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Meet the 2014 Faculty

Mindy Aloff

The Rigor and Romance of Dance

Mindy Aloff is an adjunct associate professor of dance and a lecturer in the First-Year Seminar program at Barnard, where she teaches courses in dance criticism and history, dance in film, and the personal essay. She also serves as editor of the newsletter for the Dance Critics Association, as a member of the editorial board for The Washington Independent Review of Books (www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com ), and as a consultant to The George Balanchine Foundation. Her essays, reviews, and features have been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and many other periodicals in the U.S. and Europe; her most recently published books are Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation (which she authored) and Leaps in the Dark: Art and the World by Agnes de Mille (which she edited). She is a past fellow of The John Simon Guggenheim and Woodrow Wilson Foundations and a past recipient of a Whiting Writers Award.

Theodore Barrow

NY in Art and Film

Theodore Barrow is pursuing his Ph.D. in Art History at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He teaches a course on the architectural history of New York at Baruch College, in addition to giving walking tours of different neighborhoods in New York City.  Focusing on the art and development of urban spaces in America, his work engages both ephemeral and more enduring views from the 19th century onwards.

Burcu Baykurt

Journalism and Politics in the Digital Age

Burcu Baykurt is a Ph.D. candidate in Communications at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she studies how technological change is affecting cultures of policymaking, journalism, and politics. Before coming to Columbia, she studied Political Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London and completed her M.A. in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University on a Fulbright scholarship.

Julie Bleha

Our Town: Women in New York City History

Women’s Studies 101

Ms. Bleha holds an M.A. and M.Phil. from the English and Theatre Ph.D. program at Columbia University. She also holds an M.A. in Text and Performance Studies from King's College, London and RADA. She has taught drama, literature, composition, and history at NYU's Gallatin School, Columbia University, Fordham University, and King's College, London, and she works as a dramaturg and producer with various NYC theatre companies and artists.

Liane Carlson

Religion, Literature, and Love

Liane Carlson is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, where she received her M.A. in 2010 and her M.Phil. in 2012 after graduating summa cum laude from Washington and Lee University in 2007.  Her research interests include philosophy of religion, the intersection of religion and literature, and the history of emotion.  In the course of her studies, Liane has been awarded a Fulbright IIE Research Grant in Germany, a Jacob K. Javits Doctoral Fellowship, and an American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship. 

Jill DiDonato

Writing Our Lives: Women Writing Memoir and Personal Narrative 

Jill holds an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University, where she has also taught. She teaches various Writing and Literature courses in the Liberal Arts department at the Fashion Institute of Technology (State College of New York), as well as privately in New York. A Barnard alumna, she is teaching Writing Our Lives, for the fourth consecutive year at Barnard's PCP. She writes personal memoirs for a variety of publications, is a contributing writer to the Women section of The Huffington Post, publishes an arts/style blog, and her novel Beautiful Garbage will be released in Spring 2013 from She Writes Press. Currently, she's working on a collection of nonfiction essays.

Sharon Fulton

Discovering Old New York

Sharon has earned a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She holds a postdoctoral appointment as a Literature Humanities Lecturer in Columbia University's Core Curriculum. She has taught literature and writing at Columbia University, NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and Cooper Union in New York City.

Charlotte Friedman

How Stories Change Us and the World 

Charlotte Milholland Friedman, who has an M.F.A in Creative Nonfiction and an M.S. from Columbia University, is an Adjunct Professor in the English Department at Barnard College, where she teaches Introduction to Narrative Medicine and is a student advisor. On the faculty of the Masters Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia, she co-teaches Accounts of Self and is the Clinical Placement Director for the Program. Charlotte lectures and runs writing groups in community and clinical settings and teaches globally, most recently in Israel. She is the author of The Girl Pages: A Handbook of the Best Resources for Strong, Confident, Creative Girls (Hyperion).

Nicole Gervasio

Human Rights in World Literature

Nicole is a Ph.D. candidate in the English and Comparative Literature Program at Columbia University, where she is also pursuing certificates with the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Interdisciplinary in nature, her research focuses on legacies of transnational violence and intimacy in contemporary postcolonial and post-dictatorship literature from the Global South. Through her work with "Women Mobilizing Memory," a global, cross-generational working group that is part of the Women Creating Change initiative at the Center for the Study of Social Difference, she is currently developing a series of critiques on the desaparecidos and literary treatments of violence against women in Chilean literature. She has received several awards for her dedication to eradicating racial and socioeconomic disparity in higher education, including the Mellon Mays, Beinecke, and Javits Fellowships. In 2010, she received her B.A. in English and Growth & Structure of Cities at Bryn Mawr College.

Judy Jarvis

The Psychology of Gender Difference

Judy is the Assistant Director for Campus Life/LGBTQ and Gender Resources at Vassar College. She directs Vassar’s Women’s Center and LGBTQ Center, as well as works on a variety of campus-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives. She completed her M.A. in Higher Education  at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and completed her B.A. at Vassar College, where she double majored in Psychology and Media Studies.

Helen Kaplan

Intro to Screenwriting: The Short Form 

Filmmaking: From Script to Screen

Helen holds an M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University and a B.A. from Brown University. She has made numerous short films including the award-winning Return to Sender, was an Associate Producer on the PBS documentary, New York, and authored the chapter on Subplots in Writing Movies (Bloomsbury USA). Helen teaches screenwriting, directing, and film production at Hunter College.

Mary Helen Kolisnyk

Writing Place: Home and the City

Mary Helen Kolisnyk has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, and an M.A. in Cinema Studies.  A Canadian ex-pat, she lives in NYC, where she teaches college writing courses that are informed by global perceptions, voices and descriptions of urban life, and literature courses designed to keep the classics relevant.

Ari Laura Kreith

Acting: Process and Performance

Ari received her B.A. in Theatre from Yale University and her M.F.A. in Acting from UC Davis. A professional theatre director and acting coach, she is the Artistic Director of Theatre 167 (www.theatre167.org,) where she specializes in the development of new plays and musicals. Other credits include world premiere productions in New York, Scotland, and regional theater. 

Jamie Krenn

Psychology of Media

Psych 101

Jamie Krenn holds a PhD in Educational Psychology: Cognitive Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University.  She also holds three MAs in developmental and cognitive psychologies as well as a Bachelor of Science in Art Therapy. She is currently a Psychological Research Consultant for Miscellaneous Media, which produces such popular programs as MTV’s True Life. Dr. Krenn is also the Creator and Director of the social media mission Think Before You Fat(thinkbeforeyoufat.com) whose aim is to educate the media about the dangers of weight bullying. Dr. Krenn has been an instructor at Teachers College, SUNY Queens College and Westchester Community College teaching various media and psychology courses.  She currently oversees a Masters program at Teachers College entitled “Children’s Media: Analysis & Evaluation.” In the past, Dr. Krenn was a Research Assistant for the Little Einstein Series, which appeared on the Disney Playhouse.  Her research interests include the socio-emotional effects of media, children's educational television, and culinary cognition.

Marcelo López-Dinardi

Architectural Culture and NYC Design Studio

A researcher, educator and trained architect, Marcelo studied his first year of architecture in his native Chile, and obtained his BArch from the School of Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR), Cum Laude. He co-founded the research group CIUDADLAB in 2004, has been Assistant Professor of design studio, research and representation at the PUPR, where he directed the 2009-2010 Lectures Series Sense Recession: What Comes Next?, and also directed the Roundtable Series for four years. From 2008-201, Marcelo edited the journal Polimorfo, which he also co-founded. He has written for EntornoDomusPlanning Perspectives, CCGSAPP, been an invited juror at the UPR, GSAPP, Barnard + Columbia College, Pratt Institute, Parsons, and NJIT, lectured at Cooper Union, exhibited his drawings in San Juan and Berlin, and his architectural design work has been awarded several times. After relocating to New York, where he currently lives, he developed the thesis Destructive KnowledgeTools for Learning to Un-Dō around the work of the artist Gordon Matta-Clark, obtaining an MS in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture of the GSAPP at Columbia University. He is a partner of A(n) Office, based in New York and an Adjunct Faculty at the School of Architecture of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Architecture Department at Barnard + Columbia College.

Lauren Mancia

Medieval Art in Manhattan 

Lauren Mancia is Assistant Professor of History at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and a lecturer at The Cloisters Museum, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the study of medieval art. Lauren got her Ph.D in History from Yale, her M.A. in Medieval Studies from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, and her B.A. in English and Medieval Studies from Columbia College ('05); her research focuses on the religious world of medieval Europe, especially the devotional and visual culture of eleventh- and twelfth-century monasteries.

Kent Minturn

Masterpieces of Art in New York City

Kent received his Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University, and earned his M.S. in Art History at the University of Chicago. Kent Minturn is a Postdoctoral Lecturer in the Department of Art History at Columbia University, and is currently completing a monograph on the French artist and writer, Jean Dubuffet. Kent was recently appointed Director of Columbia's MA Program in Modern Art, Critical and Curatorial Studies (MODA).

Sydnie Mosley

Dance in the City

Sydnie Mosley earned her M.F.A in Dance with an emphasis on Choreography from the University of Iowa, where she has also taught dance. She is an alumna of Barnard College where she earned her B.A. in Dance and Africana Studies.  During her time at Barnard she traveled to Ghana to study traditional West African dance. Sydnie teaches dance technique, theory and history while performing throughout NYC and choreographing her own work. 

Roz Myers

Crime and Society

Roz Myers, J.D., is a writer and editor in the field of criminal justice, focusing on subjects related to crime victims, offender accountability, justice and ethics, and law and society. She teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and has served for over fifteen years as the managing editor and legal columnist for Civic Research Institute. Her work has appeared in publications by West, Matthew Bender, and other major legal publishers. Ms. Myers is a doctoral candidate at John Jay, and a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley and Fordham University School of Law.

Marti Newland

Music and Cultural Identity in NYC

Marti Newland is a Ph.D. Candidate in Music (Ethnomusicology) at Columbia University specializing in voice studies, performance, and African American music. Her dissertation ethnographically examines radicalized vocality in the United States, with a focus on blackness.  She has taught courses in ear-training, Western music history and private voice at Columbia University and Seton Hall University and is a choral adjudicator and clinician for Wordstrides Heritage Music Festivals. Through her studies at Columbia University (M.A., African American Studies), Oberlin College (B.A., African American Studies), and Oberlin Conservatory of Music (B.M., Voice Performance), she remains an active classical singer. <www.martinewland.com>

Elizabeth Pillsbury

New York Explorations: Understanding Urban Landscapes  

Elizabeth Pillsbury received her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 2009.  She has taught high school and college students at Columbia, Barnard, Horace Mann School, and Riverdale Country School.  She brings to her classes her love of U.S. urban and environmental history. Her work explores the history of New York City, marine environments, and food production. In addition to teaching in the Pre-College Program, she teaches History and American Studies at Riverdale Country School and leads walking tours of historic neighborhoods in New York City.

Aurélie Roy

Exploring Global Perspectives

Aurélie Roy holds an M.A. in British and American Studies from the Université de Tours, France, and an M.A. in History from Columbia University. She is currently working on her Ph.D dissertation which traces the emergence of two major Native American organizations offering legal representation to Indian tribes in the postwar era. Her research interests lay at the intersection of indigenous and governmental politics throughout American history and international human rights law. Aurélie co-founded the Collaborations on Indigenous Studies Project at Columbia in order to foster knowledge and discussions about indigenous issues in New York.

Joanna Scutts

Modernist New York

Joanna is associate editor for PEN America, the biannual literary journal of the PEN American Center, and a part-time faculty member at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She holds a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, where her research focused on the literature and culture of the early twentieth century in Britain and the US, and she is particularly interested in writing by women, visual and literary representations of the city, and memoir and autobiography. She is also a freelance critic and editor, and has written for publications including the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Originally from London, she is happiest surrounded by crowds, city noise, and tall buildings.

Irina Schneid

NYC Design Intensive

Irina Schneid (B.Arch, M.Arch II, Cornell University) is a designer and educator. She is the founder and principle of SCH+ARC Studio, an architectural think tank which seeks to provide an innovative and divergent space for research and design. SCH+ARC has completed several collaborative retail projects in New York and Las Vegas, and was recently named finalist in Building Trust International's PLAYscapes design competition.  Primarily based out of New York, Irina has lectured and taught internationally. Recent teaching appointments include  Barnard + Columbia Architecture,  Tyler School of Art- Temple University,  and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Melbourne, Australia. She is currently an adjunct assistant professor of architecture at Barnard where she teaches courses in both design studio and seminar contexts. 

Soomin Seo

Global News Media in Digital Age

Soomin Seo is a Ph.D. candidate in the Communications Program at Columbia’s Pulitzer School of Journalism and a Visiting Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Her research focuses on the evolution of foreign news in light of changes to technology, global politics and the business of news media. From 2000 to 2008, she worked as a journalist in South Korea. Most of her reporting related to North Korea and the nuclear crisis, and she also wrote from conflict zones like Darfur and northern Sri Lanka. Soomin has a B.A. from Seoul National University and also holds an M.A. in Public Policy  from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she was a Shorenstein Scholar and received the Jane Mansbridge Research Award in 2010.

Michelle Smith

Lean In or Dig Deep: Varieties of Feminist Leadership

Michelle-Renée Smith, assistant professor of political science, joined Barnard’s faculty on July 1, 2011.  She teaches courses on political theory, and on politics and race. Professor Smith’s current research centers on contemporary democratic theory, in particular the changing parameters of democratic inclusion in a post-national world. The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920's and Alain Locke, one of its most original thinkers, are of special interest. Professor Smith is a Term Fellow at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University.

Raymond A. Smith

America in the World: Understanding the Politics and History of a Unique Nation

Raymond Smith, Ph.D.,  is an adjunct assistant professor of Political Science at Columbia University and New York University, and has also taught in the Department of Political Science at Barnard.  His courses have included “Race and Ethnicity in American Politics,” “Majority Rule and Minority Rights,” and “American Parties and Elections,” as well as special courses on the presidential elections in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Professor Smith is the author of several books involving American politics, including  most recently The American Anomaly: US Government Politics in Comparative Perspective (Routledge, 2nd edition 2010) and Importing Democracy: Ideas from Around the World to Reform and Revitalize American Politics and Government (Praeger, 2010).  He holds an M.A. in International Relations from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia, with an emphasis on American Politics.

Drew Thomases

A Brief History of Evil

Drew Thomases is a Ph.D. candidate in Columbia University’s Department of Religion, studying the anthropology of Hindu traditions. He holds a B.A from Hamilton College in religion and Asian studies, as well as an M.A. and M.Phil. from Columbia University, both in religion. His dissertation research is based in Pushkar, India, where he explores the intersections of pilgrimage, tourism, and universalism. 

Benjamin VanWagoner

Sex and Betrayal: The Renaissance Taboo

Ben is a Ph.D. candidate in Columbia's Department of English and Comparative Literature. Although his research focuses primarily on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, he has also won awards for his work on 20th century poetry and economic theory in literature. His current research explores the theatrical and narrative management of risk and uncertainty in early modern accounts of exploration. Before entering academia, he taught high school math in St. Louis with the Teach For America program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature and Economics from the University of Michigan, and an M.Phil. from Columbia University.

Julia Westerbeke

Making Contemporary Art NYC

Julia Westerbeke is an artist based in Brooklyn whose recent exhibitions include "Staccato" at den contemporary and "The Deluge" at the de Young Museum. She is a member of A.I.R. Gallery, the first artist-run gallery for women in the United States, founded in 1972. Julia is currently the Visual Arts Curator and Adjunct Faculty at Barnard College. In 2009, she received her M.F.A. in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego. A Barnard alumna, she founded The Diana Center Alumnae Arts Forum, which covers alumnae working in the field of visual arts. She has also recently curated the exhibitions "Re-turn" and "Barbara Novak: Full Bloom" at the McCagg Gallery.

Sara Zaidi

Gender, Sexism, and Schooling 

Sara Zaidi is an educational researcher whose work focuses on the educational experiences of young immigrant women living in the United States. Having earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center, she is currently part-time faculty in the Education Program at Barnard College where she teaches the course Contemporary Issues in Education, which investigates the critical and controversial issues confronting education today.