Sonali Nijhawan has committed her life’s work to developing service leaders and growing national service programs. Most recently, Sonali developed and led Stockton Service Corps (SSC) as Executive Director of a 6-year, $12M first-of-its-kind place-based service initiative launched by Mayor Michael Tubbs to address Stockton’s most critical needs by activating evidence-based national service programs. Sonali began her career in public service in her hometown of Chicago, where she served as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year Chicago. Inspired by the students, families, and the AmeriCorps community she met during her time in Chicago and Baltimore, Sonali joined the start-up and founding team of City Year Sacramento, launching the organization's 22nd site with 50 new AmeriCorps members. In 2016, Sonali served as the California Director at Education Pioneers where she recruited, placed, and supported managers in large urban school systems and education nonprofits, empowering her fellows to bring their unique vision and ideas to challenge the status quo of our public education system. In February 2021, Sonali joined the Biden-Harris administration as the Director of AmeriCorps State and National, the first South Asian woman and AmeriCorps Alum to serve in this position. Sonali was born and raised in the Chicagoland area, she is the proud daughter of Indian immigrants, a graduate of the K-12 public school system, and holds a Bachelor's in Education and Psychology from Marquette University and a Master's in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
I am excited to join the Harvard community and this class of inaugural fellows to discover strategies that offer purpose and opportunity to future generations. With community voice and perspective always at the epicenter of my work, I’m eager to explore new ways to advance and elevate the already transformational impact of national service.