Asheley Siewnarine


Research Fellow

Asheley is a second-year Masters in Public Policy (MPP) student at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) with a concentration in social and urban policy.  She is a Trinidadian-American from Queens (NYC), a neighborhood that is lauded as one of the most ethnically diverse geographic regions in the world. Yet, while growing up, Asheley noticed a disparity of opportunity present in her community adversely affecting some of its most marginalized – the undocumented, the socioeconomically disadvantaged, and the over-policed.  She is dedicated to thoroughly understanding how these issues intersect with educational attainment and to providing equitable pathways to post-secondary education options.

Asheley received her Bachelors degree in Psychology and Sociology from CUNY’s Hunter College and spent most of her extra-curricular time working in middle and high school classrooms in East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Forest Hills.  She facilitated workshops and taught classes on self-esteem, civics and advocacy, and standardized test prep (e.g. Common Core state tests, SHSAT, SAT). She additionally consulted with families to provide guidance and support on the complex NYC high school admissions process and on the competitive college application process.  After undergrad, she then worked as an Enrollment Specialist for the New York City Department of Education’s (NYCDOE) Specialized High School Diversity Outreach Team. Using community outreach and parent engagement strategies across the city, she hoped to make some of NYC’s most elite schools more accessible to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, especially as an alumna of one of the specialized high schools herself (QHSSYC). 

During her time at Harvard, Asheley has also served in various leadership roles on campus.  In 2019, she served as Co-Chair of the school’s annual Youth Leadership Conference (YLC), which brings approximately 100 Boston-area high school students to HKS for a full day of leadership workshops.  Now, she is also a Student Coordinator for the school’s annual Public Policy Leadership Conference (PPLC), which brings approximately 75 undergraduate students from across the United States to HKS for a weekend to learn about the world of policy and graduate/professional education options.  Both of these roles have allowed her to continue her passion for expanding educational opportunities to those from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds and for amplifying student voices.