Connor Schoen

2019 Cheng Fellow

Connor Schoen is a senior at Harvard College concentrating in Applied Mathematics. Born and raised in Westborough, Massachusetts, Connor has always been driven to create positive social change in his home state. In high school, Connor worked as his town’s Project 351 service ambassador and Chairman of the Governor’s Youth Council to combat state challenges as diverse as food insecurity, opioid addiction, and sexual assault. During his freshman year at Harvard, he began volunteering at a local homeless shelter and found that there were thousands of people his age experiencing homelessness. As a bisexual man, Connor found it heartbreaking to hear that many of these individuals had been kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality or gender identity, and now they faced huge barriers to obtain and maintain a job. Thus, in 2018, Connor co-founded Breaktime with a fellow shelter volunteer and Harvard classmate, Tony Shu, to launch the careers of young adults experiencing homelessness through employment and empowerment. Breaktime has employed five homeless young adults so far through Breaktime Staffing, and Tony and Connor are now working to open Breaktime Cafe to create 60+ more jobs in cafe management. The cafe will also serve as a talent hub and launchpad for these young adults’ careers, hosting vocational trainings and career mentorship sessions in topics ranging from personal finance to email writing.

Beyond Breaktime, Connor loves to run, dance salsa, and teach spin classes. Connor loves dogs, speaks Spanish, and enjoys traveling. His favorite places around the world are Mexico City (where he used to live), Puerto Escondido, Granada, Malibu, and Cape Cod (his family’s go-to vacation spot). Connor plans to scale up Breaktime post-graduation, and he hopes to one day enter politics to expand his platform for advocating for important social and economic reforms.