Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

2021 Student biographies


Truong Nguyen ‘23, Psychology and Educational Studies, Leverett House 

Truong is a sophomore at Harvard concentrating in Psychology with a secondary in Educational Studies. Truong grew up in Vietnam before moving to America in 2013 with his family. While at Harvard, Truong discovered his love for teaching and mentoring through his volunteer experiences with PBHA serving the Vietnamese community in Dorchester and his involvement with the Harvard Ed Portal and other educational outreach groups on campus that work directly with students from China (HAUSCR), Japan (HCJI), and Vietnam (HVIET). After college, Truong plans to attend medical school to become a Pediatrician. Within the topics of higher education, Truong is interested in equity and access to post-secondary education, especially to increase FGLI students’ presence at more selective institutions. Truong currently works as a tour guide for the Harvard Visitor Center while producing his own podcast about college life and college admissions to provide additional resources for FGLI students.

Laura Frustaci ‘21, English and Education Studies

Laura is a senior at Harvard studying English with a secondary concentration in Education Studies. She hails from Burlington, MA, a short 25 minute ride from campus. Laura is the current President of Harvard’s only short form improv group, On Thin Ice. She performs in shows with the American Repertory Theater, the Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club, and the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. She also works as a LLUF at the Derek Bok Center. Laura is very passionate about arts education, as evidenced through her work Education Departments at both the ART and The Acting Company in NYC. For her research project, she wants to examine how college comedy groups have been impacted by the distance of the pandemic, and how other student leaders have adapted their performances to remote circumstances. 

Iris Su ‘23, Economics and Computer Science, Currier House

Iris is a sophomore at Harvard concentrating in Economics with a secondary in Computer Science. She is from the nearby suburbs of Newton, MA. Iris is currently the Managing Director of The Academies by Harvard Student Agencies, a business dedicated to making career-orientated education more accessible to all students. At Harvard, she is also a part of the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, Harvard Yearbook Publications, Harvard College Faith and Action, and Asian American Christian Fellowship. After college, Iris hopes to become a product manager where she can explore her three interests: business, technology, and design while spending her time interacting with others and designing new products.

Thu Pham ‘23, Applied Math and Educational Studies, Adams House

Thu is a sophomore concentrating in Computer Science/Statistics with a secondary in Educational Studies and a citation in Spanish. She lives in Adams on campus and is from Fort Worth, TX. This semester, Thu will work as a Calculus CA and do research with the Economics department. She is also involved in the wonderful communities of Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, Harvard Vietnamese Association, and the Noteables. Within higher education, she is interested in how students choose to involve themselves in specific public service activities, and their (as well as the university administration's) responsibilities to the surrounding community. After graduation, Thu wants to pursue a career in education, perhaps education policy, edtech, and/or K-12 teaching. She is so excited to meet everybody in SOCIOL 1130 and to learn from everybody's diverse passions and perspectives!!

Olivia Graham '21, Computer Science and Mind, Brain and Behavior, Pforzheimer House

Originally from Toronto, Olivia can barely believe that she is currently a senior at Harvard. Due to the pandemic, she has spent the past few months in London, living with her family and playing far too many board games with her two younger sisters. On campus, she sings a cappella with the Harvard Callbacks, works as a research assistant at HBS and serves as Head Teaching Fellow for CS51, an introductory Computer Science course. As a late convert to CS herself, she loves to think about ways to improve the student experience in CS at Harvard. For her project in this course, she is interested in looking into computer science education, and reflecting on how it is that CS should be taught and why. Post-grad, she will be moving to San Francisco to work in product management. But, for now, she could not be more excited to be headed back to Cambridge after nearly a year away.

Shivi Aggarwal ‘21, Integrative Biology and Economics, Winthrop House

Born and raised in Northern New Jersey, Shivi is learning remotely from home for her final semester, with a view of the Hudson River in place of the Charles River outside her window to keep her company. She has found a home away from home at Harvard through her work as a mentor at the Harvard EdPortal with students from the neighboring communities of Allston-Brighton. More recently, she began serving as a lead mentor for the Radcliffe Institute’s Emerging Leaders Program. Community and communication encapsulate her extracurricular involvements, which also include the Harvard Art Museums student board, the EXPOS 40 peer speaking tutors, Ghungroo, and the Admissions Office’s Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Program (UMRP). She could not be more thrilled to learn from the SOCIOL1130 community. For the research project, her involvement with the EdPortal and the Emerging Leaders Program has motivated her interest in exploring connections between institutions of higher education and their surrounding communities. 

Sammantha Garcia ‘22, Sociology and Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights, Leverett House 

Sammantha is a junior studying Sociology with a secondary in Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights. She is from South Texas and is currently finishing her junior year there. On campus, Sammantha would normally be running between the Leverett dining hall, the MAC Front Desk, and Peet’s Coffee. During her time at Harvard, Sammantha has been involved in the Latinx Community as a board member of Latinas Unidas, in FYRE, and in Act on a Dream. As a semi-retired junior, Sammantha now serves as a Peer Advising Member and as a board member on LiFT. Outside of school, Sammantha enjoys embarking Sociology research projects, reading Reddit threads, and running. While taking SOCIOL1130, Sammantha wants to focus on understanding the effectiveness of Harvard-wide mentorship programs, whether that is in the Peer Advising Fellow program specifically or in the Latinx Community. 

Rachel Eason ‘22, Economics, Winthrop House

Rachel is a junior at Harvard studying Economics. She grew up in Union City, California and will be staying home for the semester. At Harvard, she lives in Winthrop House and is captain of the Harvard Women’s Tennis team where she spends a lot of her time outside of academics. Rachel enjoys being part of a team and being able to compete alongside other talented and hard working student athletes. Rachel began playing tennis when she was 10 years old and after years of hard work and dedication, she was ranked No.8 in the country. Being able to play tennis at Harvard has been a dream come true and has been the highlight of her time at Harvard. She discovered her other interests in Finance and Business through joining the clubs Smart Woman Securities and Women in Business. She plans on going into Finance in the future. She is extremely excited to take Sociol 1130 as she loved Manja’s Gened course!

Abel Berhan ‘22, Sociology & African-American Studies, Cabot House

Abel is from Seattle, Washington, and he is currently a junior at Harvard studying Sociology with a secondary in African-American Studies. On campus, Abel is heavily involved with the Black Men’s Forum (BMF) where he currently serves as the Vice President.. He also helps facilitate a joint program with BMF and PBHA called the David Walker Scholars program, which would normally have BMF members provide mentorship and tutoring in-person to local elementary and middle school students of color. Abel is interested in higher education and education more generally because he believes that education should serve as a vehicle to reduce inequality, rather than perpetuate it. His interest in higher education especially peaked when he took part in LEDA Policy Corp and received the opportunity to advocate for higher education issues in DC to policymakers. Abel hopes to continue his passion for education and policy in the future.  

Aisha Abdelhamid ‘23, Sociology and Educational Studies, Leverett House

Aisha is a sophomore at Harvard studying Sociology with a secondary in Educational Studies. She grew up in Long Island, New York, but her family is originally from Egypt. She is currently the co-chair of FYRE (First-Year Retreat & Experience), the pre-orientation centered around uplifting and preparing first-generation/low-income/underrepresented first-years for Harvard. At Harvard, she is also involved with the Harvard Islamic Society, PBHA, Society of Arab Students, Arab Professional Network, and also works as a PAF. After college, Aisha hopes to work in education, in most, if not any, capacities. In the realm of higher education, she is specifically interested in the concepts of belonging and respecting capacity. In regards to belonging, she is interested in how different identities, or the intersection of them, can affect the feeling of fitting into an institution such as Harvard and the best way to increase inclusion. As for capacity, she is interested in how organizations can actually respect people's capacities, especially in spaces where people are volunteering (i.e. not being paid). She is so excited to meet the students of SOCIOL 1130 and hear everyone's experiences in higher education!

Jessica Edwards ‘21, Computer Science and Educational Studies, Pforzheimer House

Jessica is a senior in Pfoho from Alexandria, Virginia studying Computer Science with a secondary in Educational Studies who is excited to spend her final semester on campus! She’s very interested in advocating for diversity in tech, data science, artificial intelligence, education technology, and education policy and outreach (especially programs geared towards STEM education for underserved groups). During her time at Harvard she has been a board member of Harvard College Faith and Action (HCFA), the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College, and Women in Computer Science, served as a CS Peer Concentration Advisor and Teaching Fellow for CS182, and volunteered through PBHA programs as a Y2Y Homeless Shelter supervisor and a mentor for the Franklin Afterschool Enrichment Program (FASE). Post-grad, she will be working in Reston, Virginia as a software engineer at Microsoft. For her final project, Jessica hopes to reflect on her role as a co-Vice President of HCFA (one of the largest Christian organizations on Harvard campus). She’s interested in exploring how HCFA promotes inclusion, community, leadership, and service both within the fellowship and in the broader Harvard community. She’s super excited to learn and reflect with everyone this semester in SOCIOL1130!


Daniela Castro’ 22, Sociology & Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights (EMR), 

Mather House 

Daniela is a Junior at Harvard studying Sociology with a secondary in EMR. Born in Honduras, she moved to the U.S. and was raised in Southwest Florida. She now lives in Nashville, Tennessee. At Harvard, she was formerly involved in the Latinx community through the Latina Empowerment and Development (LEAD) Conference, Latinas Unidas, and Concilio Latino. She is currently involved in the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) and has been since her freshman year as a volunteer for tutoring programs and as a student officer. She is also the Co-Director of Act on a Dream, an immigrant rights organization. Passionate about challenging educational inequality, she is interested in how students from underrepresented backgrounds (from low-income communities, underfunded schools, marginalized identities) can reclaim power in higher education institutions. She is interested in how their labor can work to not solely benefit the institution, but rather it be a contribution to communities outside of it.

Alexa Lagunas ‘23, Computer Science and Sociology, 

Quincy House

Alexa is a Sophomore at Harvard studying computer science with a secondary in sociology. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and her parents are from Guerrero, Mexico. She spent last semester studying at home and will be living off-campus near Cambridge in the Spring. She is very passionate about advocating for more opportunities for women and minorities in STEM. At Harvard, she is Vice President of Latinas Unidas and Communications Chair for Fuerza Latina. Outside of school, she does virtual one-on-one lessons teaching how to code in Python. She is also involved in WiCS developing a website for compers. In her free time she enjoys exercise, watching Criminal Minds, and taking walks. She hopes to explore the effectiveness of student organizations in creating safe and inclusive spaces on campus for FGLI students at Harvard and is excited to discuss ideas with other students in SOCIOL 1130. 

Avery Robinson ‘23, Sociology and Educational Studies, Quincy House

Avery is a Sophomore at Harvard studying sociology with a secondary in educational studies. He was born in Tampa, Florida and grew up there as well as in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Avery currently serves as the co-chair of FYRE, public service chair of BMF, and captain of Omo Naija X Wahala Boys. He also works as a PAF and is involved in PBHA. Avery is passionate about education equity within K-12 schools in the US and achieving social justice. He hopes to better understand how to provide the space and foster the comfortability for more socioemotional growth and deep community connection within the student organizations he is a part of. 

Lucas Chu ’23,


New York,

Dunster House

Lucas is a German-born Taiwanese assisting research at Opportunity Insights. Over the summer, Lucas founded Erevna, an intercollegiate nonprofit of over 5k students across 10 initiatives. 

Things I’m currently organizing:

EconHacks, the Education Policython, Hack+Policython, the Harvard Estimathon


In his free time, he loves attending AACF, ABSK, webinars, making card games, reading webcomics, tutoring, and folding origami.

Romina Lilollari ‘21 

Social Studies & African American Studies 

Tampa FL 

Adams House 

Romina is a senior in Adams House currently concentrating in Social Studies and African American Studies with a focus in the Economics of Educational Inequality. Romina is originally from Plase, Albania but has lived in Saint Petersburg, Florida for most of her life. On campus, Romina participates on the Harvard College Debating Union and has been ranked one of the top female speakers in the country. She is also currently assisting Professor Leslie Finger and Michael Hartney on a project related to the politics of Covid-19 reopenings in K-12 education. In the past, Romina has also served as a Research Fellow for the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy studying teacher tenure and merit based pay. Post-grad Romina will be working in the Public Finance division at Barclays Capital and then plans to apply to law school shortly after. 


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