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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winner
Cate Lagueux
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.

Award Winner
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winners
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.

award winner
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winner
Janina Matuszeski
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winner
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.

Award Winner
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winner
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award Winners
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.

Award winners
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.

Award Winner
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.

Award Winners
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"
Class Day Farewell Lectures

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.