headshot of Mira Howell What does your role entail?

My current role focuses primarily on background processes that ensure financial aid awards are accurate in the various systems that our office uses. I also assist with the application process and recruitment events for admission. In addition, I support the assistant directors with student questions and am the primary contact at HKS for veteran’s benefits.

Tell us a little bit more about your background.

I am a Massachusetts native and grew up on the North Shore. I graduated from Suffolk University with a B.A. in Asian Studies and then taught English to first-year high school students in China. After returning home, I briefly worked outside of education but soon realized my heart wasn’t in it. I started looking for jobs in higher education and have been at it ever since!

Why are you passionate about your career in higher education?

I have worked in financial aid since 2015 and admissions since 2018. Prior to working in higher ed, I taught in a high school. While I did not want to stay at the front of the classroom, I have always believed in providing access to education at all levels, for anyone who wants to learn. It feels very rewarding to be working at Harvard Kennedy School knowing that our students come to get a high-quality education that will help them improve policy and government around the globe.

What’s your favorite thing about the Kennedy School?

My favorite thing about the Kennedy School is the people. Our staff is filled with wonderful people to work with, and our students are impressive and inspiring.

What’s one piece of advice you have for prospective students?

Just apply! You don’t have to wait for the “perfect” time or a write the “perfect” essay. Be authentic, show your passion, and if you think that an education from HKS would help you achieve your goals, then just do it!

What’s one thing in the Boston/Cambridge area a student should do during their time at HKS?

Go into downtown Boston and walk around. Grab some food in Chinatown, have a drink from a cute coffee shop, stroll around Boston Common or the Public Garden, and stop by one of the many museums or historic landmarks like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or Boston Public Library.

What’s the best lunch spot in Harvard Square?

There are so many great places, but one of my recent favorites to grab a quick bite is Pokeworks. If you want a sit-down meal, Russell House Tavern is consistently good too!

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