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Politicians and Candidates
Zoe Mitrofanis is from Queens, New York and attended the Bronx High School of Science. She studied Political Science and Hispanic Studies at Columbia College and served as a Teaching Assistant with the Freedom and Citizenship program from 2016-2017. Since graduating from the College in 2017, she has been working as a litigation paralegal at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, PC, a mid-size law firm in New York serving the entertainment and arts communities.
Zachary Roberts is a lecturer in the Core Curriculum at Columbia University. He holds a BA degree from Bowdoin College and a PhD from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature. His research and teaching interests include nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, intellectual history, and the visual arts.
Yvette Clarke was born and raised in Flatbush. Her parents were Jamaican immigrants and her mother was a New York City Council Member. She attended Oberlin College on a scholarship. She was elected to the New York City Council in 2002 and then to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007. She is the only black congresswoman from New York state. She is running for reelection to New York's 9th Congressional District.
Yanette Rosario was born and raised in the South Bronx, New York to Dominican parents. She attended Columbia University and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a concentration in Ethnicity and Race. Before applying to graduate school, she took a gap year to be a Teacher Assistant for a Reading Specialist in a charter school within her community, primarily working with students who had reading disabilities and came up with different interventions to address their needs. She is currently in graduate school at Teachers College.
Tyeisha Chavis is an educator, youth advocate, executive coach and thought-leader in educational leadership, administration, and curriculum & instruction. As a response to systemic poverty, mass incarceration and monolithic views of success, Chavis chose to dedicate her professional life to addressing disparities in education and public administration. She is personally and professionally committed to working with young women and men of color both inside and outside of the classroom, creating intensive intervention program models that seek to disband and eradicate the school to prison pipeline.
Hailing from Harlem, New York, Ms. Chavis began her career in education as a local youth development leader during her late teens. After graduating from Columbia University as a Gates Millennium Scholar with a B.A. in Political Science, Ms. Chavis continued her journey in education and youth development as a NY Teaching Fellow and worked for the New York City Department of Education (DOE) as a Special Educator and Instructional Specialist for grades 9-12 across core disciplines. Following her tenure as a secondary public school educator, Ms. Chavis went on to become an Assistant Principal at a charter school, where she led the design, implementation, and evaluation processes for the development of research-based curricula, top tier instruction, and quality assessments in core subject areas. Seeing leadership development and coaching as a critical need for teaching professionals and school leaders, Ms. Chavis moved on to prioritize longitudinal professional development of struggling high schools as a Leadership Coach with the Office of School Renewal in the Department of Education. In this role she led engagement for on-going professional learning opportunities and coaching support for teacher teams and school leaders across several public high schools in New York City.
Tyeisha Chavis is currently a Director of Continuous Improvement in the Office of Superintendent Carron Staple for Districts 8, 10, & 11, where she facilitates and oversees the creation and implementation of needs aligned improvement plans for identified persistently low-achieving schools. She is also presently at Columbia University, Teachers College working towards her Doctoral Degree in Education Leadership. She plans to continue her research and professional impact on change leadership in education by further researching and illuminating the experiences of black female leaders and their influence on shaping school improvement policies in K-12 education. Additionally, Ms. Chavis holds three Masters degrees, one from City College of New York City and two from Columbia University, Teachers College. She currently resides in Bronx, NY and she is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service sorority.
Thomas Suozzi is from the Long Island town of Glen Cove, where his father, an Italian immigrant, was mayor. Thomas attended Boston College and Fordham University School of Law. Suozzi first entered politics as mayor of Glen Cove, and was elected to Congress in 2016. He is now running for his third term as Congressman from New York's 3rd Congressional District.
Susan Tsui is a native New Yorker hailing from East Harlem. She is a recent graduate of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. Her interests lie in social epidemiology and health equity. She earned a B.A. in biology from Boston University. Prior to her MPH, she also completed a year of service with AmeriCorps, City Year.
Stephanie Almeida Nevin is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Yale University whose research and teaching interests are in political theory, the philosophy of education, and the history of political thought. In 2016, Stephanie co-founded the Citizens Thinkers Writers program for students in the New Haven public schools. She holds a B.A. in politics and English from Pomona College and was previously a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Lisbon, Portugal.
Shaun Abreu was born and raised in Washington Heights, New York and attended George Washington High School. He was a member of the 2009 Freedom & Citizenship class before attending Columbia College where he majored in Political Science and Government. He received his Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School. Now Shaun is an Associate at the law firm of Genova Burns. In addition, Shaun has served as a member of his local community board, a board director for his local park, and a court-appointed special advocate for children in foster care. He has worked on the campaign of Congressman Adriano Espaillat and for city council members and state legislators.
After working with children through the Boys and Girls Club and working for social justice through different nonprofits including NLIRH and Momentum Alliance, Rosario Quiroz Villarreal entered the formal sphere of education as a bilingual educator through Teach for America, where she was initially placed in Texas to teach elementary school, specifically serving beginning and intermediate English learners. She was recognized for her work with immigrant students under the Obama administration, receiving a Champion of Change award. After teaching in Texas, she returned to NY to pursue a degree in International Educational Development from Teachers College while continuing to teach at the elementary level with KIPP Charter Schools. Rosario recently left the classroom to join Next100, a start-up think tank focused on the research and development of progressive issues, where she will be working on developing and promoting research and policy at the intersections of immigration and K-12 education.
Roosevelt Montás is Director of the Freedom and Citizenship Program. He was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York as a teenager. He attended public schools in Queens and was admitted to Columbia College in 1991 through its Opportunity Programs. He graduated from Columbia in 1995 with a major in Comparative Literature. In 2003, he completed a Ph.D. in English, also at Columbia, where he began teaching in the faculty of the English Department in 2004. From 2008 to 2018, he served as Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia College. Roosevelt specializes in Antebellum American literature and culture, with a particular interest in American national identity. His dissertation, Rethinking America, won Columbia University’s 2004 Bancroft Award. In 2000, he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student and in 2008, he received the Dominican Republic’s National Youth Prize. He regularly teaches moral and political philosophy in the Columbia Core Curriculum as well seminars in American Studies. Roosevelt speaks widely on the history, place, and future of the humanities in the higher education and is the author of Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation (Princeton University Press, 2021).
Ritchie Torres is from the Bronx and grew up in public housing in Throggs Neck. He attended Herbert Lehman High School and attended New York University, but dropped out due to severe depression. He entered politics as New York City Councilman, becoming the first openly gay public official in the Bronx, as well as the youngest elected official in NYC. Torres is now running for a first term as United States Representative from New York's 15th Congressional District.
Peter Garcia is from Astoria, Queens. He went to Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (MCSM) for high school and participated in F&C from 2012 to 2013. He attended NYU for college where he majored in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. After college, he ventured into the startup world and quickly fell in love with entrepreneurship. He recently co-founded a dance company focusing on traditional Mexican dances and community building. During the week, he works as a Data Analyst and spend weekends rehearsing and building new choreography. Follow them @BalletHermosoAmanecer!
Paul Petrylak grew up in Queens, NY and graduated Columbia Engineering with a BS in Industrial Engineering and later received his MBA in Finance & Accounting from Columbia Business School after working two years as a consultant at Accenture. Paul has a 25-year career in financial services and has held several executive positions at JPMorganChase and CIT Group including President & CEO of Chase Insurance Group and President of CIT Insurance Services. Most recently he has been working with start-up companies in the fintech and insurtech space.
After graduating from Columbia College, Nelson worked as a research associate at the Brennan Center for Justice, where he carried out research and assisted in lawsuits and advocacy regarding voting rights issues. In law school, he was involved in the school’s law review and the civil rights clinic. Nelson is a recent graduate of New York University School of Law and a New York City native.
Monique Williams is a consultant at ReD Associates, a strategy consultant company based on human sciences. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, she attended Columbia University in NYC where she studied Political Science and was a recipient of the Kluge scholarship and Presidential Global Fellowship, and a member of Sabor, Columbia’s Latin Dance Troupe. She travelled on various programs all throughout college, and was also involved in in starting an NGO in Jamaica aimed at educating and empowering socially impacted groups on cannabis-related matters. She served as a Resident Teaching Assistant for DDC in 2017, during which she also assisted in a research project on Rose Hall Great House in Jamaica. After this, she worked in health and life insurance, joining a financial literacy campaign, before heading back to New York.
Micaela Cacho-Negrete is Freedom and Citizenship's Publicity and Digital Presence Liaison. She is expected to create and develop partnerships/connections for publicity opportunities, along with being responsible for social media growth (strategy, execution, design), orchestrating alumni outreach (data collection and presentation, storytelling), and possible fundraising initiatives.
Micaela will be graduating in Fall 2022 from Columbia University and hails from Los Angeles, California. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with students and exploring vintage shops. Micaela joined the Freedom and Citizenship team because of her passion for equity in education and believes all students should have the opportunity to become leaders. Please contact [email protected] for press inquiries.
Mark is a member of the Capital Planning team at New York City's Department of City Planning. He advises New York City's six largest capital agencies on growth strategy, and specializes in planning for schools. Before his tenure at the Department of City Planning, he focused on improving NYC early education services at the Department of Education as an Urban Fellow, a mayoral leadership development program. His private sector experience includes time as an economic consultant in the Antitrust practice of NERA Economic Consulting. Talk to Mark about working for New York City, education policy, analytics, and the transition from the private to the public sector!
As College Guidance and Transition Program Assistant, Luz counsels Fellows through the college application and matriculation process. Luz previously served as the Residential Teaching Assistant Supervisor for the Freedom and Citizenship Program at Columbia University, and Youth Development and College Advisor at the Double Discovery Center where she managed and facilitated college prep programming. Luz is an OppNet alumna, and before returning, served as a mentor and volunteer in college guidance and college success programming. Luz received her B.A. in English from Barnard College.
As Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), Lisette Camilo leads the agency that handles New York City government’s real estate, procurement, contracts, personnel, and Civil Service. She was appointed to this post in January of 2016.
Camilo has a long history of public service. She was appointed as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) and City Chief Procurement Officer by Mayor Bill de Blasio in April of 2014, where she ensured Mayoral agencies’ compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements related to the City’s procurement of billions of dollars of goods and services. Commissioner Camilo began at MOCS in 2011 in the legal unit, and later served as its Acting General Counsel.
Prior to MOCS, Camilo served as Legislative Counsel to the New York City Council committees of Contracts, Juvenile Justice, and General Welfare where she drafted legislation and coordinated oversight hearings. Previously, Camilo was an attorney practicing Immigration law at a private law firm. She began her legal career as Counsel for UNITE HERE Local 100, which represents hotel, restaurant, and commercial cafeteria food service workers.
Born and raised in Washington Heights, Lisette Camilo is a graduate of Columbia College, Columbia University and George Washington University School of Law. Camilo began her involvement with the Double Discovery Center while a college student and extending past graduation, including managing the Early Intervention program as a full time staff member and becoming a member of the Board of Friends.
Kathy H. Eden is the Chavkin Family Professor of English Literature and Professor of Classics. She received her B.A. from Smith, her Ph.D. from Stanford, and has been teaching at Columbia since 1980. Professor Eden teaches both Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization--Columbia's core curriculum courses upon which Freedom and Citizenship's seminar is based. She specifically studies the history of rhetorical and poetic theory in antiquity, which is why she's a perfect person to speak to our students on Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.
Her books include Poetic and Legal Fiction in The Aristotelian Tradition and Friends Hold All Things in Common: Tradition, Intellectual Property and the ‘Adages’ of Erasmus. Her most recent book, The Renaissance Rediscovery of Intimacy (2012) examines how writers of the Renaissance were influenced in their own writing by reading the letters Ancient Greeks and Romans (including Aristotle, Cicero, and Plato) wrote to their closest friends.
In 1998 Dr. Eden won the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates and in 2001 the Mark Van Doren Award and the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum. In an article about her teaching in Columbia College Today, Professor Eden revealed that in addition to speaking French, Spanish, Italian, German, and some Japanese, she memorized all of Hamlet when she was 15.
Joe grew up in Queens, NY and attended Columbia College, graduating in 1979 with a degree in Chemistry. While at Columbia he purchased 2 Bronx apartment buildings which started his real estate career. After graduation, Joe worked as a commercial broker at Cushman and Wakefield for 6 years before joining The Berkshire Group to help develop a chain of hotels. In 1993, he joined Tishman Real Estate Services as its President, where he remains today.
Joe Biden is running for President of the United States in the 2020 election. He was born in Scranton, PA and moved to Delaware at age 10. He attended the University of Delaware where he double majored in history and political science. At age 29 he was elected to the US Senate--one of the youngest ever senators. Beginning in 2008 he served two terms as Vice President to Barack Obama.
John H McWhorter is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers, his M.A. from New York University, and his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford. His linguistic and literature backgrounds come in handy when he lectures F&C students on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and explains why it was so unfortunate for Mr. Rousseau that his last name sounded a lot like "ruisseau," the French word for "stream."
Professor McWhorter is an author of more than a dozen books including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black America and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English. In 2016 he published Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally). He also regularly contributes to newspapers and magazines including The New Republic and The Atlantic. Students might be particularly interested in his article on how immigrants change languages in The Atlantic and an essay on policing the "N-word" in Time.
Jessica Lee is the Executive Director of Freedom and Citizenship. Jessica received her Ph.D. from Columbia in 2016 and her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 2008. Throughout college Jessica worked at a summer camp; developing summer programming for campers and supervising undergraduate cabin counselors. She enjoyed it so much that after graduating college she wasn't sure if she wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in history or become a director of a summer camp. In the end she decided to attend graduate school at Columbia University where she quickly found a way to combine both passions as the graduate coordinator of F&C. There, she could immerse herself in the history and philosophy of citizenship while also growing a tight knit community of motivated high school students each summer, developing meaningful summer and yearlong programming, and teaching and mentoring undergraduate college students. While working for Freedom and Citizenship and teaching in Columbia's Center for the Core Curriculum, Jessica finished her dissertation on the formation of an American ethnic voting bloc during the Great Depression.
As Executive Director of Freedom and Citizenship, Jessica continues to think a lot about how new citizens can make an oversized impact on the country's political trajectory. Rather than writing about it, she now gets to act on it.
- UN3030 Migration and Citizenship in American History
- GR6999 Migration and Citizenship in American History
- Immigrant New York
- "The Italianization of the Italian–American and Fascism’s Entrance into American Ethnic Politics, 1930–1935" in Italianness and Migration from the Risorgimento to the 1960s (2022)
- Digital Media Review: Una Storia Segreta: When Italian Americans Were 'Enemy Aliens.' in Italian American Review 11 (2021), 2
- "What’s in a Race? The Changing Words and Ideas behind America’s Immigrant Classification Systems" in Journal of Urban History 46 (2020), 2
- Review: "Searching for Subversives: The Story of Italian Internment in Wartime America" by Mary Elizabeth Basile Chopas in Journal of Social History 53, (2019), 1, pp. 322-324
Jerrold Nadler was born in Brooklyn and attended Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University, before getting a law degree from Fordham University. He first was elected to the New York State Assembly and now is in his 15th term as a congressman. He is running for reelection in New York's 10th Congressional District.
Jeanine Alvarez is a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to this position, she worked as a litigation associate at WilmerHale, a large law firm in New York City. While earning her undergraduate degree in American Studies and Psychology at Columbia College, she was deeply involved with the DDC and F&C. She served as teaching assistant for Freedom & Citizenship from 2013 - 2014. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2014, and Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School in 2017
Humberto Ballesteros is a fiction writer and Dante scholar. After obtaining a Ph.D. in Italian from Columbia in 2015 he remained at the University for an additional three years, teaching Literature Humanities as a Core Faculty Fellow. In 2018 he became an Assistant Professor at Hostos, one of the City University of New York’s community colleges, where he teaches Italian and Spanish and coordinates the Modern Languages Unit. The focus of his research is the philosophical underpinnings of Dante’s poetry. He is the commentator and main academic advisor for a new critical edition of the Commedia, translated by Professors Jerónimo Pizarro (Los Andes University) and Norman Valencia (Claremont McKenna College), the first volume of which won a grant for new independent editorial projects and was published in Bogotá in 2019. The second volume, “Purgatorio”, is currently in development, thanks to a grant from CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress. Parallel to his scholarly efforts, Ballesteros is an award-winning author in his native Spanish. His fiction has been translated into English, Italian and Portuguese. In 2010 he received the "Ciudad de Bogotá" National Award for "Razones para destruir una ciudad", in 2018 "Juego de memoria" was shortlisted for the Biblioteca de Narrativa Colombiana prize, and more recently his short story “A tree” was included in the London Magazine’s Special Colombian Edition, curated by Ella Windsor.
Grace Meng was born in Elmhurst and graduated from Stuyvesant and the University of Michigan. She received a law degree from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. She worked as a public-interest lawyer before becoming a member of the New York State Assembly. Now she is a Congresswoman--the only Asian American congressperson from all of New York. She is running for reelection to serve her 5th term as representative of New York's 6th Congressional District.
Frieda Adu-Brempong is a senior associate at Bennett Midland LLC, a management consulting firm that helps nonprofits and government agencies improve their operations. She graduated with honors from Dickinson College in 2016 where she studied Policy Management and was as a recipient of the Posse Leadership Scholarship. She also went to Mother Cabrini H.S. where she discovered the Double Discovery Center and the Teagle program. A proud South Bronx native, Frieda enjoys spending time community organizing and attending free art events in the city.
Ethan is a law clerk at Jenner & Block, where he is interested in media, entertainment, and First Amendment litigation. Prior to the firm, he was a law clerk on the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He graduated from Yale Law School in 2017 and Columbia in 2011, where he majored in American studies and history. He was a Freedom and Citizenship teaching assistant from 2010 to 2011. Before entering the law, he was an ESL teacher with Teach for America.
Professor Foner specializes in the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and 19th-century America. He has written and edited nineteen books about American history, including The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, which won the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Lincoln prizes in 2011. His latest book is Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. Professor Foner is also active in public history: he has curated and advised on several museum exhibits from Disneyland to Gettysburg, and he writes often for newspapers and magazines. Freedom and Citizenship students might be interested in his open letter to Bernie Sanders and article defending birthright citizenship in The Nation.
At Columbia, Dr. Foner teaches the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction, which is now available for free as an online course through ColumbiaX. He also teaches a popular class on "The American Radical Tradition" that reads many of the same texts from the summer seminar. Students can find out more about Professor Foner on his website and from the Columbia History Department.
Elise Fuller is an incoming consulting analyst at Accenture, a multinational professional services company that provides services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. She graduated from Columbia University where she studied Socio-Cultural Anthropology. While in undergrad, she volunteered as both a TA and an RTA for the Freedom and Citizenships Program and worked in the Double Discovery Center. In her free time, she enjoys listening to podcasts and dancing bachata.
President Trump was born in Queens New York and attended Fordham University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in economics. He was elected President of the United States in 2016. He was impeached in 2019 by the House of Representatives and acquitted in January of 2020 by the Senate. He is running for reelection in 2020.
Undocumented and (briefly) homeless as a child, Dan-el Padilla Peralta was inspired by his high school teachers to study Classics at Princeton University, where he graduated as the salutatorian of his class. He continued his studies at Oxford (MPhil in Greek and Roman History) and Stanford (PhD in Classics). After two years at Columbia’s Society of Fellows, Dan-el returned to Princeton as an assistant professor in the Classics Department and is affiliated with the university’s Program in Latino Studies. His 2015 memoir Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from Homeless Shelter to Ivy League (Penguin) received an Alex Award from the American Library Association; more recently he has written short pieces for the Guardian,Matter,Vox, and the NYT. He is now plugging away at a second book on the religious world of the Roman Republic (under contract with Princeton University Press); other projects in progress include a co-edited volume on appropriation in Roman culture, two article-length explorations of classical reception in the 19th and 20th-century Hispanophone Caribbean, and a study of forms of citizenship ancient and modern. Dan-el teaches in Columbia’s Justice-in-Education Initiative and in the Freedom and Citizenship Seminar out of a firm belief in the importance of humanistic learning to the promotion of social justice. He also sits on the editorial board of the public-facing Classics journal Eidolon, to which he has contributed articles on Greco-Roman receptions in hip-hop and the interplay between ancient xenophobia and modern anti-immigrant politics.
Christopher Itua was born and raised in the Bronx, New York by two parents who emigrated from Edo State, Nigeria. He attended the Manhattan Center of Science and Mathematics (MCSM) where he first became involved with the Double Discovery Center and the inaugural class of the Freedom and Citizenship program. He developed a passion for service and community outreach throughout his undergraduate career at Boston College, where he completed yearly service trips in Jonestown, Mississippi and Kingston, Jamaica. Currently, as a rising second year medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, he is the Co-President of the Einstein Chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and serves with the student club, Bronx, Obesity, Diabetes and You (BODY), where he teaches elementary students about exercise, developing healthy diets and building positive body-images.
Casey Nelson Blake is a historian of modern American thought and culture and founder of the Freedom and Citizenship program at Columbia. Professor Blake’s scholarly work has appeared in numerous books and journals. He writes regularly for magazines and other publications for a general audience and has also helped design museum exhibitions on American history and art. Among the courses he teaches at Columbia is a lecture course on U.S. intellectual history since 1865, which includes many of the same texts assigned in the Freedom and Citizenship summer seminar.
Professor Blake’s work as a scholar and educator explores the ideas and artistic traditions available to Americans seeking to create a more vibrant and inclusive democratic society. The Freedom and Citizenship program invites high school students the opportunity to join in that exploration. Students study how major thinkers have struggled with the big questions of civic action: “What are the responsibilities of citizenship?” “How does individual freedom contribute to the common good?” “Do civic equality depend on a particular economic system?” “In what ways has the definition of American democracy changed since the Revolution?” “Who has participated in making those changes, and how?” Students not only study a conversation that has gone on for centuries about the meaning of freedom and citizenship. They join it themselves as informed citizens ready to participate in the decisions that will affect their futures, and the future of their country.
Caio Miranda (DDC Class of 2016) is a first generation college student who spent the earlier half of his life in Brazil, and the other half in New York City. Caio enjoys to travel, and has travelled to 3 different countries within the last 12 months and plans to visit 2 more by the end of the year. He is currently a rising senior at Baruch College, studies finance and is currently a summer intern at J.P. Morgan Chase. Asides from work and school, Caio likes to stay involved on campus through mentorship and cultural organizations such as ALPFA (Associate of Latinos Professionals For America)
Angie Neslin graduated from Columbia College in 2016 with degrees in Hispanic Studies and American Studies. After having the time of her life as a teaching fellow in the Freedom and Citizenship program '15-'16, she decided to continue working as an educator at Fundación Abriendo Camino in the Dominican Republic. She currently coordinates an urban gardening program/Green Brigade for activist kids, runs a Youth Parliament, facilitates lively conversations for English language learners from around the globe, and is living her dream of playing guitar in a rock-fusión band.
Angela Xia is a doctoral student in religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to graduate school she earned a B.A. in American Studies from Columbia University, where she taught in the Freedom and Citizenship Summer Program.
Andrew Delbanco, winner of the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates, is the author of Melville: His World and Work (2005), The Death of Satan (1995), Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now (1997), The Real American Dream (1999), and The Puritan Ordeal(1989), among other books. Most recently, he wrote College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be (2012)--student can read an essay from it here. His work has been translated into several languages, including German, Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Chinese.
Professor Delbanco's essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books and other journals, on topics ranging from American literary and religious history to contemporary issues in higher education. In 2001, he was named by Time Magazine as "America's Best Social Critic" and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, a trustee of the Teagle Foundation, the Library of America, and trustee emeritus of the National Humanities Center.
In February 2012, President Barack Obama presented Professor Delbanco with the National Humanities Medal for his writings on higher education and the place classic authors hold in history and contemporary life.
Ms. DeMetropolis is the President of the New Jersey Market Leadership Team and Market Manager for J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s New Jersey Market. Ms. DeMetropolis provides executive leadership across our firm’s lines of business as well as both community and employment engagement. She has been advising families, endowments and foundations on a broad range of wealth matters and managing investment portfolios for over 20 years and joined J.P. Morgan in 1992. Ms. DeMetropolis has also worked for 7 years on foreign assignments in Latin America and Europe.
As part of her interest in local non-profit organizations, Ms. DeMetropolis is on the boards of the
Liberty Science Center, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, New Jersey Performing Arts Center,SciTech Scity, and Nature Conservancy NJ Advisory Council. She recently completed years of board service for Cornell University’s Dean’s Advisory Council and the New Providence Education Foundation. Ms. DeMetropolis was recognized as a Top 100 Financial Adviser by the Financial Times in 2014 and by NJBIZ as one of the Best Fifty Women in Business for 2012.
Ms. DeMetropolis holds a B.S. from Cornell University. She is fluent in Spanish and Greek. She is a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Financial Analyst, a member of the CFA Institute and the New York Society of Security Analysts.
DeMetropolis resides in New Providence, New Jersey with her 2 children and was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx and attended Boston University where she majored in international relations and economics. She was elected to the House of Representatives in January of 2019 at the age of 29, making her the youngest congresswoman ever. She is up for re-election in 2020, representing New York's 14th Congressional District.
Akua Fosu was born in Accra, Ghana and moved to the US when she was 4 years old. She grew up in the Bronx and went to Manhattan Center for Science and Math in Harlem. After high school, she attended Villanova University and graduated in 2017 with a bachelors of science in nursing. She currently works at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ as a registered nurse in the surgical intensive care unit.
Adriano Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States at the age of 10. His family overstayed their tourist visa, making them undocumented, but they were able to obtain green cards shortly after. He is the first formerly undocumented member of Congress. Espaillat attended Bishop Dubois High School and Queens College where he majored in political science. Espaillat first worked in nonprofit organizations before becoming New York State Assemblyman and then New York State Senator. He ran several times for Congress before finally winning in 2016. He is now running for his third term as Congressman of New York's 13th Congressional District.
Ben was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas and is a rising senior in Columbia College. He is a Bachelor of Arts candidate majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior and minoring in Linguistics. Ben wishes to attend a joint M.D./P.h.D program and establish a career in neurodegenerative disease research. Aside from loving science and medicine, Ben loves his dog, a pug named Francie, very much.