We're excited to kick off our 20th Anniversary Season with a special series of posts that bring you stories of Harvard alumni working in the arts, media, and entertainment. These snapshots, spanning careers from entry to senior levels, reflect the diversity in both talent and perspective of our membership.
Enjoy these snapshots from the lives and careers of Nick Baker AB '07, Ryan Halprin AB '12, Ruiqi He AB '19, Gregg Hurwitz AB '95, and Valerie Weiss MMS '97, PhD '01.
I wanted to say thanks again for how life-changing my Harvardwood experience was. Not only was Harvardwood 101 a fabulously-run program with an amazing director, but it shed light on the career path I'd now like to pursue, which I was so confused about before. I feel incredibly blessed and thankful every single day for the Harvardwood 101 week, as well as my internship at MRC Studios. If it weren't for either, I wouldn't have found out what [is now] my career goal, which is to start out in investment banking and use this finance and valuation knowledge to use my MBA as a pivot into producing and financing films in Hollywood. Forever grateful for Harvardwood, which basically changed and shaped the rest of my life.
- Ruiqi He (Analyst, J.P. Morgan)
By Emily Zauzmer AB '18
Ryan Halprin AB ’12 serves as a Vice President at Lin Pictures, where his responsibilities include co-producing the LEGO movies and developing live action features. A neurobiology concentrator at Harvard, he found his passion in the college’s theater community as an actor turned director. He started as an intern at Lin Pictures in the summer after his junior year and rose through the ranks after college. Here, he discusses his career path, his advice for students hoping to follow in his footsteps, and his work on The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which comes out this month.
Q. How did you go from concentrating in neurobiology at Harvard to pursuing a career in entertainment? Does your science background inform your career path at all?
A. There’s a lot of overlap for me—the two fields get at the same big questions: why do we do what we do? Why are humans so weird? If we study behavior, can we understand it? Help people live better? What does that even mean? When I started college I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I had that curiosity, and the psychology class I took inadvertently revealed that the answers to all these questions are getting unearthed by neuroscience. I wanted in on that action. I thought I could get at the microbiology of love, or fear, even comedy. The more I dug in though, the more I found that so much of what is studied today is organisms with a few thousand brain cells, because humans have 80 billion neurons and there are a lot questions we have to answer before getting to the sexy ones. The practice of it was slow, not very creative, and seldom collaborative.Read more
Posted by Maxwell A. Newman-Plotnick
Last week of classes got you down?
Take a break and watch...
"A Show and Tell Episode"