Issue 221 | June 2023


In this issue:



  • 2023-2024 Mia and David Alpert Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship Winners
  • Inaugural Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship - Call for Applications
  • Harvardwood Summer Internship Program 2023
  • Featured Job: Project Manager to CEO of Production Company in Choreography & Dance Industry - CA


  • Alumni Profiles: Peter Blake AB ‘91 JD ‘95 (writer)
  • Industry News 
  • New Members' Welcome
  • Exclusive Q&A with Danielle Parsons AB '95 (documentarian)
  • Meet the Chapter Heads: New York 


  • Harvardwood Presents: Reunion Mixer in Cambridge (In-Person)
  • Harvardwood Presents: LA Pride Mixer (In-Person)
  • Harvardwood Presents: Writing TV for US and Global Audiences (Virtual)
  • Last Month at Harvardwood

Become a Harvardwood member as we further engage in socially active programming, discourse, and action to help change the entertainment industry.

Want to submit your success(es) to Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS? Do so by posting here

June at Harvardwood, an exciting time! The Harvardwood Summer Internship Program applications are open for those still wringing their hands about summer plans as well as those remaining nonchalantly cool.

Congratulations to the 2023 HALF winners as well for their superb work! We are also excited to announce the inaugural Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship this month, more details below on how to get paid

In addition, we offer many in person events this month including an in-person Pride Mixer at Echo Lake Entertainment! Come mingle with industry professionals; we promise to wash our elbows beforehand for rubbing.

As always, we want to hear from you, our members -- if you have an idea for an event or programming, please tell us about it here. If you have an announcement about your work or someone else's, please share it here (members) and it will appear in our Weekly and/or next HIGHLIGHTS issue.

Please consider donating to Harvardwood
. Your donations are tax deductible!

Best wishes,

Grace Shi
Operations and Communications Associate
[email protected]

2023-2024 Mia and David Alpert Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship Winners


Harvardwood is pleased to announce that filmmaker/visual artist Uzo Ngwu (AB ‘23) and conductor/composer Benjamin Perry Wenzelberg (AB ‘21) are the recipients of the second annual Mia and David Alpert Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship. In addition to receiving a $24,000 grant to support their work, each Fellow will be paired with a mentor in their field to offer professional guidance and support during the term of the Fellowship.

Ms. Ngwu will spend her fellowship year focusing on completing the production of her 2D animated film  MMANWU, which began as her thesis project. Uzo will be mentored by renowned filmmaker Mark Osborne. Mr. Osborne is known for his work in both animation and live-action directing. He gained acclaim for co-directing the highly praised film Kung Fu Panda, which garnered an Academy Award nomination and earned over $630 million worldwide. Mr. Osborne's other notable achievements include his award-winning stop-motion animated short More and his contributions to the popular TV series SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as being a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship. His diverse portfolio showcases his talent and creativity in both animation and live-action storytelling.

Mr. Wenzelberg will spend his fellowship year continuing in the second year of the National Master in Orchestral Conducting program in Amsterdam, as well as participating in the 2023 Mahler Competition in Bamberg, Germany and pursuing conducting opportunities in Europe. He will also pursue avenues to advance his original opera and senior thesis, NIGHTTOWN, which has just won a 2023 ASCAP Morton Gould Composer Award and whose premiere recording will be featured in the 2023 Bloomsday Film Festival in Ireland. Benjamin’s mentor will be conductor Alan Gilbert (AB ‘89). Mr. Gilbert is principal conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and music director of Royal Swedish Opera. He was music director of the New York Philharmonic from 2009 to 2017 and principal conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra from 2000 to 2008. He holds the title of conductor laureate with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

In addition to the two Fellows, Harvardwood named six finalists who will each receive a $500 grant to support their work. The finalists are writer Josette Abugov  (AB ‘23), mixed media artist Treasure Brooks (AB ‘22), comedian Emma Choi (AB ‘23), performer/writer Ashley Cooper (AB ‘21), musician/composer Devon Gates (AB ‘23), and dancer Osazi Al Khaliq (AB ‘23)

The Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship was created in 2022 with a gift from Harvardwood co-Founder Mia Riverton Alpert (AB ’99) and her husband, producer and media entrepreneur David Alpert (AB ‘97). The Fellowship is open to graduating seniors or recent Harvard alumni working or seeking to work in the arts, media, and entertainment fields. It is awarded annually to at least one artist, with each term running from June 1 through May 31 of the following year.

Click here for more info!

Inaugural Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship - Call for Applications

Harvardwood is excited to announce the inaugural Jonathan Sethna Harvardwood LGBTQ+ Fellowship for projects that elevate LGBTQ+ characters, themes, and stories by creatives and screenwriters who are Harvard University alumni.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to polish, develop, elevate, and amplify projects for the screen with LGBTQIA+ characters, themes, and stories. The gift, generously donated by Jonathan Sethna (HGSE ’03), will support at least two projects. The minimum amount of grant funding is $5,000. In addition to grant funds, Fellows will receive one-on-one guidance and mentorship from Harvard Alumni that want to empower artists to make the world a better place through their stories. 

The inaugural Sethna Harvardwood Fellow(s) will be announced by August 31, 2023, and the Fellowship will run from September 1, 2023 through August 31, 2024. Applicants may be at any stage of their career, and their chosen project must be a project for the screen (fiction or nonfiction, film or television). However, applicants can hold any relation to the work: writer, director, producer, etc.  

Click here for more info!

Harvardwood Summer Internship Program 2023

We are pleased to offer the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program (HSIP) for 2023! Now in its 20th year, HSIP provides a list of summer internship opportunities in the arts, media, and entertainment to interested Harvard students. In addition, HSIP facilitates career-related activities throughout the summer for participating students and companies virtually and/or in-person in Los Angeles and other cities with multiple students. Past program events have included film screenings, industry panels, and speaker events.

Internship opportunities are released and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Positions may also be filled on a rolling basis, so we encourage students and companies to submit their materials as early as possible. 

The priority submission date for students has passed, but many positions are still open and accepting applicants.

Over 100 companies have participated in HSIP since its inception, including ABC, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, CAA, Digital Domain, Disney, Dreamworks, HBO Films, Lionsgate, Mirabai Films, Miramax, National Geographic Films, Red Wagon Productions, Skybound Entertainment, Untitled Entertainment, Valhalla Motion Pictures and many others!

Click here if you are a student seeking summer internships!

Click here if you have a company offering summer internships!

Featured Job: Project Manager to CEO of Production Company in Choreography & Dance Industry - CA

Job Description: 

Looking for an enthusiastic, proactive and hard-working individual to provide the CEO of a production company, in the choreography & dance industry, with daily personal & administrative support, as well as managing/overseeing projects that the business takes on. We would love to fill this role with someone who has an ongoing interest in Entertainment and a desire to work with a quickly expanding company. Must be comfortable in fast-paced situations and be a problem solver at heart.

Click here for more info!


Alumni Profile: Peter Blake AB ‘91 JD ‘95 (writer)

Join us for an event with Peter here!

by Laura Frustaci

Peter Blake AB '91 JD '95 was a lawyer and management consultant before he started writing for television. He wrote for HOUSE, MD. for eight seasons, and has written for THE PRACTICE, ELEMENTARY, GOTHAM and BILLIONS, among other shows. He created and was the showrunner for EL CANDIDATO, a bilingual production set in and filmed in Mexico City that premiered on Amazon in July 2020. Peter earned three Emmy nominations as producer for HOUSE, MD. His teleplays have won the PEN/USA literary award and the Edgar award, and have been nominated for the WGA and Humanitas awards. Peter is currently an Executive Producer on THE GOOD DOCTOR on ABC, or would be if there weren't a strike. Peter is from New York City and is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jennifer and their two children. 

Peter Blake (AB ‘91, JD ‘95) started his career journey to television writer and creator in a rather surprising way: by attending law school. At Harvard, Peter cultivated his interest in culture by majoring in History and Literature. Upon graduation, he chose a career path the way many 21-year-olds do: he followed in his father’s footsteps and went to law school. Unfortunately, he hated it. “I didn't find it interesting and wasn’t good at it, either. It was really rule-based and not as creative as I thought it would be,” Peter recalls. After graduation, he received an offer to be a management consultant at Monitor Company. “I was even worse at that than I would have been as a lawyer. My brain didn’t work in that way. But it forced me to just get out of there, so I moved to LA and got a job as an assistant.” 

His pivot to Hollywood turned out to be instrumental in his career path. Peter worked as an assistant and low-level executive for three years before finally realizing that his true passion was writing. He wrote two spec scripts that, along with his legal background, enabled him to land a role writing on THE PRACTICE, one of many legal shows on the air at the time. “I was really lucky -- I got an offer to write on HOUSE after THE PRACTICE ended, and that became a giant hit,” Peter explains. “I kept that job for eight years, which was rare then and is kind of unheard of now. Since then, I’ve bounced around between cable shows like BILLIONS and HEMLOCK GROVE and network shows like GOTHAM, ELEMENTARY, and THE GOOD DOCTOR for the last three years on ABC.” 

A unique aspect of Peter’s career is his experience working on international shows. “I like learning languages, I spend a lot of time doing it,” Peter says. “So, I started working on international TV shows at the same time as my US work, which is an uncommon thing to do in Hollywood. I spoke French and Italian, so I got a job working in Rome on ZEROZEROZERO on Amazon Prime. I was a consultant in the writers’ room in Rome. We only worked in the mornings and I spent the rest of the time wandering around the city. It was an amazing experience.”

After that, Peter was approached by producers who wanted to do a show set in Mexico City, and he ultimately ended up creating a series for Amazon: EL CANDIDATO. Then, after EL CANDIDATO, Peter helped a Chilean writer with a pilot he was working on, which led to a job on Apple TV’s first Latin American show: MIDNIGHT FAMILY. In between all this, Peter also taught writing in Haiti at the only film school in the country and ran a simulated writers’ room for a pilot they shot. 

Having worked on such an interesting variety of shows, but most recently (and for the longest amount of time) on medical TV shows, we asked Peter what kind of impact he felt that shows about medicine can have. “Americans get a lot of their medical information from TV shows, so because of that, there’s a very good organization called Hollywood, Health and Society which puts writers in touch with doctors in order to make sure that the medicine that is shown onscreen is as realistic as it can be,” Peter explains. “When I worked on HOUSE, we did a lot of episodes about rare diseases, and I think in some cases shed some light on diseases that were underfunded, which may have helped a little bit. But what was more important was that we told stories about mental illness involving House himself which I think were accurate and responsible. House suffered from addiction and depression problems, and at the end of one of our seasons went to a psychiatric treatment facility. We worked with psychiatrists to make sure we handled that issue in a realistic and sensitive way.” At the end of the day, Peter notes that ultimately, “the most important thing was telling a story that would connect with the audience.” 

Speaking of telling stories, the industry has recently entered into a conversation about the power of AI generated stories. “From what I’ve seen, AI can do some amazing things,” Peter states. “For example, I asked it to write a scene with doctors doing liver surgery and I was blown away by what it came up with. But currently AI seems to be an extremely sophisticated form of auto-complete, so it doesn't yet come up with anything especially original or brilliant. I think for the time being, it can be a useful tool for writers themselves if they want some ideas, but the product it gives you is not something that can be filmed.” Peter quickly adds a caveat to this optimism: “I have no idea at all how things are going to shake up five years from now because ChatGPT, for example, is improving so much in each iteration that my tempered optimism about it might prove totally wrong if it continues at this pace.” And, he adds, "The danger right now for writers is not the studios hiring AI to replace us, but producers using AI to create mediocre written material that we're hired to adapt. Which turns us from creators who own the material into hired guns, diluting our authorship and lowering our earnings."

This dovetails well with some of Peter’s advice for young writers: “Have a job while you’re writing. Or even better, have a career while you’re writing, because you never know how things are going to work out. Also, getting some life experience will help you as a writer. Going to law school helped me.” Another important piece of industry advice Peter shared is to be nice… to everyone: “Be good to the people around you. If the fact that it's the right thing to do isn't enough of an incentive, do it because it will help you - they will be your co-workers and possibly bosses one day.” And finally, Peter concludes, “There’s a balancing act in being a writer.” He elaborates: “You need to be confident enough that you will finish a script. Any script you write, no matter how bad it is, has an infinitely better chance of helping your career, than a script that you polish to perfection but never finish. But at the same time you need to be insecure enough, or more accurately, realistic enough, to realize that your work isn't perfect, so that you're open to taking notes and improving your script.” 


Dayna_Wilkinson_headshot.jpgLaura Frustaci ('21) is an NYC-based actor and writer. She recently completed a yearlong Harvard Postgraduate Traveling fellowship in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she wrote her first full-length play. While at Harvard, Laura studied English and performed with the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the HRDC, On Thin Ice, and the American Repertory Theater.

Industry News

Harvardwood announced Madi Stine (AB ‘17), Anthony Zonfrelli (AB ‘14) and Warner James Wood (AB ‘14) as the winners of its 17th Writers Competition, also naming Wood as its Most Staffable TV Writer for 2023! Congratulations all!

The highly-anticipated Gladiator sequel, produced by Lucy Fisher (AB ’71) via Red Wagon Entertainment continues to add to its already impressive cast. Connie Nielsen has closed her deal to return, while Joseph Quinn is in negotiations to play Emperor Caracalla.

Shooting Stars, a new movie written by Buzz Bissinger (Nieman Class of ‘86) set to premiere on Peacock on June 2, tells the story of how James and three of his friends became the best high school basketball team in the country.

Prime Video has expanded the cast for Season 2 of ‘Outer Range,’ executive produced by Jeremy Kleiner (AB ‘98). Christian James, Megan West, Daniel Abeles, Kimberly Guerrero and Monette Moio have been tapped for recurring roles opposite Josh Brolin.

The American Repertory Theater and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus (AB ‘88) has announced its four anchor productions for the 2023-24 season, all to be performed at the Loeb Drama Center in Harvard Square.

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma (AB ‘76, DMU ‘91) is launching a seven-week Bach interactive virtual experience, “The Music Art Life Experience,” presented by Raptive and launching May 1. 

Raise a glass, the upcoming Off-Broadway production of Mira Nair (AB ‘79)'s stage musical Monsoon Wedding, adapted from the movie of the same name, has extended its St. Ann's Warehouse run by three weeks to June 25.

Samuel Baum (AB ‘98)’s The Engagement Party and Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe’s Every Brilliant Thing, featuring Daniel K. Isaac, will launch a new season of shows at Los Angeles’s Geffen Playhouse.

Paramount Pictures’ Bob Marley biopic, produced by Jeremy Kleiner (AB ‘98), is coming into focus. The studio debuted the first-look at the Reinaldo Marcus Green film during its CinemaCon presentation.

The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Nestor Carbonell (AB ‘92) and executive produced by Erica Lipez (AB ‘05) has been renewed for a fourth season on Apple TV+.

Neuroscientist and Stanford professor Dr. David Eagleman has teamed with producers Matt Tauber and Harvardwood founder (Adam Fratto AB ‘90) to launch Cognito Entertainment, an independent production company centered around science programming and films.

Co-created by Robert Carlock (AB ‘95) and Sam Means, with Tina Fey joining as executive producer, Netflix’s Mulligan follows everyman Boston native Matty Mulligan (Nat Faxon) as he becomes President overnight and learns how to use his authority for good.

CODA star Emilia Jones & Toby Wallace are set for the romance film Charlie Harper from Twilight outfit Temple Hill and Marty Bowen (AB ‘91) & Patrick Wachsberger’s Picture Perfect.

The Righteous Gemstones season 3 returns for Season 3 on June 18 and has released a trailer featuring monster trucks and Steve Zahn (ART ‘90), who appears to play a well-dressed rival to Jesse, Judy and Kelvin Gemstone.

HBO Original documentary film Being Mary Tyler Moore, directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker James Adolphus and produced by Lena Waithe, Debra Martin Chase (JD ‘81), and Ben Selkow, debuts Friday, May 26th on HBO and will stream on Max.

Sony Pictures Classics has announced that they will release Randall Park’s directorial debut, Shortcomings, in theaters on August 4, 2023. The film is produced by Eric d’Arbeloff (MBA ‘93) and Howard Cohen (AB ’81) for Roadside Attractions.

Brooks Center for the Performing Arts has announced its 2023-2024 Season, and China Forbes AB ‘92 will be performing with Pink Martini on October 24th.

Edi Gathegi has been tapped for a prominent role opposite Robert De Niro, Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Plemons, Joan Allen and Connie Britton in Netflix’s limited series Zero Day from creators Eric Newman, Noah Oppenheim AB ‘00 and Michael S. Schmidt.

Tatiana Pandiani, Jacinta Clusellas, and Melis Aker Present their musical Azul A Bilingual Musical. The trio's material includes arrangements by Clusellas, Alex Lacamoire, and Kurt Crowley (AB ‘06) in a first for the series presented by Audible Theater.

Eddie Murphy is in negotiations to star in Pink Panther, the MGM comedy based on the classic property and produced by Dan Lin MBA ‘99. He would star as Inspector Clouseau.

Winnie M Li AB ’00 will be on her US book tour June 20-29, to promote the paperback edition of her latest novel COMPLICIT (New York Times Editor’s Choice). A fictional take on #MeToo in the film industry, COMPLICIT appeared on several Best of 2022 lists and draws equally from Winnie’s experience as a film producer and as well as her more recent work as a feminist activist and writer. She’ll be doing events in New York, Boston, Vermont, Philadelphia, and New Jersey; find more info here.

New Members' Welcome

Harvardwood warmly welcomes all members who joined the organization last month:

  • Aran Shetterly, College, DC
  • Michael Skakun, NY
  • Gary Shapiro, College, NY
  • Marissa Cominelli, GSBA, LA
  • Anna Mikhaylyants, College, LA
  • Iris Feng, College, LA
  • Mark Kassen
  • Bailey Merlin, HMS, BOS/Campus
  • Alexa Rice, Div., Chicago
  • Catherine Gildea, College, NY
  • Betsy Capes
  • Olivia Farrar, College, London
  • Elisha Thornton, College, BOS/Campus
  • Susie Yi, College, LA
  • Michael Hughes, HLS, LA
  • Daniela Solis, College, NY
  • Camila Rey, College, SF/Bay Area
  • Jung Park, College, LA
  • Kiran Bhai, GSE, Other U.S.
  • Christalyn Rhodes, GSAS, BOS/Campus
  • Richard Fontenot

Exclusive Q&A with Danielle Parsons AB '95 (documentarian)

Danielle Parsons AB '95 specializes in making small subjects larger than life in documentary and video art using microscopes and macro setups. Danielle is the founder of Wonder Science, a Los Angeles-based production company and worldwide streaming app available on Roku, Apple TV, iOS, Android, and Fire TV players. The channel’s programming combines science and art, inviting viewers to see the invisible, and experience a flow-like state of relaxation and curiosity. As a student at Harvard College, Danielle drew inspiration from scientists E.O. Wilson and Stephen Jay Gould. Her passion for film has taken her to some far flung places, from Kazakhstan to the Galapagos Islands. She has produced and directed content for TV and digital outlets such as The History Channel, Showtime, Disney, WIRED, NPR, BBC, and Slate. Danielle's video art has exhibited at museums and galleries including SLOMA, IFP New Media Center, LAPL, and the SPRING/BREAK art show. She built a science museum in the metaverse. Danielle’s work has screened at festivals including the Imagine Science Film Festival, Goethe Science Film Festival, and the Infinity Festival, among others. Danielle creates concert visuals and music videos for bands such as Metallica. She is repped commercially by MAJORITY.

Q: Wonder Science, your amazing content platform where viewers can enjoy and learn from “a fusion of art and science”, is soon launching an app version! What does this mean for you and the platform’s future? What’s the most exciting thing about having a mobile version?

Thank you for your question and compliment! We launched the Android app in May, so now Wonder Science is available through both the iPhone App store and Google Play Store. The mobile apps represent another extension of the Wonder Science brand, putting relaxing, beautiful science into the hands of more people. They will also serve as an additional revenue stream, which is particularly valuable as I bootstrap the business!

I hope the omnipresence of mobile will cause even one viewer to start a science conversation with the person next to them. And I hope new users on mobile will also find their way to watching Wonder Science on larger TV screens via the streaming platforms, Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV, since subscribers can watch on any device.

Q: You studied science at Harvard, then worked for several years in Hollywood as a filmmaker at MPCA, MGM and Destination Films, and eventually the History Channel. What made you gravitate towards film and Hollywood with your scientific background? 

It may appear as a pivot, but it was a natural progression. My focus had already expanded beyond science during my studies. While studying genetics and evolutionary biology, I had incredible professors like E.O. Wilson, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Lewontin, who opened my eyes to the intricate workings of the natural world. However, I never aspired to be a scientist. Advancing genetics requires intense repetition and specificity, and I was drawn to broader interests and making connections between diverse ideas. In my junior year, I petitioned to change my concentration to Social Studies, one of Harvard's few interdisciplinary paths, which I ultimately graduated with.

As for my interest in film, I had produced several plays during my time at Harvard, which sparked my curiosity. Working in film seemed to be a prevalent option among my peers, alongside investment banking and law school, after graduation. I had the opportunity to intern with a producer in Los Angeles during the summer between my junior and senior years, and that experience clinched the deal. So, after graduating, I headed to Hollywood.   

Q: Where did intersections between art and science first develop in your work? What personal experiences or specific gaps in science education led you to found Wonder Science?

Leading up to launching the Wonder Science channel, I had enjoyed a decade of complete creative freedom during which I produced much of its content. I have a home filming and editing studio and could do everything literally in house. The artistry in my work emerged from patiently observing and appreciating the beauty of the subjects I filmed. With limited resources, I also relied on the creative problem-solving skills of myself and my talented collaborators. We used traditional arts and crafts supplies to visualize elements that were too small to be filmed directly. For instance, we crafted molecules by gluing together balls of fluff and created stop-motion animations of quantum processes using cut-up construction paper.

Through filming hundreds of hours of science solely under my own direction, the style of my content diverged from what I saw in mainstream science media. And I thought there was value in that. As the independent streaming industry began to gain traction, I worked with multiple tech teams until we successfully developed the Wonder Science apps. I was excited to have a platform to reach audiences directly. During one summer, I assembled a team of seven editors, and together we sifted through the hundreds of hours of footage, ultimately producing twenty-five programs that became the foundation of Wonder Science. The videos covered a range of topics, including microorganisms, gems, physics, flowers, biology, and even seven videos dedicated to ants.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges of creating microscopic content? How do you even film something that’s invisible to the naked eye? 

Filming through microscopes is incredibly satisfying. It’s almost a cheat, the factor of strangeness one can achieve looking at almost anything under a microscope. There are several types of microscopy, some of which manipulate light in ways that accentuate different aspects of a subject – one technique makes a microbe seem to glow from within; another technique is great for capturing surface detail on its body. There is a delightful range of what I call “in-scope effects” that can be achieved with different filters, and even DIY. There is also microscopy that doesn’t use light at all, like electron microscopy.

As for how to film invisible subjects, it takes attaching a camera to a microscope via an adaptor. In cases where there isn’t light to capture, as when imaging the smallest things possible, it involves simply setting up a screen capture. The main trick is the microscopy. Microscopy is hard. Electron microscopes I couldn’t begin to operate alone. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people, especially to members of the Microscopy Society of Southern California, who have taught me light microscopy hands on. I try to pass it on by volunteering at STEPCon, acquainting hundreds of young students with the microscope as a window to wonder. 

To do light microscopy requires directing the light through the optics of the microscope such that the subject is illuminated and in focus. To do video microscopy is challenging because one must attend to multiple things at once: operate the camera as well as the microscope, keep the subject in focus, move the stage to keep it in frame, adjust the height of the condenser to focus the light. 

When filming so small an area, any introduction of kinetic energy into this ‘set’ – such as the light touch of a finger on the stage or focus knob, or one’s breath -- can cause shot-ending perturbations in the medium. 

One annoying but all too real challenge of filming microscopy is dealing with dust, which will detract from the impact of the footage. Sometimes the dust is on the slide. So you have to start over with a different sample on a clean slide. But count yourself lucky, because inside a microscope, there are a maddening number of hard to access places in which dust particles can collect, one more delicate than the next. When dust is unavoidable, which seems to always be the case to some degree, it then becomes a painstaking chore to mask it out as best as possible in editing. Glamorous work.

Q: How do you decide what content to create? And how do you work to ensure the content provided by Wonder Science remains up to date and relevant in an ever-changing scientific landscape?

At Wonder Science, the decision-making process for creating content is driven by a genuine sense of curiosity and enthusiasm. Firstly, my personal intellectual curiosity plays a significant role. I’ve been following that thread for years, across several broad topics represented in my work. By collaborating and conversing with experts, I gain insight that informs the content creation process. Additionally, sometimes random topics will leap out from newsletters and science publications. Other times, I figure out what’s interesting to say about something that I want to film because it’s beautiful.  

I strive to stay connected with the scientific community and keep abreast of the latest developments in several fields. I’m involved with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and attend their conferences. I am an active member of scientific groups including the Microscopy Society of Southern California and the Lorquin Entomological Society. 

I trust my intuition to draw me to topics that are years ahead of the curve. For example, I was knee-deep in making a project on light capture during photosynthesis when experimental evidence was published saying that the process involved quantum coherence, which was at that time highly surprising to find in a biological system, and which went on to buttress the emerging field of quantum biology. More than once, I have been asked to wait to release a video until after research was published. 

Wonder Science also creates evergreen content about foundational science that will never go out of date. While some aspects of science remain enduring, there are always new breakthroughs and discoveries to explore. So it’s about striking a balance between established knowledge and emerging frontiers.

Q: What are your future plans and aspirations for Wonder Science?

One of my goals for Wonder Science is to communicate all the fascinating and important science I’ve researched over the years. To achieve this, I plan to create versions of existing and new content that incorporate narration and interviews with scientists while staying true to the channel's spirit. We have already released five narrated episodes. I’m planning to grow the content offerings over the next couple years by continuing to license outside content as well as producing in house. There are virtual reality projects and educational video games I’d be excited to do. There is merch I’m dying to make. I want to create and exhibit more science art. 

I’ve nearly always retained the rights to what I produce, and I plan to continue to grow the value of my library of science content. I am preparing to pursue funding. In order to be eligible for grants, I recently established Wonder Science Education Corp as a 501(c)(3) non-profit branch of the company. All of my big plans for Wonder Science really hinge on attracting an amazing team of people, including a CEO, and a genius who can grow our audience across all the apps.

As I look ahead, my long-term vision for Wonder Science is as a multimedia brand, akin to a young National Geographic, infused with emerging music and culture. The ultimate goal is for this overall project to help people connect with their innate sense of wonder, and to incrementally improve the health of our planet and the well-being of all its inhabitants.

Q: I played around in the Wonder Science “Metaverse” for a little bit– it’s AWESOME! How do you think AI is going to impact anything in the Wonder Science-related or STEM space, along with both the entertainment and educational spaces at large?

I’m psyched that you did that! The main Wonder Science metaverse headquarters that you visited is in Voxels, a player-built metaverse on the Ethereum blockchain. I have imagined for years a Wonder Science Museum, but my ambitious designs would require mammoth sums to accomplish IRL. Suddenly I could draft the first science museum in the metaverse where anything is possible and even the rules of gravity can be ignored in pursuit of scientific learning! Now we’re waiting to see how the metaverse landscape shakes out in time. 

And now everyone is weighing in on AI which has seemingly instantly changed everything. It feels like we’re living in that stunned instant after a deep cut, staring at gaping flesh before the blood starts pouring out. I actually don’t feel entirely fatalistic about AI though, despite the gruesome choice of analogy. I mean, there will be massive job disappearances, and some networked AI may blow us all to smithereens next year. But I believe the potential is there for equally radical upsides. And that is thrilling, because the planet could use some huge upsides.

But as to my opinion about AI in STEM and the entertainment and educational spaces… In education as in news, from here on there is no certain truth unless you see it happening in real life in real time. There is no way to assess a student’s knowledge unless you watch them in person write their exams and essays on paper, in the absence of phones or other devices. It’s funny to me the way in which this technological advancement may semi throw us back to a time before computers. Certainly I think AI will advance our entire concept of knowledge.

I guess the entertainment and education we consume will get super excellent, human artists and copyright holders be damned. Personally so far I have been using AI as a tool to improve the quality of my footage through upsizing and slow motion. I don’t yet have ideas on other ways I would comfortably use AI in Wonder Science educational projects. Check back soon! As a science artist, I’m intrigued to collaborate creatively with AI. 

Q: Finally, what do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy spending free time with my partner and my dog, and hanging out with friends. I like going to museums, movies, and the occasional Broadway show. I tend to have a novel going. I sometimes like to cook. I require free time in nature, hiking or exploring. I am a friend to insects and will interrupt a doubles tennis match to ferry a bee off the court. 

Meet the Chapter Heads: New York

Harvardwood would like to honor our New York Chapter Heads, Cornelia Ravenal (College) and Uzma Hasan (GSAS)

Uzma Hasan (GSAS)

Uzma Hasan is a producer who focuses on bringing subversive stories to global audiences who founded and runs independent production company Little House Productions. Her latest feature film CREATURE is directed by Academy Award winner Asif Kapadia (AMY) in a ground breaking, genre busting collaboration with Lawrence Olivier Award winning choreographer Akram Khan (DESH).

Current projects on her slate include an original musical with Ritesh Batra (THE LUNCHBOX) and Amazon Studios, a period sports drama with novelist Nikesh Shukla (THE GOOD IMMIGRANT) and the British Film Institute, and a contemporary reworking of Macbeth set between London and Karachi with playwright Rabiah Hussain (SPUN). She is next shooting Gautam Malkani’s cult novel LONDONSTANI for the BFI in Summer 2022. Previous credits include Nirpal Bhogal’s FIRSTBORN, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016 ahead of a worldwide sale to Netflix, and THE INFIDEL which spawned a musical and Bollywood remake DHARAM SANKAT MEIN.

In addition to Little House Productions, Uzma is Chair of the Bush Theatre, home for new writing and talent, and sits on boards for Ffilm Cymru Wales, the development agency for Welsh film as well as Bird’s Eye View, a nonprofit that campaigns for gender equality in film. She was previously a non executive director on the board of public broadcaster Channel 4 and the first person of colour to have that role in the channel’s 37 year history. She sits on selection committees and juries for BAFTA, the British Independent Film Awards and Film London amongst others. Uzma has worked across four continents, for independents and studios, with companies including Focus Features, Doha Film Institute, and Tribeca Film Festival on the development, production and exploitation of feature films.

In 2010, she was nominated by HRH Prince’s Trust for a Mosaic Arts & Culture Award; in 2012, she was nominated for the Asian Woman of Achievement Award and became a Women of the Future Ambassador; and in 2013 she was awarded the British Muslim Award for Services to Creativity.

She graduated from University of Wales, Cardiff with first class honours in English Literature and went on to read Film and Literature at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where she was a Kennedy Scholar.


Cornelia Ravenal (College)

Cornelia Ravenal is an award-winning creator with work performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and regional theaters, published in Asia and the US, screened at 70+ festivals and distributed internationally. A co-founder of Wilderness Films, she has over thirty years experience writing and producing for stage and screen.

A writer of over 20 scripts, she has written screenplays for Lars von Trier's Zentropa and Oscar-winning producer Charlie Wessler ("Dumb & Dumber," "Green Book"). She also co-wrote the script for the upcoming "1947: Where Now Begins" based on the international bestseller.

Her scripts have been recognized by the Academy Nicholl Fellowship (Semi-finalist, top 2% out of 6,000+ submissions), Sundance Screenwriting Lab (two-time Second Rounder), and three times by The Writers Lab funded by Meryl Streep (2016: Semi-finalist, top 3%, 2017: Finalist, top 2%, 2018: Lab, top 1%).

As a producer, her projects include the off-Broadway hit, NY Times Critic's Pick, "Nirbhaya" (2015) and the award-winning feature documentary "Moving Stories" (2018) directed by Sundance winner Rob Fruchtman, for which she was also a co-filmmaker with Mikael Södersten.

Films and scripts she's consulted on include "Stockholm Stories" (Sonet), "The Tale" (HBO) and "The Brothers Lionheart" (Spark Film & TV)

Previously, she was a journalist and cultural critic with 60+ articles and opinions pieces published in The New York Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Verve, Art Asia Pacific and others. From 1996-98, she was a US Correspondent for India Today, India's leading news magazine.

In the 1990s, she also worked as a speechwriter, communications strategist and writer or producer of 40+ videos and events for Fortune 500 clients.

She began her career in musical theater, writing book, music & lyrics for the hit musical "Out of the Reach of Children," winner of the Seagram Award for New Music Theater and the longest running show in the history of DC's New Playwrights Theater. She also co-wrote book & lyrics for the off-off Broadway hit "Two's a Crowd" with Linda Semans, music by Zina Goldrich. More recently, she wrote lyrics for the Susan Seidelman musical "Boynton Beach Club" with composer Ned Ginsburg.

She cut her musical theater teeth in the ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked") and in the Lehman Engel BMI Music Theater Workshop with Skip Kennon and Maury Yeston. ("Nine").

She also founded some of the first industry networking groups. In the 1990s and 2000s she founded and ran salons at the National Arts Club for arts & entertainment professionals. With Newsweek Europe's Managing Editor Mike Meyer, she ran a monthly networking event at Ismael Merchant's Pondicherry for diplomats and foreign correspondents.

In 2014 she founded the Women Producers Group, now WIP (Women Independent Producers).

She earned a BA from Harvard University, studied Dramatic Writing in the Graduate Program at NYU/Tisch, and was a fellow in the AFI Comedy Writers Workshop.

Cornelia's family comes from Eastern Europe, India, the Middle East and Scandinavia and embraces all five major religions, bringing a multifaceted perspective and diverse influences to everything she produces and creates.

She frequently works with Mikael Södersten, with whom she founded Wilderness Films.

Email the NYC Chapter Heads to get involved!

Harvardwood would like to thank Spence Porter, our former New York Chapter Head, for his work with us!


"These years as Harvardwood's NYC Chapter Head have been sheer joy with more wonderful events than I can keep track of--interviewing Edward Albee, Andre Bishop, Bart Sher, and Stephen Wadsworth, as well as a 30-year veteran of the CIA about what it was like to be a spy!  Speakers like Jane Alexander, Nadine Strossen, Jed Perl, Andrei Serban, Maria Konnikova, Annette Insdorf, Donna Lieberman, Jacques d'Amboise, Ann Temkin, and Linda Greenhouse.  Special dinners with Marvin Hamlisch and Madhur Jaffrey, and wine dinners with Jeannie Cho Lee.  Evenings of classical music and jazz and standup comedy.  Christopher Caines talking with ABT and NYC Ballet corp members. And of course the parties! Now I'm moving on from Harvardwood to start a new cultural organization of my own in New York.  As many of you know, I'm a playwright who works with actors, dancers, puppets, masks, and onstage musicians.  And this new cultural organization will be all about bringing together artists from different disciplines to share their work and build community together--look for an announcement in about six months!  I'm hoping to stay in touch with those of you I already know, and to meet many more of you! 

Tons of good wishes to Cornelia and Uzma as they make the NYC Chapter their own!"


Harvardwood Presents: Pride Mixer

Thursday, June 8th 6pm PT (LA)

 Join us for an in person Pride mixer co-hosted with Echo Lake Entertainment!

Come mingle with other industry professionals at Echo Lake Entertainment in celebration of Pride month!

FREE for members, $5 non-members in advance/$10 at the door, 21+ only

More info HERE

Harvardwood Presents: In-Person Reunion Mixer in Cambridge

June 3rd, 2023 at 3 pm ET - 5 pm ET (Cambridge)

Join Harvardwood for a reunion mixer the first weekend of June, in-person in Cambridge!

We'll meet between 3-5pm on the patio at Charlie's Kitchen.

Save the date, come for food, fun, and friends! RSVP below so we know that you're coming! See you there!

More info HERE

Harvardwood Presents: Writing TV for US and Global Audiences

Monday, June 26th 5pm PT / 8pm ET (virtual)

Join us for a conversation with Executive Producer Peter Blake AB ‘91 JD ‘95 about creating dynamic television for global audiences.

Peter Blake AB '91 JD '95 was a lawyer and management consultant before he started writing for television. He wrote for HOUSE, MD. for eight seasons, and has written for THE PRACTICE, ELEMENTARY, GOTHAM and BILLIONS, among other shows. He created and was the showrunner for EL CANDIDATO, a bilingual production set in and filmed in Mexico City that premiered on Amazon in July 2020. Peter earned three Emmy nominations as producer for HOUSE, MD. His teleplays have won the PEN/USA literary award and the Edgar award, and have been nominated for the WGA and Humanitas awards. Peter is currently an Executive Producer on THE GOOD DOCTOR on ABC, or would be if there weren't a strike. Peter is from New York City and is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jennifer and their two children. 

More info HERE

Last Month at Harvardwood

Last month at Harvardwood we learned how to set our goals and manage our time with Betsy Capes, talked about transitioning from being a doctor to writing for doctors with Anthony Chin-Quee, and spoke to Rupak Ginn, Min-Woo Park, Nathan Ramos-Park, and Julia Riew about being talented AAPI multi-hyphenates. 

Some of us also spoke to our friends and family, but these are just some of the many events we had the pleasure of hosting last month at Harvardwood


List of All Upcoming Harvardwood Events Here

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Want to submit your success(es) to Harvardwood HIGHLIGHTS? Do so by posting here

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Become a Harvardwood member as we further engage in socially active programming, discourse, and action to help change the entertainment industry!

In these unprecedented times, we are doubling down on providing impactful programming that not only helps our membership build and further entertainment careers, but create socially active habits and spheres of influence and knowledge. The entertainment industry is changing before our eyes, and our recent programming is just the tip of the iceberg. We'd love your help in furthering this mission. In various capacities, we work hard to create programming that you, the membership, would like to be engaged with. Please consider joining Harvardwood and becoming an active member of our arts, media, and entertainment community



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