For the first time ever, students interested in pursuing public service after graduation had the same opportunity those applying to elite private sector jobs have long enjoyed—interviews on campus.
Ninety-nine seniors, selected from a pool of 150 applicants, had one-on-one interviews on Friday with 20 public service organizations.
“It’s obvious to us that many Harvard College students have a passion for public service…but don’t know how to navigate finding opportunities in the sector,” said Gene A. Corbin, assistant dean of student life for public service. “This day is meeting an enormous need.”
Students in attendance agreed that the initiative was a much-needed signal from the College of support for careers in public service.
Diana I. Acosta ’15 said that she was heartened to see the University host the recruiting day, which was jointly organized by the Center for Public Interest Careers, the Institute of Politics, and the Office of Career Services.
“I think it is more than just a job opportunity for students,” Acosta said. “It’s a great message for the freshmen who are probably thinking about long-term goals.”
Another student participant, Erick M. Juarez ’15, said that he hopes that public service recruitment continues to develop.
“Hopefully this will grow into something of a staple of the Harvard College recruitment process as a whole, and can compete with finance and consulting recruiting sometime in the future and expand to other organizations,” he said.
Employers partaking in the inaugural Public Service Recruiting Day echoed the optimism of the students they interviewed.
Maribel H. Rivera ’04, a recruiter from Immigrant Justice Corps, said that she was interested in public service when she was a student at the College, but she did not have access to programs that would provide a clear pathway into the field.
“It’s really powerful and exciting to see that Harvard College really cares about public interest work and that it’s allowing its students a path to do what they want to do,” Rivera said.
Corbin, who coordinated the event, said that employers seemed impressed with the students they met, and would subsequently be making job offers.
The 20 participating employers included Green Corps, City Year, and Points of Light.
The day was financed by Hope S. Taitz, managing partner of ELY Advisors and a member of multiple nonprofit boards, and her husband Glenn P. Taitz.
Hope Taitz said that she and her husband will continue to sponsor the initiative in future years.
“We are committed to making this long-term for Harvard,” she said. “The key to success is innovation and collaboration, and this event combines both.”
—Staff writer Zara Zhang can be reached at email@example.com.