Annie Dang '16

Category Alumni Spotlight


Authored on November 28, 2022


In our alumni spotlight series, learn about Harvard graduates' most meaningful experiences from college, and how Harvard impacted their professional and personal paths after graduation.

Hometown & Current City: Hometown: Everett, WA; Current City: Washington, DC

House Affiliation: Adams House

Concentration: Social Studies

What was your professional path after college? 

After graduating in 2016, I moved to NYC for two years and worked as a paralegal in the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. I then returned to Cambridge and worked as a Research Associate for Professor Karen Mills at Harvard Business School while serving as a resident tutor in Mather House! After four years away from school (highly recommend!), I moved to DC to attend law school at Georgetown. I'm currently in my third and last year and excited to head back to New York after graduating this spring to start as a full-time litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton.

What fills your time now - professionally and personally?

Law school is all-consuming! But the great thing about being an upperclass student is the freedom to choose exactly what kinds of classes and experiential credits you want to take. This semester, I took a seminar on the death penalty, as well as negotiations (something I missed out on in college) and professional responsibility, the ethics course every law student is required to take to graduate. I am also a student attorney in the year-long Criminal Justice Clinic, representing real clients in criminal cases in DC Superior Court and drafting compassionate release motions. Clinic has been invigorating and it has demonstrated to me that my future career will be incomplete without some form of criminal defense pro bono work. Time to relax in law school is hard to find, but I get a lot of energy from mentoring and lose myself in k-dramas and all kinds of food content (Great British Bakeoff, Eater series on YouTube, Chef's Table, etc.).

How did your academic experience at Harvard guide you in your post-grad pursuits? 

I concentrated in Social Studies, with a focus field in the American Legal System. My senior thesis on pro se litigants, people who represent themselves in court, and the accompanying research, was the start of a lifelong interest in criminal justice reform.

What was a favorite class you took and why? 

My junior year Social Studies tutorial, Law and American Society, with Terry Aladjem, my thesis advisor. As part of the class, we went to Norfolk MCI, a medium security prison in Norfolk, MA. It was eye-opening and disturbing and sits with me to this day. I think every lawyer, regardless of involvement in criminal law, should see what life on the inside of a prison is like.

Did you have any research/internship opportunities and/or professor/mentor relationships that were influential? 

Throughout college, I had so many formal and informal mentorship relationships—with tutors in Adams House, my thesis advisor, my PAF, etc. These were all incredibly meaningful and I am so grateful for them.

What were you involved in extracurricularly? 

Peer Advising Fellow for 3 years, LowKeys A Cappella Music Director and Choreographer, Adams House HoCo Co-Chair and Social Chair, Senior Class Committee – Program Marshal, Kappa Kappa Gamma (now the Fleur), Pleiades Society, played piano at weekly Catholic mass at Harvard Business School Class of 1959 Chapel, Freshman Musical and one show in the Adams Pool Theatre during senior spring

How did your extracurricular activities impact your Harvard experience? And have they had an impact on your post-grad life? 

I loved being involved on campus, especially in the arts and House Life. It was a big part of why I chose to return after two years away and serve as a resident tutor in Mather House.

What is a favorite memory of Harvard House life? 

Every Adams formal, every Carpe Noctem, every Drag Night. And falling in love with my fiancé :)

What is your favorite Harvard tradition and why? 

Housing Day! It's so magical and ridiculous and chaotic, in the best way.

What advice do you have for someone applying to college? 

Don't sacrifice your values or who you truly are. Don't mold yourself to what you think people expect of you.