Post by Kailee Traficante
Editor’s Note: Kailee is one of the Graduate Assistants at HDS Admissions. She is a master’s student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where she is studying Education Policy and Analysis and Higher Education.
Hello! My name is Kailee, and I am one of the Graduate Assistants (GAs) at HDS Admissions and a student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) pursuing a master’s degree in Education Policy and Analysis. I’m also the classmate of another one of this year’s GAs, Colin. I am so excited to be joining the HDS Admissions team this year!
I am originally from a small town near Scranton, Pennsylvania (any fans of The Office?). But, I’ve moved around a bit in the past few years, attending college in Washington, D.C. where I studied international relations before spending time in Nashville, London, Chicago, and now Boston. In college I never imagined that I would fall in love with education and find myself at a place like HGSE. I was very interested in international politics and Cold War history, and I even wrote my thesis on the détente period of the Cold War and worked at a Cold War History think tank for a bit. I realized, however, that out of all of the jobs that I’d had, the ones where I was able to work with students in some capacity were the ones that made me happiest and made me feel like I could make a difference.
Prior to coming to Harvard this fall, I was working as an academic coach at a college access nonprofit in the Chicago suburbs and I fell in love with the K-12 to higher education transition. I loved working directly with students and supporting them as they achieved their high school and postsecondary goals. However, I had never formally studied education before, and I was curious to learn more about the policies and practices that undergird the intersections of K-12 and higher education. This semester I have been lucky enough to be able to take classes in both K-12 and higher education policy at HGSE that have helped me to pursue these goals.
Coming to HGSE and Harvard as a whole, I was nervous about whether I would fit in and find a sense of belonging in the community. Harvard is such an elite name, and I wondered if I really belonged here. I was surprised to find that the people here are so welcoming and open. The community is so supportive, from professors to support staff to students, and everyone believes in your ability to succeed. In just a short time, I have had the opportunity to build relationships with the faculty and students here and learn so much from them. While transitioning from the workforce back to school hasn’t always been easy (how do I possibly read so much for homework every night!?), it’s great to know that there are awesome people here who are supporting me.
Coming from a college access background, I am used to supporting high school students as they explore their postsecondary options for the first time and begin to develop their college-going identities. I am excited to step into the world of graduate admissions here at HDS and learn more about supporting prospective graduate students through a similar discernment process. As a GA, I’ll be running the HDS Admissions Blog, so be sure to check it out while you’re applying to and considering HDS!