard graduate …all because I am blessed with parents who has given wings to my dreams and because I am surrounded with very supportive and loving family.
Having come from a developing country, and to have graduated from the world-renowned Harvard University, has been one of the proudest accolades of my life. And this achievement would not have come to fruition had it not been for all the supports I received from people from different avenues of my life. I have been immensely inspired by all the people I have met at Harvard. My success is as much theirs as is mine!
I have always been driven by an earnest desire to contribute to the betterment of society at every walk of life. I have full faith that my degree from Harvard would have positive contribution towards everything I would do henceforth.

Alvaro Orozco Avalos

Master of Liberal Arts, Finance

Clearly, I remember (as if it were yesterday) when my mother was very sick but at the same time I had to deal with my job activities and my Harvard courses. She passed away a week before a mid-term exam and (I admit) because of my sadness I thought about giving up on the course or program but the inspiring source of Harvard as its history, its legacy, among others helped me think in a different way. Now, that I am about to graduate, I think about it and I feel that I made the right decision. Harvard Extension School not only strengthened and extended my knowledge in the field of Finance, but also allowed me to grow as a human being: it developed my emotional intelligence which I consider vital in many parts of life: to deal with job activities, family, and studies at the same time. God bless Harvard!!!

Ashish Rathi

Master of Liberal Arts, Management

There was a time in my career when I felt that I’m stuck and cannot move forward to achieve my dreams. I knew inside my heart that its not opportunity, in fact, it is the lack of knowledge to be ready for next step in my career. I was based in Boston, and just came to Harvard to explore if there is an option for me to continue achieve education with my family and ongoing job. Harvard Extension School had an answer , but I knew, it was not going to be easy path with my 4 year old son, new born daughter and demand of studies. With my wife is unwavering support, and the flexibility and quality of the program had offered me to manage both my work life balance to develop myself for next milestone in my career. Every time, I entered in Harvard yard to attend the classes, I felt inspired with people around me and felt motivated to just work hard to achieve goals. The combination of diversity of students, the unparalleled committed staff who provided an outstanding advise and professors from various background had provided me a great learning experience. Today, with degree in my hand, and with writing this, I’m truly grateful for Harvard division of continuing education department for their support and opportunities ahead of me. The journey continues….

Alessandra Davy-Falconi

Bachelor of Liberal Arts, History

When I left home at 19, I didn't have much. I had no mattress, no degree, and no car. I was working six to seven days a week as both a grocery cashier and an intern. For a long time, it seemed like I was only falling behind my peers and might not ever be able to get out of the world of near minimum-wage jobs. It felt like I was losing the piece of myself that loved to think and study and read. And that feeling hurt enough that in 2015, I decided to save every penny I possibly could and try to finish my degree at Harvard Extension.

Working towards my undergraduate degree in history gave me hope. I don't know how I would have gotten through the last few years and jobs without it in my life. Some people have support networks to help them through the marathon of working full-time while studying at night; I wasn't one of those people. But being able to show up for such intellectually rich classes where we discussed the value of critical thinking became my oasis. It reminded me that I was capable of much more than bagging groceries and sending calendar invitations. I had a mind worth investing in.

I am forever grateful to Harvard for the existence of this program, and beyond proud to call myself one of its graduates. Congratulations to everyone.