From Harvard Square to the Oval Office ("Oval Office") is a non-partisan, co-curricular political training program of the Women and Public Policy Program that provides a select group of Harvard graduate students with the tools and support they need to ascend in the electoral process at the local, state, and national levels. The Oval Office program is designed to inspire students to run for office through hands-on trainings, by growing their networks, and by connecting them with an array of leaders who serve as role models to the cohort.

The Oval Office program is application-based. The application cycle for the Spring 2024 cohort is now closed. Applications for the Spring 2025 cohort will open in October 2024. Please contact Lexi Serino at alexis_serino@hks.harvard.edu with any questions.

Strategic programming starts in February of each year and finishes each May, and students meet regularly throughout the Spring semester. The skills-training sessions bring the nation’s leading campaign strategists, fundraisers, and organizers and provide “behind-closed-doors” mentoring sessions with leading figures in American political life. These are unique opportunities for students to gain invaluable first-hand guidance. Past speakers include former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12th), former Congresswoman Anne Northup (R-KY 3rd), and former Governor Christie Todd Whitman (R-NJ).

Our list of current topics expands as the world of gender equity and political leadership intertwines with the intersectional challenges each person might face in their political journey. As needs arise, new topics are added each year. Below are some examples of recently-offered topics: 

  • Campaign media
  • Political appointments
  • Resilience
  • 'Get out the vote' and field campaigning
  • Public speaking 
  • Navigating political parties
  • Building your message
  • Fundraising
  • Next steps: 10 things you need to get going
  • Polling
  • Debate
  • Preparing your personal finances to run

Nicole Carter Quinn

WAPPP Executive Director

Lexi Serino

Lexi Serino

Executive Assistant to Nicole Carter Quinn and Iris Bohnet

From Harvard Square to the Oval Office is made possible through the generous support of Barbara Lee, Joanne Egerman, and the Bleicher Memorial Endowment Fund.