Alumni Stories

  • February 14, 2018

    After scaling Everest, this data scientist turned mountain climber charts his next adventure

    For mountain climbers, standing on the summit of Mount Everest, literally at the very top of the world, is a crowning achievement. But alumnus Patrick Mauro, A.B./S.M. ’07, doesn’t consider reaching the peak of the world’s tallest mountain a personal zenith.

  • February 5, 2018

    Passion for problem-solving fuels alumna’s energy sector career

    The click-click-click of a stove’s gas burner heralds a controlled burst of flame that, for many, means dinner will soon be on the table. The seemingly simple process is so familiar it is easy to take for granted.

  • January 29, 2018

    A computational approach to human health

    Though a visit to the doctor’s office can seem like it takes hours, physicians actually spend an average of only 13 minutes with each patient, according to an annual report compiled by WebMD.

  • January 22, 2018

    A data-driven approach to improving social impact

    Whether seeking to feed the hungry, improve access to health care, or increase literacy rates, social sector agencies are driven to launch international development projects because of an earnest desire to help those in need. But what information do decision-makers use to craft these critical interventions? How do they determine if their good intentions are actually yielding effective results?

  • December 19, 2017

    With RightHand Robotics, this alumnus offers a novel piece-picking solution for e-commerce

    Human beings are generally pretty good at grasping an item off a shelf; we can reach out and grab our favorite coffee mug just as the pot finishes percolating without giving the action a second thought.

    For a robot, this seemingly simple action presents a plethora of complex challenges, from knowing what to grab (which mug?) to how to grasp it (squeeze the handle?)

  • December 18, 2017

    Yearlong African journey sparks new perspectives about energy

    When Joseph Lanzillo boarded a plane to Tanzania in October of 2016, he wasn’t entirely sure what he was getting himself into.

    Lanzillo, A.B. ’16, an environmental science and engineering concentrator at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, would be living alone for the next year as a Benjamin Trustman Fellow. The program is offered by Harvard's Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

  • November 28, 2017

    Fashion technologist works where art and physics collide

    Growing up in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, Kitty Yeung was torn between two passions: physics and art. She prioritized academic training for her educational path, opting for physics because of the potential to positively impact society.

  • November 13, 2017

    Crossing disciplines in search of energy solutions

    During frequent childhood trips to India, Riju Agrawal witnessed the daily struggles of families that lack access to electricity.

    While visiting villages throughout the countryside with his uncle, who worked to improve electrification as a member of the state electricity board, Agrawal saw how a lack of electricity for cooking, lighting, and heating often keeps people mired in poverty.

  • November 6, 2017

    SEAS alumnus and applied mathematician shares career wisdom with students

    Les Servi, Ph.D. ’81, head of the decision analytics group at The MITRE Company, shared insights from his wide-ranging career to kick off the first in a series of professional talks organized by the Harvard Applied Math Society (HAMS).

  • October 25, 2017

    Getting fitness data in shape for business

    When he was in graduate school, Naveen Sinha started each Wednesday the exact same way—with a 5:30 a.m. sprint up and down the Harvard Stadium steps.

    This fitness buff, who earned a Ph.D. in applied physics from the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 2013, is now using his scientific expertise to help others stay in shape as senior data analyst at Fitbit.