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HKS Campus Pilot Program a Reminder that COVID-19 has Changed Everything


My apartment is just a short walk from the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). When I signed my lease in May, it never crossed my mind that I would never have an in-person class on campus during my one-year at HKS.  My quiet living room became my classroom. As a Mid-Career MPA, and with COVID cases […]

“This Country”: The 2020 election has irrevocably destroyed American exceptionalism


On the cusp of President Biden’s time in office, the temptation to look forward to what the Biden administration will be able to accomplish is irresistible. I want to think about Covid-19 vaccine rollouts, qualified and diverse cabinet nominees, and policies that will move towards dismantling white supremacy. Instead, though, I am left looking backward […]

In Defense of Digital Government at the Harvard Kennedy School


We came to study digital government at the Kennedy School from three different worlds. Sasha chose the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) specifically to pursue a career in it, building on her work in digitizing elections and elections’ policy at WhatsApp. Tiffany came to pivot from a previous digital transformation role, but was pulled back in […]

A Vote for My Father


(Anil with his father, many years ago) Photo Credit: Anil Hurkadli On November 4, 2008, I voted alongside my father for the first and last time. It was an unusually warm day in Minnesota, and we joined a growing line of voters waiting to cast their ballots at a small church. I was thrilled and […]



Photo Credit: Philip Jones Headed to the polls in Newport News, Virginia. VOTE!

Connecting to Voters: Volunteering Experience in 2020


For the past month, I’ve been doing two types of volunteering: (1) Deep canvassing through a national women-led organization, and (2) election protection hotline shifts. Deep canvassing has been focused on calling undecided, older women voters in the Midwest, sharing vulnerable stories, eliciting shared values, and slowly coming around to making the case for a […]

Voting as a Family


Photo Credit: Ana Larrea-Albert Here’s a picture of us voting as a family for the very first time!!! Our son Louie turned 18 in September and was able to cast his very first vote for president in this incredibly consequential election. We voted last Tuesday at the library in Wellington, Florida, and the process was […]

A Long Trip to the Polls


Photo Credit: Tiffany Ho I used to joke, nothing prepared me for my first ballot like those Scantrons in grade school. Since I came of age, I have voted absentee in my home state of California due to my itinerant lifestyle. When work called me semi-permanently to Virginia this month; however, I realized my vote […]

Mail-In Voting


Photo Credit: Allison Agsten I grew up in a very rural area and often watched my parents fill in their absentee ballots at home since there were no polling places nearby. Though at this point I’ve lived in LA for more than half of my life, I still haven’t gotten over the thrill of actually […]

You’re Journalists, Not Influencers: Journalists need to behave professionally on social media


Journalists have increasingly blurred the lines between the influence they are accorded as trusted informers and the “influencer”-like power their professionally linked social media platforms provide them. As a digital organizer fighting to protect our democratic institutions on a daily basis, I’ve encountered this problem time and time again.   The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel recently tweeted […]

Reflections on the MPP Anti-Racism Module


I closed my laptop after the final class of DPI-385 “Race and Racism in the Making of the United States as a Global Power” and collapsed onto my couch. My first two weeks at HKS were a deluge of readings, films, podcasts, and discussions on the insidiousness of structural racism and white supremacy in the […]

Ruth-less: Finding a way to carry on RBG’s legacy


Photo Credit: Marta Hanson Four years ago, I met my hero. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Stanford to give the Rathbun Lecture on a Meaningful Life, and as associate director of the Stanford Women’s Community Center, I organized an intimate conversation for students to meet her. When Justice Ginsburg arrived, I shook […]

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