GCP Residents Share Experiences

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Nick Gerry-Bullard |HBS MBA & HKS Master of Public Policy ‘13

“My favorite Grad Commons memory is of a cooking class led by a former resident, Chris Looi. Chris taught us to make eleven different types of gourmet canape – the little hors d’oeuvre that comes on a cracker. I’m not sure how many recipes I remember, but it was awesome to learn a new style of cooking and to enjoy interesting food with a bunch of other residents!”

Ben Ranish |GSAS PhD  Economics ‘13

“I’ve lived with the Graduate Commons program for almost five years and the quality of guest lecturers, food, and events has rarely disappointed (the bar is getting high too). Beer taste testing…with good beers too 🙂 Your neighbors might be interesting people. The monthly dinners are a great way to meet them!”

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John Zhou | HBS PhD Business Economics ‘16

“GCP is a fantastic program that creates a vibrant social environment for the many graduate students and Harvard affiliates that live in participating residences. As a Ph.D. student who spends a lot of time working with a fairly small set of students and faculty, I particularly value this opportunity to interact with a diverse group of individuals. It makes all the difference between merely living in Harvard housing and feeling at home. Just as importantly, GCP knows how to make a gathering fun with holiday themes, live music, and, of course, amazing food!”

( Photo from Best of Harvard Square event, Spring ’13)

“I was very pleasantly surprised, especially by the offerings that were friendly to families with small children. I had not expected to participate in GCP events before arriving, but in fact this was the best part of living in Peabody Terrace (along with PTCC).”

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Matthieu Trudeau | HSPH SD Ergonomics ‘13

“I am proud to be the longest current resident of 5 Cowperthwaite (6 years) because I love this building. I have had some of the best years of my life here in Cambridge, and the Graduate Commons Program played a big part in making them so. My favorite part of the GCP is the Meet the Scholar events where renown professors from across the Harvard Schools come give a talk about their research in my building’s lobby. I also greatly enjoyed the Saturday morning yoga courses – the Akron lobby is a perfect location for yoga with its huge windows looking on to the Charles River. I attended several events because, in addition to providing a chance to grab a healthy bite to eat between study sessions, they provided a great opportunity to meet a variety of students and faculty from diverse backgrounds and academic concentrations. I will miss the Graduate Commons immensely when I move back to Canada in a few weeks.”

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John Lee | HKS Master of Public Administration ‘13

“Graduate Commons Programs were one of the best things about living in Cowperthwaite.  Originally, I was drawn by the free food (I’ve never eaten so much hummus in one year.)  However, more than the sustenance, it is the camaraderie and cross cultural experience I’ve come to love.  I can get food at Trader Joes, however, I can’t get the friendships, particularly from other Harvard grad schools, as easily.  GCP helped break me from my Kennedy School bubble and let me better experience the diversity and richness of Harvard.”

(Photo from Kayaking on the Charles Trip, Fall ’12)

“I am incredibly lucky to live in GCP housing. I came in the middle of the school year as Harvard staff. Because I didn’t know a lot of other people in the Boston area, not only was Harvard Housing an affordable and safe living space, but GCP programming gave me an easy way to do something that’s very hard to accomplish when you move to a new city for work: making new friends! I have made a few nice friends in my building and I met them during GCP programs. I look forward to meeting new people and making new friendships through GCP in the future!”

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Johanna Mollerstrom | GSAS PhD Economics ‘13

“My husband and I (and now Stella) have lived in 10 Akron Street and with the Graduate Commons Program since the beginning!  We have always felt so welcomed in this community, and living with GCP has been an important part of my Harvard experience.  10 Akron Street is not only a beautiful building to live in, but the people here make it a truly special place to call home.  One of my favorite parts of GCP was attending Meet the Scholar lectures.  I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a number of amazing professors from across the university that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.  I also appreciate the efforts GCP makes to be environmentally conscious and that 10 Akron Street is LEED Gold certified. ”

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Vitelio Brustolin | Fellow & Visiting Researcher Ph.D. Harvard Law School & History of Science Department

“At Graduate Commons Program I felt integrated with a large family. I met other researchers from the entire world, with who I continue to share relevant ideas to our researches. I made friends that I want to preserve forever and I also met international professionals, with new perspectives to work abroad. I believe that integration with other researchers from Harvard University is the best characteristic of the Graduate Commons Program. Often you have the opportunity to know extremely busy people, which would be difficult to meet outside a community event. But the Graduate Commons Program is much more than that: internal events are creative and help to understand better the culture and to prove the American flavors. Besides, external events, such as games, visits to museums, theaters, concerts and plays, are amazing and provide rare opportunities to meet the Boston area and its attractions.”

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Amanda Sharick | PhD Candidate @ UC Riverside & HDS Spouse

“The Graduate Commons Program made all the difference for my family’s first year at Harvard. Whether Monday night football, Zumba classes, wine nights, massage sessions during finals or “Meet the Scholar” talks, Graduate Commons offered a wide range of events to connect residents with similar and different interests. I met my best friends through GCP, amazing people from other parts of campus that I may not have met otherwise. I love that GCP makes it easy to be a part of a community: I can attend an event or participate in an event if I have time–but there is no pressure to be at every event. I love being a part of the GCP community and can’t wait for next year!”

StacyStacy D Morton | GSD Master of Architecture ’13

“As I approach the end of my time here at Harvard and living with Grad Commons, I look back and can’t help but be grateful for all of the memories Grad Commons has helped me create. From meeting some of my best friends, to kayaking on the river, to learning fashion at the ICA- Grad Commons has been a true part of my experience at Harvard. Perhaps my greatest memory is still my first week here. Moving out from Chicago, I knew nobody and the first week felt quite intimidating. Nonetheless, I decided to break my nerves and head down to the Labor Day Picnic hosted my Grad Commons. As I wondered around to find a place to sit, a girl came up asking if I’d like to sit at her table. As we began to talk, we realized that not only were we both from Chicago, but had grown up less than five minutes from each other. Never had we crossed paths back at home, but rather it was Grad Commons that brought us together. To this day, she is still one of my best friends and I have this community to thank for it.”

Alexi White | HKS Masters of Public Policy ’13

“I’ve been part of GCP for two years now, and in that time I have been part of many excellent events and a lot of fun with friends. One especially memorable outing was the kayaking excursion that happened this past fall.  In the late afternoon on a beautiful September day, about three dozen residents walked a mile or so to the nearby kayak rental station on the Charles River. After a brief safety tutorial, we were outfitted with life jackets, paddles and boats, and enjoyed a relaxing hour on the water as the sun began to set. It was a terrific success, and everyone left with a smile on their face and some new friends. The best part? GCP picked up the tab.”

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Brittany Charlton | HSPH ScD Epidemiology ’14

“The Graduate Commons program has enriched my Harvard experience. Connecting with students from different schools has not only added to my life socially but also professionally. Through various Graduate Commons programs, I met students from the Kennedy School and Law School with similar professional interests and we’ve collaborated on projects including re-launching Boston’s Reproductive Health Happy Hour. Overall, Graduate Commons creates a community outside of the classroom and across the university. Holistically connecting with students academically, socially, and culturally enables all of us to feel like well-rounded individuals and therefore be even more successful students.”

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Constantine Psimopoulos | Assistant Director of Zesiger Sports & Fitness Center  (MIT) & Adjunct Professor (Lesley); Harvard Affiliation–spouse of of Calliopi Dourou, PhD Candidate in the GSAS Classics Dept.

“Living in our community can be wonderful and has so many advantages; the most significant of all being this wonderful mosaic of diversity among the people living here, the representation of the various Harvard Schools, the location, architectural beauty and the overall quality of life that this community provides for us!”

 

Shantanu Ghosh | Research Fellow @ HMS & Massachusetts General Hospital

“GCP is fabulous and so much fun! It creates a sense of community, provides an opportunity to interact with people from other cultures, and is a home away from home. And I’ve made some amazing friends. My favorite was of course attending the `Meet the Scholar’ series lectures. Added bonus? The river view from my apartment!”

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