Ana Ortez-Rivera smiling while wearing Harvard sweatshirt
Ana Ortez-Rivera MPP answers questions about her student experience.

Ana Ortez-Rivera is an MPP student originally from Maryland. After attending the University of Maryland, College Park, she served as a Career and Life Skills Advisor at a charter school, helping adult learners explore college and career options. Her areas of interest include educational policy, immigration, social impact, and data science.

What are your favorite things about your experience at HKS?

What I value most about my HKS experience is that I have endless opportunities surrounding me at school. As a current student, there are multiple avenues—programs, events, speakers, clubs, and individuals—through which I can explore my interest areas, learn something completely new, and access a wealth of information.

There is also space to create something if it is missing on campus. For example, last spring a group of friends and I created the “HKS First Gen Night” event on campus using funding from the student government Social Equity Fund. Nearly 70 students who identified as being first-generation students gathered to create a safe space to discuss and celebrate shared experiences. We had meaningful conversations about the challenges of being first-generation students and created a community of support.

How would you describe your community at HKS?

HKS students are passionate about creating positive change in the world. Each student I have come across offers a unique set of experiences, passion, and vision for the future. I am often left in awe after meeting new people and hearing their stories, and I am more motivated to pursue my passion for advancing educational equities.

What advice do you have for prospective or admitted students considering HKS?

My advice for students considering HKS is to know that there are many ways to find your support system on campus to help ground you throughout your journey. When entering this space, it may be very easy to become overwhelmed by the courses, resources, and endless opportunities on campus. However, it is key to ground yourself in networks that remind you of why you came to this school and where you want to go in the future. We all need a friend, partner, or family member to vent with at the end of the day or celebrate successes.

Quick questions

  • Favorite class: API 318: Thinking Analytically in an Uncertain World with Professor Dan Levy
  • Favorite study spot: Third floor of the Littauer building
  • Favorite restaurant near campus: Singh’s Dhaba in Central Square
  • One bucket list item you want to accomplish before graduating: Visiting every Harvard library on all the campuses
  • Favorite guest speaker: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy



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