Our student ambassadors provide a personal connection to Harris Public Policy. Read about their passion for public policy—and for Harris.

Team Harris is a select group of student ambassadors who share their perspective and experiences at Harris Public Policy. They are representative of the Harris Public Policy student body and passionate about their areas of study as well as their experience at Harris.

Team Harris members are available to meet in person or to talk with prospective students on the phone or online. They also host coffee chats when prospective students visit campus. 

Faraz Ahmed, MSCAPP’18

Faraz Ahmed
Health and Energy Analytics

Faraz’s interest in public policy stems from his personal experience. “Growing up in Pakistan, I saw firsthand the problems I faced when the lights blacked out. Not being able to read books or use a computer (my passions) during a blackout provoked me to change the way the energy sector is operated.”

Saeb Ahsan, MPP’18

Saeb Ahsan
International Policy

Saeb has a passion for growing the field of public policy. “I am interested in helping to grow the brand of public policy programs, particularly as a means of helping civic-minded, high-achieving individuals to identify avenues to learn and become involved in a public policy-making career.”


Guillermo Alarcon, MPP’17

Guillermo Alarcon
Financial Policy

Guillermo Alarcon is an MPP student from Colombia who has considerable experience working in the public sectors of Mexico and Colombia. Guillermo is eager to share his experiences with prospective students. 

Hannah Bent, MSESP’17

Hannah Bent

“As a policymaker, I think that it is extremely important to both understand the science behind these issues as well as be able to successfully evaluate policies to protect natural resources and ensure the livelihood of future generations.” Hannah spent the summer as a public policy intern at International Innovation Corps’ Brazil Policy Lab.

Peter Biava, MPP’19

Peter Biava
Economic Development

“I want to study the impact of the development of the private sector in emerging economies and learn what policy tools can be used to make that more efficient. It's interesting to me because my parents emigrated to the USA from Colombia during the 1980s, a very dangerous and tumultuous time in Colombia’s history, yet 30 years later, Colombia is now a popular tourist destination and most of the inherent danger in urban areas has subsided.”

Sarah Boyle
Global Conflict Resolution

“I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Harris so far and I want to share my experience with prospective Harris students. I personally valued speaking with current students when I applied and want to be a part of that opportunity for others.”

Mika Choi
Tourism Policy

Mika Choi came from a nonpolicy, noneconomics, and nonstatistical background, yet she has found her way at Harris Public Policy, where she is exploring tourism policies. She believes that the policy experience and training she is receiving at Harris can make the tourism industry sustainable and beneficial for the cities, businesses, and people involved.

Himanshu Dave
Economic Policy

“I think Harris has a unique appeal in the way it approaches problems that demand complex thinking.”

Anthony Davis
Urban Policy

Anthony Davis is an MPP student who proves the falsity of the phrase “where fun comes to die.” Anthony studies urban policy and excels at it, is part of the Experiential Learning Program, and plays on the Ultimate Frisbee Club Team.

Kai Goldynia
Economic Development

“I want to be a part of Team Harris, as they are responsible for bringing in the greatest class to Harris. I want to sell the school and to give back for what was provided for me last year.”

Rachel Gordon, MPP’17

Rachel Gordon
Municipal Finance

“I am pursuing the municipal finance certificate at Harris, which will provide me with valuable insights related to the financing options available to local governments and further my quantitative analysis skills.” This past summer, Rachel was a mayoral fellow with the city of Chicago, serving in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.

Carlos Grandet-Caballero, MSCAPP’17

Carlos Grandet-Caballero
Economics Analytics

“I am interested in the confluence of computational analysis and economic policy. I think that our understanding of the economy and its drivers can be greatly improved by using computational techniques.” Carlos is also the president of the Graduate Council. 

Shen Han, MACRM’17

Shen Han
Data Analytics

“When I was an applicant to Harris, a Team Harris student reached out to me and really helped me a lot, which is one of the reasons that I chose to join Harris eventually. Now I am very satisfied here and would like to share my excitement with other potential Harris students.”

Arvind Ilamaran
Educational Policy

Arvind Ilamaran is a member of the Education Policy Student Association and is fascinated with educational policy, as it has “different structural issues in comparison to policy design in other areas.”

Rachel Johnson
Child and Family Policy

“My policy interests were shaped by my work with refugees, homeless youth, and girls in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. I believe that when children experience trauma or are in vulnerable situations, there must be welfare and justice systems in place that support them. Programs working with systems-involved youth need to be of the highest quality, and I want to learn the quantitative and analytical skills that will allow me to create, analyze, and implement high-quality supportive policies and programming for systems-involved youth.”

Shilin Liu
Educational, Child, and Family Policy

“I want to take my future career to where I can contribute to help the disadvantaged group's well-being enhancement. So education, child and family, and economic development are my policy interest areas.” Shilin worked this summer at Save the Children US as a program intern for their global youth employability program.

Meg Maxwell, MPP’17

Meg Maxwell
Politics and Policymaking

“My favorite class at Harris thus far has been Professor Worthington's State and Local Finance. While I've always known I wanted to work in the public sector, I never considered state or local government before this course.” Meg's summer internship was as a data and policy intern at Truth in Accounting, a Chicago nonprofit.

Leonor Ortiz Monasterio

“Team Harris was a great help for me when I was deciding to come to Harris. It was one of the reasons why I chose to come to Chicago. The communication with Team Harris made me feel like I mattered to the school, and I would love to help new students have that same experience.”

Marya Quinonez, MPP’17

Marya Quinonez
Social Policy

“The core courses were very important for me. Coming from a totally qualitative background, having the opportunity to learn basic microeconomics and stats was very useful.”

Marya spent the summer interning for Oak Park Regional Housing Center in Chicago. “I worked on a project collecting and analyzing data in Cook County. The data analysis helped us determine where there are neighborhoods and suburbs that could engage in integration strategies to improve inclusion, equity, and prosperity.”

Jorge Quintero
Economic Policy

“For me it was very important to contact students already at Harris before accepting to come here. And since I arrived, I have had a great experience that I would like to share with potential students. One of the things that attracted me the most at Harris was its focus on quantitative tools to evaluate policy. But actually getting to know some of the students who were studying here gave me a tangible sense of what students are really like.”

Divyasha Ray
Economic and Energy Policy

“About three years ago I was a successful professional in New Delhi preparing for my public policy education. As I researched policy schools, Harris stood out to me partly because of the data-driven culture, but mostly because of the humility exhibited by the current students I interacted with. I have come to recognize this attribute in Harris students as a characteristic that the Harris culture imbues in its community.”

Hector Salvador Lopez, MSCAPP’17

Hector Lopez Salvador
Data Analytics

“As a former business consultant, I see programming as a tool to get insights for the problems I’m solving. Whether I’m working on a policy problem or a business solution, the CAPP classes have taught me valuable skills that allow me to harness data and propose actionable solutions.”

Hector Lopez Salvador worked during the summer as a data science intern at the city of Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology. He also worked on his own start-up, a one-stop shop for mortgage seekers in Mexico, after being a semifinalist in the Chicago Booth Social New Venture Challenge.

Gregory Smith
Economic Policy

“I am interested in economic policy because I want to help lead the development of the Caribbean region into a globally powerful and relevant united economic bloc, with long-term strength and sustainability. As I develop toward this role, I also want to be involved with financing and executing international development projects in countries affected by poverty and strife.”

Lauren Speigel
Criminal Policy

“I am personally interested in criminal policy as well as broader reforms to the criminal justice system because I want to work to address systemic inequalities that have been created by poor policy in these areas. Urban community development is a necessary tangent to both of these policy areas because the communities that are most affected by bad policy in the crime policy and criminal justice spaces are frequently also those that have the least amount of access to economic opportunity.”

Vicky Stavropoulos
Economic Development

“Before Harris, I attended the College at the University of Chicago. There, I majored in public policy studies. My most exciting moments were when I crossed the Midway to attend my classes that were held at Harris. It was a thriving intellectual atmosphere where students were open to collaboration and asking hard questions that addressed the most pressing societal challenges. I knew that Harris would be the place where I could both continue my graduate studies and connect with passionate public policy scholars. From learning about research and internship experiences, networking connections, Policy Labs and course work, I was thoroughly engaged from day one.”

Ryan Tang
Internet Policy

“This summer I had an internship at the Department of Commerce. I compiled and analyzed data for department programs and made recommendations for encouraging the growth of start-ups owned by women and minorities. I had a lot of help from the career department, especially Alma Ceballos, who gave me extra pointers on my resume and interview skills!”

Monica Torres, MPP’18

Monica Torres
Environmental Conservation

“I'm very passionate about the link between environmental conservation and poverty alleviation. I'm personally looking forward to developing successful policies towards a more sustainable food system and better support for small and medium producers in the rural areas, while preserving our world's natural resources.”

Madeleine Toups, MPP’18

Madeleine Toups
Health and Educational Policy

“I was not able to come to the admitted student day. Instead, I relied on current students and staff to help me create an admitted student day on the one day I was in the area. Harris was extremely helpful in connecting me with career advisers, academic advisers, giving me a tour of the building, and introducing me to current professors and students. I met with one current student who introduced me to everyone she knew in the Harris Cafe, Student Lounge, and anyone else we passed. This friendly atmosphere was instrumental in my decision to come to Harris. Seeing how easy it was for people in a competitive and stressful environment to make friends at Harris was reassuring and allowed me to envision myself at Harris.”

Maura Welch
Social Policy

“The combination of the class Crime Policy and working as a research assistant with UChicago Urban Labs is the most valuable experience I have had at Harris so far. I worked at Urban Labs part time throughout my first year, and through this experience I was able to work on a couple different projects related to criminal justice and poverty alleviation in Chicago. In the Spring Quarter, I took the class Crime Policy with Jens Ludwig, who is one of the faculty directors at Urban Labs. This class really challenged me and forced me to think critically about how to evaluate policies and programs related to public safety and crime. I was able to directly apply what I was learning in class to my research assistant position at Urban Labs, which was a tremendous experience.”

Judy Zhang
Economic Policy

“I am interested in education policy, especially the education for English language learners. In my opinion, the ELL population is a very unique group, each faces a different challenge, comes from a different family background, and has a different academic goal. Therefore, in addition to their language barrier, many other things need to be considered in order to minimize the achievement gaps between ELLs and students who are native English speakers.”

Xinxin Zhang
Economic Policy

“UChicago is definitely NOT where fun goes to die.”