My name is Seth Rosenberg. I'm a sophomore at Harvard College studying Psychology and Government. I served on active duty as a combat photographer in the United States Marine Corps from 2017-2022. I grew up in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota with no connections to an Ivy League university. I didn’t have the typical high school GPA or test scores expected of an Ivy League student, and I honestly didn’t expect to go to college at all. I enlisted in the Marine Corps at 17, turned 18, graduated high school on a Friday and was at MCRD San Diego that weekend.
My first duty station was Marine Aircraft Group 12 in Iwakuni, Japan, where I conducted photography for units flying F-18s, KC-130s, and the first forward-deployed F-35Bs in the pacific. Here, you can see a photo I took of the first time an F-35 flew over Mount Suribachi on Iō-tō (Formerly and widely known as Iwo Jima):
While in Japan, I attached to a wide array of occupations and units performing many different tasks all over the Indo-Pacific Region. I published imagery that was later featured in many national and international platforms, including Reuters, United Press International, Rossiya 24, Business Insider, and many more.
When I left Japan, I attached to I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, where I was part of a task force dedicated to combatting mis- and disinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Following that, I deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
About halfway through that deployment, college applications were due, and between the snail-paced Internet on ship and intermittent Wi-Fi in coffee shops while in port, I managed to apply to several schools and set up interviews. I was lucky to have leaders that allowed me the time to do this between tasks, but there were still a lot of late nights on ship.
The Marine Corps afforded me some incredible opportunities working with thousands of incredibly talented and skilled people in a wide array of places. I gained incredibly valuable experiences in international relations, public affairs, and media production. I also developed a passion for building and improving mental health programs and policy. I’ve taken my experiences and knowledge from the Marine Corps to Harvard both in the classroom and out.
I am the Co-President of Harvard Active Minds, the student mental health organization at the college under Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS). I am also a representative for Harvard College on the Student Well-Being Committee, a committee of two representatives from each school under the umbrella of Harvard University designed to build mental health programs for Harvard students. I’ve also been lucky to continue my photography while at Harvard, shooting a few of the football games and exploring the beautiful New England region.
In the future, I hope to bring my experiences and knowledge from Harvard to work in public policy, specifically for mental health. I have had tremendous luck in the opportunities afforded to me, and a lot of those opportunities were a result of taking a chance. I hope that in publishing this account, it inspires other veterans to take that chance and apply to a school they feel may be out of reach.
Veterans are an extremely important part of the array of experiences and perspectives that shape the classroom here at Harvard. I encourage you to take the time to fill out an application and be a part of the next generation of world leaders to come through Harvard’s incredible institution.
If you’d like to see more of my photos, you can check out my website at www.sethrosephotos.com