HAEd Exec Team Member in Spotlight: Merisenda Alatorre, Director of Communications and Marketing

Full name: Merisenda Alatorre

Degree/Graduating Year: Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education, 2015

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Position on HAEd: Director of Communications and Marketing

Current role or job: Project Facilitator at the Clark County School District. I develop professional development programs and activities.

3 Fun Facts: I love to crochet. I’m obsessed with unicorns. I believe in magic. 

A Million Children Learning – Improving Elementary School Education at Scale

“What is the place value of 2 in 123?”

Gowtham, a cheerful 13-year- old who has enrolled in one of our after-school Math programs, suddenly goes quiet while his fingers slowly scan the question posed to him. “Tell me what number is this?” probes his teacher pointing to the number ‘123.' In a halting voice Gowtham finally responds, “Ma’am it’s One-Two- Three." Gowtham is already in 7th grade but cannot even recognize a 3-digit number; something he should have mastered by grade 3 or 4. I am sad but not surprised.

Gowtham is not alone. Over 200 million children go to school in India, but leave without learning much in way of understanding concepts and problem-solving skills. Every year, for the last 10 years, the Pratham (a leading Indian NGO) ASER report keeps hammering in the fact that fewer than half of lndia’s less fortunate children in government and low-income schools in grade 5 could properly read a text written for grade 2 pupils. Over the last few decades, schooling has expanded yet learning has not kept pace. Billions of dollars in expanding school infrastructure, teacher training and technology hardware has not shown much impact at scale.

Erica Mosca: Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders

Erica Mosca is the Founder and Executive Director of Leaders in Training (LIT), a Las Vegas based non-profit that empowers first-generation college graduates to become diverse leaders that change the world. Leaders in Training offers four years of free tutoring, SAT prep, and leadership training for high school students. In return, the students pledge to return to Las Vegas and/or become stewards of their communities.

As a proud first-generation college graduate herself, Erica is passionate about social justice and education. As of today, Leaders in Training has 8 formal programs, 100+ students, a 100% college acceptance rate and a 100% college persistence rate of all students who started higher education.

Celebrating National Arts in Education Week with Harvard Ed Portal and Harvard Alumni

Celebrating National Arts in Education Week with Harvard Ed Portal and Harvard Alumni

Harvard Alumni for Education celebrated this year’s National Arts in Education Week (September 10-16) with a meetup during the university-wide event, Question + Create: A Harvard Alumni Gathering on the Arts. Sponsored and hosted by Harvard Alumni Association, Question + Create brought together alumni from across the university to celebrate their contributions to the arts and to connect members of the Harvard community interested in and working in and through the arts.

Teaching in Rural America: Georgia Holt Inspires Students to Dream Big

Teaching in Rural America: Georgia Holt Inspires Students to Dream Big

HAEd recently received a request for a donation of a Harvard pennant from Georgia Holt, a fifth grade teacher in Georgia. We were happy to accommodate her request, and she kindly shared this story:

I teach school at Hamilton Crossing Elementary in a rural county in Georgia, outside of Atlanta. I teach fifth grade reading. Part of my classroom structure allows for “Book Club” time. A period of time where students pick novels of their choice, respond to them, and discuss different book topics with their classmates. Book Club groups are organized by names of colleges.

Personalizing Education and Empowering Students: An Interview with Facebook’s Adam Seldow

Personalizing Education and Empowering Students: An Interview with Facebook’s Adam Seldow

In May 2016, Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) hosted an Askwith Forum titled Engineering Personalized Learning: The Story of Summit Schools and Facebook. The discussion focused on a partnership between Facebook and Summit Public Schools, in which the partners engineered and developed a free, online personalized learning platform for Summit Public School students.

Following the forum, HAEd had the opportunity to chat with Adam Seldow (Ed.M.’03, Ed.M.’08, Ed.D.’10), Head of Education Partnerships at Facebook. He discussed his involvement in the development of the partnership, Facebook’s investment in the future of personalized learning, and the long-term benefits for students and teachers involved in this new era of learning.

Bringing Design Thinking to Philippine Schools: Stories from Habi Education with Gerson Abesamis

How can we leverage design thinking to enhance education quality in resource-starved, developing communities such as those in the Philippines? In this episode, Habi Education Lab Founder Gerson Abesamis talks about how the start-up uses small design thinking workshops and collaborative lesson prototyping in a professional development program for teachers, resulting in innovative learning experiences in classrooms across the Philippines.

Interviewer: Michi Ferreol, Director of Marketing and Communications of HAEd

If you enjoyed this podcast, please follow #HAEd_podcast#HAEdAfrica and @HarvardAEd on Twitter for information on upcoming events and programming. You may also download this podcast on iTunes here. New episodes will be released every week. 

See the full schedule for our fall series podcasts here: http://www.harvardaed.org/new-blog/2016/10/20/perspectives-from-harvard-alumni-for-education-podcast

Beyond Start-up: The Story of AidChild Founder and CEO Dr. Nathaniel Dunigan

Beyond Start-up: The Story of AidChild Founder and CEO Dr. Nathaniel Dunigan, Ed.M. '10, CPL Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, HKS '09-'10

How can we move beyond focusing on the early-stages of entrepreneurship to discussions about building sustainable ventures? In this episode, Dr. Nathaniel Dunigan, who is also HAEd's Co-President of the Sub-Saharan Africa Chapter, talks about the importance of the space beyond start-up and his work in founding and leading AidChild, which was the first organization in Uganda to provide free anti-retroviral therapy for children living with HIV.

Interviewer: Rufina Park, Director of International Engagement of HAEd

If you enjoyed this podcast, please follow #HAEd_podcast#HAEdAfrica and @HarvardAEd on Twitter for information on upcoming events and programming. You may also download this podcast on iTunes here. New episodes will be released every week. 

See the full schedule for our fall series podcasts here: http://www.harvardaed.org/new-blog/2016/10/20/perspectives-from-harvard-alumni-for-education-podcast

‘Perspectives from Harvard Alumni for Education’ Podcast

Fall 2016 Series: Going from Education Start-Up to Sustainable Venture

 

The HAEd Perspectives Podcast features Harvard alumni working in the field of education who have interesting perspectives, experiences, and knowledge for the benefit of the Harvard alumni community and the general public.

 

In the fall, we will be talking with Harvard alumni working in education start-ups and exploring questions such as:

  1. What kind of competitions and funding opportunities are out there?
  2. What are the most important things to consider when launching a start-up?
  3. What kind of impact have you made?
  4. How do you move from start-up to sustainable enterprise? 

Seni Sulyman: Andela Leads Disruption in Africa

Seni Sulyman: Andela Leads Disruption in Africa

Last week, HAEd had the honor of speaking with Seni Sulyman, a graduate of Harvard’s Business School (MBA, ‘13), to learn more about his new role as Director of Operations for Nigeria at Andela, a technology start-up that is making waves in Africa.  Andela is committed to identifying and training the next generation of tech leaders on the African continent.  Founded by Jeremy Johnson, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Christina Sass and Ian Carnevale in 2014, the company is backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV (Google Ventures) and Spark Capital. Last month, Mark Zuckerberg even made an unannounced visit to Lagos to meet with Seni and the rest of the Andela team in Nigeria. Needless to say, it was an exhilarating moment for the team.

An underpinning belief at Andela is that genius and talent are equally distributed around our world.  However, access to world-class employment opportunities, like the ones that Andela provides to its developers, are not.  The team is guided by this vision, Seni shared, and hopes to assuage the jobs-skills mismatch that is currently rife across Africa. 

Vidur Chopra: Understanding Education After Conflict & Displacement

Vidur Chopra: Understanding Education After Conflict & Displacement

Vidur Chopra is a current doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He previously worked at UNICEF to support practitioners in their focus on early childhood development during times of conflict and environmental disasters. His current research focuses on how youth are impacted by armed conflict and how education can play a role in post-conflict reconstruction.

Below is HAEd's special interview with Vidur Chopra.

HAEd Exec Team Member in Spotlight: Nell O'Donnell, Vice President

Full Name: Eleanor Barron O'Donnell Weber (a mouthful!). I answer to any and all of those names, but most people call me Nell O'Donnell or Nell Weber. 

Degree & Graduating Year: Ed.M. in International Education Policy in 2010, and currently working on my EdD at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (hoping to graduate in 2018)

Position on HAEd: Vice President

Current Role or Job: Currently working on my doctorate in education, where I'm learning about parents' beliefs about their role in the children's education, especially during the very early (preschool) years.

A Global Conversation with Harvard Alumni on Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century

On August 6th, Harvard Alumni for Education (HAEd) hosted its first worldwide online event entitled: “A Global Conversation with Harvard Alumni on Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century.” The conversation featured a panel of experts in education from the US, Singapore, Chile, India, and Mexico, led by Ford Foundation Professor of Practice in International Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Fernando M. Reimers (Ed.M. ‘84, Ed.D. ‘88).

Interview with Professor Fernando Reimers and Dr. Connie Chung: Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century

To get a sneak peek into our event on August 4th about 21st century teaching and learning, Matthew Williams, a member of our executive team, spoke to Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of Practice in International Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Dr. Connie K. Chung, Research Program Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Listen to our interview here!

Anthony Jack: A New Voice for Diversity in Higher Ed

Anthony Jack: A New Voice for Diversity in Higher Ed

In 2007, The New York Times published an article entitled “Elite Colleges Open New Door to Low-Income Youths,” which featured a then graduating Amherst College senior named Anthony Abraham Jack. Sharing his story with the Times, Tony narrated his experiences as a low-income student from Miami, who was raised by a single mother earning less than $30,000 a year, and the opportunities extended to him at Amherst by their generous financial aid policies.

Fast-forward nine years later, and Tony is graduating yet again--this time, with a PhD in Sociology from Harvard University, where he was also an Associate Doctoral Fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Thankfully, this most recent graduation does not mean that his time at Harvard is done. Tony was recently elected a Junior Fellow at the prestigious Harvard Society of Fellows. He has also accepted an offer to be an Assistant Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he will also serve as well as the Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Tony’s research focuses on the experiences of low-income undergraduates and the factors that help or hinder their success and has already begun shaping national conversations around access to higher education. His research has been highlighted in The New York Times (feature and op-ed), The Boston GlobeThe Washington Post, and a host of other news outlets. He is a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow, and the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan named him a 2016 Emerging Diversity Scholar. In addition to these academic contributions, he has been a loving resident tutor at Mather House for the past 7 years, known amongst his students for his bellowing laugh and warm presence.

Below is HAEd’s special interview with Tony Jack.

A Conversation with J.R. Thronton ’14 about his first novel, Beautiful Country

A Conversation with J.R. Thronton ’14 about his first novel, Beautiful Country

Born in London, J.R. Thornton graduated from Harvard in 2014 where he studied History, English and Chinese. As a 14-year-old, he spent a year living in Beijing studying the Chinese language and training with the Beijing junior tennis team. An internationally ranked tennis player as a junior, he later competed for the Harvard men’s team and on the professional circuit. 

Life without the Internet: The new fight for the American Dream

Life without the Internet: The new fight for the American Dream

Let me start with a story.

Darriale Bradley and her family spent many nights in the parking lot of fast food restaurants, but not because of the food. It was for the Wi-Fi. For Darriale, the parking lot sitting was the only way she could do her online homework since she didn’t have a home Internet connection. Sadly, she is not the only one doing this.