Tell us a little bit more about your background.

katie kelsall headshotI was a first-generation college student, so navigating admissions and financial aid was very challenging. I had very little guidance when it came to making a decision about where to go to school and how to pay for it. As an undergraduate, I ended up with a work-study job in the financial aid office, which transformed my career trajectory. I became passionate about access to higher education and wanted to help students like me navigate their academic journey. After graduating , I came to Harvard where I’ve worked in financial aid and admissions roles ever since, previously at Harvard Extension School, Harvard Business School, and now the Kennedy School. In my current role, I advise MPP students with last names M-Z on all matters related to admissions and financial aid.

Why are you passionate about your career in higher education?

It’s always been important to me to do something I feel is adding value to the world, and I firmly believe higher education has the power to transform not only a student but also their community.

What’s your favorite thing about the Kennedy School?

My favorite thing about the Kennedy School is its vibrant community. The students, faculty, and staff here are all passionate about what they do and what they want to achieve, but also know how to have some fun. I love working on an active campus where there are always people around to collaborate with and learn from.

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

My biggest advice to prospective students is to not count yourself out. The one thing you can do to ensure you won’t be admitted somewhere is to not apply, so give yourself a chance.

black cat in costume
Katie is a cat lover. Meet Mac!

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

About a mile from the Kennedy School is Mount Auburn Cemetery. It might sound weird to suggest visiting a cemetery, but trust me, it is absolutely beautiful during every season.

What’s the best lunch spot in Harvard Square?

I hesitate to recommend this and make it harder for myself to get a table, but Grendel’s Den is a classic Harvard haunt with some great lunch specials.

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