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Peer Concentration Advisors

Peer Concentration Advisors (PCAs) serve as peer advisors for current CS concentrators and pre-concentrators, providing a valuable perspective and helping students to discover additional resources and opportunities. Students can reach out to meet with PCAs with similar academic, career, or extracurricular interests.

Coming soon: More information about the initiatives and programs run by the PCAs…

For more information, including if you would like to find and meet with a PCA that would be a good match for your interests or concerns, and if you are interested in being a PCA, please reach out to the PCA Co-Captains, Nicole Jarmula and Rachel Kang, through the email address cs-pca@seas.harvard.edu.

You can view the profiles of former PCAs here.

Alaisha Sharma

Picture of Alaisha Sharma

Class of 2020, lives in Kirkland. From Mountain View, CA.

CS Interests: My background is varied (frontend, backend, UI/UX, data viz) and I’m still exploring! One area I’m super interested in data science and visualization, especially as it applies to environment and sustainability initiatives (think Google’s Project Sunroof). I also enjoy thinking about how to improve UI/UX from a design perspective, and would like to gain more experience in app development.

Other Interests: My favorite hobby is dance, and on campus I’m involved with Ghungroo, Expressions, and Eleganza. I also enjoy putting together the WECode (Women Engineers Code) conference annually, and hacking with HODP (Harvard Open Data Project) on projects like exploring gender disparity in faculty. During my down time, you’ll find me looking for new places to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Also: I came to Harvard with zero programming experience, so always happy to talk to anyone who might feel hesitant/worried about getting into CS “late in the game” (there is no such thing!)

Alisha Ukani

Picture of Alisha Ukani

Class of 2020, lives in Pforzheimer. From Weston, MA.

CS Interests: My primary academic CS interest is systems programming. My industry focuses are back-end web development, systems, and software architecture.

Other Interests: I’m a member of the City of Cambridge’s Open Data Review Board, and the Senior Tech Director for the Harvard Political Review. I’ve also been involved with HackHarvard as a Director and WiCS as Community Director. I do research in the CS department and at HKS, and TF for CS 61.

Also: I can help give perspective on balancing CS classes and non-STEM classes/internships. Also, if you’re at all curious (or even nervous) about systems I’m happy to demystify what courses and research are like in this area!

Daniel Chen

Picture of Daniel Chen

Class of 2020, lives in Cabot. From Vancouver, Canada.

CS Interests: CS Education, Algorithms, Systems, Programming Languages, but basically still trying to figure it out!

Other Interests: I really love teaching! I’m a head TF for CS 51, and was also on the teaching staff of CS 121 and CS 50. I’m also heavily involved with the Digital Literacy Project, a volunteer group that teaches CS to local middle schoolers in Boston.

Also: I started CS in college with zero experience (initially planned to study Econ), and am always happy to give advice to newcomers to CS regarding classes, internships, etc. :)

Duncan Rheingans-Yoo

Picture of Duncan Rheingans-Yoo

Class of 2020, lives in Currier. From Columbia, MD.

CS Interests: I am most interested in topics at the boundary of CS and Economics. I do research into the theory of pricing in ride-sharing markets. I also really enjoy Theoretical CS (I am a CS/Math concentrator).

Other Interests: Harvard Fencing Team (co-captain), quantitative finance, effective altruism, rationality, strategy games

Emily Chan

Picture of Emily Chan

Class of 2021, lives in Pfoho. From Cambridge, Mass (but originally from the Midwest, and have also lived on the West Coast and in China).

CS interests: It feels like with every class, I just learn how much more of CS there is to explore, but for now my interests are: theoretical CS, cryptography, tech and social good, design, CS x law/ethics, CS education

Other interests: I’m a member of the Mariachi Veritas de Harvard, a volunteer at Harvard Square Homeless Shelter and Small Claims Advisory Service, and a licensed street artist who specializes in portraits (emilychan.carbonmade.com). I love hiking, making music, cooking, creative writing, theatre, and the Great British Baking Show.

Also: I work at the Quad Grille, so come say hi and chat over some food!

Grace Zhang

Picture of Grace Zhang

Class of 2020, lives in Mather. From New York.

CS Interests: Data science, machine learning, systems, CS education - really just love CS!

Other Interests: I really enjoy scootering around campus! I’m also very involved with various CS organizations on campus, including Harvard Computer Society, HackHarvard, WiCS, and WECode, and have done a variety of internships in the past. Definitely feel free to reach out!

Jack Connolly

Picture of Jack Connolly

Class of 2020, lives in Lowell. From Jupiter, Florida.

CS Interests: Data Science, Machine Learning, Computer Vision

Other Interests: Volleyball, Basketball, and basically anything else sports related. I also enjoy fishing, boating, and being on the water.

Also: I’m a member of the Harvard Volleyball team, so I’d love to talk about how to manage a CS course load while playing a varsity sport. (You can do it!) I’ve worked at NextEra Energy (a large power company) and Perceptive Automata (a small autonomous driving startup) and will be working at APT this summer (a medium software company) so I’d be happy to chat about any sort of internship you might be looking for.

Madeleine Lapuerta

Picture of Madeleine Lapuerta

Class of 2020, lives in Leverett. From Princeton, NJ.

CS Interests: iOS application design, web development

Other Interests: cheerleading team, Bumble, fashion line, travel

Maya Burhanpurkar

Picture of Maya Burhanpurkar

Class of 2021, lives in Quincy. From Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada.

CS Interests: I am a joint Physics and CS concentrator who is (currently!) interested in applications of unsupervised machine learning to condensed matter physics. I am also interested in quantum computing and astrophysics (I was involved in software development for the recent discovery of a swath of new fast radio bursts by the CHIME telescope).

Other Interests: I do bhangra, and I’m a venture partner at Contrary Capital, a VC group that funds university-based startups!

Nari Johnson

Picture of Nari Johnson

Class of 2021, lives in Cabot. From Columbus, Ohio.

CS Interests: Data science, machine learning, algorithmic bias, theory

Other Interests: On campus, I’m a peer counselor at Indigo, member of the Franklin Fellowship, and Comp Director for Women in Computer Science. I also love meditation, spoken word, and long distance running in Boston!

Also: I’m passionate about increasing diversity and retention for underrepresented identities in Harvard CS, so please feel free to reach out to me if you’d ever like to chat about mental health awareness, inclusion, and belonging in CS!

Nathan Contreras

Picture of Nathan Contreras

Class of 2021, lives in Quincy. From Dallas, Texas.

CS Interests: Theoretical CS, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Programming Languages, Systems Programming (although the list expands each semester!)

Other Interests: I enjoy teaching others about CS, and I am a CS152 TF this spring. I’m fascinated with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, and I’m also interested in the intersection of tech and politics. I serve as a Data Analyst at BlueBonnet Data, a Harvard-based organization with the mission of providing high quality data analysis to political campaigns, so feel free to reach out if you want to combine your interest in computer science with politics!

Also: I took an uncommon path through CS during my freshman year (CS61 + CS152 instead of CS50 + CS51) and I am happy to talk to you about my experience, or about courses in general.

Nicole Jarmula

Picture of Nicole Jarmula

Class of 2021, lives in Winthrop. From Chicago, IL.

CS Interests: I’m willing to throw myself into anything, but I’m most interested in AI and cybersecurity. I love the intersection of tech and government, which became a solidified passion after interning with DHS over the summer! In terms of CS extracurriculars, I am a part of Harvard College Cyber Club, Hack Harvard, and Vatican Hacks. I will be studying abroad spring 2020, so I’m happy to talk about planning for that in advance as well.

Other Interests: I’m an undergraduate fellow at the Derek Bok Center Learning Lab, and a member of HAUSCR and HMENA. Outside of (and technically at) school, I’m a huge foreign language nerd.

Olivia Graham

Picture of Olivia Graham

Class of 2021, lives in Pforzheimer. From Toronto, Canada.

CS Interests: My first exposure to Computer Science was through CS50 freshman fall. I have since gotten to explore Web and App Development, Project Management, and Software Engineering through work on campus and during the summer. Still a work in progress though if I’m being honest! Looking forwards to exploring more theory and possible areas of application (possibly in the public sector).

Other Interests: I sing with the Harvard Callbacks, sometimes do musical theatre, and am developing a passion for Psychology/Neurobiology through classes in the MBB secondary. I also work as a Radcliffe fellow with a Professor of Seismology on campus to develop tools for large-scale data analysis. I have also worked as a supervisor at the Harvard Square Summer and Shelter and spent a summer with Harvard Student Agencies.

Also: Again, I had zero CS experience coming into college - feel free to reach out for tips, tricks, internship search questions or life advice. Always more than happy to help!

Philippe Noël

Picture of Philippe Noël

Class of 2020, lives in Leverett. From Rivière-du-Loup, Québec, Canada.

CS Interests: Within Computer Science, I’m mainly interested about artificial intelligence and intelligent systems, and more specifically with their interactions with the human brain (brain-machine interfaces and the like).

Other Interests: Outside the classroom, I’m involved in the social entrepreneurship community at Harvard as a Cheng Fellow and S&S. I’m also on the badminton club, part of TEDxHarvard and spend my free time playing guitar, poker or swimming!

Rachel Kang

Picture of Rachel Kang

Class of 2020, lives in Lowell. From Syosset, NY.

CS Interests: I’ve always been super interested in computer science for how applicable it is to everything, and hope one day to help others with everything I learn! I enjoy front-end web development, data visualization, mobile app development, and other user-oriented technologies - but really, I’m still learning / trying to figure it all out :) One of the most spontaneous decisions I ever made was to study abroad at AIT in Budapest, Hungary last spring - but it was also one of the most rewarding experiences ever! I am also very invested in diversity & inclusion and mental health in tech and am always open to talk about how we can make CS more welcoming to all :)

Other Interests: I’m interested in theatre (trying to secondary in TDM!), love love all kinds of music, really enjoy scenic walks and traveling in general, and love meeting new people! I’ve also recently fallen deep into MCU and have been catching up a lot after watching Avengers Endgame :o

Also: Talk to me about study abroad, not loving CS from the get-go, WiCS, interning at Capital One or Cisco, CS171, or literally anything else (related or unrelated to CS)!

Raymond Wang

Picture of Raymond Wang

Class of 2020, lives in Currier. From Vancouver, BC.

CS Interests: AI, ML, IoT, CS x Neuroscience, Synthetic Biology

Other Interests: Private Pilot, Marching Band, Model Congress, Technical Theater.

Serena Davis

Picture of Serena Davis

Class of 2021, lives in Dunster. From Los Angeles, CA.

CS Interests: I’m interested in the cognitive aspect of Computer Science-how humans makes choices and how we translate those choices to technology. This interest has led to curiosity about the intersections of Computer Science and Finance as well as about the ethical implications of big data in the criminal justice system.

Other Interests: Hiking, aerial arts, technical theater

Tina Lu

Picture of Tina Lu

Class of 2021, lives in Leverett. From Whippany, New Jersey.

CS Interests: Systems Programming, AI, Autonomous Robots, Compilers

Other Interests: I think teaching is the best way to learn, so I’m a TF for CS 51 this semester and TF’d CS 50 last semester. I’m involved in WiCS and Girls Who Code, and would love to talk more about teaching or WiCS :) I also really like travelling, and am thinking of taking a semester off to work abroad. I’ve also lived in Seattle (while working at Microsoft) last summer and will be living in San Francisco (while working at Uber) this summer, so if you have any questions about internships or living away in the summer, I’d be happy to talk about that. I also love meeting new people, so I welcome any questions!

Also: I’ve taken/am taking a decent amount of CS classes (50, 51, 61, 124, 153, 161, 181, 189) so I’m definitely open to talking about courses! I’m also super interested in AI ethics and women in CS issues, and would love to talk more about both topics!

William Yao

Picture of William Yao

Class of 2021, lives in Kirkland. From Barrington, RI.

CS Interests: I’m interested in CS+Education and I do research with Professor Schneider at HGSE. I work on front and back end projects at The Crimson and serve as one of the comp directors for the Technology board. I love exploring applications of CS in the social sciences.

Other Interests: A passion of mine since age 6 has been playing the violin. I perform with the Brattle Street Chamber Players on campus. I love running along the Charles in all weather conditions.