Graduate Students Join Alumni Ranks

During Harvard University's 367th Commencement on May 24, 457 Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences students joined the ranks of SEAS alumni, a diverse and dynamic network of academics, scientists, technologists, and professionals that spans the globe. One hundred twenty-one students received master's degrees, 52 students received Ph.D.s, and 284 students received bachelor's degrees.

Meet a few of the newest members of the SEAS alumni community.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Commencement Marshal Nick Hoernle, S.M. ’18, prepares to lead the procession of graduate students to Tercentenary Theatre. Hoernle, a student in the computational science and engineering master’s program offered by the Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS) at SEAS, said what impressed him about SEAS was the access to diverse speakers and lecture topics that helped broaden his horizons. Hoernle will travel to the United Kingdom to pursue a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence. “I’m passionate about education,” he said. “In under-resourced countries, if we don’t get the access to human resources that we need to improve education, we can supplement that with online resources, and I think AI has a big role to play in that market.” (Photo by Eliza Grinnell/SEAS Communications)

John Abel, who earned a Ph.D. in systems biology, celebrates with mentor and SEAS Dean Frank Doyle. Abel is headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he will begin a postdoctoral fellowship in anesthesiology at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital. Abel said he is excited to conduct research that has a direct application on improving the lives of patients. “Every person I’ve worked with at SEAS has been so passionate about their research—not only understanding how the world works, but trying to improve it,” he said. “That has been an inspiring part of being a grad student here.” (Photo by Eliza Grinnell/SEAS Communications)

Hengte Lin, S.M. ’18, a student in the computational science and engineering master’s program offered by the Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS) at SEAS, is looking forward to starting his career at Facebook. Lin will join a team working on machine learning algorithms aimed at providing better rankings for users of the Facebook marketplace. “The CSE program provided a good platform for me to interact with brilliant professors and students from all over the world,” he said. “I learned so much from my classmates.” (Photo by Eliza Grinnell/SEAS Communications)

Matthew Holman, Andrew Ross, and Nripsuta Saxena, students in the computational science and engineering master’s program offered by the Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS) at SEAS, prepare to file into Tercentenary Theatre. Saxena is not quite ready to leave school—she plans to complete a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Southern California. She was drawn to the field of computer science because of the opportunity to use her skill set to solve complex problems in many different fields. “One of the most important lessons I learned at SEAS was how to judge timelines more accurately and better understand how long a project might take,” she said. “That will be a useful skill for me to have in the future.” (Photo by Eliza Grinnell/SEAS Communications)

SEAS Ph.D. graduates (from left) Lauren Hartle, applied physics, Xizhu Zhao, applied physics, Ashwin Jayaramen, engineering sciences, and Rachel Heasley, applied physics, gather with their fellow graduates in Harvard Yard. Heasley is headed to Apple to work as a software engineer. She said the most valuable lesson she learned at SEAS was how to be self-motivated as she worked through the long and challenging process to complete her Ph.D. (Photo by Eliza Grinnell/SEAS Communications)

Lauren Hartle, Ph.D. ’18, applied physics, shows her SEAS pride as she prepares to enter Tercentenary Theatre with her fellow graduate students. Hartle will soon begin a career in consulting, working with statisticians to tackle thorny business problems. She enjoyed the amount of freedom in the Ph.D. program at SEAS, which enabled her to explore many different areas outside of her degree. “My advisor always said, ‘It is only a failed experiment if you didn’t learn something,’ and I think that mindset can be applied to almost anything,” she said.

Applied physics Ph.D. graduates Alexander Raymond and Marinna Madrid pause to catch their breaths before processing in for the Commencement ceremony. Madrid is excited to begin working full-time at Cellino, the biotechnology startup she co-founded with a fellow Ph.D. student last year. Completing at Ph.D. at SEAS helped Madrid learn what motivates her and enabled her to zero-in on the things she is passionate about. “I am most excited to be working on something that I have ownership of and can be proud of,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to make an impact.”