Harvard Students at Maru-a-Pula

Every year, MaP students receive tutoring and mentorship from six extraordinary Harvard University undergraduates for eight weeks. This unique programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Harvard University’s Treasurer, Jim Rothenberg. Each of the Harvard students arrive with ten of their favourite books to inspire reading at MaP.  They advise on students’ written work, help senior students prepare compelling college essays, teach Maths classes and clinics, edit student journalism and provide SAT instruction.  Their impact on our students has been wonderful to see. You can download the 2016 Harvard Intern Guide here.

Meet this year’s Harvard students :

Heba Kassem

Heba Kassem

“I’m Heba Kassem, a junior at Harvard concentrating in economics with a potential secondary in government. I am very interested in learning foreign languages and am currently doing three language citations in Arabic, Mandarin and French. On campus, I am involved with lots of cultural clubs: The Egyptian Students Association, The African Students Association and the Half-Asian People Association. I am also involved with different professional groups and politics-related clubs on campus. I love sports, music, international relations and traveling, so please come talk to me if you are interested in any of the topics listed or not listed above! Looking forward to meeting everyone!”

Siqi Li

Siqi Li

“I’m Siqi Liu, a rising sophomore at Harvard College. My academic interests include English Literature and Economics. In my free time, I enjoy writing short fiction, jogging, and eating ethnic dishes. I have lived in China for seven years and in Chicago for 11 years, and am excited to travel to Botswana this summer to experience a new culture.”

Michelle Ng

Michelle Ng

“Hi! My name is Michelle Ng, and I’m a sophomore studying Visual and Environmental Studies (with a specialty in filmmaking) and Computer Science. On campus, I’m involved in peer counseling, the multimedia board of The Crimson, the Harvard Half Asian People Association, and a film-poem project at the Radcliffe Institute. I enjoy running along the Charles River, going on food adventures, watching (and making!) movies, exploring the outdoors, and writing. I’m looking forward to the summer!”

Harsh Sinha

Harsh Sinha

“My name is Harsh Sinha, and I’m a freshman at Harvard originally from Alabama. I am hoping to study applied math with a focus in global health, but I’m also considering computer science. I’m interested in soccer, kayaking, climbing, and really anything outdoors. I love to travel but I’ve never been to Africa, so I’m super excited to get to see Botswana and some other parts of the continent! I’m really looking forward to interning at Maru-a-Pula this summer!”

Jocelyn Hernandez Vazquez

Jocelyn Hernandez Vazquez

“I’m Jocelyn Hernandez Vazquez, a rising sophomore at Harvard pursuing a degree in Government with a secondary in Romance Languages and Literatures. Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, I represented my state at the United States Senate Youth Program after working with the Mayor’s Fitness Council. Last summer I interned for Bank of America’s Enterprise Business & Community Engagement sector, where I also mentored middle school students at Carver Academy. At Harvard, I am involved with Harvard Model Congress Boston and Latin America, Women in Business, PBHA’s Service to Society Council, Latinas Unidas, and the Institute of Politics.”

Jazil Waris

Jazil Waris

“Hi, my name is Jazil Waris and I am a current sophomore at Harvard College studying Government and Economics. I was born in Galway, Ireland but I have lived most of my life in Lahore, Pakistan. On campus, I love playing futsal or indoor soccer, and I am a photographer for the Harvard Crimson. I am genuinely excited to intern in Botswana this summer and even more excited to meet lots of new people.”

Excerpts from Harvard student Isaiah Peterson’s letter of thanks to Jim Rothenberg follow :

3 August, 2011

Dear Mr. Rothenberg,

Two days ago, my summer in Botswana ended, and I had to say a surprisingly difficult goodbye to the Maru-a-Pula School in Gaborone.  I am not a very sentimental person, but I have to say that it was very sad to say goodbye to all the students and teachers I had worked with the past two months.

Maru-a-Pula is an amazing place, and I want to sincerely thank you for making it possible for me to spend the summer there.  I am sure you already realize the value of investing in the Maru-a-Pula internship, but I wanted like to take a minute to articulate a little of what I think about that value….

MaP is an extremely valuable institution for Botswana because it fosters an atmosphere of rigorous academic study and because it puts a strong emphasis on community service.  I hope that the other interns and I helped to contribute to this atmosphere this summer.  One specific way I think we did contribute to this atmosphere was by emphasizing the importance of a well-rounded education. 

All of us worked one-on-one with numerous students to improve on individual writing assignments.  We read Richard III with students.  We played vocabulary games with them.  We dissected poetry with them… We strongly encouraged (forced?) students to read on their own, and then had them give us book reports on what they had read.  I can’t be sure that all these strategies were perfectly effective, but the overall response to our efforts was definitely encouraging.

I also think it is wonderful that you expanded the program this year to allow all six of us to go.  Because there were more of us, we were able to more consistently reach out to the entire school than what I believe has been done in past years.  I think this had an especially positive impact on many of the lower-form students, with whom we probably would not have been able to work very closely had there been fewer of us…. 

All this says nothing of the many ways this experience impacted me personally.  I had never left the States before coming to Botswana this summer, I cannot think of a better first international experience….Thank you for creating such an opportunity.

Sincerely,

Isaiah T. Peterson, Harvard 2012