Launched in 2021, the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is a youth mentorship initiative focused on gender and leadership. The program pairs Harvard undergraduates with high school students in the surrounding Cambridge area.
When asked about the program, Nidhi Patel, an ELP mentor in the Class of 2022 who participated in the program during her senior year, highlighted two important aspects: the chance to form genuine personal connections with high school students and the opportunity to connect these students, who might not imagine that they belong at Harvard, to the University’s extensive resources.
One of the lessons devoted to driving social change that stood out to Patel was centered on the Angela Y. Davis Papers, which are part of the archives of Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library: “The learning experience that we shared as mentors and mentees—of working in the archives—was incredible, and I don’t think that would have been possible without the unique set of opportunities that the ELP program makes available. Using Davis’s papers, we explored what true leadership looks like, what social change is. Essentially, we looked to other people in the past who have gone about trying to create change in the world.”
“I think that this has really been one of the best parts of my undergraduate experience,” she adds.
Sam Zuniga-Levy is the communications coordinator at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.