Julius E. Babbitt Memorial Alumni Volunteer Award
“I never tire of talking about this school and its impact,” says Jen Tutak MPA 2012. “As I meet prospective applicants, admitted students, and other colleagues, I describe HKS as the best meeting place imaginable, radiating a unique energy that manifests from having a thousand world-changers under one roof who want to champion humanity. The school’s purpose driven energy is largely why I have been so compelled to stay connected. ”
Tutak’s day job, within Deloitte’s social impact consultancy, the Monitor Institute, places her at the intersection of business, government, and education, working with clients to improve outcomes for low-income, underrepresented, and first-generation college students.
But if working numerous universities and institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, often traveling four days a week, were not enough, Tutak has been deeply involved in volunteering at the Kennedy School since before her graduation. She was recognized for her work with the Julius E. Babbitt Alumni Memorial Volunteer Award, given out at Reunion Weekend in May. The award, established in 2006, honors the memory of the late Julius Babbitt MC/MPA 2001 and his spirit of volunteerism.
Tutak’s volunteer activities include recruitment, admissions, and leadership development. She co-founded the Harvard Graduate Student Leadership Institute, a program based at the Center for Public Leadership that accepts 30 students per semester from hundreds of applicants across Harvard and allows them to reflect on their personal journeys and leadership practice.
“The school’s purpose-driven energy is largely why I have been so compelled to stay connected.”
She has coordinated the Cambridge Fellows, a network of current and past Harvard and MIT fellows, including HKS fellows supported through the generosity of, among others, Mort Zuckerman, Sheila Johnson, and David Rubenstein. A member of the Kennedy School admissions committee, Tutak has worked tirelessly to connect prospective students, from those at Deloitte to those serving in the military. She is also a nonresident career tutor at Kirkland House, steering undergraduates, in addition to advising them on their futures, towards the offerings at HKS.
But her greatest impact, says Julia Fetherston MPP 2014, one of the many who supported Tutak’s nomination, is not in the thousands of hours she has volunteered, but in the countless ways she has shaped the lives of literally hundreds of students, championing them, inspiring them, and supporting them in their effort to bring about change. (She also introduced Fetherston to her fiancé.)
“I’m very touched that my peers here would recognize me,” Tutak says. “I will always have hope for tackling our most intractable problems knowing that there is a haven like HKS to unite and support us in our diverse missions to collectively love and care for the world.”