Jump to:Page Content
Home > Degree Programs > Office of Career Advancement > About the Harvard Kennedy School Office of Career Advancement (OCA) > About the OCA Team
Although it is important to take charge of your own career, you will find OCA is happy to help with advice and resources you can use at key points throughout planning and searching for jobs, internships and other opportunities.
Our office includes a team of career professionals dedicated to providing individualized support, and services that include employer outreach, seminars, events and an online job bank.
Having coached Harvard Kennedy School students and alumni since 2000, Mary has a wealth of knowledge and experience with the range of careers of interest to Kennedy School students and alumni. She has worked extensively with thousands of Harvard Kennedy School students, helping them maximize their energy, talent and passion towards solving the world’s most pressing public problems.
Before coming to the Harvard Kennedy School, Mary served for seven years with the nonprofit Council for Excellence in Government in Washington, D.C. As Vice President for Leadership Development, she created education programs for federal government managers and executives. Mary also developed the Council’s first leadership development program for state government leaders. She served as a leadership coach to individuals and teams and co-edited The 1992 Prune Book, 50 Jobs that Can Change America, which is a guidebook to top federal positions.
Before joining the Council, Mary headed her own writing and communications consulting business in Atlanta, Georgia and was a contributing author of the volume, Contemporary Entrepreneurs. She has also held communications, marketing communications and public relations positions with Computervision Corporation, Prime Computer, Inc., Towers, Perrin Forster & Crosby and the Boston Visiting Nurse Association. Mary earned a Master of Arts in Communications Management from Simmons College and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Public Relations from Syracuse University.
In her free time Mary enjoys going to the gym, riding her bicycle and rooting for Boston sports teams. She is a very proud mom of boy/girl twins, who are currently attending college in the U.S. Midwest.
Judith Coquillette, Senior Associate Director and Coach
Judith manages the OCA program for graduates who plan to pursue careers in international development, international security policy and human rights. The program includes individual coaching, on-campus panels and workshops, plus the annual career exploration trip to Washington D.C. Judith builds networks with a diversity of employers and alumni from organizations across all sectors including, the US government, international institutions such as UNDP, UNV, The World Bank, IADB, and major nonprofits and private sector firms with public sector clients.
A graduate of Oxford University with a master's degree in modern history, Judith also holds a Master of Education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and has taken additional coursework in counseling psychology at Boston College. Judith holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and the U.K. and has traveled extensively in Europe and Africa.
Before joining the Harvard Kennedy School in 2000, Judith held positions in career services at the Fletcher School, Tufts and Brandeis University, and also worked at Harvard College. Judith is a trustee and treasurer of the American Friends of St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University.
Joan received her Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard University. While at Harvard she served on the Visiting Fellows Committee at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Joan enjoys music, the arts, travel, sports and photography.
Yulia Vershinina, Associate Director and Coach
Yulia coaches students who are interested in pursuing careers in government, social and educational policy, and in nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining OCA in October 2010, Yulia was a career counselor at MIT. There she coached students in biological, chemical, materials, and nuclear engineering. She also served as an interpreter in a variety of settings, including The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), The International Finance Corporation (IFC), and sports tournaments. She is an adjunct faculty at North Shore Community College.
Yulia is a trained organizational psychologist with experience in addressing a variety of individual and group concerns including career decision making, career development of women, and career assessment of gifted students and special populations. A graduate of Columbia University with a Master's Degree in Organizational Psychology, Yulia also obtained her certification in mediation and conflict resolution from the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, she holds a Master's Degree in Applied Linguistics and Philology from Herzen University of Saint-Petersburg. She is a native Russian speaker and is proficient in French.
She spends her free time playing with her Rhodesian Ridgeback, who recently became an American Champion of Record, cooking, traveling, and if time permits, watching AC 360 on CNN.
Karin Kane Bloom, System and Marketing Manager
Karin has worked at the Harvard Kennedy School since 2000, primarily in the roles of internship/career advising and program management. At OCA Karin has been developing and managing JACK: Jobs and Careers for the Kennedy School. Karin focuses on building external, professional relationships with potential employers for students and alumni. She also contributes to marketing and communication efforts for the office, including specialized trainings for the career management system, website, social media development and working with faculty and staff.
Susan Ellis, Systems & Website Manager
Susan provides communications services including updating the OCA public website and KNet pages and working with social media. She also manages the OCA Spotlight Series, featuring interview with alumni and others on career-related topics.
Susan brings an extensive background in communications technologies and media, as well as writing, project management, and video, multimedia, audio and print production skills. Before coming to OCA, she completed hundreds of projects as a communications consultant to corporations, museums, universities, and production houses. She earned her Bachelor of Liberal Arts at the Harvard Extension School where she is currently working toward a Master's Degree in Journalism.
Paula Koczera, Recruiting Manager
Paula joined OCA in August 2006. She serves as primary contact for employers seeking to recruit Harvard Kennedy School talent. She is also always happy to help students, who have questions about on-campus recruiting. Previously, she worked as an Account Manager in the staffing industry, assisting local companies in finding top talent to add to their organizations. Before staffing, she worked as a Sales Representative for the biotech industry and had the opportunity to see much of the country through her business travel. Paula graduated from Stonehill College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and from the Harvard Extension School with a Master in Management/Organizational Behavior.
In her free time Paula enjoys watching the Red Sox and Patriots, being involved with alumni activities at Stonehill College and volunteering with small town political campaigns in her home town of Acushnet, Massachusetts.
Outside of work, Melinda enjoys spending time with family, traveling and curling up with a good book.
Sheron Russell, Administrative Manager
Sheron joined the OCA team in the summer of 2008 as the Administrative Manager. She hold an MS in Criminal Justice from Bridgewater State College and has more than 16 years of professional experience in office administration. As a Cornell University Diversity Professional/Advanced Practitioner (CCDP\AP), she is skilled in public speaking and promoting healthy conversations about sensitive topics such as race, gender, religion, disability, and sexual orientation. She was an adjunct professor at Bunker Hill Community College from 2007 to 2009, lecturing on topics of management and supervision in law enforcement, race, ethnicity and cultural issues in the American criminal justice system. Additionally, she is a Certified Instructional Trainer with the Southeastern Massachusetts Municipal Police Council.
Janice Rand Vaughn, Senior Associate Director
Janice is a seasoned administrator at Harvard having worked at the Harvard Medical School, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Harvard Kennedy School. She received a Master in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education concentrating in Administration, Planning and Social Policy. Janice is responsible for communications and marketing in the Office of Career Advancement, including taking a lead role in the implementation of JACK: Jobs and Careers for the Kennedy School, and in building partnerships with HKS research centers and programs to enhance career networking opportunities for students. While at HKS, Janice has held the positions of Director of the MPA/MC Summer Program, Director of the Office of Community and Public Service and Special Assistant to the Associate Dean of Degree Programs.
Outside of work, Janice and her husband, in addition to raising two children, co-founded The Tremont School, an innovative middle school that opened in September 2011 in metrowest Boston.