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Rebecca ‘Bec’ Katz MPP 2009 was awarded the Harvard Kennedy School Robert F. Kennedy Award on June 2, an honor that acknowledges “a graduating Kennedy School student whose commitment, activities, and contributions to public service are extraordinary.”
Katz was nominated by multiple people who cited her dedication to public service and her modest approach to her accomplishments as her outstanding qualities. Katz, who is from Oregon and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Southern California, has worked and volunteered in a number of education and youth development positions on both coasts of the country.
“The RFK Award reaffirmed for me that I made the right decision to devote my career to working in education at the grass-roots level,” said Katz. “This is a track that is sometimes considered to be less prestigious than striving toward a high-level government position and for which most people do not receive great recognition. I am so proud that the Kennedy School is highlighting the importance of this kind of public service work.”
Senior Associate Dean and Director of Degree Programs Joseph McCarthy said that Katz deserves the honor because of her dedication to mentoring and educational support in Massachusetts.
“I have been fortunate to get to know Bec because of her interest in youth and educational policy,” said McCarthy. “She has made the Kennedy School proud all over the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Among Katz’ varied volunteering and mentoring experience is a position as a youth program director in Chelsea, work as a facilitator in Girls’ LEAP (Lifetime Empowerment and Awareness Program) and a position as Youth Policy and Program Associate/Promise Fellow for the City of Brockton Mayor’s Office.
“My experience at the Kennedy School has allowed me to cultivate my true passion for education and make significant strides toward my goals,” said Katz. “For example, I have been able to reflect on my skills, values and ambitions through workshops at the Center for Public Leadership and the Office of Career Advancement. I have also found mentorship and inspiration from faculty, staff and peers.”