By Nancy Lu MC/MPA 2023
My name is Nancy Lu, and I’m a Chinese New Zealander, mother of two very young children and a wife, Chartered Accountant, and a public servant New Zealand.
I applied to the Harvard Kennedy School after an unsuccessful campaign to become a member of parliament in New Zealand. I was young and ambitious about serving the people of New Zealand. Rather than letting my first run for office stop me, I came here to the Kennedy School to become a more effective public servant with better policy analysis skills and perspective.
With two months until my commencement, I am proud to say I am ready to do more post-HKS. I’ve learned so much at HKS. I will be taking home with me the skills and experiences I’ve gained from HKS, as well my connections with HKS faculty.
Here are some ways you can seize opportunities to work with faculty while at HKS.
- Become a Teaching Assistant. There are many opportunities to become a teaching assistant to a class or a professor. Make sure you look for opportunities in your HKS email. I applied online and I also reached out proactively to a professor that I really want to learn from and work with. Being proactive really works! I am now a Teaching Assistant (TA) for Systems Thinking and Supply Chain Management with Professor Mark Fagan. As a TA, I’ve worked with Professor Fagan to design our class materials, find inspiring and suitable readings, and reach out through different networks to invite speakers to join us in class. The Vice President of Sustainability and Mobility of the BMP Group will be coming to speak with our students, and all this is because we plan well, think outside the box, and aren’t afraid to connect. How cool is that!
- Write a paper or op-ed. If you have a passion for a particular topic, proactively talk to faculty members or professors who have expertise in that area. Explore whether there are opportunities to partner with the faculty member on a paper or op-ed on this particular topic.
- Keep it personal. Don’t be afraid to share your personal stories and aspirations with faculty. We are all human and we all like making positive connections. Be friendly and treat the faculty with respect. You’ll be so grateful for the personal connections you make.
- Regular meetings with the faculty. I regularly meet up with professors who I have learned from, as well as professors who are experts in the field that I’m very interested in. I also talk to our academic staff a lot too. Be brave and be curious when you reach out to faculty. I’m always surprised how kind and how willing to connect the faculty members are!
Photo courtesy of Nancy Lu