5 Harvard grads and students to watch

Here are five up-and-coming undergraduates and recent graduates to keep an eye on.


NONI CARTER Undergraduate / Writer

Carter wrote her first novel before most kids can drive. She began working on Good Fortune, the tale of a young girl taken from Africa and enslaved in America in the 1800s, when she was only 12, eventually finishing the book and selling it to Simon & Schuster four years later. The book was released in spring 2010, when Carter was 18.

JOSH KUSHNER class of 2008, MBA 2010 / Financier


Son of a real estate mogul and younger brother to New York Observer publisher Jared Kushner, Josh is making his name in tech. He put together a start-up, – now Brazil’s largest online gaming site – with two friends while he was an undergrad and started his own venture fund, Thrive Capital, in 2010 at age 25.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

So far, Thrive’s results are worthy of the name: In August, the firm announced it had raised $40 million for an investment fund, which reportedly included money from Peter Thiel, famous for his early investment in another Harvard-spawned product, Facebook.

MICHAEL MURPHY Master of architecture 2011 / Architect

In 2007, Murphy and a classmate cofounded the nonprofit MASS Design Group to offer design aid to projects in developing countries. Their first effort, a hospital in Rwanda, was built with special attention to containing airborne diseases like tuberculosis, including UV lights that help kill microbes and large overhead fans that reduce disease transmission by improving air circulation. The group now has a staff of more than 20, with offices in Boston as well as Rwanda, where MASS Design Group staffers teach Rwandan architecture students, and a presence in Haiti, where the group is building a special TB hospital and a vocational school.

ALEXANDRA PETRI Class of 2010 / Washington Post columnist


Forgoing Oxford to study Renaissance poetry, Petri joined the Post after graduation, where she writes a weekly humor column and runs a blog called ComPost. “I view print media as a family member,” she told her former student newpaper, The Crimson, this year, “and since it’s dying, I will plan to sit by its bedside.”

ALEXA VON TOBEL 2006 / CEO of LearnVest Inc.

Named one of Inc. magazine’s “30 Under 30” in 2010, von Tobel started LearnVest to give young women an online resource to help them with personal finances – a sort of virtual Suze Orman for the post-college set. The company has raised nearly $25 million in funding so far and is projecting more than 400,000 users by the end of this year.