What advice would you give yourself or future students before beginning this journey?

Research and take advantage of all that Harvard has to offer; the amount and range of opportunities is mind-blowing.

I was able to create and build my own opportunities by leveraging the Harvard network. Two key examples of this during my degree journey stand out.

One experience was building a startup. I leveraged my data science skills acquired during my studies and used the resources offered by Harvard Innovation Labs. This led to fantastic opportunities, including exhibiting and pitching at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.

I also pitched to Kevin O’Leary at the Harvard x Shark Tank event in front of a full house of 1,000 spectators! I have never before experienced receiving the ovation of that many people, let alone by Harvard students and professors!

For my data science master’s degree capstone, I had a very specific sponsor in mind: NASA.

Three fantastic NASA scientists agreed to write the capstone paper with my classmates and me. Our capstone led to my team presenting our findings during a virtual AI for Good fireside chat hosted by Harvard Extension School and broadcast from the Brattle Square Studio. We are also giving two seminars at NASA and writing two scientific papers with senior NASA scientists, including the chief of the NASA Ocean Ecology Laboratory.

Capstone students at NASA.

We recently received the opportunity to present and exhibit our findings at the United Nations “AI for Good” conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

I hope to give this opportunity to future generations of data science students and am now working hard to create future collaboration opportunities between Harvard, NASA, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and the United Nations. Thanks to these efforts, 15 students in two cohorts worked on their capstones with these organizations.

What’s something unexpected that you learned about Harvard?

That Harvard has a forest! It is an hour drive from the Harvard Yard and is one of North America’s oldest managed forests.

What are you going to miss the most?

The Harvard libraries and workstations! I loved the wide variety of studying and working environments. In particular, Harvard Innovation Labs is great for collaboration, Lamont Library for concentration and solo work, and Widener Library to study in a wonderful setting.

Thankfully, even as alumni we can take advantage of these wonderful spaces thanks to the Harvard Library Access offered after graduation.

Describe your Extension experience in one word.