Hannah Liu '23. 12/13/2022. “A Case for Higher Education: Addressing Financial Sustainability in Community Colleges”.Abstract

Community colleges—two-year public institutions—are a vital part of the American education ecosystem. Providing academic instruction and vocational support to a disproportionate number of low-income students, students of color, and students who are otherwise unable to obtain similar resources, community colleges also serve as a crucial proponent of a mobile and vibrant economy. That said, community colleges have long faced challenges with finances, with a most pertinent root cause of lowered enrollment and therefore decreased tuition revenue. With the COVID-19 pandemic as an added interruption in normal operations, community colleges around the nation are encountering challenges to revitalize and continue acting upon its objectives. Through a case study on Bunker Hill Community College located in Boston, Massachusetts, interviews with its administrative members, and discussions with experts in the field, this paper finds that revitalization of community colleges relies on continued experimentation with instruction methods—including hybrid learning and non-term-time courses—as well as increased exploration of industry partnerships in order to target the growing interest that prospective college students have in career readiness and professional training.

Keywords: community college, education, finance, enrollment, industry

Ellie Grueskin'22.5. 5/22/2022. ““Playing Your/The Part: Examining The Optimal Leadership Structure For Kirkland Drama Society””.Abstract
Leadership structure is an integral, yet often overlooked, component to the success and sustainability of student theatrical organizations. In this research project, I examine the optimal leadership structure for Kirkland Drama Society (KDS), an undergraduate drama organization at Harvard. I surveyed a group of KDS members from Fall 2021, conducted five expert interviews with current and former KDS leaders, and interviewed four leaders of other undergraduate drama organizations. From the survey, my primary findings were that most KDS members were content with a small leadership structure, but some were interested in a clearer schedule. Based on my expert interviews with KDS leaders, I learned that there have been modifications to the leadership structure over time to improve communication and that tutors see setting expectations as the biggest challenge. Through the interviews with other undergraduate theater leaders, I found that each organization has a stage manager position that helps with scheduling, many incorporate a mix of election and appointment to their roles, and they provide clear delineation of roles within leadership. Using this data along with my careful literature design, I set forth four recommendations for KDS leaders moving forward. The recommendations are to add a stage manager position, move to a nomination-based system for choosing leaders, designate a split of responsibilities across leaders prior to each show, and conduct an audit of members and resources before each show. My deliverable, a guide for KDS leaders included these recommendations along with a timeline of responsibilities, former email templates, and a scene-by-scene guide for stage managing.
SOCIOL1104 Fall 2021 students. 1/12/2022. “SOCIOL1104 Fall 2021 Course Review Student Handbook”. sociol1104_2021_student_module_review_handbook_fin.pdf
Lauren Yang '23. 1/9/2022. “The Efficacy, Impacts, and Limits of Harvard College’s Title IX Policies”.Abstract
Given the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses in the U.S., universities have a 
responsibility to eliminate hostile environments, prevent harassment, and protect students. Title IX policies, as interpreted by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, regulate this responsibility. However, these policies simply mandate that colleges investigate and prevent sexual violence and provide limited guidance on specific institutional procedures and measures. Acknowledging Harvard College’s insidious rape culture, this project examines Harvard’s Title IX policies and procedures. Through expert interviews with Title IX coordinators and interviews with Harvard students, this paper outlines a set of recommendations for how Harvard can more effectively eliminate a hostile campus environment, prevent sexual assault, and mitigation the effects of sexual misconduct. I find that existing resources are primarily reactive rather than preventative, and survivors face several barriers in attempting to navigate support measures. 
Jeffrey Prince '22. 1/8/2022. “Too Rich for Aid, Too Poor for Tuition: The College Affordability Dilemma for the Middle and Upper Middle Class”.Abstract
With college tuition costs rising at a pace faster than inflation, middle and upper middle income families find themselves in a challenging position. While they are generally unable to qualify for significant need based federal and institutional grant aid or subsidized loans, they are also far from being able to afford college costs out of pocket. This paper utilizes a dual empirical approach consisting of an expert interview and student survey to investigate the ways in which three different types of institutions--Ivy League (and equivalent) universities, non-ivy private liberal arts colleges, and 4-year public universities--respond to the financial needs of middle and upper middle income families, as well as the consequences of these responses. The results suggest that Ivy League institutions are the most affordable for these families due to their robust and flexible financial aid programs, that 4-year public universities are the second most affordable as a result of their relatively low costs of attendance, and that non-ivy liberal arts colleges are least affordable as a result of high costs and insufficient aid to meet those costs.
Vera Petrović '23. 1/7/2022. “A Bygone Year: The Social Reintegration of the Junior Class to Harvard College Post Pandemic”.Abstract
Beginning in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted and complicated the operations of universities across the country. For the first time in history, the majority of American college students took classes online. As the pandemic carried over to a new academic year, however, many institutions began to reincorporate in-person learning and allow students back on campus. Harvard College was not one of them. In a particularly conservative move, Harvard conducted all classes online and permitted only 40% of undergraduate students to live on campus. While freshmen, juniors, and seniors were all invited back as full or partial cohorts, most sophomores spent the entire year remote. Now that all students have returned for in-person instruction, my research seeks to investigate how Harvard’s junior class is reintegrating into the social campus community. In this paper, I provide analysis of six qualitative interviews to explore what role formal and informal social structures played in reintegration, as well as whether losing a year of in-person college influenced how respondents organized their social lives when they returned to campus. Although I refrain from drawing conclusive statements, my findings tentatively reveal that a sense of “lost time” encouraged most respondents to prioritize their social lives above or equal to their academic work. Interestingly, formal social structures such as clubs and extracurriculars did not appear to promote new friendships or integration, with respondents more likely to rely on informal connections or their residential houses, and while the pandemic made several more open to socialization, it did not directly impact where and with whom they felt they most belonged. 
Sienna Campbell '23. 1/6/2022. “Being a Good PAF”.Abstract
Advising is a critical aspect of the Harvard College first-year experience.  When 
freshmen arrive on campus, they have a robust network of academic advisors, proctors, and 
resident deans who can support them on their higher education journey.  A unique aspect of the first-year advising network is the Peer Advising Fellow, or PAF.  PAFs are upperclassmen who undergo a rigorous application process in order to mentor their freshmen counterparts, and their applications are reviewed for key personality traits that make a “good PAF”, such as empathy and ability to reflect.  In this paper, I use interviews with Peer Advising Fellows to comprehend what motivates people to become PAFs, what they emphasize when applying to become Peer Advising Fellows, what they have learned from their role, and what they believe makes a “good PAF”.  In other words, what personal qualities are needed to become a Peer Advising Fellow? 
Claudia Cabral '22. 1/5/2022. “Going “Viral”: What College Student Meme Posts Reveal About Their Sentiments Towards Higher Education Administration Fall 2020 Reopening Plans”.Abstract
As a result of mandated college and university evacuations in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, many college students turned to social media as a means of preserving social networks and to express certain concerns and desires associated with the evolving and uncertain future of university education. In this paper, I explore the research question of what do college students’ posts on social media reveal about their sentiments towards higher education (HE) administration, specifically during the transition to their first fully online semester/school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic? To answer this question, I performed a digital content analysis on posts from August 1st to September 30th, 2020 in a popular “college life”-oriented Facebook meme group, called “Zoom Memes for Self-Quaranteens.” I found that students felt a general sense of mistrust towards HE intuitions and were divided on their sentiments towards residential or remote learning conditions. Additionally, the findings reveal lively debates on how responsibility should be attributed to students and/or HE institutions when enforcing personal and public safety measures.
Felix Bulwa '23. 1/4/2022. “Lifting Spirits: Analyzing School Spirit and Social Solidarity Among Harvard’s Student Body”.Abstract
One of the most visible components of university life is the student body’s engagement and 
identification with their school. This “school spirit” shows itself with colors and chants at 
athletic events, on the apparel of alumni across the globe, and in the meshing of student 
socializing. However, Harvard College seems to lack that spark. In comparison to other 
universities across the country, Harvard falls short in arenas that show off school pride. This 
empirical paper aims to answer three central questions: 1) How do Harvard students perceive 
school spirit at Harvard, 2) what the underlying causes of any deficiencies may be, and 3) how 
best to approach actions in order to increase the level of student solidarity on campus. By 
researching the status of Harvard’s school spirit, this paper seeks to offer a set of 
recommendations for students and administrators to best incorporate modern changes into a 
traditional school culture.
Abel Berhane '22. 1/3/2022. “Making the Case for a Liberal Arts Curriculum: Understanding Harvard Students’ Learning Experiences and Paths to Management Consulting Firms”.Abstract
            This research paper explores two questions within the context of Harvard students’ liberal arts curriculum and paths to management consulting firms (a common employer for students). First, how do Harvard students develop skills in college needed for management consulting firms? Secondly, what role, if any, does a Harvard student’s concentration or studies play in their ability to join a management consulting firm? These research questions are essential to understanding what management consulting firms as potential employers look for from Harvard college students. This research also serves as a foundational piece to understanding liberal arts colleges and their curriculum’s transferability to employment more broadly. The research is driven by interviews of entry-level consultants that graduated from Harvard and management consulting firm recruiters. The findings provide insights from various stakeholders about the skills and experiences translated from Harvard to management consulting firms, and the role students’ studies played.
Ashley Alvarez '24. 1/2/2022. “California, the First or the Only? Ethic Studies as a Graduation Requirement in Higher Education”.Abstract
The offering of ethnic studies in higher education has been a topic of contention for
decades. California, the birthplace of ethnic studies, became the first state to require it as a
graduation requirement within their public university system, the California State University
(CSU). What is of further interest is that it was the state government, and not the CSU system, that
intervened to implement it with the passing of a legislative bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 1460. This
paper investigates the movement that led to the codification of this legislation in hopes of
answering a question on many stakeholders’ minds: will California be the first or the only state to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement in a higher education system? Drawing on literature reviews composed of various primary and secondary sources in addition to an expert interview, this study reveals the extent to which the movement that brought about AB 1460 can be replicated in other American states.
Andrew Castillo, Helena Mello Franco, Emily Ni, Vera Petrovic, Kevin Ray, Caleb Ren, Xaley Yousey, and Meiyi Yu. 6/10/2021. “Higher Education Through Student Eyes: A Collection of Student Research Papers.” Edited by Manja Klemenčič.Abstract

The present collection of research papers reflects students’ perspectives on today’s changing higher education landscape and the challenges or controversies they observe in contemporary higher education. Student research papers featured in this collection are a testimony of students’ genuine interest in studying and contributing to the established and emerging areas of higher education studies, and their commitment to achieving equity and excellence in higher education.

Higher EducationThrough Student Eyes: A Collection of Student Essays
Nicholas Brennan, Jenny Le, Hannah Liu, Lex Michael, Christine Mui, Rukaiya Sharmi, Ann Yang, Jonathan Zhang, Nicole Zhang, Chuwudi Ilozue, and Atuganile Jimmy. 5/20/2021. “Higher EducationThrough Student Eyes: A Collection of Student Essays.” Edited by Manja Klemenčič.Abstract

The present collection of research papers reflects students’ perspectives on today’s changing higher education landscape and the challenges or controversies they observe in contemporary higher education. Student research papers featured in this collection are a testimony of students’ genuine interest in studying and contributing to the established and emerging areas of higher education studies, and their commitment to achieving equity and excellence in higher education.

Kevin Ray (Computer Science and Government '24). 5/20/2021. “Free Speech and Social Justice: Opposite Sides of the Same Coin”.Abstract
College campuses have long been at the forefront of activism, social justice, and free
speech. For most of the history of campus activism, these movements worked together,
recognizing that they had to rely on each other to reach their goals. However, recently it
seems to be that these movements have moved against each other. Many campus
social justice movements do not look favorably on campus free speech movements and
vice versa. The goal of this research project is to determine and analyze the current
attitudes toward free speech and social justice movements on campus and the factors
that have contributed to these feelings, both political and social. The results of this
research can help students and administrators learn more about what is driving both
movements and how students feel about the efficacy of each movement.
Andrew Castillo (Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology '21). 5/20/2021. “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Perception of Mentorship Quality Among Undergraduates Engaged in Life Sciences Research : Evidence from a Survey”.Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted higher-education, the training ground of young scientists. A critical aspect of science education is mentorship, yet it is poorly understood and is seldom measured for quality by higher education institutions. The pandemic has the potential to disrupt mentorship relationships and existing literature suggest under-represented minorities are likely to be particularly vulnerable. This study reports the findings of a survey on how senior thesis writers in a life sciences concentration at Harvard perceive their relationships to their faculty mentors during the ongoing COVID19 pandemic. In brief, this study finds that self-reported attitudes towards PIs did not change at a population level relative to recalled perceptions but draws attention to the presence of outliers. This study was not powered to ascertain changes in the perception of mentorship across subpopulations of students. This study also aimed to use theoretical frameworks of mentorship to propose and validate metrics of PI mentorship quality. This study recommends 4 of 5 survey questions used for future validation studies.
Xaley Yousey (Government, Secondary in Educational Studies '21). 5/20/2021. “In-Person and Emergency Remote Learning: An Examination of the Perceptions and Experiences of Seniors at Harvard University”.Abstract
Many higher education institutions previously offered online courses, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rate at which higher education institutions transitioned to emergency remote classes. Research on the effects of this emergency transition is limited due to how recent the events have occurred and given the fact that these events are ongoing. The emergency shift to remote learning due to the sudden onset of COVID-19 makes remote learning distinct from typical remote learning circumstances. In this context, it is critical to understand how students are perceiving and experience their classes. The aim of this study was to compare 4th year students’ experience and learning in their emergency remote and traditional in-person class settings. Using qualitative data from six interviews with Seniors at Harvard, I found that student motivation and engagement have dramatically fallen while taking emergency remote classes, largely due to a lack of social interactions inside and outside of their classes. However, the students felt they had greater access to resources and their professors which they saw as a primary benefit of their remote experience. This study found that while students saw several benefits of learning remotely, overall the students expressed a strong preference for in-person classes.
Caleb Ren (Statistics '21). 5/20/2021. ““Shadow Market”: A Historical Analysis of the Rise of the Private College AdmissionsCounseling Industry”.Abstract
Recent controversies in the world of the private college admissions industry such as
Operation Varsity Blues have led to increased scrutiny on independent education consultants. The shadowy, often-opaque college admissions industry has led to conversations about whether or not the process of college admissions is as equitable as institutions would have the public believe. The aim of this paper is to examine historical factors in the rise of the modern private college admissions industry and argue that key factors and decisions by institutions, economic cycles, and shifts in society are responsible for creating the modern-day private college admissions industry. By interviewing admissions counselors to gain insight on their backgrounds, analyzing primary data and industry reports, this research paper attempts to create a historical lens through which the current private admissions counseling industry can be analyzed. Finally, suggestions for future pathways toward equity and access in the industry are provided.
Vera Petrović (English, Secondary in Education Studies '23). 5/20/2021. “Sink or Swim: Non-Profit College Access Outreach to High-Achieving, Low Income Students in a For-Profit Industry”.Abstract
While institutions of elite higher education have made progressive steps toward admitting more low income students, notable socioeconomic disparities still remain. At Ivy Leagues, in particular, affluent and upper-class students significantly outnumber their lower income peers. Multiple factors contribute to these inequities, including the fact that few low income students apply, but the rise of the private, for profit college counseling industry has given wealthier students an advantage in an increasingly competitive application process. This study seeks to investigate the other side of the college counseling industry: non-profit “access” organizations that specifically target high-achieving, low income students and provide pathways to selective colleges. While several studies address counseling and mentoring programs, no literature currently explores student perceptions of a national nonprofit like QuestBridge. Through my own research, I investigate student experiences with QuestBridge, as well as collect qualitative data on the perceived value, community, and impacts of outreach programs geared toward high-achieving, low income students. Although I do not draw conclusive statements, I do identify several key commonalities across my interviews. My findings reveal that participants came into contact with QuestBridge through chance encounters or individual mentors, found its services valuable (for various reasons that include money and community), and, contrary to most existing literature, did not generally feel that QuestBridge drastically impacted the selectivity of the institutions they chose to apply to.
Emily Ni (Economics ’23) and Helena Gallotti Mello Franco (Economics de ’24). 5/20/2021. ““Worth It?”: An Analysis of Tuition Prices for Institutions of Higher Education”.Abstract
The purpose of this research paper is to explore the factors that drive the rising prices of higher education and to further break down the various market forces and strategic considerations that contribute to tuition pricing. The rise in tuition prices and amplifying concerns with college affordability motivated our interests in understanding the ways that institutions of higher education are allocating their students’ tuition fees. This paper aims to use the case study method to understand how tuition prices are governed by higher education institutions by delving into the decision-making process of pricing academic services under pressure from competitive markets and in light of institutions' strategic positioning. Harvard University, an elite, private non-profit four-year research university, serves as the case institution of this investigative paper. By conducting expert interviews and carrying out qualitative research methods, this empirical-conceptual paper will explore how the pricing mechanisms of higher education institutions are established. Using the unique case study interview data, existing literature, and archival financial records, the collected evidence advances research on how tuition prices are governed. The paper puts forth explanations for how tuition costs are determined in the context of academic markets and the varying revenue sources of Harvard University.
Meiyi Yu (Chemistry ’22). 5/20/2021. “Yes, You Can Get into Medical School: Guide to Being a First-Generation, Low-Income Pre-Med Student at Harvard College”.Abstract
Pre-medical students follow a specific track in order to become competitive applicants to
medical school. The general knowledge is that students should maintain a high grade point average, score well on the Medical College Admission Test, have clinical experience, obtain
excellent letters of recommendation, etc. The pre-med track with rigorous coursework and heavy load of activities that need to be completed in a short period can be especially stressful for first-generation, low-income students who are navigating college on their own. This project studies the challenges that first-generation, low-income pre-med students at Harvard experience throughout their journey to medical school by conducting interviews with these students. The findings of this project will contribute to the understanding of student experiences at the intersection of being first-generation, low-income, and pre-med, which will allow potential development of interventions that can provide better support for this population. The findings of the research are also applied to develop this guide containing what first-generation, low-income pre-med students at Harvard should know, institutional resources that can support them, and tips compiled from pre-med advisors as well as students at the college.