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Harvard Kennedy School Launches Mentorship Program for College Students

Harvard Kennedy School
The Harvard Kennedy School, pictured in 2017.

The Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics has launched a new mentorship program that will partner undergraduate students interested in public service with graduate students at HKS.

The Internship and Career Services group of the IOP is beginning the program in order to “demystify” the recruiting process via which students can seek jobs in politics and the public sector, according to an email sent over the IOP mailing list Wednesday.

“We recognize that approaching a career in politics & public service can be daunting for undergraduates as many opportunities do not have a standard recruiting process and often depend heavily on word of mouth,” Diego A. Garcia ’20, the IOP communications director, wrote in the email. “Our hope is that through this program undergraduates will build substantive relationships with graduate students and learn what steps they must take to succeed in a career in politics and public service."

The email included an application for both College and Kennedy School students. Undergraduates were asked to provide their career goals and interests, mentor preferences, and the name of a “dream organization” they may want to join in the future. Kennedy School students were instructed to detail their career history, mentee preferences, and a list of organizations they have worked for in the past.

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In the email, Garcia cited the example of Theodore N. Landis ’20, an undergraduate leader at the IOP who was paired with a mentor from the Kennedy School's Class of 2018, Conor P. Hand. Hand became an “invaluable” resource for Landis as he initiated projects like the Harvard Votes Challenge, a brand-new University-wide effort to increase voter registration.

“It was great to be able to sit down and receive advice from someone who has learned about organizing not just in an academic context, but also in the real world," Landis wrote in the email.

In addition to this new program for the IOP, undergraduate students also partake in weekly study groups with fellows at the Institute. This year’s line-up of fellows include former Democratic National Committee CEO and former EMILY’s List executive director Amy Dacey, former Nevada congressman Joseph J. Heck, and Bloomberg News’s Senior White House Correspondent Margaret Talev.

The mentorship program will begin with a “kick-off lunch” on Sept. 21.

—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at alexandra.chaidez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @a_achaidez.

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