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Faces of MIT: Anthony Hallee-Farrell '13

The senior program and technical associate for the Community Services Office has been a supporter of the MIT community since he arrived on campus as a student.
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Anthony Hallee-Farrell
Anthony Hallee-Farrell has been an MIT community for 15 years: four as a student and 11 as a staff member.
Photo: Allison Evans

Experiencing MIT as both a student and as a staff member is unique. When Anthony Hallee-Farrell ’13, senior program and technical associate for the MIT Community Services Office (CSO), graduated from MIT, he immediately began his time as a staff member at the Institute, transitioning from a student worker to a full-time employee. As of today, he has been a member of MIT community for 15 years: four as a student and 11 as a staff member.

The CSO is part of Institute Events in the Office of the President. It supports the MIT Activities Committee (MITAC), the Quarter Century Club, the Association of MIT Retirees, and the MIT Community Service Fund. The CSO aims to strengthen the connections between the Institute and its community members, and to optimize the work-life experience for staff, faculty, and retirees by providing opportunities to participate in social, educational, and cultural activities.

When Hallee-Farrell was a senior in high school planning for his future, he had plans for a humanities-focused college experience. With his parents’ encouragement while visiting Harvard University, he stopped along the Charles River to see his brother, who was a computer science major at MIT. To Hallee-Farrell’s surprise, the visit piqued his interest in the Institute. “Everyone I met had an interesting story about what they were working on. The people really drew me in,” he recalls. Hallee-Farrell was also happy to learn that students who find their major in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) can additionally enroll in courses in other areas of study including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Having the ability to continue to develop his skills in those disciplines was important to him.

The summer before Hallee-Farrell’s first year as a college student, he worked as an administrative assistant with the federal courts in the northern district of New York. His job entailed scanning case files as part of a large project to digitize all the files in the district, an integral part of the project. After working at the courts, he knew that after he graduated, he wanted to continue to assist people who are passionate about their work. As a student at MIT, Hallee-Farrell continued to sharpen his administrative skills by working in the Admissions Office and Technology Licensing Office (TLO). While job searching after graduation, and continuing as a temp worker at the TLO, he applied for a full-time job at MIT and learned that the benefits are exceptional. He also wanted to remain in the Boston area and was excited when he landed the role.

After six months with MITemps, he joined the CSO. Initially, his role was a catch-all data entry and administrative position. Over the years, the job has expanded as the needs of the office have changed. What has remained consistent is that in the team atmosphere, Hallee-Farrell helps everyone. He is the one that his colleagues call on when there is something in the office that needs to be fixed, or if a project needs an extra hand. One day he is compiling RSVPs for upcoming events, and the next he is ensuring email lists are accurate for the next communication.

Being an MIT student and proceeding to become a staff member is not the only rare experience that Hallee-Farrell has had at the Institute. He was the only person who majored solely in literature in the Class of 2013 (the other five literature majors in his class were double majors). Therefore, he was the only student who walked for the Literature Section at Commencement.

Hallee-Farrell has been a supporter of the MIT community since he arrived on campus. As a student, he was involved with the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Services, also known as the Rainbow Lounge. For nearly 40 years, the Rainbow Lounge has been a place to hang out, plan events, and catch up with friends. During his time as a student, he was a part of a task force organized by students and the Rainbow Lounge advocating with senior leadership to have trans health care covered by the student health-care insurance with the hope of it also expanding to the employees. 

As an undergrad, Hallee-Farrell recognized MIT’s importance as a research institution. Now, as an employee, he has an even broader sense of the magnitude of what it takes to keep the Institute running. His role not only helps to keep the CSO and their initiatives on track — it truly impacts the community at large.


Q: What is your favorite event or project that you have been a part of?

Hallee-Farrell: Our department welcomes foreign dignitaries and governmental groups. There was a large project in 2016 for the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America proposal, in collaboration with a few other universities and the United States Department of Defense (DoD). Members of the DoD came to campus for regular meetings, including (then) Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. On Secretary Carter’s last day visiting MIT for this project, he gave everyone on our staff a challenge coin. I keep that coin in my wallet. I believe the only challenge coin that outranks one from the secretary of defense is one from the president of the United States. My dad works in the federal courts, so we share a dedication to federal service as an important part of our civic duty. At one point I thought I would go into governmental work, so I feel fortunate that I was able be a part of the project.

Q: What do you like the most about your job?

Hallee-Farrell: Being around people who enjoy their jobs and are doing important work. I really enjoy being with a group of people that help others succeed. The goal of the CSO is to keep people connected to each other. Whether it’s MITAC encouraging people to enjoy cultural events in Boston, or the Quarter Century Club recognizing people that have worked at MIT for a long time, or keeping connections active in the Retirees Association. Each of those are ways of keeping people connected to each other and to the Institute.

Q: What advice would you give someone who is about to start working in MIT?

Hallee-Farrell: It can feel daunting to start out, especially if you don’t have the context of having been a student at the Institute. Allow yourself time to get familiar with the Institute and don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. Many of your first moments on campus are spent trying to learn the things that you will use every day. It’s easy to forget that there is much more to discover that might be useful to you outside of your day-to-day. For example, you can go to the Ombuds Office and talk to someone about a concern or problem you need help solving. The MIT Community Services Fund can help pay for materials needed for a volunteer project you are working on. There are a lot of resources here.  

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