headshot of Leigh McLarenWhat does your role entail?

I work with prospective applicants throughout the application process. I also counsel admitted and returning Master in Public Policy (MPP) students, making sure they understand the required next steps for enrolling and have a clear understanding of their financial aid awards. It is important to me that students feel as prepared as possible to begin their program at HKS—and that they feel supported throughout their time here.

Tell us a little bit more about your background.

I'm a Boston native with a background in music business and higher education. I spent many years working at Berklee College of Music as well as a workforce development program called Year Up. I also spent time abroad in Madrid, Spain teaching English.

Personally, I love to travel, try new restaurants, listen to true crime podcasts, and spend time with my husband and our adorable pets.

Two gray cats and a white rabbit
Leigh has two cats, Bunny and Kevin, and a rabbit, Otis.

Why are you passionate about your career in higher education?

Access and equity within education are incredibly important to me. Education is a right that everyone deserves, and I hope to make great education more accessible to everyone—especially those who have not traditionally had access. 

What’s your favorite thing about the Kennedy School?

My favorite thing about the Kennedy School is the passion that our students have to make the world a better place. We are a diverse community at HKS with varying interests, but the one thing that everyone has in common is the drive to solve the problems facing humanity.

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

Take the time to do your research, but don't be afraid to ask the questions! Graduate school is a big decision, and it is important that you pick the program that suits your interests, goals, and needs. Also be sure to pay attention to requirements and deadlines!

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

There are so many amazing things to do in the Boston area, and the best part is how walkable the city is—walk around the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common, check out the beautiful Boston Public Library, and stroll down Newbury Street for shopping and snacks!

What’s the best lunch spot in Harvard Square?

There are so many great lunch spots in The Square. Nine Tastes is one of my favorites for Thai food, and they have awesome lunch specials!

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