Silveira aims to use the leadership and data analysis skills he gains at Harris to make an impact in his home country of Brazil.
Headshot of Vitor Agrella da Silveira
Vitor Agrella da Silveira

“Sao Paulo, Brazil, is a very metropolitan but very unequal city," said Vitor Agrella da Silveira, MPP Class of 2024.  "When I was eleven years old, I was mugged by two kids not much older than me. That experience left me wondering: how could these kids be on such a different track than me?   Upon that, I started questioning my privileges, my country's stark reality, and, most importantly, what I could do to change the current outcomes.”

Silveira is dedicated to addressing the inequality he has witnessed in Brazil through impactful policy work in education.

In 2011, Silveira began volunteering at Crea+ Brazil, an education NGO that serves students from vulnerable populations. Through seven years of working at Crea+, Silveira climbed from volunteer to director. He has tutored more than 300 students and, through his leadership, increased the weekly attendance from 30 students to nearly 100 by 2018. “All of my experiences at Crea+ have shaped the way I see the world.”

After graduating from the University of Sao Paulo in 2015, Silveira was selected as one of thirty-four people (out of 9,000 applicants) for a prestigious fellowship that placed him as an advisor for the Sao Paulo State Department of Education. He would go on to become the IT Systems Director and lead a team of six public servants and 100 contractors. “We worked on cost reduction, modernizing IT systems, and improving operational processes." As Director, Silveira saved about $5 million in the annual budget and implemented an SMS notification program to notify parents of their children’s attendance at school. The SMS program led to a 2.1% increase in attendance across Sao Paulo.

In 2019, Silveira joined Impulso Gov, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing unique approaches to public policy problems in Brazil. “The opportunity came up to be a founding member of the organization alongside two Harvard alumni. I predominantly worked on health and homelessness issues, and the work allowed me to be out in the field communicating with people on the ground at the local level.”

However, graduate school was also on Silveira's mind. “Once I started working at Impulso Gov, I recognized a master's as an important stepping stone to leadership positions. I want to learn more about evidence-based policy and bolster my data analysis skills.”

Out of the several admissions offers Silveira received, he says the Admissions events single-handedly put Harris's offer above all the others. “I had such a positive experience with all of the webinars and orientation events. Other schools I applied to did not have nearly the same volume of events. And all of the SRGO staff were incredibly supportive and accommodating. It was a no-brainer for me.”

Silveira is keen to focus on developing leadership skills while at Harris, so he is excited by the chance to learn from faculty members such as Lecturer Caroline Johnson and Senior Lecturer John Burrows. “I’m also interested in Professor Ariel Kalil’s work, so I will certainly look to take a course with her, and since democracy is a core value of mine—and one I feel is under threat in my country—I think it would be fantastic to take a course with Professor James Robinson.”