GCP Teams

GCP Teams

GCP Faculty Directors act as the intellectual head of their community, welcoming residents and guests into their homes each month, to live and learn together.  As residents of Harvard University Housing, you are invited to join them virtually each month for Open House events or online conversations with special guests throughout the semester.

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Professor Christopher Winship & Nancy Winship

Chris Winship is the Diker-Tishman Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and also a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s senior faculty.  His research spans a wide variety of fields from the development of statistical models for assessing causality, the application of the philosophical field of pragmatism to sociology, ethnographic work study partnerships in Boston to deal with gang violence between the police and a group of black inner city ministers known as the Ten Point Coalition, to the study of effects of education on mental and test taking ability. He is co-director of the Boston Area Research Initiative, an inter-university effort to provide highquality research to inform local policy decision- making. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard in 1977. Prior to coming back to Harvard in 1994, he was professor of Sociology, Statistics, and Economics at Northwestern University. He is an avid tennis player.  

Nancy K. Winship is newly retired from her role as senior vice president for Institutional Advancement at Brandeis University. During her tenure at Brandeis, Nancy  quadrupled the University’s yearly fundraising total and planned and implemented the first comprehensive campaign in the University’s history.  She received her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, summa cum laude, and pursued graduate work in Sociology (ABD) at Harvard University. Chris & Nancy support the Garden Area community and reside in beautiful 29 Garden Street. 

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Professor Nancy Hill & Rendall Howell

Theodore, also known as Theo, is in third grade at Shady Hill School. When he is not reading about and playing with his trucks, airplanes, rescue vehicles and watching Rescue-bots, he enjoys riding his bike, running, playing the piano, and playing with his friends.

Taylor, their “nearly adult” daughter, is a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She is focusing on gender studies, international relations, and public policy. When she is not studying, she is an avid baker, enjoys reading, writing, and sleeping in.

Rendall Howell is an Strategic Account Manager at NCR, a financial equipment and technology company serving clients in the financial services industry. He earned his BA in Economics at Oberlin College and his MBA in Finance at Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. In his spare time, Rendall enjoys playing his trumpet and playing any sport.

Nancy E. Hill is the Charles Bigelow Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and former Radcliffe Professor. Professor Hill is a developmental psychologist and her research focuses primarily on adolescence.  Further, she identifies the unique and interactive ways in which race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status influence parenting beliefs, practices and youth outcomes.  In addition, she was a recent recipient of the William T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Faculty Fellowship for her work on improving adolescents’ academic adjustment holistically via interagency collaborations at the state and local levels.  Prior to coming to Harvard in 2007, she was on faculty in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University.  She enjoys cycling, cooking, and kayaking on the Charles River.

Together, as a family, they enjoy being outside, going to concerts, eating, and are actively involved in their church.


Professor Grace La & James Dallman

With deep Harvard roots, both Professor Grace La and James Dallman received their professional degrees in architecture from GSD and are excited to mentor and support residents in the Graduate Commons community. “James and I are delighted to join the distinctive GCP program, which enables us to contribute to the intellectual life at Harvard in new and expansive ways. We look forward to collaboration across the university,” said La.

La and Dallman are also principals and co-founders of La Dallman Architects, an internationally-recognized firm integrating architecture, engineering, and landscape. The firm’s work has been exhibited widely, including at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Danish Architecture Center, and the Roca London Gallery. They have been awarded numerous professional honors, including the prestigious Progressive Architecture Award, for which their work is featured on the March 2021 cover of Architect, the journal of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

In addition to their Harvard teaching and collaborative design practice, the couple have a variety of interests they hope to share with HUH residents. La enjoys travel, furniture and textile design, gardening and hosts Talking Practice, a niche podcast with a devoted following of nearly 75,000 downloads. Dallman enjoys drawing and is an avid outdoorsman who hikes, camps, and has portaged throughout the upper Great Lakes and the Canadian Boundary Waters. They will be joined in residence by their two sons and look forward to creating deeper connections with the Harvard community.


Professor Vinny Manoharan & Michelle Carter

Vinothan (Vinny) Manoharan is the Wagner Family Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Physics and the co-Director of the Quantitative Biology Initiative at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. His research focuses on understanding how systems containing many particles suspended in a liquid—such as nanoparticles, proteins, or cells—organize themselves into ordered structures like crystals, viruses, and even living tissues.  His lab uses optical microscopy and holography to watch these systems self-assemble in real time.  The goal is to discover new, general physical principles that underlie complex systems and to apply these principles to practical problems in materials science, nanotechnology, and medicine. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2004 and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania before arriving at Harvard in 2005. In his spare time, Vinny enjoys volleyball, cooking, and sleeping, though rarely all at the same time.

Michelle Carter, a practicing painter, is Assistant Professor and Chair of the Art and Design Program at Northern Essex Community College, where she teaches drawing, painting, and design foundations. She has a BA in History from Vassar College and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Massachusetts College of Art.  Michelle has exhibited her own work across New England and has a strong interest in community building, both in and out of the classroom. 

Our Program Managers support the holistic programming efforts that make Harvard University Housing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all residents. They work with Faculty Directors, Community Advisors, and the Family Programming team to host (virtual) events each month that support your and your entire household’s connections to your neighbors and the wider Harvard community.

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Lisa Valela (she/her/hers) - Director, Graduate Commons

Lisa started her career at Harvard at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study before transitioning to Harvard Housing in 2008.  She is currently the Director for the Graduate Commons Program at Harvard University Housing.  In this role, Lisa is responsible for community building and co-curricular programming in all HUH properties, overseeing the talented professional team and their nearly 400 events each year. Lisa co-facilitates the Harvard Graduate Student Affairs Circle and is on the Advisory Board for the Harvard Graduate Council, a One Harvard student group focused on supporting and unifying graduate and professional students across campus. 

Lisa previously spent 5 years as a management consultant at Accenture, working for clients such as NYU, University of Chicago, and The Ohio State University, before returning to graduate school to begin her career in Student Life. 

Lisa has a BA in Political Science and an MA in Education. She loves to explore New England, attends yoga classes when she can, and is a fan of the local live music scene. She also loves to talk about her three nieces and her hometown of Chicago.


Veronica Dea Santana - Associate Director 

Veronica began her time at Harvard by earning an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).  She joins the Graduate Commons Program as Associate Director after previously serving as Assistant Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Before her time at Harvard, Veronica obtained her undergraduate degree in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and upon graduating served two years in AmeriCorps VISTA* managing her alma mater’s school partnerships and service learning opportunities. In her academic and professional work, she is passionate about fostering intentional spaces for personal development, community building, and holistic wellbeing!

Veronica enjoys talking with friends and family around a fire, traveling with her partner (to then eat many a thing), and having one side conversations with her orange tabby (Fiddle aka Moo) about his level of cuteness (consistently topping the charts).

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Aric B. Flemming, Jr. - Program Manager
Aric is a native of Decatur, GA. He is a minister and a musician among other things. He earned a B.A. in Religion & English from Morehouse College and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. He loves meeting new people, building relationships, and fostering connections that last across Harvard in particular, but even in the broader world. He is proud to serve the Graduate Commons Program as a Program Manager. He looks forward to the new adventures and relationships this role will bring about in the year!

Anna Kirby - Family Program Manager 

Anna earned a B.A. in Psychology & Music from Williams College and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). For nearly a decade, she has been involved in developing and facilitating educational and social programming for kids and families, including serving as the GCP Family Programming Intern from 2019-2021 and co-directing the social justice education program Imagining More Just Futures. Anna is currently completing her PhD at HGSE and is an editor for the Harvard Educational Review. In all her work, she aims to create opportunities for meaningful collaboration between institutions, educators, and families.

Anna grew up in New Hampshire and when not doing research or working with GCP, she can be found hiking, writing, or cooking with her husband, Will.

Community Advisors (CAs) are an integral part of the GCP team. They are residents of Harvard Housing from all Harvard affiliations, including graduate students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, partners, spouses, and family members. They are passionate about hosting events that enrich the Graduate Commons community and help residents get to know the people, places, and resources available at Harvard and the greater Boston area.

Jonathan Jackson
Position: Senior Community Advisor
Harvard affiliation: Biophysics PhD student (in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
From: Madison, Wisconsin
Interests: Hiking/walking, reading, exploring the area and trying new food

Evelyn Contreras

Position: Senior Community Advisor
Harvard Affiliation: Staff, Harvard Graduate School of Education
From: San Diego, CA
Interests: Outside of her work, research, and classes, Evelyn spends her time catering to her large collection of plants, cooking, and exploring the city of Boston




Alexia Simon
Position: Community Advisor

Harvard Affiliation: PhD student in Astronomy
I am originally from France, and my family owns a restaurant where I grew up and learned how to cook. I would love to bring some of my cooking learning to the GCP community. My interests are mainly sport related: yoga, gym, circus, ice skating, kickboxing. I am looking forward to be part of GCP community by creating a well being environment. of Boston