Shaun Chaudhuri

Shaun Chaudhuri

A.B. '15 Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Economics
Financial Analyst at Apple
Chaudhuri photograph

In his 2005 commencement address Steve Jobs stated, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future...”

I couldn’t find a truer statement to describe my journey and path that led me to study gender studies at Harvard. I was inspired to pursue gender activism during a summer internship at the Women’s Tennis Association, where I learned about Billie Jean King’s longtime commitment to gender equality and social justice, including her prominent win during the “Battle of the Sexes.” This led me to take the sophomore WGS tutorial and “Gender and Sports” class, which were pivotal moments in my undergraduate academic career as I decided to major in WGS and minor in economics.

Outside the classroom, I was part of the varsity tennis team and my experience in WGS helped me critically analyze the false notions of masculinity that can exist on male sports teams, which helped me become a stronger ally and activist. I also wrote a student blog for prospective students for the Harvard Admissions Office, played on the chess team, and took an active role on the Eliot House Committee.

After graduation, I spent a short time working in college admissions before entering the financial sector. I started in a rotational financial program at an energy company and then moved to the finance team at Apple. With Apple’s strong focus on accessibility, diversity, and inclusion, I continue to find myself coming back to the critical interdisciplinary themes of WGS. The strong intellectual atmosphere and openness within the program make me appreciate the opportunity to be part of this close-knit community.

My experience in college has led to further gender rights work, as I serve on the board of directors for the U.S. National Committee for UN Women (San Francisco Bay Area), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that funds the UN Women life-changing gender equity programs. I lead their major event, the Global Voices Film Festival, which supports female filmmakers by showcasing their work in both virtual reality and the traditional film space. We are also working on adding San Francisco to the UN Women’s global Safe Cities Program to reduce sexual harassment and violence against women and girls in public spaces. In retrospect, the greatest lessons I took from Harvard were a result of WGS’s emphasis on challenging the status quo and on encouraging their students to carve their own unique path. I would not have pursued this path had it not been for the amazing professors and strong support from WGS staff and I am grateful for the opportunity.

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