Erin '15

Category Alumni Spotlight

Author

Authored on October 19, 2022

Article

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: Darien, CT / currently in Providence, RI

House Affiliation: Eliot House

Concentration: History & Literature

Current Job Title/Organization: PhD candidate in American Studies at Brown University, Curatorial Assistant at the Japanese American National Museum, and co-director of the Seeing Memory project (a digital mapping and storytelling project)

What was your professional path after college? 

After college, I worked in the Harvard College Admissions Office for two years. I loved my time in the Admissions Office, especially traveling and meeting students, parents, and teachers all over the United States. And my colleagues were just the best! After about a year, I decided I wanted to get back into some of the questions and research from my senior thesis, so I applied to grad school.

What fills your time now - professionally and personally? 

Professionally, my time these days is filled with research and writing, for my dissertation and two other major projects I'm working on: an exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, CA that will open in 2025 and a National Park Service-funded digital mapping and storytelling project called "Seeing Memory." I spend a lot of time working within the Japanese American community, mostly spending time with elders and thinking about the relationship between history and memory in the United States. Outside of work, I've picked up knitting, I love trying different restaurants in Providence, running at Lincoln Woods, going to weekly trivia, hanging out with my nephew, and looking for bands to join!

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

I am so grateful, every day, for the experience that I had as a History & Literature concentrator. Every teacher that I had, whether in a seminar or smaller tutorial, was so dedicated and challenging. I remember one of my sophomore tutors sitting down with me early in the semester and going through one of my papers with me, line by line, to work on my writing. It was enormously helpful and also just exemplifies the level of care that I experienced as a student. During my junior year, we were able to design our own syllabus for tutorial. One of the units that I designed for the semester was on Japanese American history — the first time I really got to learn about Asian American history! That syllabus unit served as the foundation for my senior thesis, which brought up questions for me that I'm still thinking and writing about almost a decade later.

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

I was part of the Harvard Opportunes, one of the co-ed a cappella groups on campus. I loved being able to sing and perform, but the most meaningful part of being an Opportune was joining a huge community, including alums, who have remained important friends and mentors in my life.

What is your favorite Harvard tradition and why? 

My favorite Harvard tradition is Housing Day. I loved dressing up, heckling (affectionately!) other Houses, and welcoming first-years into Eliot. It was always such a fun and spirited occasion, celebrating community.