Index of Alumni Profiles

Browse a comprehensive list of all Harvardwood Alumni Profiles below, and find out who our regular Member Profile writers/interviewers are!

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December 2019 | Special Humor Piece by Alison Rich AB '09

performers20th.jpgAt Harvardwood's 20th Anniversary Celebration earlier this year, we were fortunate to be joined by Diallo Riddle AB '97Dan Mintz AB '02, and Alison Rich AB '09, all of whom gave HILARIOUS comedic performances. Alison has kindly shared the (excerpted) text from her performance as a humor piece. Enjoy!

Harvard is not the place you’re supposed to go if you want a career in the arts. It’s Yale or NYU or no-school-at-all and just get an Instagram, be hot, and make 15-second videos of you Bird-scootering over watermelons at the Library of Congress. There you go: instant stardom.

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November 2019 | Jill Dickerson AB '91

SVP of Programming & Development, Oprah Winfrey Network

dickerson.jpgBy Emily Oliveira AB '18

Jill Dickerson AB '91 is the SVP of Programming and Development at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Since joining the network in 2009, she has overseen programs including but certainly not limited to Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s and For Peete’s Sake. She began her industry career as a story editor on MTV’s The Real World: Hawaii and later worked as consulting producer and head writer on subsequent seasons of the show. Her producing career spans reality programming on TLC, VH-1, and ABC’s The Bachelorette, among others.

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October 2019 | Adam Fratto AB '90

fratto1.jpgVP of Scripted Programming, History

By Stephanie Ferrarie AB '18

A native of upstate New York, Adam Fratto AB ‘90 grew up immersed in theater and culture. His parents, professors of women’s studies and political science, taught at the local college in Geneva, New York. In high school, Fratto acted, though he holds that he wasn’t very good, despite its huge impact on his life. He reminisces back to his kindergarten days, when he would watch movies and direct his classmates in reenacting the films in class.

So it was only natural that Fratto's childhood interests drew him toward theater at Harvard, where he was a board member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Drama Club and directed six shows over his career. His directorial debut was a stripped-down adaptation of the musical March of the Falsettos staged in the Loeb Experimental Theater.

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September 2019 | Elle Johnson AB '86

By Joel Kwartler AB '18

ELLE3.jpgElle Johnson AB ’86’s IMDb page scrolls. She’s written for over a dozen shows in her decades-spanning TV career, from Law and Order to CSI: Miami to Bosch. Yet at Harvard, she never took a single writing class—because the one she applied to rejected her application.

Instead, Johnson was part of the theater community, performing in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar her freshman year. That show led her to becoming the “costume mistress” for the Hasty Pudding, and for two years, she’d wake up at 5am to take costumes to the cleaners. 

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August 2019 | Kieran Fitzgerald AB '03

Writer, Producer, & Director (SnowdenWormwood)

K.Fitzgerald_headshot.jpgBy Emily Oliveira AB '18

Just as Kieran Kitzgerald AB ‘03 starts telling me that he lives here in L.A. with his roommate from Harvard, that very roommate walks over to say hello from within the same coffee shop. After a couple minutes of Harvardian goodwill, Fitzgerald floats by the name of a professor of English who taught Dante—I don’t quite recognize it—and I learn that he graduated with a citation in Italian. For him, moving to Los Angeles several years ago to live and work in the heart of the business has meant letting go of a perfectionistic academic self. Staying up all night to write an essay and earn the ‘A’ is a comparatively streamlined, hard-work-meets-results counterpart to the roller-coaster, collaborative nature of filmmaking.

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July 2019 | Maggie Shipstead AB '05

IMG_6258.jpgNovelist (Seating ArrangementsAstonish Me)

By Emily Oliveira AB '18

Maggie Shipstead AB '05 chuckles as she describes what it means to be a novelist in Los Angeles: tell anyone you’re a writer in L.A., and they’ll assume you write for the big screen. She can certainly hold her own in the face of Hollywood glamour: In addition to her two New York Times-bestselling novels, her travel writing has appeared in Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and Departures. She has the distinction of being twice named as a National Magazine Award finalist for fiction. 

For years, her “primary obligation” was to attend workshop—Shipstead is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop—but afterwards found herself suddenly faced with the task of choosing where to live in the world without having a scheduled, round-the-clock job. L.A. was a natural choice of home city for Shipstead, a Mission Viejo native whose parents live in San Diego, and she says there’s something energizing about living in a city of creative people in the constant process of making something.

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June 2019 | Dan Mintz AB '02

mintz.jpg(Stand-up Comic, Voice Actor, and Writer, VeepBob's Burgers, Son of Zorn)

By Daniel Gale-Rosen AB '10

When he was growing up in Alaska, Dan Mintz AB ‘02 had a number of pretty unrealistic ambitions. He thought he might like to be a spy, or a professional athlete, or any number of other careers that seemed totally unmatched to what he felt was his personality. Being in Hollywood was, to him, the same kind of unrealistic ambition, but now, as a writer, voice actor, and stand-up comic, he’s certainly proved his younger self wrong. Although he’s probably best known for being the voice of Tina in the animated series Bob’s Burgers (“that’s the only thing it’ll say in my obituary,” he jokes), he’s been a writer on many television shows, from his first official gig on Crank Yankers to, most recently, the latest seasons of Veep. And he’s been doing stand-up comedy since his sophomore year at Harvard, which he credits with giving him his break into the industry.

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May 2019 | Kelley Nicole Purcell AB '02

Kelley_Purcell.jpg(Senior Director of Member Outreach, The Recording Academy)

By Stephanie Ferrarie AB '18

Kelley Nicole Purcell ‘02 let her love for music guide her path to be a singer, artist, and champion for the artistic community—including our own Harvardwood community! (She served as the Executive Director of Harvardwood from 2009 to 2013). Now the Senior Director of Member Outreach for the Recording Academy, Kelley has toured in Africa with the band Soulfege, released multiple EPs as a solo artist, and now attends the GRAMMYs annually. She also performs in Shattered Glass, a musical-poetry hybrid performance piece surrounding the healing power of art.

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April 2019 | Susan Morris Novick AB '85

smn.jpgPast HAA President; Writer featured in the NYTFood Network

By Cristina Slattery

Susan Morris Novick’s great passion has been the arts for many reasons, not least of which is “its role in creating empathy,” she shares. This former president of the Harvard Alumni Association from 2017-2018 has spent her professional life in and around theater, film, and the arts. 

Morris Novick began her career as a talent agent for actors and writers at The Gersh Agency, eventually creating the book department in the New York office. She then chose to return to writing herself, working as a writer/producer on a restaurant travel show called Dining Around at the Food Network.

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