Who We Are

The Freedom and Citizenship Team

Our program is built on the principle that talented teachers share their passion for learning best by teaching in small seminars that allow for plenty of individual attention to students. By bringing together gifted professors, graduate student coordinators, and undergraduate teaching assistants, we are able to make a profound difference in students' ability to read, write, and participate at the college level.

  • Zoe is from Queens, New York and graduated from The Bronx High School of Science in 2013. At Columbia (and abroad!) she studies Political Science and Hispanic Studies and will be completing her degree in May. Zoe chose to work with F&C this summer because she, as a student of Politics, especially, was excited by the opportunity to reconsider familiar texts through the eyes of her students and get a perspective she perhaps otherwise would not have in her college classwork. In addition to her work with F&C, Zoe enjoys tutoring elementary and middle school students and interning with various nonprofits and NGOs. This year, she and Max are guiding students in a yearlong project on mass incarceration and police brutality, exploring the intricate relationship between the two and researching the history and possible future for both in New York and the United States, more broadly.

  • I’m a senior at Columbia College majoring in Psychology. My academic-related interests center around developmental and emotional changes in adolescents, as well as how these changes contribute to the overall culture of high school students, specifically those in inner-city schools. I was born and raised in Astoria, Queens, and attended Manhattan Center for Science and Math in East Harlem, so my experiences in high school motivated much of what I currently study. Ideally, I’d work closely with high school students as a college counselor or teacher to equip them with tools to make the transition out of high school more comfortable and to help shape their goals pertaining to learning – and life in general – early on. This career-interest of mine is what drove me to work with F&C, as well as its partner, the Double Discovery Center. I am a proud alum of both F&C and the DDC, which initially pushed me to volunteer with the DDC as a tutor and college mentor. I found the work so inspiring and fun that I then looked into working with F&C, and loved that as well. Every day that I work with the students is more so inspiring than the last and I always end up learning something new from them. For the yearlong project, my group is focusing on Gender Studies & Equality. As an intersectional feminist and WOC, this topic is especially important to me. Discussing the wage gap, cultural sexism, slut-shaming, and associated topics allow the students – and myself – to openly acknowledge the double standards and problematic things we witness and experience in our day-to-day lives, and also helps facilitate ideas on how we can break these issues down into parts to be tackled so we can gradually come to a more equalized society.

  • Tamara Mann Tweel was a committed Freedom and Citizenship student before she became a teacher. She first encountered F&C as a graduate student, sitting in the back of Professor Montas’ seminar and studying the noble obligations of being a free citizen. Since that first summer, there is little Professor Tweel loves more than spending July with her F&C students reading and discussing the Great Books.

    Before entering Columbia, Professor Tweel received a Masters in Theological Studies at the Harvard Divinity School and worked for years building interfaith coalitions in New York City after September 11th. She returned to Columbia to study for her Ph.D. in American History where she wrote a dissertation on the political and ethical challenges of aging in America. In addition to being a professor, she works outside the classroom to bring the ideas of F&C into the policy and non-profit space, assisting think tanks, foundations, and major philanthropists on their social welfare work. In 2009, Professor Tweel received the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities. In 2015, Professor Tweel testified before Congress on the value of the humanities, bringing the stories of F&C students to our national representatives. Her writing has appeared in such publications as The Washington PostThe Huffington PostThe Journal of World History and The Harvard Divinity Bulletin. Her current academic research includes the ethical repercussions of how Americans have defined life, death, and care.

  • Sophie grew up in Minnesota and is now in her final year at Columbia College, where she majors in history. After Columbia, she plans to go to graduate school and study old stuff for seven more years. She chose to teach F&C this summer because she loves rereading the course texts (favorites: Rousseau and Douglass) and learning new things about them with these amazing students. Besides F&C, Sophie does college mentoring at the Double Discovery Center, works as a research assistant in the History department, and publishes the Columbia Political Review, a student-run magazine. This year, she is leading the yearlong project on Disability and Mental Health, where students think critically about inclusion and exclusion in American politics and culture and advocate for a more just and caring society.

  • Roosevelt Montás 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 the English, also at Columbia, where he began teaching in the faculty of the English Department in 2004.  In 2008, he was appointed Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum 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 as seminar in American Studies called Freedom and Citizenship in the United States.  As Director of the Core Curriculum, Roosevelt speaks widely on the history, place, and future of the humanities in the higher education.

  • Nick Juravich is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Columbia, where he studies the history of public education and social movements in American cities. A lifelong distance runner, Nick worked as a health and fitness educator for New York Road Runners in Brooklyn before coming to Columbia. Working in public schools inspired Nick's dissertation research project, which analyzes the efforts of students, parents, activists, and educators to make schools and communities work together in New York City. Nick has served as Graduate Coordinator for Freedom & Citizenship since 2016, and is thrilled to be working with the next generation of thinkers and organizers in New York City. 

  • Martin is a New York native who grew up in Queens and attended the Bronx High School of Science. He will graduate in 2017 with a major in History. In the future, Martin hopes to enroll in a graduate program in the field and eventually become a writer and professor. He studies history in order to better understand how people think and behave today. He is leading the police brutality and mass incarceration group along with Zoe because Eric Garner's death profoundly changed the way he thinks about law enforcement and authority in New York City.

    Aside from F&C, Martin helps to edit the Columbia Undergraduate Journal of History, performs with Columbia's oldest improv troupe, Fruit Paunch, and serves on the executive boards of both the Columbia Neuroscience Society and the Columbia History Council. His favorite poet right now is John Berryman, and his favorite author from the summer seminar is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau's prose is truly wonderful, and his ideas truly challenging. 

  • Originally from San Diego, Luna is an alumna of one of the leading project-based schools in the country, High Tech High, graduating from High Tech High Media Arts in 2013. During her time at High Tech High, she served as a student professor in the High Tech High Graduate School of Education where she taught the methods course in the credentialing program from 2009 to 2012.

    While working for the Graduate School of Education, Luna helped to spearhead the student-led teacher mentoring program for K-12 teachers. Outside of her work in the Graduate School, she worked to develop and lead tours and workshops for over 2,000 annual visitors to the school, assisting educators from all over the world with implementing project-based learning in their home institutions. During her time at Columbia, Luna has continued to be involved in education as an American Studies Teaching Fellow, a mentor for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and a college mentor for the Double Discovery Center. During her final year at Columbia, she will be working on completing her thesis which seeks to understand the implications of testing culture in the United States and alternative forms of assessment and curriculum.

    Through her education at both High Tech High and Columbia, and the work she has done outside of the classroom in education, Luna has seen the powerful impact this type of learning has on students, teachers, and their surrounding communities.

  • Luke Mayville writes and teaches about economic inequality and the threat that inequality poses to democracy. He attended North Idaho College and Lane Community College before graduating with a BA from the University of Oregon. He earned his PhD in political theory from Yale University, where he studied in-depth many of the texts included on the Freedom & Citizenship syllabus.

    His writing focuses on the political ideas of Founding-era Americans. His recent book, John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy, draws on John Adams's political writings to uncover a unique theory of the political power of wealth. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for American Studies at Columbia, where he teaches “Contemporary Civilization,” a year-long course exploring primary texts in the western tradition of political philosophy. He has also recently written articles for Commonweal Magazine on topics including climate-change policy and the ideology of Bernie Sanders

  • 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.

  • Karli has been involved with the Double Discovery Center since volunteering as a undergraduate at Columbia.  As a student of Columbia's Contemporary Civilization and Roosevelt Montás, she realized that her benefit to society would come from service to others. After graduating in May 2014 with a degree in American Studies, she become a college access counselor at DDC, working primarily with the senior class to apply and matriculate into the institutions that provide them with the support and opportunities to succeed. Her experiences with her students motivated her to learn more about government and public policy's role to under-resourced families and public education.  Currently pursuing her Masters in Public Administration, with a concentration in Urban Policy at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, Karli continues to work as the DDC's College Persistence Counselor, to support the center's alumni in their first and second years of college. Her interactions and conversations with Freedom and Citizenship participants constantly inspire Karli as a public servant, mentor, counselor, and student. 

  • Julian was born in Atlanta and raised in Louisville where he graduated from duPont Manual High School. Now a senior at Columbia, Junior majors in American studies major because of its interdisciplinary nature. He hopes to continue further academic work after graduation in May. Julian joined F&C as someone very much invested in not just the idea of democracy but in our American democracy too. The duty of a compassionate citizen is something he and Sophie want to emphasize in the mental illness and disability project this year. 

  • Jorge Ochoa has lived most of his life in Michigan. He is currently an undergraduate in Columbia College pursuing a double major in Neuroscience and Behavior and Ethnicity and Race Studies. Jorge will graduate in the Spring of 2019 and hopes to go to graduate school and combine his interests in the biological and social sciences. At Columbia he is a member of Proud Colors, an organization for queer people of color on campus. Jorge is excited to work through the curriculum with students this summer and, especially, to think critically about questions of citizenship, nation, civilization, and freedom. During the school year, he will be working with students to explore the topic of immigration both historically and by looking at present day immigration and the particular realities of current immigrants and immigrant communities in the United States. In his spare time, Jorge enjoys running, reading and spending time with friends and family.

  • 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 Associate 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 Associate 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. 

  • Hayley comes from Miami, Florida and is now a senior at Columbia in the American Studies department. Hayley's desire for a multidisciplinary education led her to choose American Studies as a major. Her goal was to use the multidisciplinary approach to inform others and herself about the country to see how to change it. She also has a concentration in Psychology which she finds complements her work in American Studies by showing how humans think.

    Hayley decided to work with F&C to get other students interested in the humanities, as well as further inform her own studies. She believes that reading seemingly archaic texts on philosophy and politics can teach us how and why people held certain assumptions and thought in specific ways. We can use this knowledge to better understand current issues and find ways to combat them moving forward. She is putting that knowledge to use co-leading the civic leadership project on immigration. The topic resonates with her as an issue that not only effects many people today, but has also shaped the United States throughout history. By learning abut present day immigration in New York City, her group is investigating what the process of immigration entails and how it plays out in the lives of immigrants. They are hoping to use this research to develop a project that can make a real difference today. 

    When Hayley is not working with F&C students, she is particularly interested in doing her part to fight climate change. Being from Florida she has witnessed first-hand the degradation of the environment and its immediate effects. Her concern led her to become co-president of a student group called Columbia EcoReps. In collaboration with Columbia Housing, EcoReps members work to implement sustainable initiatives that make an impact on campus. 

  • 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

  • Originally from Richmond, VA, Elise is a junior at Columbia College majoring in Socio-Cultural Anthropology and hopes to pursue a career in consulting or public relations. Her passion for social science stems from her interest in historical civilizations and the lessons that modern societies can learn from the past. This desire to mix old and new eventually led her to become a teacher’s assistant for F&C, which combines traditional doctrines with modern issues. Elise looks forward to discussing some of her favorite philosophical and political theories with the students and challenging them to consider new perspectives. Building on what the students will learn over the summer, Elise plans to lead an interactive project on the growing presence of gentrification in New York and across the country during the school year. She is eager to use her familiarity with Harlem and Morningside Heights to foster engaging discussions amongst the students about the evolution of gentrification and its effects on New York today.

  • 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,Voxand 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. 

  • Cory was born and raised in Lima, Ohio, and graduated from Elida High School. These days he is a junior majoring in Anthropology, a discipline he believes allows for interdisciplinary research and practice that suits his broad range of interests. Though he is unsure of his exact plans post-graduation, he believes he will stay in academia for quite some time. His interests include film, history, and education—specifically the ways in which the disciplines interconnect and work to define each other. He adores public school teachers, with special reference for high school teachers. And his reverence for teachers, alongside his belief in education’s power in shaping active, compassionate citizens, is what led Cory to join Freedom and Citizenship. He wants it known that he strongly prefers Plato to Aristotle, and has a lot to say about the topic.

  • Christian began at DDC as a volunteer during his undergraduate sophomore year at Columbia. His passion to mentor and tutor students developed from the mentorship he received as a high school student. As a first generation & low-income student, he hopes to help and inspire other students of similar backgrounds throughout their academic careers. After graduating with a degree in African-American studies from Columbia, Christian transitioned from being a teacher in the Upward Bound Summer Academy to a college access counselor at DDC. He now works with high school freshman in establishing habits for great academic achievement and with high school seniors in applying to and matriculating in college. He plans on attending graduate school to combine his education with his experience at DDC in hopes to become a better resource for his students.

  • Casey Nelson Blake is the Director of Columbia’s Center for American Studies and a historian of modern American thought and culture.  He is also Director of the Freedom and Citizenship program, which he launched in 2009 in partnership with the Roger Lehecka Double Discovery Center.

    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.

  • Angela is a senior at Columbia College and a student in both the American Studies and Religion departments. Her academic interests fall mostly within the realm of political sociology -- how people interact, communicate, and comport themselves in the public sphere -- and the history of religion and spirituality in America. 

    Born and raised on the Texas-Louisiana border, Angela now calls Cincinnati, Ohio home. Though her days living in Texas are far behind her, Angela remains a devoted fan of southern blues, soul, and honky-tonk (country) music. This passion serves her well on campus, where Angela is a radio host and department head at WKCR-89.9 FM, the university-affiliated radio station. When not spinning records or scouting out musicians, Angela can be found working as a Residential Adviser, a booking manager for Postcrypt Coffeehouse (one of Columbia's oldest music venues), and an advocate for Columbia's divestment from fossil fuels. 

    Of all the authors on the F&C syllabus, Angela is most excited about W.E.B. DuBois, because she finds his writing to be as beautiful and emotionally moving as it is intellectually profound. Angela chose to teach F&C because she believes that the experience it offers --  that of discussing, forming, and defending one's opinion after encounters with complex, morally difficult texts -- is one of the best ways to grow as a citizen and perhaps even as a person. Throughout the school year, Angela will be leading the project on mass incarceration, working alongside students to understand how this issue affects not only the currently imprisoned, but the entire social ecosystem Americans live in. 

  • 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.

  • Alex Fay grew up in Oakland, California. She's a devoted student of American history. In her eyes, history explains the human world; history examines political theory in action and it crucially frames the problems of the present. Alex will graduate from Columbia College in the spring of 2018, after which she hopes to continue her studies in graduate school. Currently, Alex works as a research assistant and sings in a Columbia a cappella group. She decided to work with Freedom and Citizenship because she has a passion for teaching and she adores the F&C summer curriculum. Though she loves most of these old philosophers dearly, Locke and Rousseau are her favorites. Few topics are more exciting than the relationship between government and the governed! Alex is involved with the year-long immigration project. She sees immigration as a extremely relevant issue that not only affects countless lives, but also challenges the meaning of American ideals and identity.

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The Freedom and Citizenship Program is supported by:

The Teagle Foundation
The Jack Miller Center
The Knight Foundation
The Bram Family
Sean Eldridge and Chris Hughes
Josh Feigenbaum
H.F. Lenfest
The Freedman Family
James Gorton
Craig Gurian
Mitchell R. Julis
Howard Levi
The Mendelson Family
The Rodin Family
Vincent Teti

and the Board of Visitors of the Center for American Studies:

Lisa Carnoy
Andrew Delbanco
Jonathan Freedman
Alan Ginsberg
Michael Hindus
Brian Krisberg
Roger Lehecka
Les Levi
Valerie Paley
Peter Temes