The Orientation Staff members are returning Harris students who return to campus early to help make sure you're integrated into a community of future policy leaders. They are the backbone of the orientation experience and are here to foster community amongst the incoming class, advocate for your needs, and provide guidance on resources and policies you need to know to be a successful graduate student.

Get to know this year's staff below!


Heashot of Meredith McMurray
Meredith McMurray

Meredith McMurray

Orientation Program Manager 

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: I'm most interested in social policy (with an emphasis on gender), child and family policy, and education policy.
  • Undergraduate Institution: University of Portland
  • Hometown: Alameda, CA

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or in the city of Chicago? 

Public transit is your best friend! Hyde Park is a lovely neighborhood, but there are so many places to explore. This is a gorgeous city -- take advantage of it! There's always something to do, and there is also always something for everyone.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I wanted to be a part of the orientation team because I remember what it felt like to be new here, in a big city I had never been, while facing new challenges almost every day. I hope to be able to alleviate some of that stress in the incoming class, as well as welcome you to your new home. It's a great place to be!

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

I have really enjoyed Attaining Equity in K-12: Theory and Practice. It's been one of the best combinations of data and discussion in the classroom that I've seen while at Harris.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love to travel, which sadly has been very limited during the pandemic. But I hope to get to do that more in the near future! I also like to read in my free time.

Fun Fact about Meredith: I met Ed Sheeran when I was 15. Ask me about it -- showing off the photos is one of my favorite things to do!


Headshot of Patricia Yumbe
Patricia Yumbe

Patricia Yumbe

Orientation Program Manager

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Undergraduate Institution: CIDE
  • Hometown: Mexico City

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or in the city of Chicago? 

Don't be afraid to make new friends! The connections you make while at Harris will be one of the most valuable take-aways of your experience at Harris.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris? 

Studying public policy at Harris gives me the resources to continue my career in research.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader? 

I want to help create a great experience for new Harristas!

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

Trauma-Informed Policy Communication with David Chrisinger.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy doing crafts.


Headshot of Irsa Ashraf
Irsa Ashraf

Irsa Ashraf

  • Degree Program: MSCAPP
  • Area of Specialization: Technology Policy
  • Undergraduate Institution: UCLA
  • Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or in the city of Chicago? 

By getting to know their peers, talking to their advisors, and taking advantage of all the resources this school has to offer!

Why are you studying public policy at Harris? 

To complement my tech skills with a policy education so I can better understand issues surrounding tech policy, such as cybersecurity and data privacy.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader? 

To help new students, especially international students, better navigate life in a new city and country.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

I loved my CAPP core Computer Science classes, CAPP 30121 and CAPP 30122.


Headshot of Saloni Bhardwaj
Saloni Bhardwaj

Saloni Bhardwaj

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Hometown: India

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or in the city of Chicago? 

Meaningful participation in the orientation experience provides the perfect space to have challenging intellectual conversations with your peers and find your network at Harris. Harris has a lot to offer and being at UChicago definitely puts you at the epicentre of a lot of groundbreaking work. Make sure you spend your time thinking about what domains interest you the most and connect with professors across the university to get more perspective about how you can further your interests. For me, interacting with peers across different graduate programs has been very rewarding and I would recommend everyone to step out of their comfort zone and experience this. As for the beautiful city of Chicago, the southside has so much potential to engage with the community and build a strong understanding of the historical dynamics of inequality, race, power and oppression. Immersing oneself in understanding this can go a long way in feeling more at home and grounded in contextual realities.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader? 

My experiences during orientation week facilitated my first interactions with my incredibly talented peers and were one of my key motivations to serve as an orientation leader. Being an international student, I realise how important it is to feel a sense of belonging during the overwhelming beginning of graduate school and I want to support the incoming class as they set out to find their community here at Harris. Orientation is an exciting time and I wanted to re-create that joy for as many people as possible.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love cooking, reading, listening to podcasts and watching documentaries.


Headshot of Ruth Daniela Castillo Pinto
Ruth Daniela Castillo Pinto

Ruth Daniela Castillo Pinto

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area of Specialization: Consulting
  • Undergraduate Institution: Simon Bolivar University
  • Hometown: Venezuela

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

To make the most of their experiences, students must be open to hearing everybody, their colleagues, professors, and university workers. Everybody will contribute to their growth with new perspectives, new dreams, and new goals. Students must be open to challenging previous beliefs and being bold to fight for their new ideas.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I am drawn to the Harris School’s emphasis on designing, analyzing and implementing policy with a data-driven, multidisciplinary and multisector approach.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I want to be part of the window that shows Harris beyond its classes. I want to show the new students the immense opportunities that the Harris School opens for the rest of their life.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

Microeconomics

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love doing exercise, traveling, and knowing Chicago (especially the food) with my friends.

Fun Fact about Ruth:

All my siblings live on a different continent.


Headshot of Xinyu Feng (Lina)
Xinyu Feng (Lina)

Xinyu Feng (Lina)

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Data Analysis and Finance Policy
  • Undergraduate Institution: DePauw University
  • Hometown: Beijing, China

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

Being in Harris allows access to so many different resources that you wouldn't see at a typical graduate program. Be open to new friends, opportunities, and experiences!

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

Harris provides a holistic and multi-faceted perspective on public policy issues and allows me to tap into different electives that are vital to me moving forward in my future career.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I feel grateful for all the opportunities I had during orientation that helped me connect different resources at Harris. And I look forward to providing support to other students in this collaborative community!

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

I'm really enjoying the Data and Programming class with Professor Jeff Levy.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love to explore restaurants, go outside, and hang out with friends during the weekends.


Headshot of Stephen Fowler
Stephen Fowler

Stephen Fowler

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Crime Policy
  • Undergraduate Institution: Dublin City University / University College Dublin
  • Hometown: Dublin

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

The best way to get the most out of your Harris experience is to fully participate in all the events at Harris and the rest of the university. There are incredible resources here, including the Institute of Politics and the International House, where students can learn from experts outside the classroom and from their peers too. If you want to make the most of your time here at the Harris school you must get out of your comfort zone and participate in all that the university has to offer.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I chose to study at Harris because I want to pursue a career in politics when I return home to Ireland. I believe the rigorous classes offered in Harris give me the best skills to become the most effective policymaker. The statistical methods and data driven approach to policymaking that Harris teaches will enable me to make the best policies to improve the lives of Irish people. Harris allows me to specialise my studies on my policy area of interest, Crime Policy. The University's commitment to Freedom of Speech fosters an environment for healthy debate, empowering me to learn from diverse opinions of students and professors alike. For these reasons Harris is the best place for me to learn public policy to become an effective policymaker.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I want to be an Orientation Leader as I really enjoyed taking part in orientation in first year and I want to give back to Harris by welcoming the new cohort of first years to the university. It is an amazing privilege to be able to study at the Harris school and I want to encourage the new cohort of first years to make the best of this wonderful opportunity.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

My favourite classes so far has been Political Economy of Developing Countries with Prof. Raul Sanchez de la Sierra and Advanced Statistics II with Prof. Bruce Meyer. I really enjoy the class with Prof. Raul Sanchez de la Sierra because the content is very interesting and the professor is very engaging. I enjoyed the class with Prof. Bruce Meyer because I feel the skills we learned in the class were very useful to create good policies and the professor took us Ice Skating!

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love sports, especially soccer and running, I also like reading books and the news. I try to go travelling anytime I get the chance.

Fun Fact about Stephen:

I have run the Dublin Marathon twice and have a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do!


Headshot of Yifu Hou
Yifu Hou

Yifu Hou

  • Degree Program: MSCAPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: I am interested in the intersection of media, technology, and policy!
  • Undergraduate Institution: Communication University of China
  • Hometown: Jiaozuo, China

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

My take is to try new things and meet new people! Learn something that interests you and challenges you. Make friends with people who you might not had chance to meet before, who have very different cultural background and career experience. Engage in the communities around you, inside and outside of UChicago.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

For me, moving to another country and starting grad school at Harris was very challenging, but the orientation program in Harris really helped me a lot to navigate through my new life. As an orientation leader, I want to meet with new friends, share my experience and be more involved in Harris community.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

CAPP 30121 Computer Science with Applications 1 is one of my favorite classes. It built a very solid foundation for computer science and challenged me to develop my coding skills with lots of well-designed practices.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love spending hours cooking and trying to replicate home dishes I couldn't find here. I like Chicago nightlife, going running and hiking, and killing time watching mediocre Netflix shows.

Fun Fact about Yifu:

I wrote an essay with my friend on dating apps in undergrad!


Headshot of Christelle Inema
Christelle Inema

Christelle Inema

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Data Analytics and International Development
  • Undergraduate Institution: Soka University of America
  • Hometown: Kigali, Rwanda

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

By being involved in the community. It can be easy to stay in a small bubble, I would suggest to challenge yourself to participate in different activities the University offers as well as the city of Chicago. For instance, the Office of Civic engagement provides great opportunities to do pro-bono consulting with non-profit organizations on the South Side. This would be a great way to connect with leaders in the community and to learn how you can be of service.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I am inspired by the program's mission to make its students into policymakers who are determined to develop solutions that work for communities.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

In my transition to Harris, the guidance and resources provided by my Polis student set me up for success. I want to use this opportunity to help other students as well.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

Data and Programming in R as well as Political Economy of Development.

How do you like to spend your free time?

talking to my family, hanging out with friends, watching shows, listening to music/podcasts.

Fun Fact about Christelle:

I enjoy hiking.


Headshot of Shweta Kamath
Shweta Kamath

Shweta Kamath

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Urban and Education Policy
  • Undergraduate Institution: Singapore Management University
  • Hometown: Dubai

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

My advice would be to explore as much as possible. The city has beautiful neighborhoods, museums and parks and fall is the absolute best time to explore these. From an academic perspective, UChicago has the best to offer in terms of all disciplines and you should take diverse classes to really make the most of your experience here. Lastly, you should make use of the amazing network of grad students (at Harris and other schools) to make new friends who can broaden your perspective and push you to think outside of your domain.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

The development sector faces some of the most complex problems whether it is understanding how to mitigate climate change or figuring out how to efficiently manage a non-profit. The challenging and multifaceted nature of these problems is what attracted me to public policy. I chose Harris because it provides a great mix of methods, theory and application when it comes to learning public policy. The rigor of the UChicago system as a whole also allows me to take classes in other departments like econ, sociology and booth to strengthen my foundation in public policy.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

As someone who has moved across multiple cities, I know how daunting it can be to move to a new city (especially as an introvert). I hope to be able to make this transition easier for all the incoming students by helping them navigate the campus and the city. Orientation week at Harris also includes insightful discussions around our common read. I wanted the chance to be part of and lead these important conversations for our incoming cohort. Its also an added bonus that all the orientation events we have planned are super fun!

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

I really liked the Microeconomics sequence by Professor Navin Kumar. I had no prior exposure to economics and I really how the assignments pushed us to apply what we were learning. I am also taking Program Eval with Dr Fiona Burlig currently and it has been great to learn how to apply the statistical methods we learnt in the core to cases in international development. I am excited to take Conflict and Applied Data Science with Prof Oiendrila Dube next year.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I like painting, reading and taking long walks by the lake.

Fun Fact about Shweta:

I lived in 5 different countries across Asia before moving to Chicago (I basically had to learn to Marie Kondo before it became popular).


Headshot of Omar Knio
Omar Knio

Omar Knio

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Education
  • Undergraduate Institution: American University of Beirut
  • Hometown: Beirut

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

Experiencing everything Chicago has to offer is important. The food, the music, as well as the people! Making new friends and enjoying one's ten year at Chicago is easy when surrounded by great people. Which Harris has a lot of.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

What Harris has to offer is simply unmatched!

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I want to help people enjoy their Uchicago experience.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

Management Matters

How do you like to spend your free time?

Enjoy my time with my friends.

Fun Fact about Omar:

I play Rugby!


Headshot of Patrick Landes
Patrick Landes

Patrick Landes

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Undergraduate Institution: Connecticut College
  • Hometown: Harrisonburg, VA

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

Get involved with organizations that are active in areas, both academic and non-academic, that interest you! Also, if you are new to Chicago, start listening to podcasts and reading news that is made in Chicago for people in Chicago.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I am studying public policy at Harris because I am interested in the intersection of housing, health, and cultural policy. No other graduate program that I was considering had the option to study all three areas. Harris and UChicago also have very strong career development offices which have been very helpful in helping me navigate my way to a career that I am excited about.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

During my first year at Harris, I have realized how important it is for students to feel a strong sense of community. As OUTPolitik Co-President, I have worked to organize activities that bring people together over common interests. As Orientation Leader I'm excited about the opportunity to help new students feel safe, secure, and happy as they begin their journeys at Harris.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I am a photographer, hobbyist musician, and video game enthusiast.

Fun Fact about Patrick:

I've lived on four continents!


Headshot of Olivia Olvera
Olivia Olvera

Olivia Olvera

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Health Policy
  • Undergraduate Institution: Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas
  • Hometown: Queretaro, Mexico

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

To engage in Harris Student Organizations and attend UChicago events.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I came to Harris to get analytical and coding skills. I am passionate about developing evidence-based solutions to improve health outcomes and people’s well-being more generally.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

To help incoming Harris students taking advantage of the unique opportunities UChicago provides.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

Economic Development and Policy with Santiago Tobon

How do you like to spend your free time?

Cycling is my favorite way to get around Hyde Park. You can usually see me carrying my helmet too!


Headshot of Harish Sai
Harish Sai

Harish Sai

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: International Development, Urbanisation, Gender
  • Undergraduate Institution: Ashoka University
  • Hometown: New Delhi, India

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

I think, at least at the outset, students can make the most of their experience at Harris by attending all the orientation events -- they are not only enlightening, but also prove to be great arenas for social and intellectual interactions. As for the city of Chicago: they should explore the roof-top bars in the first few months that they come here, and save all the lovely museums for the winter!

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I think my primary motivation to study public policy is to gain skills that allow me to rigorously inspect policy as well as implement solutions. At Harris, I am not only able to equip myself with these skills, but do it around a cohort that is as intelligent as it is compassionate. Moreover, the school has allowed me to interact more closely with brilliant Professors who are pioneers in the fields of international development, gender studies and urban policy.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

As an Orientation Leader, I hope to help new students, especially those who are coming from different corners of the globe, make an easier transition not only Harris and University of Chicago, but more important Chicago, and the US.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

Health Impacts of Transportation Policy with Prof Kavi Bhalla

How do you like to spend your free time?

Either reading Victorian fiction or watching Bravo TV (both which are not too different!).

Fun Fact about Harish:

I collect hats from every country that I visit!


Headshot of Sarah Scott
Sarah Scott

Sarah Scott

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Voting Rights, Elections, State & Local Politics, Data Analytics
  • Undergraduate Institution: Middlebury College
  • Hometown: Rockport, Maine

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

Find a schedule that best suits you! Although I initially wanted to get involved with every club, get coffee with every person, and go to every TA session, prioritizing down time and rest definitely helped me get through the core!

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I am studying public policy at Harris because I wanted a program that rewired me to think about systemic problems and solutions through a quantitative lens. I ultimately decided on Harris because I knew that the Core would give me a solid foundation of analytical skills. However, I did not anticipate that I would also gain the confidence to apply to data roles, discuss complicated topics with politicians, and enroll in scary-sounding finance courses. I am grateful that the skills I've learned in the classroom have been immediately transferable to work settings.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I'm excited to be an orientation leader because I want to help new students acclimate to grad school and Chicago. No matter what you did before coming here or where you were in the world, it's a huge change! I'm ready to answer questions about my favorite professors, how to print, and my favorite restaurants in Chicago! Additionally, I hope to be a resource for new students not only during September but also throughout their time at Harris.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

I really enjoyed Micro I and II. It was awesome to look at fields like healthcare, labor markets, and insurance from a new perspective.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love listening to podcasts and recently started co-hosting and editing my own show!

Fun Fact about Sarah:

One time I had a dumpling-themed birthday party where I made and served 500 dumplings!


Headshot of Aditi Shankar
Aditi Shankar

Aditi Shankar

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Hometown: Chennai

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

Outside of classes, there are loads of events at Harris and UChicago where you get to hear new perspectives and meet really interesting people - I'd highly recommend making the time to attend those that interest you. Also, there is so much to learn from know your peers at Harris and UChicago, given their diverse backgrounds and unique experiences.  With respect to Chicago more broadly, I'd highly recommend being outdoors when the weather is nice, it's very beautiful! (I say this after experiencing my first winter)

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I am passionate about working in the development/social impact sector, especially in areas concerning developing countries. I'm at Harris to build my analytical and quantitative toolkit to make better data driven decisions in my career.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I'm excited to interact with and learn from the diverse group of new students joining us.  I also remember how welcomed I felt during my orientation, and I'd love to help create that environment for the incoming cohort.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

I really enjoyed the Statistics sequence and Analytical Politics 2 in the Core.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love catching up on the latest movies and TV shows, and visiting new restaurants and cafes in my free time. I also really enjoy board game nights.


Headshot of Emma Steyaert
Emma Steyaert

Emma Steyaert

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: I am studying international development and health policy with a data science focus.
  • Undergraduate Institution: The University of Texas at Austin
  • Hometown: Austin, Texas

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

The best way to make the most of the Harris experience is to get involved throughout the school as well as Chicago itself! I have loved taking the time to get to know Chicago’s neighborhoods, museums, and events, there is always something happening! At Harris, there are so many interesting speakers, events, and presentations that are great to learn about something I know nothing about or hear from experts about a topic I’m more familiar with and get their opinions. Harris Student Organizations also present an excellent opportunity for leadership and getting to know people with shared interests.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I am studying public policy at Harris because I want to improve the lives of those around me. I hope to use the quantitative skills I have gained at Harris to create effective solutions to policy problems. Prior to Harris, I worked on political campaigns, so I was able to talk with people about the kinds of changes they would like to see, particularly in health care, so I came to Harris to learn how to put those changes into place. With data analytics tools, these changes can be made in the most efficient way, allowing for beneficial outcomes.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I wanted to serve as an Orientation Leader because I have loved my time at Harris so far, and I wanted to share that experience with incoming students. I thoroughly enjoyed Orientation and getting to know my Polis, many of whom I am still close with! I wanted to facilitate that  for next year’s students.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

My favorite class at Harris has been Behavioral Experiments in International Development: From Theory to Practice. We are working with the Bursara Center in Kenya to help them build their experiments and facilitate their data collection. The class has opened my eyes to a lot of important considerations in experimental design and how we can overcome biases when designing an analysis. I love collaborating with my small group to be creative about our approach and apply the quantitative skills I have developed at Harris to research.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I spend my free time walking my dog, Brodie, around Promontory Point, trying out restaurants in Chicago, playing card games, and cooking elaborate dinners with my roommate.

Fun Fact about Emma:

I love doing the New York Times Crossword!


Headshot of Hillary Wang
Hillary Wang

Hillary Wang

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Health and Urban Policy
  • Undergraduate Institution: University of Michigan - Ross School of Business
  • Hometown: Rockville, Maryland

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

Try to visit at least one new neighborhood or place in Chicago every week!

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I previously was in management consulting for healthcare clients and after gaining a strong understanding of the U.S. healthcare system and its players, I realized that some of the key root issues in healthcare need to be solved by data-driven policy. I hope to build up my policy analysis skills and work in a public service health agency post-graduation!

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I think that the orientation experience for me was important to ease my way back into the academic experience as well as form initial strong connections with my classmates.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

I am looking forward to the Data and Programming classes (R) to further strengthen my coding skills and start applying those skills in real situations.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Trying out new recipes and biking along the Lake shore path.

Fun Fact about Hillary:

I went on a bike ride around Taiwan with my dad in 2019, rode close to 450 miles!


Headshot of Audrey Yu
Audrey Yu

Audrey Yu

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Social Policy and Inequality, Certificate in Municipal Finance
  • Undergraduate Institution: The University of Oklahoma
  • Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

The time goes by so fast, so say "yes" to events outside of the Hyde Park bubble, explore the city by CTA, and challenge yourself to walk to places as much as possible to really see how beautiful Chicago is.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

I chose Harris to learn rigorous quantitative AND qualitative data analysis and applied theories to one day work for a mission-driven organization and implement informed policy decisions to increase intergenerational mobility and improve quality of life outcomes for all while maximizing efficiency and equity.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I chose to be an Orientation Leader because I want to make every incoming student feel truly excited to be here, like they belong at Harris, and that they can always come to me for help.

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

Writing for Public Policy Professionals with David Chrisinger has been a breath of fresh air after the Core and is a great skill for everyone to learn while getting to research and write about their policy topic of choice!

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love walking, running, and strength-training, trying new recipes or restaurants with friends (Chicago food is amazing), and restorative nights at home watching TV with my two cats.

Fun Fact about Audrey:

I was born in Canada and have been back (to Vancouver and Toronto) 6 times!


Headshot of Samuel Zuckert (Sam)
Samuel Zuckert (Sam)

Samuel Zuckert (Sam)

  • Degree Program: MPP
  • Area(s) of specialization: Education Policy, Municipal Government
  • Undergraduate Institution: Tufts University
  • Hometown: Evanston, IL

How can students new to Harris make the most of their experience? At Harris, UChicago, or the city of Chicago?

The university and the city have such rich cultural and educational offerings, make sure to keep and eye out for all the great events in Hyde Park and beyond.

Why are you studying public policy at Harris?

My goal is to study how municipal, state, and federal policies across all sectors impact public school districts and how those policies can be leveraged to improve public education. Harris's focus on data-driven policy research and interdisciplinary collaboration make it the perfect place to develop the tools needed to tackle America’s most intractable public education challenges.

Why did you want to serve as an Orientation Leader?

I'm very excited to show the new cohort of Harris students all that University of Chicago, the Harris School, and the city of Chicago have to offer!

What has been your favorite class, or which class are you most looking forward to taking, at Harris?

Management Matters with John Burrows takes a very interesting look at social capital, social networks, and interpersonal negotiations and how they impact our ability to drive improvement in large organizations and networks.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I read a lot of books, see a lot of movie, and often wander aimlessly around cities.

Fun Fact about Sam:

My favorite movie is There Will Be Blood, my favorite mathematician is Georg Cantor, and my least favorite mathematician is Leopold Kronecker.