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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.
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 Post, The Huffington Post, The 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.
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 Casting was born to Haitian immigrants in Boynton Beach, Florida and raised in Delray Beach, Florida. She is a rising junior at Columbia College concentrating in Public Health and Psychology on the pre-med track. Despite the drastic change from sunny South Florida to its cold, long winters, Stephanie loves living in New York and exploring the boroughs.
She enjoys volunteering around the city, too, through Community Impact. She has served a mentor as part of the College Road Program. She also volunteers as the PS 129 site coordinator for the Columbia Youth Adventurers, exploring the city with students and as a shelter volunteer for the Housing Equity Project, regularly spending the night at a men’s shelter Midtown.
As a first-generation, low-income student, she loves working with students from similar backgrounds - serving as mentor at various capacities. As a Gates Scholar, she served as a mentor to low-income, high school seniors last summer and throughout this past academic year through the Youth Leadership Summit. She looks forward to serving an Advising Fellow for Matriculate's Class of 2021 this summer working with high achieving, low-income juniors as they prepare to apply to college this coming year. She always looks forward to cultivating spaces in which students feel comfortable enough to wholeheartedly explore their intellectual curiosities and to reach for stars.
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.
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.
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
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)
Aroosa Cheema was born in Lahore, Pakistan and grew up in and around New Orleans, Louisiana. Aroosa is a rising senior in Columbia College where she studies History and Political Science with a focus on the history of the American South. Last summer, Aroosa interned at the Vera Institute of Justice where she researched criminal justice reforms for American jails, and, after she graduates from Columbia, she plans to attend law school and continue this justice reform work. In her spare time, she enjoys reading memoirs and watching her hometown sports teams, the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. As a teaching assistant, Aroosa is excited to spend the summer working with students to grapple with the ideas presented in these important texts.
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.
Andrew Albor is a senior in Columbia College majoring in Political Science with a focus on American Politics and Political Theory, as well as a concentration in East Asian Languages and Cultures. He is a first-generation college student passionate about issues such as wealth inequality, criminal justice, immigration, and campaign finance reform. On campus, he is the President of the Political Science Students Association, a student organization that provides interested political science majors with educational and professional events focused on building student-professor dialogue and communication. He is also a member of the Academic Awards Committee, which awards the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching and the Lionel Trilling Book Award to members of Columbia faculty. Andrew is excited to join the Freedom & Citizenship Program as an undergraduate teaching assistant to help students interact with texts from Core Curriculum and draw connections to some of the most pressing issues of our time.
Amer Mneimneh is an American Studies major at the School of General Studies. But, if he had the resources, he would major in everything. He has previously taught Arabic, English, critical thinking, and skiing. If life is usually a movie, he believes Contemporary Civilization lets you turn your head and see the projector. He’s excited to share in this experience, and the intellectual, political, and moral agency and participation he knows will follow. Amer hopes to make a difference in the matters of access to justice, access to higher education, environmental justice, or international relations…or wherever he’s needed most. When examinations of the self or the state aren’t on the table, Amer chases an understanding in the evolution of law and its interplay with society. He is a member of Columbia's Ski/Snowboard Team, and has vague memories of being an avid diver before moving to New York City.
As this year's Graduate Student Coordinator, Amanda Lowe is excited to work with TAs and students to build valuable and invigorating connections across cyberspace. She is passionate about diverse teaching--particularly approaches and strategies that involve students from a variety of backgrounds as meaningful participants in the class conversation. As a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia, Amanda researches the influence of geological research on Nineteenth Century American literature, particularly its presence in quite literally shaping the work of Charles Chesnutt and Emily Dickinson, along with the writings and paintings of Orra White Hitchcock. Her other research interests include ecocriticism and ecological humanities, theoretical connections between the body and its environment, the history of colonial expansion and its ties to resource extraction, and creative approaches to engaging students in conversations about the environment. She is looking forward to being an SOF/Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellow for 2020-2021.
Amad grew up in Seattle but has grown to love the East Coast. He is a Junior at Columbia College where he studies philosophy. He is particularly interested in angsty 19th-century philosophers—especially Kierkegaard—who overthink things and falls fatally in love. He thinks the figure of the gadfly in love with the world looms large in political thought and is excited to trace its history from ancient Greece to the modern US context.
On campus, Amad is secretary of the Columbia University Buddhist Association and an activist at the Columbia Democrats Criminal Justice Reform Working Group. He is also a first-generation low-income student who is constantly repping Questbrige. He excels at eavesdropping and can often be found at the Hungarian Pastry Shop either listening in on other students’ secrets or sharing his own with anyone who will listen. This is one aspect of life he has had to give up in the age of the Zoom call and its unfortunate mute button.
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.
Ali Hassani was born in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and went to high school in Exeter, New Hampshire. He is a rising senior in Columbia College and is double majoring in intellectual history and comparative literature, specifically German and French literature of the 20th century. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Journal of History, a writing tutor at Harlem Clemente, and has interned at the United Nations and in the Yiddish archives at The Forward newspaper. In his free time, Ali enjoys reading very sad German poetry to balance out his propensity to smile all the time, listening to a strange combination of soundcloud rap and indie rock, learning foreign languages, and exploring New York City, one falafel sandwich at a time. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a PhD in Middle Eastern history in order to uncover stories about people’s everyday lives that all the big history textbooks often ignore. He is beyond excited to be a teaching assistant with F&C and looks forward to wrestling with the complexities of the summer course’s incredible texts alongside the students.
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.