Current Fellows

The six resident fellows bring their expertise in border security, foreign policy, the environment, America’s opioid crisis, and other pressing topics with them to Harvard.

Jon Finer

Jon Finer was Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State, where he previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. Before that he worked for four years at the White House, including as Senior Advisor to Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken and as Special Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa and Foreign Policy Speechwriter for Vice President Joseph R. Biden. He joined the Obama Administration in 2009 as a White House Fellow, assigned to the Office of the White House Chief of Staff and the National Security Council Staff.

To read the full bio, click here.

Sarah Hurwitz

From 2009 to 2017, Sarah Hurwitz served as a White House speechwriter, starting out as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then becoming the chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama.  Sarah worked with Mrs. Obama to craft a number of widely-acclaimed addresses, including her 2012 and 2016 Democratic National Convention speeches and her political speeches during the 2016 campaign cycle.  During Sarah’s time in the White House, she traveled with the President and First Lady across America and to five continents.  Sarah also worked on policy issues affecting young women and girls as a senior advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls.

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Gil Kerlikowske

I served as the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), having been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in March, 2014. I will be the only confirmed CBP Commissioner during President Obama’s administration. CBP was formed as part of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 as a result of the recommendations issued by the 9/11 Commission. Its dual responsibilities are to secure America’s borders and facilitate lawful travel and trade. CBP is the second-largest contributor of funds to the U.S. Treasury, collecting $46 billion in Fiscal Year 2015. As the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, CBP employs 60,000 people at and between 328 ports of entry nationwide as well as in 40 countries around the world, with an annual budget approaching $13 billion.

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Gina McCarthy

A career public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than thirty years. As the head of EPA under President Obama, she led historic progress to achieve the administration's public health and environmental protection goals and Climate Action Plan. In 2015, McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country's commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement. During her tenure, EPA initiatives cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases and strengthened chemical safety to better protect more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, from negative health impacts.

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T.W. Shannon

When T.W. Shannon took the oath of office in January of 2013 at the age of 34, he made history by becoming the youngest Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, as well as being the first Chickasaw and first African American to hold the post. In addition to breaking barriers in the reddest state in the union, T.W.’s election as Speaker was also a nationally recognized feat, as he was the first African American republican in the country to head a legislative body since reconstruction.

Even before his ascension as the leader of the Oklahoma House, T.W. had a record of success as a history maker becoming the first republican elected to the House District 64 seat in southwest Oklahoma.

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Christopher Shays

Christopher Shays represented the southwest region of Connecticut from 1987 to 2009 in the United States Congress. A moderate Republican, who is socially progressive and fiscally conservative, Shays had a strong record of reaching across the aisle to address our nation’s problems. The only Republican Congressman from New England elected in 2006, Shays was consistently recognized for his bipartisan leadership.

To read the full bio, click here.