Helping GSAS Students Thrive
Marianne Steiner MEN ’78, SM ’78
Marianne Steiner MEN ’78, SM ’78 believes that graduate students can become better leaders, teachers, and communicators by sharpening their professional skills.
“How can we prepare our students to thrive and lead in the 21st century? They need innovative support programs, professional development skills, and connections to alumni, and we want to help the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences provide these programs."
To help Harvard provide the scaffolding students need, she and her husband, Robert Paley, give an Associates gift each year, and Steiner volunteers on the GSAS Alumni Council and the Graduate School Fund Committee.
“I like knowing that I’m helping to build a vibrant community of alumni who connect with students,” says Steiner.
She is also an ardent supporter of January@GSAS, a series of seminars and workshops led by GSAS alumni, designed to help graduate students develop professional skills over the winter break. She’s participated in an alumni discussion on consulting, and most recently, organized a panel on big data, an area rich in opportunities for graduate students because it cuts across so many fields, she says.
“I enjoy talking with students about how they can apply their analytical skills to the private sector,” she says. Her own post-graduate success has relied on her ability to analyze data and think beyond disciplinary boundaries. As a principal at Larkspur Marketing, she consults in high-growth industries and has worked in a diverse range of markets including data communications, energy, health care management, and cyber security. “I think how people use technology is far more interesting than the technology itself,” says Steiner.
She believes Harvard was instrumental in shaping her professional path. And she regularly calls upon her experiences at Harvard, where she earned joint degrees in applied mathematics and information management with GSAS and Harvard Business School. “They really pushed us to try and solve problems that weren’t actually solvable,” she remembers of the collaborative environment in which she worked closely with professors and the small cohort in her program. “It promoted intellectual honesty and shaped my critical thinking skills.”
She wants to help give the same opportunities to the next generation of scholars at GSAS. “Graduate students have this amazing expansive knowledge. And my husband and I want to help them take their work and expand it to make an impact on the world around them,” she says. “We are committed to supporting education as the foundation for strengthening our country, our culture, and everything that matters.”