Student Leadership

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The Student Advisory Committee (SAC) leads Harvard undergraduates in planning and executing IOP programs and projects. It seeks to engage a diverse group of students and helps shape a long-term vision for the Institute.

Executive Leadership


Colin is a Social Studies concentrator living in Cabot House. A native Hoosier, he previously served as SAC treasurer, an HPR editor, the education policy group co-chair, and an avid West Wing Wednesday attendee. Some of his favorite IOP experiences include having been a liaision for Beth Myers, tutoring a Harvard employee who ultimately passed his citizenship test, and interviewing his senator for the HPR. Outside of the IOP, he is involved in the Digital Literacy Project and the United World Club. Based on his experience as a Director's Intern at Roll Call, Colin hopes to pursue a career in political journalism.

Contact Colin Diersing

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Vice President

Niyat is a Government concentrator with an Economics secondary who lives in Kirkland House. She hailis from the great state of Texas. During her tenure at the Institute of Politics, Niyat has participated in the Women Initiative in Leadership program and Harvard Political Opinion Project, served as a liaison twice with the Fellows and Study Group program, acted as a Member at Large, assisted in the founding of the Politics of Race and Ethnicity initiative, and chaired the National Campaign committee. She previously co-directed a mentorship program affiliated with the Association for Black Harvard Women and currently serves as a Peer Advising Fellow. Her hobbies include binge watching Scandal and boasting about her adorable nephew.

Contact Niyat Mulugheta

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Communications Director

Jenny lives in Kirkland House and concentrates in Applied Math with a focus in Government. She is incredibly excited to be the Communications Director and has also been involved in Fellows and Study Groups, the Harvard Public Opinion Project, Women in Leadership, Members-At-Large, and the Harvard Political Review. Outside of the IOP, Jenny is the Tech Editor for the Harvard Advocate, a mentor for PBHA's Strong Women Strong Girls program, and a member of improv comedy group Three Letter Acronym (TLA). She also enjoys eating cheesecake, watching Netflix original series, and doing bikram hot yoga. Though she has not yet done all three things at once, she's a strong believer that "if you can dream it, you can do it!

Contact Jenny Gao


Kim is a junior in Mather House concentrating in Math with a secondary in Computer Science. Originally from a suburb of Baltimore, she previously served as the chair of the Special Events committee and writes data-driven pieces for the Harvard Political Review. When she’s not procrastinating in the student office or late-night psetting in the Mather dining hall, Kim enjoys re-watching Arrested Development, running marathons, and sarcasm.

Contact Kim Soffen

Student Advisory Committee Leadership

Politics of Race and Ethnicity

Jordan is a Sociology concentrator in Adams House. He is also pursuing a secondary in Economics. As a new transfer student at Harvard, he is incredibly excited about being the co-chair of the new program, Politics of Race and Ethnicity (PRE), and getting more involved with the IOP as a member of the Student Advisory Committee. During his first semester, he was a member of the Harvard Political Union in addition to PRE. Outside of the IOP, Jordan has done volunteering with the Philips Brooks House Association and is a member of the Harvard Mock Trial Association.

Contact Jordan Alston-Harmon



Policy Program

Kathryn is the Co-Chair of the Policy Program and an Adams House resident from San Diego, California. As a Social Studies concentrator, Kathryn is interested in education reform, previously co-chairing the Education Policy Group focused on dropout prevention. This past summer, she was able to further explore the politics of education while interning for Senator Feinstein on the Hill. Since her freshmen fall, Kathryn has been involved in the IOP as a member of HPU, WIL, and HPOP. She also serves as the Social Studies concentration representative to the UC Student Advisory Board for Social Science. In her free time, Kathryn is an avid consumer of all things caffeinated and satirical.

Contact Kathryn Bussey



Citizenship Tutoring

Joe is an economics concentrator living in Kirkland House. He is excited to serve as Chair of Citizenship Tutoring, an organization that has allowed him to give back to the Harvard community. Within the IOP, Joe is also the Senior Campus Editor of the Harvard Political Review. He spent last summer working with the Chilean government at the intersection of business and politics, an area he wishes to further pursue. Originally from Aurora, Colorado, Joe enjoys skiing and is an avid fan of Suits and Survivor. He also spends way too much time watching Vines and is addicted to BonChon Chicken.

Contact Joseph Choe



John is an economics concentrator in Mather House. John has been a part of the Policy Program since his freshman fall, and has also served as a liaison for the Fellows and Study Groups program, written for the Harvard political review, and served on the Forum committee. Outside of the IOP, John is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Public Interest, Chapter Leader of Harvard Students for Education Reform, and a volunteer at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. He enjoys chess, poker, and pickup basketball.

Contact John Gabrieli


National Campaign

Mira is a sophomore in Kirkland, concentrating in History, and originally from Oregon. She has always been interested in issues of civic engagement and especially in encouraging youth political participation. When not harassing people about voting, she can be found watching bad TV, eating good food, and reading basically anything. Outside of the IOP, she's involved in Harvard Model Congress, the Center for History and Economics, and the Peer Advising Fellow program.

Contact Mira Hayward



Jonathan is proud to serve as the Institute of Politics Chair of the Harvard CIVICS Program, a collaborative initiative between the IOP and Phillips Brooks House Association to bring civic education to Boston-area elementary schools. Originally from Sonoma Country, California, he studies history, with a specific interest in twentieth-century American diplomatic relations. Outside of CIVICS, Jonathan serves on the Mather House Council, the Harvard Alumni Association's Board of Directors, and Harvard College's Committee on Academic Integrity. He is also a member of the club climbing team.

Contact Jonathan Jeffrey


Women's Initiative in Leadership

Eesha Khare is an S.B. candidate in Biomedical Engineering in Leverett House. At the IOP, Eesha has served on the JFK Jr. Forum committee and as co-chair of the education policy group. Eesha is also an avid researcher and has worked for three years on nanomaterials research, for which she was named Forbes 30 under 30 in Energy and the Young Scientist Award winner of the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Eesha is looking forward to combining her passions for political, women’s issues and scientific research as the Chair of the Women's Initiative in Leadership.

Contact Eesha Khare

Internships and Career Services

Doni is an economics concentrator living in Dunster House She is particularly interested in the intersection of business and politics, and how both can be leveraged for the betterment of society. Doni first started her journey with the IOP her freshman fall when she joined the Special Events and Internships and Career Services committees. Following her stint as the Domestic Policy Chair of SPEV, Doni is extremely excited to take the reigns of ICS. Outside of the IOP, Doni is an intern at the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations.

Contact Doni Lehman

Harvard Political Review

Priyanka is in in Adams House and the President of the Harvard Political Review. Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, she is concentrating in Mathematics with a secondary in History. She also co-chairs Harvard College Students for Scholars at Risk and serves as Music Director for CityStep, a public service organization that promotes arts education in the Cambridge Public Schools. She enjoys reading and writing about human rights issues, both current and historical and spent last summer at Cambridge University researching the connection between human rights and violence. Her favorite television show is the Office.

Contact Priyanka Menon


Fellows and Study Groups

Megan is a native of Miami, Florida currently living in Kirkland House. As a Government concentrator with a secondary in History, she has always been passionate about public affairs. Her specific interests range from constitutional issues to the representation of women in politics. In addition to her role in Fellows and Study Groups, Megan has been involved in the IOP as a member of the Women’s Initiative in Leadership, publicity chair for the Harvard Political Union, and a contributor to the Harvard Political Review. Outside of the IOP, in addition to being an avid watcher of The West Wing and Gilmore Girls, she teaches debate with Harvard College Mentors for Urban Debate and is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Contact Megan Mers


Harvard Political Union

Jeff is a native of Salem, Oregon living in Mather House. Jeff is now concentrating in Government and pursuing a secondary in Economics. In addition to serving as chair of the Harvard Political Union, he is an active member of both the Harvard Public Opinion Project and the Policy Program. Besides these pursuits, Jeff enjoys listening to classical music, engaging in any and all political discussions, and following professional basketball, where he celebrates his Pacific Northwest roots by being a Portland Trail Blazers fan.

Contact Jeff Metzger

Politics of Race and Ethnicity

Osaremen is a Kirkland House resident from Massachusetts. She is incredibly excited to cochair the Politics of Race and Ethnicity (PRE) Program after co-founding PRE as an initiative in the fall of 2014. She studies History and Science with a Medicine and Society (premed) focus, but her passion for politics drew her to the Institute during the first few weeks of her freshman year. She was a Fall 2013 liaison for the best former Senator Mo Cowan through Fellows and Study Groups and also became an eager staff writer for the Harvard Political Review. When not at the IOP, Osaremen serves on the board of the Association of Black Harvard Women, is a member of the Crimson Key Society, remains a proud former Harvard Democrats board member, and writes creatively. You'll also find her fanatically cheering on her Boston sports teams or being Nigerian.

Contact Osaremen Okolo

Campaigns and Advocacy Program

Blake lives in Eliot House and concentrates in History. Hailing from Houston, Texas, he became involved with the IOP his freshman year and has since been a part of the Civics, Policy, and Fellows & Study Groups programs. Blake participated in the pilot semester of the Campaigns and Advocacy Program and is excited to work on developing it as a permanent program at the IOP. This past summer Blake interned at the Cato Institute through the IOP Director’s Internship program, researching economic policy. Outside of the IOP, Blake serves as the Vice President of the Harvard Republican Club, plays bassoon in the River Charles Ensemble, and enjoys anything related to podcasts or documentaries.

Contact Blake Paterson

Harvard Public Opinion Project

Ellen is a proud Floridian living in Winthrop house and concentrating in Physics and Earth and Planetary Sciences. A self-appointed data junkie, she is excited for the chance to valiantly lead the HPOPers on a quest to better understand our generation’s view on topics pertaining to politics and public service. As the challenges mount for the next generations, it is imperative young Americans voices are heard both by the public and politicians. Outside of the IOP, Ellen builds props for the Harvard Band and builds robots for the Cambridge Robotic Futbol Club.

Contact Ellen Robo

Community Action Committee

Austin is a Government concentrator living in Pforzheimer House. He is also pursuing a secondary in History of Art and Architecture. Originally from Wilbraham, Massachusetts, he found a second home at the IOP. He has been a member of Community Action Committee since the fall of his freshman year, and more recently served as Co-Chair of a Policy Subcommittee on Education. Beyond the IOP, Austin is a Peer Advising Fellow, a member of the Small Claims Advisory Service, and a Research Assistant. Austin is honored to serve as CAC Chair and promote student engagement in public service and local politics.

Contact Austin Sowa

JFK Jr Forum Committee

Leah is an Anthropology concentrator living in Quincy House. She is from the sunny Miami, Florida. In her freshman fall, Leah joined the IOP as a member of the JFK Junior Forum Committee. Now she is excited to give back to the IOP in her new role. In addition to her work at the IOP, she serves as Finance Chair for the Harvard Undergraduate Council. She spent last summer interning at the Manhattan District Attorney's office, and will spend this summer interning within the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs.

Contact Leah Singer

Special Events

Margery Tong is joint-concentrator in Philosophy and Mathematics in Lowell House. She is pursuing a secondary in Neurobiology. She was born in Singapore and raised in Canada, but she has been fortunate to call Cambridge, MA her home since 2007. Margery is the chair of Special Events, a program to which she has been dedicated since freshman fall. Outside of the IOP, she is also involved in the Financial Analysts Club, the Francophone Society, and the Student Academic Integrity Council. In her free time, Margery enjoys playing piano and tennis, reading classic literature, and traveling.

Contact Margery Tong

Fellows and Study Groups

Max is an Applied Math concentrator in Mather House. He is also pursuing a secondary in Visual and Environmental Studies. Originally from New York, he became involved with the IOP his freshman fall as a liaison for Beth Myers with the Fellows and Study Groups Program, and is a member of the Harvard Public Opinion Project, and the National Campaign. He also served with FSG as a liaison for Farah Pandith spring 2014, and as Director of Community Outreach fall 2014.Outside of the IOP, he is the Fundraising Chair for the Harvard College Film Festival, and is a member of Harvard Democrats.

Contact Max Ubiñas




James is a member of the Class of 2016 from Bridgewater, Massachusetts living in Pforzheimer House and studying government. He led he Policy Program for the 2013-2014 academic year.  Previously, James was the co-chair of the education policy group and worked on issues like teacher recruitment and computer science education. In addition to his work at the IOP, James was elected in 2012 to a three-year term on the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School Committee, where he serves as liaison to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Legislature and serves on a range of subcommittees including Volunteerism & Community Involvement, Site Dedication, and Policy.  James can be reached at or at

Contact James W. Curtin, Jr.