What does your role as Associate Director of Admissions & Financial Aid entail?

As an Associate Director, I perform many of the behind-the-scenes financial aid processes to ensure scholarships and loans are awarded and disbursed properly, while maintaining federal and institutional compliance. Additionally, I support the assistant directors with complex student cases. I enjoy knowing that I am playing a part in helping students gain access to an HKS education.

Tell us a little bit more about your background.

headshot of Brianna GomezI am a proud Latina and Native American first-generation college graduate from the San Francisco Bay Area. I moved to Boston from California for this opportunity to work at Harvard Kennedy School. I am very close to my parents and younger sister, so it was an extremely difficult decision to move across the country and be so far away from them. However, they have been extremely supportive of my decision to move to Boston.

I grew up playing fast-pitch softball, volleyball, and performing tap and jazz. I was very involved and busy with extracurricular activities, which is why I love the fast-paced environment working in Enrollment Services. My family and I traveled often throughout California for tournaments, camping, and annual road trips to Disneyland. I’ve loved having the opportunity to explore a new part of the country and experience four beautiful New England seasons (even the snow!).

Why are you passionate about your career in higher education?

I want first-generation students like me to know that there are resources and support systems available to help them obtain a higher education. Working in admissions and financial aid provides me the opportunity to serve and support students as they navigate a complex and sometimes confusing system.

What’s your favorite thing about the Kennedy School?

The kind of work and thought that happens at HKS makes it a true privilege to be a part of this community. Staff, faculty, fellows, and students share a common goal to make a positive impact in the world. In admissions and financial aid, we recruit, enroll, and support current and future leaders who are out in the world doing real, life-changing work, which makes this work rewarding.

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

You deserve to be here! There is no one example of the “perfect” student; our students come from diverse backgrounds, which contributes to the rich academic and cultural environment at HKS. Don’t be afraid to apply for your spot at HKS. Stay up to date on our deadlines and policies, attend our webinars, and ask questions so you can be fully prepared to submit your application.

What are some things in the Boston/Cambridge area students should do during their time at HKS?

Take a morning stroll along the Charles River, walk the Freedom Trail, and go to a Red Sox game! There are usually cheap tickets on weeknights, and even if you aren’t a baseball fan, the atmosphere is very fun. Also, if you are looking to have the best meal of your life, go to the North End for authentic Italian food. Carmelina’s is my favorite.

What’s the best lunch spot in Harvard Square?

Black Sheep Bagel is my favorite place to grab lunch. It’s right next to HKS, and their lox bagel is usually my Friday treat when I’m in the office.


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