The Harvard Kennedy School community comes together for Class Day at the end of every May to celebrate the achievements of extraordinary members of the graduating class—and specific HKS faculty members and staff who supported them along the way.
Although our community cannot gather safely in person this year, we hope you join us in celebrating the deserving and dedicated award winners listed below who are united in their efforts to grow, innovate, and serve.
The president of the Kennedy School Student Government delivers a speech at every Class Day—this year is no exception. Scroll down to listen to Charlene Wang MPP 2020 and KSSG president thank her graduating classmates and explain why they will be “the shiniest diamonds of them all.”
We also invite you to listen to the Farewell Lectures from HKS professors, Timothy Patrick McCarthy and Kathy Pham, who were chosen by graduating students to share their words of wisdom with the HKS Class of 2020.
To our 2020 Class Day award winners, your HKS community congratulates you.
Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service
For a graduating student whose commitment, activities, and contributions to public service are extraordinary.
Andrew Bentley MC/MPA 2020
Rick Wolthusen MPP 2020
Advisor of the Year Award
For a faculty or staff member, nominated by the graduating class, who made a substantial impact on the student experience through formal or informal advice.
Assistant Director, MPA Programs
Barbara Jordan Award for Women’s Leadership
For a graduating student for her/his/their commitment to build community and serve as a role model for women aspiring to be leaders.
Ruha Shadab MPP 2020
Carr Center Prize for Human Rights
For graduating MPP or MPA/ID students with an outstanding Policy Analysis Exercise or Second Year Policy Analysis in Human Rights.
Jeremy Grabiner MPP 2020
Alexander Klueber MPP 2020
Paper title: "Voting Rights Restoration in Florida"
Thomas Patterson (seminar leader) and David King (advisor)
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Student Teaching
For outstanding student teaching assistants nominated by HKS students.
Kevin Bain MPP 2020
Sujoy Bhattacharyya MPA/ID 2020
Shiro Kuriwaki PhD candidate in Government 2021
Caitlin McMurtry PhD candidate in Health Policy 2022
Brian Palmiter PhD candidate in GOVERNMENT 2021
Samuel Stemper PhD candidate in Public Policy 2023
Donald K. Price Award
For MPA students who embody the strengths of the program—through academic excellence, community-building, or demonstrations of leadership within the class.
Maria Rebecca Antonina Kersch MPA 2020
Sajeev Narendra Popat MPA 2020
Ellen S. Raphael Award
For an MPP student who exemplifies academic achievement and public service.
Rick Wolthusen MPP 2020
Frederick Fischer Memorial Prize
For a graduating student with an outstanding paper on a topic such as criminal justice; economic and social mobility; workforce development; inequality; education; immigration; social services; or related social policy issues.
Jyoti Gupta MPP 2020
Ella Han MPP 2020
Paper title: "Partnerships Strategy for Khan Academy Kids"
Holly Taylor Sargent Award for Women’s Advancement
For a member of the Harvard Kennedy School community (faculty, staff, or student) who has done the most to advance the opportunities, situation, and status of women within the HKS community.
Lecturer in Public Policy
Jane Mansbridge Research Award
For a graduating student with an outstanding research paper—Policy Analysis Exercise, Second Year Policy Analysis, or others—whose analysis of an organization or topic is focused on women or gender.
Sofia Salas Ungar MPP 2020
Paper title: "Training Future Local Mayors to Advance Gender Equality and Women's Rights in Bogota"
Chu Wang MPP 2020
paper title: “Beyond Diversity: Representation in Global Affairs Canada: How enhancing LGBTQ2+ and Indigenous inclusion in Canada’s federal department for global affairs can translate into better policy outcomes"
Joint Center for Housing Studies Best Paper on Housing
For exemplary work on housing, community development, or related urban issues.
Phil Pollman MPP 2020
Erica Villay MPP 2020
paper title: "Floodway Buyout Strategy for a Resilient Houston”
Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award
For MC/MPA students who embody the strengths of the program—through academic excellence, community-building, or demonstrations of leadership within the class.
Rumaitha Omar Al Busaidi MC/MPA 2020
Esther Hae-Eun Kim MC/MPA 2020
Margaret Levinson MC/MPA 2020
Alejandro Lozano González MC/MPA 2020
Kudzai Makomva MC/MPA 2020
Joyce Ng Pei Shan MC/MPA 2020
Sami Atef Shaban MC/MPA 2020
Cynthia Mae Stocks MC/MPA 2020
Camila E. Thorndike MC/MPA 2020
Manuel C. Carballo Award for Excellence in Teaching
For an instructor, nominated by the graduating class, who best exemplifies, demonstrates, and inspires excellence through teaching.
Megan Ming Francis
Visiting Associate Professor of Public Policy
Manuel C. Carballo Memorial Prize
For a graduating student with an outstanding paper on a topic related to the implementation, management, and evaluation of programs serving disadvantaged populations in the United States.
Stephanie Nussbaum MPP 2020
paper title: "Keeping it FRESH: Evaluating the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s Food Retail Expansion to Support Health Program"
Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Award for Excellence in Service
For Harvard Kennedy School community members who exemplify outstanding leadership and commitment to increasing HKS diversity, inclusion, and belonging through scholarship, initiatives, programs, and community building.
Tailor Dortona MPP 2020
Chu Wang MPP 2020
Prize for Outstanding Policy Analysis Exercise
For a graduating MPP student with an exceptional Policy Analysis Exercise.
Daniel Comeaux MPP 2020
paper title: "Curb Space and Its Discontents: Evaluating and Allocating New York City's Curbs"
Prize for Outstanding Second Year Policy Analysis
For a graduating MPA/ID student with an exceptional Second Year Policy Analysis.
Luciana De La Flor MPA/ID 2020
Damian Galinsky MPA/ID 2020
paper title: "Scaling Farms to the Frontier: The Case of Non-Agricultural Exports in Perú"
Kimberly Geronimo MPA/ID 2020
paper title: "Improving Working Conditions for Domestic Workers in Chile"
Utkarsh Saxena MPA/ID 2020
paper title: "Economic Consequences Of Judicial Action: The Case of Anti-Corruption in India"
Raymond Vernon Award for Commitment to International Development
For a graduating MPA/ID student who best personifies the values of the program, namely dedication to international development, good citizenship, academic excellence, and strong potential to lead and contribute to the field.
Ankur Garg MPA/ID 2020
Homa Taheri MPA/ID 2020
Sue Williamson Spirit Award
For a Harvard Kennedy School staff member, nominated by the graduating class, who significantly enhances the student experience.
the mpa programs team
Emma Heffern, Director
Cate Lagueux, assistant Director
Taylor Pelletier, Program Assistant
Suzanne Shende, Associate Director and Director, Edward S. Mason Program
Djosa D’Simao, Campus Planning and Operations
Susan C. Eaton Memorial Prize
For a graduating student with an outstanding paper on a topic related to human resource management; union leadership; health care quality, management, disparities or inequality; fair wage policies; work-family policies; gender equity; or aging.
Lucy Moore MPP 2020
paper title: "Supporting Family Childcare Providers to Increase the Supply of Childcare in Boston"
Taubman Center Urban Prize
For a graduating student with an outstanding paper on a topic related to state or local urban issues.
Kevin Bain MPP 2020
Paper title: "Coordinating Utility Infrastructure Investment for Development In Detroit"
Daniel Comeaux MPP 2020
Paper title: "Curb Space and Its Discontents: Evaluating and Allocating New York City’s Curbs"
Charlene Wang MPP 2020 and outgoing KSSG President gives thanks to the Class of 2020 and shares her thoughts on why her class will be the shiniest diamonds of them all.
Professor Timothy Patrick McCarthy argues for "enough of normal" and asks us all to become the "brave misfits" we are meant to be in this moment.
Professor Kathy Pham talks about pulling through a recession, preparing for the unexpected, ceding power, and making the invisible visible.