Harvard Extension
Commencement 2018

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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

1,053 Graduates

with 160+ undergraduate degrees and 880+ graduate degrees

Graduates from every stage of life

Average age of 35

36 Countries Represented

In the graduating class

See the Full Infographic

2018 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.

Mikaya Thurmond

Master of Liberal Arts, Journalism

As a full-time television news reporter, I knew that expanding my knowledge of journalism would be absolutely critical to my success. I had an undergraduate degree in digital and broadcast journalism, but I recognized that I needed to dive deeper into the art of storytelling. However, with a fast-paced career in the news business, I knew that it would be difficult to pursue my dreams. In 2015, I stumbled on the Harvard Extension school’s website and I knew that I finally found a program that could help me make that happen. For the last three years, I’ve been exposed to talented professors, unique curriculums and tools that have empowered me as a journalist. Because of the Extension School’s remarkable program, in addition to a Master’s degree in Journalism, I’ve also been able to earn a Certificate in Religions of the World. This phenomenal program accelerated my career trajectory. I’ve recently accept a promotion at WRAL-TV in Raleigh to become the weekend morning anchor. I’m certain that none of this would have happened without Harvard University creating a department and team of professors that caters to nontraditional students. THANK YOU!

Andrew Facini

Master of Liberal Arts, International Relations

When I began my ALM studies in International Relations four years ago, the roles and risks of nuclear weapons were far from the public mind. In those years, things have changed rapidly—and a field which I intended to study with a historical focus has returned to the fore of international affairs.

At Extension, I learned from renowned nuclear experts in the classroom, and from there, made deep connections to the research community on my own. And as I shifted my focus toward emerging nuclear issues, the school, too, grew and adapted to world events: since 2014, Harvard Extension School added several courses on nuclear proliferation and the Cold War—including a certificate program specialized in nuclear deterrence. For a field in need of new experts and fresh thinking, Harvard Extension School has become a key player in training and elevating the next generation to face crucial issues of proliferation, deterrence, and disarmament.

Thanks to the deep program at HES, I graduate with a growing expertise in nuclear weapons policy and history, and can bring insights to the ongoing crises in Iran and North Korea. Thanks to the rich teaching on history and technology, I am able to better articulate the argument for arms control—and ultimately for a world without nuclear weapons. And thanks to my rigorous thesis project, I've refined the skills to promote and explain my positions effectively.

Many thanks are owed to HES and the great people I've met along the way. It's been a defining and transformative experience.

Amador Raga

Master of Liberal Arts, Digital Media Design

I started with a goal of completing at least 5 courses for the Professional Graduate Certificate in Web Technologies, which I was able to get in about two years. I was then challenged to further seek admission to the graduate program which was so difficult and time-consuming for a working student like me because I need to successfully pass the Critical Reading and Writing Skills test and then had to show English Proficiency by submitting an acceptable TOEFL or IELTS score. Learning experiences have been highly enjoyable but the requirements of each and every course are extremely demanding. Most of the new technologies I learned from Harvard are so relevant to my current job. I believe that all the courses are helpful for my career growth.

Myles Smith

Master of Liberal Arts, History

When I relocated to the Boston area as an active duty Air Force officer, I began looking for an academic program that would allow me to study history, while still fulfilling my full-time military obligations. Harvard Extension School's ALM program with its thesis requirement was the perfect choice. I was able to pursue wide-ranging topics such as Russian history and politics under the instruction of HKS faculty, to the History of Christianity with Harvard Divinity School professors. The completion of my thesis is one of my proudest academic accomplishments. My HES degree led me to be selected for a position as an instructor in the History Department at the U.S. Air Force Academy upon graduation from HES.

Yuanchi Guo

Master of Liberal Arts, Finance

Harvard gives me a lot of sweet memories. Thanks to Harvard and all my amazing professors: Professor Bruce Watson, Professor Peter Mather, Professor Judith Murciano... I feel grateful and thankful to them. I was struggling and very down before I entered Harvard. It was this university that encouraged me not to give up. I met lots of friends and interesting people. We worked as a team to win a finalist award in the Innovation China Global Competition. Thank you to my parents, my wife, and my grandparents. I love you guys. I love you my son. 没有后悔 只有前行

Allenda Witzel

Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Visual Arts

The Harvard Extension School (HES) enabled me to pursue a college degree as well as a professional career in ballet simultaneously. It was not an either/or situation.

It was not always easy.

Training 30+ hours a week then dancing professionally in a ballet company for two years in South Korea. Life = juggling act! Distance lectures, time zones, late nights, early mornings, company classes, rehearsals, touring, performances, researching, and writing papers. However, it was all worth it!

Studying the Visual Arts taught me how to educate and elevate society via the arts. As a ballerina, I interact with people from all walks of life from all over the world and now am able to converse with people with the knowledge gained from learning from some of the best professors in the world.

To fulfill the required on-campus requirement, I was able to go on hiatus from professional life to live on campus this past year. I collaborated with others at Harvard by being involved in the Harvard Ballet Company, the Harvard Dance Project, and the Harvard Arts First Festival. I grew as an artist by working with renowned choreographers and by expanding my repertoire.

John F. Kennedy once said, "If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him." Thank you Harvard for allowing me to be free, to follow my vision, for your incredible support, for all of the classes and opportunities that were offered to me.

Keith Barnes

Master of Liberal Arts, Journalism

I had considered going to graduate school almost from the moment I got my BA, but over the years career advancement and working the odd hours of a journalist pushed the idea further and further from my mind.

Over the years the thought had continued to cross my mind in passing, but it wasn't until 2016 that I dove headlong into a full-blown pursuit of my master's degree. I researched several universities, but never thought Harvard—the one university I always wanted to attend—would enter my field of vision. I believed it too expensive and that I wouldn't make the academic cut.

When I found the Extension School, I realized that my dream of going to Harvard could come true.

This is not to say it wasn't a daunting task—going back to school after such a long time away from the classroom. That being said, though, I believe my discipline in meeting deadlines as a working journalist for such a long period of time helped me to understand the necessity to make time for classes, and make sure assignments were completed on time and up to the exacting standards of the instructors.

Still, I immediately went through the application process, got accepted after my first semester and, 21 months later, I'm graduating.

I have to admit, I don't know what the future holds. But I know it looks a lot brighter after earning an advanced degree from the most well-known and respected university in the country.

Naim Jabbour

Master of Liberal Arts, Sustainability

I was born in Lebanon during the height of the civil war. I migrated to the United States in the winter of 1996 seeking a safer and brighter future. While in the U.S., I earned a Bachelor of architecture degree from Louisiana State University. I then moved to Houston to pursue a career in the architectural industry. While practicing architecture for seven years, I was involved with the design of many projects encompassing various archetypes and typologies. In 2008, I moved to Pittsburgh to pursue graduate studies in the field of building science and sustainable design at Carnegie Mellon University. After earning my Master of Science in architecture, I accepted a position at Pennsylvania College of Technology as an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Sustainable Design. I have since been heavily invested in the field of sustainable design and energy efficiency. My ALM studies have opened many doors including the current position I'm in right now serving as the Assistant Dean at Penn College. It's been an amazing and rewarding journey. Thank you Harvard!

Dani Doyle

Master of Liberal Arts, Management

I remember coming back from one of my first classes and saying to my husband, "I have found my people!" By that I meant that I was ecstatic to be surrounded by people of all ages, from all backgrounds, seeking knowledge while living full lives.

In the three years of my studies, I challenged myself in fields that a younger me would have been shocked to know I enjoyed. I learned concepts of economics and organizational behavior that changed the framework of how I think, and I expanded my knowledge of statistics and data analysis. During that time, I worked full-time, saw my husband through law school, had an injury that kept me from bending my knee for six months, miscarried twins right before a midterm exam, went into labor a year later just before a final paper was due, and nursed my son to sleep while participating in online lectures.

But that's just my story. In my classes, I met single parents working toward career changes, an international student who flew home mid-semester to propose to his girlfriend, a student who traveled internationally for J-term with two broken legs, and so many more people leading interesting, full, and busy lives.

The impact of the Extension School is being able to get a great education, flexibly, while living your life. The heart of the Extension School is the people. My people. I'm so honored to be a part of this cohort of graduates. We worked hard for our degrees! Let's celebrate.

Rita Cain

Master of Liberal Arts, International Relations

I started at Harvard Extension School in spring 2016. I decided that I wanted to pursue a master's degree to broaden my scope of knowledge in the International Relations field. This program has aided me in achieving exactly this. It has also refined my critical thinking, research, and writing skills through its challenging coursework.

This program sparked my interest in national security—which I was empowered to explore further through completing the International Security Studies Certificate as well as the National Security Analysis Capstone. This capstone gave my cohorts and I the unique opportunity to conduct, write, and present research to a military panel from United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM). This opportunity enabled us to showcase our skills and knowledge in a practical setting, which resulted in producing a national security policy paper and engaging with SOCOM.


Master of Liberal Arts, Information Management Systems

I started with my first course at Harvard Extension School in the fall of 2013 as I wanted to keep my skills up to date. Going back to school after almost a decade was hard and required a lot of discipline. Especially after the arrival of my little one, it took a great deal of determination to keep going. I applied for the degree program in 2015 and since then I took a variety of classes. I also went on to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Data Science along with the master’s degree. Now, three years later, all the late nights and weekends spent studying seem worth it. I have not felt more proud of any academic or professional achievement to date!

Sumit Gupta

Master of Liberal Arts, Information Management Systems

This degree has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Being a father of a 3-year old and having a full-time job, it was very challenging but in the end this is one of the most important achievements of my life. The courses have helped keep me abreast of the latest technologies trends. Over the course of my degree I became interested in the field of machine learning and Harvard Extension School provided me with an opportunity to earn a Graduate Certificate in Data Science along with my master’s degree. It has been a great learning experience and has definitely helped me grow professionally.
Thank you Harvard University #Harvard Extension.

Rachel Gima

Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Biology

Harvard Extension School has allowed me to obtain my degree after I withdrew from another college. The support I've received from the faculty in pursing my dream of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife has been crucial to my success in the program and in being accepted into Yale School of Nursing. Harvard has given me the tools to make my dreams a reality, and I will be forever grateful for my experiences at the Harvard Extension School.

Engy Fouda

Master of Liberal Arts, Journalism

I am originally from Egypt and hold a master degree in computer engineering. During the Egyptian revolution in 2011, the journalists' role fascinated me. I cofounded an online monthly magazine in Arabic and was its editor-in-chief for three years. Then, I decided to do another master degree in journalism to make a news outlet in Egypt similar to the New York Times. With my engineering background, Harvard Extension School allowed me to earn a graduate professional certificate in Data Science. Currently, I teach at a Microsoft certified center, a technical editor at Paris-Saclay University, an editor for a company in China, and a freelance journalist at several media sites. Thanks to HES's outstanding program, my capstone project manager, and my fabulous Harvard friends! Graduating from Harvard is a dream coming true. I am so grateful to my family especially my husband and my daughter for supporting and believing in me.

Ikramul Hoque

Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Management

As a business student, I was always keen to do research and know more about various different kinds of businesses and their success stories.

In spring of 2018, my advisors allowed me to take an individual research project. To that, I planned to explore Grameen Bank to check how they helped society and created such a massive impact in the world. The bank is known for its collateral free method of banking (Micro-Finance), therefore, acknowledged a Noble Peace Prize in 2006.

During my project, I got to learn about their operations. It seemed so fascinating to me that in the middle of the semester, I emailed them to see if I could visit them at Dhaka, Bangladesh to experience their operations at a personal level.

As luck may have it, I got a reply within a few hours from a wonderful person named Harun Liton working in the International Programme Department at the Head Office of the Bank to come and visit.

On that day I realized that, if I had not had the alternative to have an online study option, I could have never visited Grameen Bank at Dhaka, Bangladesh to accomplish this dream of mine.

I am very thankful for what Harvard Extension School gave me.

Ria Cheruvu

Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Software Engineering

I’m 14 years old and graduated from Harvard Extension School (HES) with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in computer science. Every learning experience at HES over the past 3 years was humbling and empowering, as I was guided by my instructors and fellow classmates to realize that we hold the potential to touch lives through our curiosity.

The instructors at HES have a unique passion for teaching and sharing their insightful knowledge that enriched my knowledge beyond the textbook and challenged me to think in terms of real-world practical implementation. I grasped the opportunity to transform course projects into research experiences by taking interdisciplinary courses (from cybersecurity to the meaning of life), which helped me develop my professional repertoire and equipped me with the valuable skills I needed to delve further into my interests.

The ability to live-stream lectures and attend courses on-campus facilitated insightful conversations between students and instructors that made the learning experience unique and profound.

Using the knowledge I gained at HES, I completed a neuroimaging project as part of an internship at Yale University and I’m now beginning an internship in the Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things domain at Intel Corporation, one of the largest semiconductor chip makers in the world. Sincere gratitude, HES, for giving students of all backgrounds from around the world the opportunity to quench their thirst for learning and inspire change.

Ujwala Srinath

Master of Liberal Arts, Digital Media Design

With a decade of experience in the software industry, I chose the ALM degree for mastering certain skills while being employed.
Each semester has taught me invaluable lessons – many of which are not mentioned in the coursework or degree certificate – collaborating with classmates with varied levels of experiences and backgrounds, presenting “odd” ideas without hesitation and receiving genuine feedback as well as having the good fortune of being privy to some of ingenious works by your peers. I have consistently been inspired by the sheer amount of effort and discipline my classmates have put in to create innovative submissions for the assignments, irrespective of their busy schedules and family commitments.
A meaningful education is beyond grades or certificates, and this degree has provided me with more than just a few tools and skill sets to advance my career. It has helped me redefine my idea of success and challenges, given me the freedom to explore, err and correct, question the boundaries placed by mindsets, unlearn thought processes, appreciate established approaches, sustain connections, reset priorities and gratitude towards the unconditional support from friends and family.
You know you have made the right choice when your degree awarding ceremony ends with you and your classmates giving a standing applause to your loved ones in attendance!
It has been pleasure learning alongside many of the talented folks in the ALM Class of 2018.

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.


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.


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.