Fellowship Celebration highlights importance of student financial aid

Group of students at Fellowship Celebration
Students at Fellowship Celebration

April 17, 2024 – Nearly 100 members of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health community convened on campus to attend this year’s Fellowship Celebration.

The annual event, held on April 9, gives students who receive financial aid the opportunity to connect with the generous donors who help fund their educations.

Fellowship Celebration speakers, from left: Gabriela Rosa, Andrea Baccarelli, and Alberto Inzulza Galdames
From left: Gabriela Rosa, Dean Andrea Baccarelli, Alberto Inzulza Galdames

Speakers included Gabriela Rosa, MPH ’22, DrPH ’25, president of the Harvard Chan Student Association (HCSA); Andrea Baccarelli, dean of the faculty; and Alberto Inzulza Galdames, MPH ’24, vice president of student advocacy for the HCSA.

‘Incredible investment’

Rosa called her time at Harvard Chan School “deeply transformative.” Since starting her own business as a fertility expert in 2001, the importance of organizational leadership and team development has been a constant focus for her. Serving in the HSCA has deepened her interest in both leadership and mentorship, she said, and she hopes others receive the same opportunities.

Baccarelli, who was a recipient of financial aid while in medical school, said, “The reason why I’m here is because of that investment.” He stressed the importance of philanthropy that supports the School’s students, noting that over the past three years, more than 80% of accepted students who chose not to attend Harvard Chan School cited cost as a reason. “The main reason they couldn’t come is because we weren’t able to offer to all of them, as we would like to do, enough financial support to come and study with us,” Baccarelli said. “That tells you why it’s an incredible investment, supporting our students.”

In a keynote address, Inzulza Galdames shared that when he was a teenager in rural Chile, his family became homeless. “We were lost,” he said. “But I always had a smile on my face, because I believe, even in the darkest moment, there is hope.” Things turned around when Inzulza Galdames’ grandmother offered the family a home and support for education. He focused on his studies and got a scholarship to become a dentist. His first patients were his grandmother and mother.

“What I was able to achieve did not come directly from me,” he said. “Instead, it came from my family, my community, and the people around me who said, ‘You can do it.’” He emphasized that “one opportunity can change lives,” and said that he wouldn’t have been standing at the podium if it hadn’t been for donor support.

“We need more people, we don’t need just the people in this room. We need to bring new talent, with more passion, with more ideas. And for that, we need donors,” Inzulza Galdames said.

The Fellowship Celebration, which was held in Kresge cafeteria, also featured posters about students who’d received financial aid, as well as a video highlighting the stories of three financial aid recipients—Temiwunmi Akinmuleya, SM ’24, Ellen Considine, PhD ’26, and Saad Salman, MPH ’17. Said Akinmuleya in the video, “I just want to encourage donors to keep giving, because it’s that ripple effect that makes the world a better place.”

Story and photos: Shweta Shreyarthi