Meet the 2017 Faculty

2017 Faculty Biographies

Rachel Aydt

Living the Storied Literature of New York

Rachel Aydt is a part-time Assistant Professor of writing and literature at the New School University with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence College ('17). She's held staff positions in national consumer magazines such as CosmoGirl and Cosmopolitan, and has combined her lives of writing and New York City by publishing personal essays in many New York-centric publications that include the New York Observer, the New York Post, the New York Times' Motherlode blog, New York Metro Parents, and more.

Theodore Barrow

NY in Art and Film

Theodore Barrow is pursuing his PhD 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.

Leigh Boyd

Introduction to Neuroscience

Leigh Boyd is a Barnard alum, with a BA in English and Psychology. In addition, she holds an MA in teaching from New York University, and is a PhD candidate in Cognitive Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has done research in a wide range of topics related to neurocognition, including neuromuscular communication, neurocognition and learning, collaboration and cognition, and media and emotional intelligence. In addition to her PhD research, she works as a personal trainer and yoga therapist.

Erica Cardwell

Feminist Art and Spaces in New York City

Erica Cardwell is a writer, activist, and educator. As a founder of Women Speak, a program for women, Trans, and gender non-conforming youth at the Hetrick-Martin Institute (the country's oldest and largest LGBTQ youth organization), her work pursues the intersections between protest and imagination for people of color. With over ten years of experience as an educator at New York City public schools and community organizations, she currently teaches English and Literature at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Erica is a 2015 LAMBDA Fellow in Nonfictions and sits on the Editorial Collective of the "Teaching Black Lives Matter" issue of Radical Teacher Magazine. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Hyperallergic, Sinister Wisdom, the Light Work Annual, The Feminist Wire, Bitch Media, The London Progressive Journal, Ikons Magazine, and EMERGE: An Anthology of the 2015 Lambda Literary Fellows. She has an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and was recently a writer in residence at Vermont Studio Center.

Diani Citra

Media, Technology, and Society

Diana Citra's research interests include media and communication policy and political communication. Regiomally, she is interested in Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia. Currently she is working on a research project that explores Indonesia's digital migration policy. Citra received a BSC from Universitas Indonesia in 2006, and an MA in Media Studies from New York University in 2011, where she studied on a Fulbright Scholarship. Citra was involved in several policy-making processes in Indonesia, including the Indonesian Broadcast Code of Conduct and the Broadcast Program Standards. Citra also actively writes about media policy for Kompas, one of Indonesia's biggest national newspapers, and several other print media in Indonesia.

Alyssa Collins

Gender and Race in Science Fiction

Alyssa is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Virginia, where she studies twentieth century African American literature, global literature, and new media. Her current work looks at the intersections of race and technology as represented in black science fiction. Her work is motivated by commitments to recover and re-examine questions about bodies (e.g., "what it means to be human") as they are inflected by issues of race, gender, and techonology in literature, film and new media. Alyssa hold an MA from the University of Virginia and a BA in English from Emory University.

Natascha Crandall

Psychology of Children's Media

Dr. Natascha Crandall is a psychologist and educator with a special interest in enhancing children’s growth and development through the power of media. She is the founder of Crandall Consulting, an educational media firm specializing in preschool children.

Natascha received her PhD from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds an MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Maryland, and a BA in Developmental Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. 

Natascha has almost 15 years of experience in children’s media with extensive work in curriculum development, script review, and formative research for leading shows including: Nickelodeon’s Peter Rabbit, Zack and QuackBubble Guppies, The Backyardigans, The Wonder Pets,CBeebies’ Bing Bunny, The Octonauts, Sesame Tree, Sprout’s Driftwood BayThe Floogals, DreamWorks Animation’s: Noddy, Toyland Detective, DHX Media’sSpace Ranger Roger, HiT Entertainment’s Bob the BuilderWellieWishers, Ma’an Network’s Shara’a SimsimETV and MBC’s Alam Simsim, and JTV’s Hikayat Simsim

In addition to her media work, Natascha has worked as a therapist and neuropsychometrician, taught classes at Fordham University, and is a guest lecturer at Barnard College and Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Krista Dalton

Poverty: from the Bible to Beyoncé 

Krista Dalton is pursuing a PhD in Religion at Columbia University. Her work focuses on money and the dynamics of exchange, specifically in religious communities of the ancient Roman world. More broadly, Krista is interested in the enmeshed relationships between religion and economics at historically contextual moments. When she is not writing her dissertation, Krista is exploring dusty antique shops and reading science fiction. 

Emma de Beus

Expectation Defying Women: Seeing Musical Theater as Literature

Emma de Beus is a PhD candidate in the Theatre program of Columbia University's English and Comparative Literature department. She earned an MA with Distinction from The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham (UK). She is an alumna of Barnard College where she earned a BA in English with a concentration in Theatre. Her areas of specialization include early modern English theatre, female performance, musical theatre, and history plays. Her research interests include performance studies, dance studies, female playwrights, adaptation studies, genre studies, and political theatre.

Jill DiDonato

Writing Our Lives: Writing Memoir and Personal Narrative 

Jill holds an MFA 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.

Andi Dixon

American Political Communication

Andi Dixon is a fourth-year PhD student at Columbia University studying Communications. Her research concerns the intersection of public policy-making and media effects, with special interests in American privacy law, the contemporary history of government secrecy and public policies aimed at securing global cities. Previously, Dixon studied interview-based research methodologies, completing an MA in Oral History in 2011 at Columbia University. In 2006, she received her BA in Political Science from Emory University. Her previous work experience includes public media production and reporting for This American Life and Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Liz Dolfi

Religions of New York

Liz Dolfi is pursuing a PhD in Religion at Columbia University in the North American Religions subfield. She is interested in women, gender, and sexuality in American religious history with particular emphasis on 20th century evangelical media, religious affect, and the politics of secularism(s). Her work is informed by theoretical commitments to feminist and queer studies, and her multidisciplinary research draws on both historical and ethnographic methods. She holds an MA and MPhil from Columbia University, an MAR from Yale Divinity School, and a BA from Vassar College. 

Todd Flaherty

Acting: Process and Performance

Todd first came to Barnard in 2014, teaching Acting: Process and Performance alongside Ari Laura Kreith. He holds a BFA in Drama from New York University where he studied at the Atlantic Acting School. Having worked consistently as an actor off-Broadway and in regional theatre for the past decade, Todd recently debuted his work as a writer/director with his series Undetectable.

Caroline Hagood

Rewriting Our Lives with the Lyric Essay

Caroline Hagood recently received her English PhD from Fordham University, where she is currently a Teaching Fellow. Her first book of poetry, Lunatic Speaks, was published in 2012 by FutureCycle Press, and her second poetry book, Making Maxine’s Baby, a small press Bestseller, came out in May 2015  from Hanging Loose Press. Her poetry and essays have also appeared, or are forthcoming, in The Kenyon Review, Drunken Boat, Hanging Loose, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, Salon, and the Economist. She has taught writing at St. Francis College and Fordham, and led the poetry workshops for Poets Out Loud’s High School Outreach Program for students from underserved communities in partnership with Girls Write Now.

Andrew Jungclaus

Religions of New York

Andrew Jungclaus entered Columbia’s doctoral program in North American Religions in 2012 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in American Studies and English Literature from the College of William and Mary (2009) and his master’s degree in religious history from the University of Oxford (2011). Before coming to Columbia, Andrew spent a year as a researcher at Harvard University’s Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research exploring "the problem of evil" within American civil rights struggles.  Broadly, Andrew’s research interests lie within the intersections of religion, politics, and economics that give shape to American life.

Helen Kaplan

Screenwriting: The Short Form 

Filmmaking: From Script to Screen

Helen holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University and a BA 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.

Ari Laura Kreith

Acting: Process and Performance

Ari (BA—Yale University; MFA—University of California at Davis) is the founder and Artistic Director of Theatre 167, this year’s recipient of the 2015 Caffe Cino Fellowship for consistently producing outstanding work off-off-Broadway. At Theatre 167 she conceived and directed The Jackson Heights Trilogy—three full-length plays collaboratively written by 18 playwrights featuring 37 actors in 93 roles in 14 languages—which were produced individually in Queens, then in rotating repertory as a 6-hour epic in Manhattan, and subsequently re-imagined as an immersive installation for Queens Museum. Her production of Pirira, set simultaneously in Malawi and New York, received the 2014 NYIT Award for Outstanding Premiere Production Of A Play and transferred off-Broadway. Other recent highlights include The Church of Why Not, based on an interfaith activist community, which premiered at the space that inspired it, and Mourning Sun, a new play set in Ethiopia and New York.

Jamie Krenn

Psychology of Media

Psych 101

Jamie L. Krenn holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology: Cognitive Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds three masters degrees in developmental and cognitive psychologies as well as a Bachelor of Science in Art Therapy. She is the Chief Learning Officer at CoHatchery, an NYC co-working space with onsite childcare. She is also a Curriculum Consultant for Nomster Chef cooking education project that hopes raise a healthier generation of kids and a happier generation of parents by teaching kids to cook through media. Dr. Krenn has also been an instructor at Barnard College and Westchester Community College teaching various media and psychology courses. She currently oversees a masters program at Teachers College, Columbia University entitled “Children’s Media: Analysis & Evaluation.” Dr. Krenn is also an expert and author of Screen Time: Media and the Developing Mind housed within Psychology Today Magazine's website. You can find her latest articles here. Finally, she is also a contributor to :30 Second Mom, a stream-based mobile website and app tied into the leading social networks whose goal is to provide mobile moms with quick and helpful tips in about 30 seconds or less - delivered straight to mobile phones. In the past, Dr. Krenn has been a Research Assistant for the Little Einstein Series, which appeared on the Disney Playhouse as well a Curriculum Consultant for Maker Studios, which produces the popular program Wonder Quest and I Wonder the educational supplement to Stampy Cat’s program based on the Minecraft video game. Her research interest includes the socio-emotional effects of media, children’s educational television, and culinary cognition.

Joe Liddicoat

BSI: New York

Joe Liddicoat was on the faculty in Barnard’s Department of Environmental Science for 15 years and has remained involved in the development and teaching of Brownfield Action at Barnard and the City College of New York where he is an Adjunct Professor of Science; he has also been an Adjunct Professor of Science at NYU for 25 years. Joe’s BA was in English from Wayne State University, and following four years in the U.S. Navy as an officer (Chief Engineer on a destroyer), he received an MA in Earth Science from Dartmouth College and PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Joe’s primary research is in the history of Earth’s past magnetic field as recorded in rocks (paleomagnetism) and he currently does research as Visiting Research Scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  The field localities for the research are Central America, Asia, the Mediterranean region, both coasts of the United States and the Mississippi Embayment (Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida).

Marcelo López-Dinardi

Architectural Culture and NYC Design Studio

Marcelo López-Dinardi is an immigrant, researcher and educator based in New York City working at the intersection of architecture and political economy. He is Partner of A(n) Office and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Barnard/Columbia, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Lecturer in Penn Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He was selected to represent the United States Pavilion in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and more recently selected as a Fellow for Ideas City Athens, an event organized by New York City’s New Museum and the Neon Foundation in Athens. Marcelo has written for Avery ReviewThe Architect’s NewspaperEntornoDomusPlanning PerspectivesCCGSAPP, Buell Center, Art Forum China, and lectured at Cooper Union, Princeton University, RISD, among others. He completed a Bachelor in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (2003) and a MS in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices of architecture from the GSAPP at Columbia University. Selected works can be found at  

Thomas March

Place and Personal Essay: Being in New York 

Thomas March is a poet and book critic who teaches English at The Brearley School. He holds an MA and PhD in English and American Literature from New York University. He has received the Norma Millay Ellis Fellowship in Poetry from the Millay Colony for the Arts, and an Artist/Writer Grant from Vermont Studio Center. Recent work appears in The Account, Assaracus, Bellevue Literary Review, RHINO, and Confrontation. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and his criticism has appeared in The Believer, Lambda Literary Review, and New Letters, among others.

Kent Minturn

Masterpieces of Art in New York City

Kent received his PhD in Art History from Columbia University, and earned his MS 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) and is a Visiting Assistant Professor at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts.

Sydnie Mosley

Dance in the City

Sydnie Mosley earned her MFA 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 BA 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. 

Oliver Murphey

The Rise of Donald Trump: Right-Wing Populism and Nationalism in Historical Perspective

The Vietnam Wars: 1940-1975

Oliver Murphey is a recent Columbia PhD, with a background in 20th century U.S. political history and foreign policy. A native New Yorker with an undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh and an MPhil in Historical Studies from Cambridge, Oliver returned to the City of his birth to teach at Columbia and in the SUNY and CUNY systems. 

Rachel Parsons

Who Are We?: Investigating Race and Identity Through Writing

Rachel Parsons is a Brooklyn-based educator and writer.  After teaching for almost a decade in the New York City public school system, she is currently pursuing an MFA in creative nonfiction at Sarah Lawrence College.  She holds an MS in education from Brooklyn College, a BA in women’s studies from Michigan State University, and is Editor-in-Chief of the LUMINA journal. Her work has appeared in Bleu MagazineThe Culture TripZ MagazineSchools: Studies in Education, and others.   She is a voracious reader and sees writing as an important tool for social change.

Elizabeth Pillsbury

New York Explorations: Understanding Urban Landscapes  

Elizabeth Pillsbury received her PhD 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.

James Reich

Memory, Longing, and Identity in World Literature

James Reich received his PhD in Religious Studies from Harvard University in 2016. His research explores art, aesthetics, and literature in South Asia, and how these are influenced by religion. He also holds a BA in Religious Studies from Vassar College, and he has taught at Harvard University and The New School University.

Mary Roma

Writing Place: Home and New York City

Mary Roma is an Instructor of English and Writing at New York University and Empire State College, and has taught for Teen Ink Magazine’s Summer in New York City Writing Program. She is a Curriculum Consultant for the mentoring organization, Girls Write Now, and leads writing workshops for teens at the New York Public Library. A native New Yorker, she has also traveled to Europe, Asia, and South America, especially Colombia.  Her writing has been published in TRIPS magazine and she is a copy editor for the iPad based publication, PERISCOPE.  In her spare time (and during spring migration), she takes bird walks in Central Park and hunts for foodie delights throughout New York City's multi-ethnic boroughs. She earned her MA in English and American Literature from New York University, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Bard College.

Lara Saget

Contemporary Art Studio

Lara Saget is an artist, writer, curator, and educator based in New York City. Her artwork has been featured in solo and group exhibitions including Unsafe Colors: An Exhibition for Women by Women, Studio 106 (Los Angeles, CA), Call for Bushwick 2014: The Extensions of Human Being (Brooklyn, NY), Es Sense, Yoga to the People (New York, NY), Vernissage, Wells Studio (Paris, France).

Her writing on art has appeared in Artcards and On-Verge, among other publications. She co-founded Studio 200, and art exhibition collective in which shows curated coincide thematically with workshops, lectures, or installations of various media. Lara received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University and is pursuing her MFA in Fine Arts at New York University.

Michelle Smith

Lean In or Dig Deep: Varieties of Feminist Leadership

Michelle-Renée Smith, assistant professor of political science, joined Barnard’s faculty in 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.

Frederic Stark

Science and the Law

The Exploration of Space

Ric holds an MA in Science Education from Stony Brook University, and a BS in Chemistry, with minors in Physics and History, from the University at Albany.  For the past 27 years, he has taught courses in chemistry, physics, space exploration, and “science and society” at G.W. Hewlett High School on Long Island.  His Master’s degree work was an examination of the history and legal cases related to the teaching of creationism in public school science classrooms, from the 1925 “Scopes Monkey Trial” to the landmark 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court decision.  Ric has also applied to NASA twice for consideration as an Astronaut Candidate, and has both rejection letters hanging proudly in his school office.