Many newly admitted HKS students are confronting heavier financial burdens as a result of the pandemic, including withdrawn funding from outside foundations and governments on which they were relying to finance their education.
Our students will be charged with leading their communities and the world through future challenges, and it is our responsibility to prepare them to do so. If you are able, please consider supporting the HKS Fund to remove barriers for our talented and deserving students. One hundred percent of your gift will be used for financial aid and to provide other critical learning opportunities. If you are able, please consider supporting the HKS Fund by the end of our fiscal year on June 30.
The next generation of public leaders: students fueled by financial aid
Before coming to HKS, Ruha Shadab MPP 2020 worked as a doctor in low-income neighborhoods in Delhi, India. She later moved to address systemic issues in health care. During her second year at HKS, she set up her social enterprise, Led By Foundation, Inc., which focuses on Muslim women in India—a section of Indian society (8 percent of the population) that has massive underrepresentation in business, politics, media, and among the educated class. The foundation works with Indian Muslim women in college to provide them with experiential leadership, pairs them with mentors from the community, and offers them a peer network.
Ariella Barker MC/MPA 2020 came to the Kennedy School on a full merit scholarship. She was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of three and lost the ability to walk at the age of 11. She has become a disability advocate and lawyer who is dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. As she pointed out in a recent opinion piece in The Boston Globe, many people with disabilities are at greater risk for severe illness due to the coronavirus. The work of Barker and advocates like her is crucial, especially now.
Deeneaus “D” Polk MPP 2020 came to HKS to pursue a dream project that will allow him to give back to his community. Polk grew up in a small, blue-collar town in Mississippi, where he saw how a lack of economic opportunity hurt his friends and neighbors—and even his own brother, who had been incarcerated. Polk became passionate about creating job and training opportunities, especially for people of color and women. With support from our Social Innovation + Change Initiative (SICI), he is developing a startup focused on workforce development in the American South.
Karly Zhunussova MPA/ID 2020 came to HKS to address the shortage of highly qualified leaders in public service in her home country of Kazakhstan. While in Cambridge, she won the Mossavar-Rahmani Center Prize for the Best Paper by a Master’s Student for “What Is the Impact of Carbon Taxation on Industries and How to Mitigate It?,” which she wrote as part of her second-year policy analysis. She is going on to work at the World Bank on a tool that would allow users to design and compare carbon pricing reforms across countries and their macroeconomic, energy, pollution, health, and distributional effects.