New Pre-College Program Director encourages sampling college life before that first year
For Alexander Cooley, a leading expert in post-Soviet Eurasia and U.S. foreign military bases, the past year has been a fascinating time, with events like last summer's Georgia-Russia conflict and the air force base dispute in Kyrgyzstan that erupted in February, dominating international headlines. An associate professor of international relations and foreign policy, Cooley joined Barnard's faculty in 2001, and has written and commented about current events for an array of prestigious global media, including The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal-Europe, NPR and The New York Times.
"I've been interested in issues of race since junior high school when my progressive Quaker school let me skip a chemistry test to picket for civil rights in Philadelphia," recalls Jonathan Rieder, professor of sociology at Barnard. Rieder's youthful passion and forward-thinking education formed the basis for his life's work, and decades later, he is now a leading author and academic, specializing in the study of race and class in America. Rieder has researched and written about a wide range of issues in this field for the past three decades, from white backlash in working class neighborhoods to conflicts in immigrant communities.
This fall, Barnard Professor of Economics Perry Mehrling intended to kick off his year of academic leave by buckling down to work on his next book. But after Wall Street reached a crisis point in mid-September, he realized he'd have to postpone those plans.
As an expert in microbial ecology, Krista McGuire's research has taken her from the Guyana rain forest to Alaska's boreal forests. She studies the role of fungi in critical environmental issues such as global climate change, plant extinction, and deforestation. This year McGuire joins Barnard College as an assistant professor of biological sciences. "Barnard seemed like the perfect fit because it has a liberal arts curriculum, plus all the [research] resources of Columbia," she says. "It's kind of the best of all worlds."
When asked if he always wanted to be a scientist, Russell D. Romeo answers instantly and without equivocation: "Absolutely not. When I arrived at college, I planned to major in music theory and train as a classical guitarist."
But Edinboro University's first-year courses in psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy introduced him to the study of human behavior and the workings of the brain.
"For me, the combination of those courses was the perfect storm of getting interested in the mind," Romeo recalls. "I decided I didn't want to be a starving artist my whole life. I decided to be a starving scientist instead."
Three accomplished Alumnae--outstanding contributors to their own professions--were recently elected to the Board of Trustees of Barnard College.