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HGSE Community Celebrates 2019 Honors

In the first half of 2019, a number of Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty, students, and alumni were recognized for their hard work and achievements with awards and fellowships.
Honors and awards

Below is a look at a small portion of the prestigious honors awarded to members of the HGSE community:



  • Ed.L.D. candidates Tyler Hester and Crystel Harris were finalists in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition for their organization New Teachers Thriving — a social enterprise geared to supporting and training teachers in their first year in the classroom.
  • Ed.L.D. candidates Amanda Dudley, Leslie Jinez, and Danielle Duarte received an award the HILT (Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching) Pilot Fund.
  • Ed.L.D. students Michele Rudy and Steven Chambers are the 2019 recipients of Harvard's Presidential Public Service Fellowship.
  • Leslie Jinez, Kentaro Iwasaki, and Tauheedah Baker-Jones, all of the Ed.L.D. Program, were selected as recipients of the RIDES (Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools) Leadership Fellowship.
  • Ph.D. candidate Whitney Kozakowski was awarded an AERA dissertation grants for her research that uses a regression discontinuity design to study the effects of access to four-year public colleges on students’ college completion and finances, including costs, aid packages, and loans. Ph.D. candidate Katie Gonzalez, Ed.M.’17, also received an AERA grant.
  • Ed.L.D. students Danila Crespin Zidovsky and Stefan Lallinger were named 2019 Meade Fellows. The Meade Fellowship provides an opportunity for HGSE students to travel to Washington, D.C., visit leading education and related organizations, and meet with chief architects of change in education policy.
  • Crespin Zidovsky and Ed.L.D. student Erica Jordan-Thomas are 2019 recipients of the HGSE Education Entrepreneurship Fellowship with the Harvard Innovation Lab. Their venture, OnBoard, focuses on training school boards to govern for equity. 
  • Ph.D. student Michael McGarrah received an honorable mention in the 2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program competition for his proposal to investigate the development of curiosity in middle to high school age children.
  • Ph.D. candidate Sarah Surrain, Ed.M.’14, was awarded GSAS Merit Fellowship for the 2019–2020 school year for her work on dual language learners and the school-home transition in early childhood.
  • Ph.D. student Fei Yuan was the first recipient of the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program’s Tessa Jowell Research Fellowship to assess interventions to improve education quality in The Gambia.
  • Ph.D. candidates Cynthia Pollard, Ed.M.’12, and Carly Robinson, Ed.M.’17, were named 2019 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellows. Robinson also received a grant from the Foundations of Human Behavior Initiative to carry out her dissertation research on developing and testing interventions that mobilize social support for students to improve student outcomes.
  • Ph.D. student Ka Ya Lee will be working as an Edmund J. Safra Ethics Pedagogy Fellow at the Center for Ethics.
  • Ph.D. students Avriel Epps; Christopher Cleveland, Ed.M.’19; Martha Franco, Ed.M.’15; and Isaura Gallegos, Ed.M.’18, were named honorable mentions for the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Ph.D. candidates Daphne Penn, Ed.M.’17, and Whitney Polk were part of the Ford Foundation’s Dissertation Competition.
  • Epps was also chosen to be a visiting researcher at Spotify for the 2018–2019 school year.
  • Ph.D. student Brandon Neal Edwards was honored with the GSAS Graduate Society Pre-Dissertation Fellowship.
  • Co-authors Mikko Silliman (Ph.D. student) and Hanna Virtanen were awarded the 2019 Society for Labor Economists Fellows Award for Best Poster at this year's SOLE conference for their work on the "Labor market returns to vocational secondary education."
  • Ph.D. student Lucian Bessmer, Ed.M.’14, was selected as a New England Regional Fellowship Consortium Fellow for his work conducting historical research on the shifting priorities of education schools from 1960–1980.
  • The Nkondo Enrichment Program, an afterschool program based in rural Rwanda founded and directed by Ph.D. candidate Celia Reddick, Ed.M.’15, was awarded a grant from the Ontario Teachers Foundation to support the implementation of the program's teacher training model.


  • Cassandra Bates, Ed.M.’19, and Chelsea Han, Ed.M.’19, received a third-place award for their team fluClue’s work on AI in the Healthcare track at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s first-ever hackathon event.
  • Geoffrey Canada, Ed.M.’75, received the Richard Murphy Leadership Award for his work as president of the Harlem Children’s Zone.
  • Alex Tavares, Ed.M.’17, and his company T-var EdTech won the audience choice prize in the MIT $100K competition for the product The Read Read which teaches children phonics.
  • Sammi Cannold, Ed.M.’16, made the Forbes “30 Under 30” list as the youngest female director in American Repertory Theater history.
  • Jeanette Mancilla-Martinez, Ed.D.’09, received the AERA Early Career Award for her research in reading development and language comprehension.

If you are a member of the HGSE community and recently have won an award or achieved a special honor, please email