Meet the 2018-2019 Council
Yvette Christianse, Ann Whitney Olin Chair, is a scholar and award-winning poet and novelist, as well as a librettist. She is chair of the Africana Studies Department and a professor in both English literature and Africana Studies. She is interim chair of Barnard’s Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and a 2018 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity. She is a founding associate of the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South initiative at the University of Witwatersrand. Her books include Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics, Unconfessed (novel), Castaway, and Imprendehora (poetry). For some 27 years, she has been researching the transition between slavery, apprenticeship, and indenture in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, with a focus on the fate of those liberated from slaving vessels between 1808 and the turn of the 20th century.
Pamela Cobrin teaches writing and dramatic literature courses in the departments of English and Theatre and for the programs of Africana Studies and American Studies. She received her Ph.D. in performance studies from NYU. Her scholarship includes guest editing an issue of Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory titled “Domestic Disturbances” (November 2006) in which her article “Dangerous Flirtations: Politics, the Parlor and the Nineteenth Century Victorian Amateur Actress” appears, an extended essay about women’s relationship to Broadway before World War II in The Encyclopedia of Broadway and American Culture (December 2009), and her book, Taking Place: From Winning the Vote to Directing on Broadway, Women and the New York Stage, 1880-1927 (September 2009, University of Delaware Press). She has also published in TDR, American Theatre Magazine, and Theatre Insight and currently serves on the editorial board of Women and Performance.
Saskia Hamilton is professor of English, director of Women Poets at Barnard, and vice provost for academic programs. She joined the Barnard English Department in 2002 and teaches courses in the history of poetry and poetics, poets’ letters, and poetry writing. She is the author of three collections of poetry, As for Dream, Divide These, and Corridor, and is the editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell and The Dolphin Letters: Elizabeth Hardwick and Robert Lowell. She is also the co-editor (with Thomas Travisano) of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. She is currently co-editing (with Eleanor Chai) Efforts of Affection: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore. She received her Ph.D. from the Editorial Institute at Boston University, and her honors include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and poetry fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Elizabeth Hutchinson is an associate professor of art history and teaches in the American Studies and First-Year Seminar programs, too. Her writing and teaching has focused on the representation and inclusion of members of nondominant groups in American art and developing ways to think about culture’s relationship to the settler state. She has been active in promoting the growth of Native American studies classes on campus since she got here in 2001, and she also teaches a course about Harlem. Through her work as chair of the First-Year Seminar program from 2012 to 2016 and her service on the Faculty Diversity and Development Committee (FDD) during the same years, Hutchinson got involved in conversations about inclusive pedagogy. Her time on FDD has come to an end, but she wanted to continue to help move the Barnard community’s work toward becoming more truly inclusive forward and was very excited when the invitation came to join the Council. One of the things that makes Hutchinson confident in the Council’s potential is the fact that it is bringing people from across the campus — staff, students, administrators, and faculty — to the same table. She looks forward to seeing our community-building efforts take shape.
Paige Morgan Johnson is assistant professor of performance & race in the Department of Theatre. Her current research examines how transgender artists in Indonesia utilize amateur aesthetic practices to articulate belonging in the contemporary political moment. By attending to amateur performance practices and global queer genres, she traces how contemporary Waria — the Indonesian terminology for transgender women — circulate in national and transnational discourse to produce more nuanced understandings of the relationship between genres of performance and the legibility of gender. Given her interdisciplinary and transnational scholarship on queer identity, social difference, and aesthetic practice, she hopes to bring to the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion an awareness of the need to listen carefully and attend to students, faculty, and staff who identify as queer and for whom Barnard must be a safe and supporting community.
Monica L. Miller is an associate professor of English and Africana Studies and has been at Barnard since 2000. A specialist in contemporary African American and Afro-diasporic literature and cultural studies, she teaches and writes about black literature, art, and performance, fashion cultures, and contemporary Black European culture and politics. She was appointed dean for faculty diversity and development in July of 2018. Her responsibilities include advancing the college’s diversity, inclusion, and equity agenda as it pertains to faculty hiring and development and the creation of a more inclusive and equitable community for the College. Serving ex officio on the Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, she also provides leadership for other initiatives designed to support and advance the College’s recommendations from the recent Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. Trained as a diversity and inclusion advocate within higher education through her experience in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF), which she entered as a college sophomore in 1989, her work on diversity, inclusion, and equity issues at Barnard includes longtime service as the Faculty Coordinator of Barnard’s MMUF program, service on the FDD Committee from its inception, and service on the Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.
Emy Cardoza is the associate dean for student life; she engages holistic, co-curricular education and provides oversight and support for all student life programs and events to offer opportunities for student learning and personal development. Prior to Barnard, Emy strove to foster vibrant and inclusive communities through her work as the Associate Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Chicago and experience as a facilitator and trainer with the Office of Diversity Education at DePaul University and at the Chicago-based nonprofit Interfaith Youth Core. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Emy received her B.A. in religious studies from Rollins College and has also earned a Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago and a Master of Education from Loyola University Chicago. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy and education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.
Alexcia Gayle, employee & labor relations director for the Office of Human Resources since 2013, serves as a member of the College’s Staff Advisory Council and liaison to the Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She looks forward to the work this committee will do in broadening diversity across the College community.
Gabrielle Simpson is the vice president and head of communications, where she is responsible for the College’s communications, marketing, branding, and media. Her career has spanned tenures at Comcast NBCUniversal, CBS Corporation, and ABC, where she worked to champion diversity and inclusion. Most recently, Gabrielle served as worldwide director of communications and public relations at FCB Global, leading diversity and inclusion communications. Gabrielle speaks frequently at colleges and universities on issues of inclusion and diversity, as well as at annual conventions for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), NAACP, and the National Urban League. Her diversity work has been featured in Forbes, HuffPost and EBONY, among others. At her alma mater, Iona College, Gabrielle serves as an alumni board member. As a graduate adjunct professor at New York University (NYU), Gabrielle teaches diversity communications and integrated marketing courses.
Tirzah Anderson ’21 is a junior at Barnard from Jacksonville, Florida, likely majoring in history. She is involved in many student organizations on campus, including her role as the current SGA representative for inclusion and equity. In this role, she is able to serve the student body to advocate for the needs of various student populations on campus. She is excited to work within the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with faculty, staff, and administration to facilitate conversations around equity within multiple communities on campus. She is honored to represent student needs and engage in conversations about the needs of people across the different jobs and positions within the Barnard community.
Leeza Kopaeva ’22 is a sophomore at Barnard from Portland, Maine. She plans on majoring in neuroscience and behavior, with a minor in science and public policy. She loves speaking French and hopes to study abroad in France at some point during her college career. In her free time, Leeza works at a tutoring center for low-income students in New York City and runs in Riverside Park. Leeza hopes to ensure that low-income students at Barnard feel represented and equally included in all that Barnard has to offer.
Daniela Lebron ’22 is a sophomore student at Barnard. She is from New York City and is a commuter. She has an immense love for cats and cute stationery. She intends on double-majoring in political science and American studies. Daniela is very interested in learning how the ever-changing demographics of the United States play a part on current and future political climates and would like to be able to research its impacts in the future. She is very excited to be working with members of the Barnard community to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for all!
Emily Ndiokho ’22 is a sophomore who intends on majoring in sociology or political science and education studies. Born a few blocks away from Barnard’s campus in the St. Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital Center, Emily is excited to be attending college closer to her “roots” and far from her hometown of Allen, Texas. Throughout her time at Phillips Academy, Emily was the co-president of the Afro-Latinx-American Society, an editor for the school newspaper, a volunteer at the local daycare, dorm proctor, co-chair of the social justice peer-education organization, and served as a member of the disciplinary committee. She hopes to explore all of these passions and discover new ones during her time at Barnard. Emily’s goal in life is to create more inclusive social policies relating to education.
Noa Shapiro ’19 graduated from Barnard with a major in classics. She is eager to explore the ways in which students communicate with each other and to work on strengthening the Barnard community by expanding dialogue surrounding diversity in the classroom. She served as president of Columbia/Barnard Hillel.
Claire Tse is a member of Barnard’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; her passion for being on the council reflects her career, which has focused on the value of diversity and inclusion to strive for social justice, as well as hearing all voices, then making meaningful actions. Co-authoring The SOLVE Communication Method ™ book reflects how she facilitates intersectional dialogues to encourage modifying leadership behaviors where people feel who they are matters and what they do matters. With 15 years in the corporate world, starting as Mobil Oil’s first Asian American marketing representative in 1978, she learned, and now shares, how to navigate cultures of sameness and difference. Claire feels both inclusion and engagement are essential for Barnard to survive and thrive.
Jyoti Menon is the president of the Alumnae Association of Barnard College and a Barnard Trustee. In the world outside of Barnard, she works in digital payments at Citi, where she leads the management and strategy of their U.S. Third Party Wallet (such as Apple Pay) portfolio. Working in financial services and tech, she sees firsthand how important diversity is, and her goal is a Barnard community in which diversity is discussed, appreciated, and expanded. Jyoti wants to ensure Barnard is educating students with different backgrounds and providing them with different perspectives to make them future leaders in any path they choose.
Linda Sweet is a partner in Management Consultants for the Arts, where she specializes in executive search for museums and other cultural institutions. Because she works to help people get hired, she has had a long interest in assuring diversity in the workplace. Linda is very proud of how many women she has placed in leadership positions even when museums were slow to hire women. She has been an active member of the Barnard Alumnae Association and is now a Trustee of the College, where she is co-chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs and a member of the Governance Committee. Linda majored in art history at Barnard and began her career as an educator at the Brooklyn Museum and then became dean of the Department of Public Education at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has taught art history and museum education at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Bank Street College, and Leslie College and is now a docent at the Whitney Museum of American Art and at the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art.
Rob Goldberg, Chief Operating Officer
Staff to Council
Cynthia Yang ’02 is the deputy chief of staff in the President’s Office. With over a decade in international event production, she values the richness diversity and inclusion bring to our lives, as well as the power of people working together toward a shared goal. She looks forward to learning from the community and being a part of actualizing Barnard’s commitment to creating an equitable environment in which everyone feels welcome.