Campus & Community

Harvard Yard to Boston City Hall

3 min read

Jackie Lender is the first Harvard Presidential City of Boston Fellow

I am honored to be the first Harvard Presidential City of Boston Fellow. I knew that when I graduated from Harvard I wanted to find a way to make a difference in the world, and this opportunity has given me that chance.

During my first few months I worked on a number of initiatives, including Imagine Boston 2030, the city’s comprehensive plan for the future. The plan suggests how to improve transportation, create more affordable housing options, prepare the city for climate change, and encourage mixed-use job centers. I also assisted with community-outreach events, helping garner feedback on proposed initiatives.

I know I’ll take the lessons I’ve learned as part of this fellowship with me throughout my career. I’m incredibly grateful to President Drew Faust and Mayor Martin J. Walsh for their confidence in me, and for giving me the opportunity to give back to the community.

Jackie Lender ’16 is the first recipient of a new Harvard Presidential City of Boston Fellowship, which places a recent Harvard College graduate at Boston City Hall to work with Mayor Martin J. Walsh and his team for one year.
With Faneuil Hall as the backdrop, Lender and her City Hall colleagues enjoy a laugh together. Lender said, “The Harvard Presidential City of Boston Fellowship has allowed me to give back for an education ripe with themes of social justice and global citizenship.”
On a different morning, Lender heads through Copley Square to attend Mayor Martin Walsh’s speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce at the Westin Hotel. She has worked on mayoral projects such as Imagine Boston 2030, the city’s first major citywide planning effort in 50 years, wherein she has created GIS maps, participated in community engagement events, and assisted with internal coordination efforts.
Lender and Nelson wait for their first interviewee. A Harvard senior will replace Lender when her year is completed next fall.
Lender (right) introduces her City Hall colleague Olivia Nelson to Gene Corbin.
Lender listens as Gene Corbin, the assistant dean of student life for public service, speaks. Following Corbin, Rakesh Khurana (right), dean of Harvard College, fields questions from the group.
Coordinated by Phillips Brooks House, the meeting allows Lender an opportunity to meet other people in the public service sphere.
At the meeting Lender writes out her name tag.
She rides the shuttle to Radcliffe Quad where she’ll meet with other public service agents looking to hire Harvard students.
In Harvard Yard Lender shares a laugh with Josiah Christian of the Harvard University Police Department.
Returning to Harvard for a meeting and to interview prospective future fellows, Lender starts her morning by checking her email at Starbucks in Harvard Square.
Lender has worked on Boston Bounty Bucks, a derivative of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which enables all residents of Boston to have access to the produce available at city farmers markets. The initiative also provides farmers markets with EBT terminals and promotes the use of SNAP benefits by providing a dollar-for-dollar matching incentive for all SNAP purchases up to $10.
Lender and colleague Alex Zafris talk shop in their office space.
Inside City Hall, Lender (right) works with Ilona Kramer, the program director in the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics at Boston City Hall.