Meet the 2018 Faculty

2018 Faculty Biographies

Sophie Abramowitz

Vengeance is Hers: Violent Women in American Culture 1965 - Present 

Sophie Abramowitz is a PhD candidate in English literature at the Univeristy of Virginia and is an alumna of Barnard College. Her dissertation examines the relationships between song collection, popular music writing and reception, and performance in and around the Harlem Renaissance and the global south. Working at the intersection of the 20th century American cultural studies, literary studies, critical race and gender studies, and popular music studies, Sophie has extensive experience working on oral history projects, in radio, and in archival music research and production. She has been published in The Quiet American and Slate.

Theodore Barrow

New York in Art and Film

Theodore Barrow is pursuing his PhD in Art History at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He has taught in Barnard's Summer in the City program for the past five years, exploring the fruitful relationship between art, film, and the city. He has also taught at Brooklyn College, the City College, Baruch, and other colleges within the CUNY system. He works as a curator at the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, and will finish his Ph.D. in 2019.

Erica Cardwell

Feminist Art and Spaces in New York City

Writing the Self

Erica Cardwell is a professor of English and Literature at the Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY. She received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence ('16). Erica has taught art and writing workshops across the country at school such as UC Berkeley, the New School, Emma Willard School for Girls, and her alma mater, Marymount Manhattan College. Her essays and reviews have appeared and are forthcoming for Hyperalleric, The Feminist Wire, Bitch Media, Rewire, The Believer, and Green Mountain Review. Erica is a board member of Radical Teacher Journal.

Laura Ciolkowski

Women's Studies 101

Laura Ciolkowski, PhD is Associate Director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Adjunct Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia. She is also a faculty member in the Prison Education Program at the Columbia Center for Justice and teaches literature in Taconic Correctional Facility,  a medium-security women's prison in Bedford Hills, NY. She has taught in the English Department and the Women's Studies Program at Yale University, and the English Department at Wesleyan University, Barnard College, and NYU. Her teaching and research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and culture, feminist theory and gender and sexuality studies. Her work has been published in a range of journals, including: Twentieth Century Literature; Studies in the Novel; Genders; Novel: A Forum on Fiction; Public Books; and Victorian Literature and Culture. Her "Rape Culture Syllabus," published in Public Books, was widely shared and circulated by scholars and activists across the country. She has recently written the introductions to new editions of Charles Dicken's American Notes for General Circulation, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, and has edited a collection of the Christmas stories of Louisa May Alcott. In addition to her scholarly research, Ciolkowski is a writer and book critic whose articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker Magazine, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the L.A. Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the International Herald Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She received a PhD and MA in Literature from Brown University and a BA, elected to Phi Beta Kappa, in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

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. 

Emma de Beus

Expectation Defying Women: Seeing Musical Theater as Literature

Shakespeare's She-Roes

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

Is Fashion Frivolous? Exploring Gender, Culture, and Politics through Clothing

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 has been an instructor in the PCP program for seven years. The fashion editor at the travel site, Culture Trip, Jill has been published in the Los Angeles Times, NYLON, Salon, Refinery 29, VICE, Huffington Post, and is the author of a novel.

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.

Joseph Fisher

Rethinking The Conflict: Religion and Science in America

Joseph is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, where he studies the intersection of science, technology, and religion. His dissertation, Beyond the Human, offers a historical and philosophical analysis of the contemporary movement known as transhumanism. His work is motivated by the ways in which technologies, real and imagined, influence understandings of what it means to be human. He earned a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College in Religious Studies before earning an M.A. and M.Phil. in Religion at Columbia University.

Yuliya Grinberg

Technology, Society, Computing

Yuliya Grinberg is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her research investigates the historical and cultural conditions of possibility that have made meaningful work out of collecting digital data about one's life. Throughout, she pays special attention to the aesthetics and the language that mediate the cultural discourse on personal data, affecting the way these data sets are taken up, circulated, and understood.

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. Hanging Loose Press will be publishing her lyric essay book, Ways of Looking at a Woman, in 2018

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.

Manpreet Kaur

Kissing & Telling: Amorous Art from Kamasutra to K-Pop

Manpreet Kaur is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Religion, Columbia University in the sub-field South Asian Religions. Broadly, she is interested in the mutually contingent material practices around texts and performances in early modern South Asia, and the intersection between textual and performance practices as coterminous modes of aesthetic production and religious community formation. Before coming to Columbia, she spent four years teaching comparative literature and theater in New Delhi, India and Bratislava, Slovakia. 

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 interested in: the various scales of design (from micro-to-global and everything in between); how to produce agency in design and education; in the practice of architecture as research; architecture and design as an expanded media (publications, exhibitions, and curitorial practices); and the intersection of architecture and political economy. He is also a Partner of A(n) Office and has taught recently at Barnard and Columbia, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Penn Design at the University of Pennsylvania, RISD and Pratt Institute. He was selected as a Fellow for Ideas City Athen and Ideas City Arles, an event organized by New York City's New Museum. In 2004 he founded the contemporary city research platform CIUDADLAB, was a full-time Assistant Professor of design studio, research and representation at the PUPR, where he directed the 2009-2010 Lecture Series Sense Recession: What Comes Next?, and also directed the Roundtable Discussion Series for four years. From 2008-2011, he edited the architecture journal Polimorfo, which he also co-founded. He has written for Avery Review, The Architect's Newspaper, Entorno, Domus, Planning Perspectives, Art Forum China, Materia, and lectured at Cooper Union, Princeton University, University of Michigan, RISD, among others. His architectural design work has been awarded several times by the AIA. He completed a Bachelor in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and has a MS in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in architecture from the GSAPP at Columbia University.

Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch

NYC Nature: From the River to the Rooftops

Terryanne Maenze-Gmelch is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science and Teaching Lab Director and has been a part of the faculty of Barnard College since 2006. Prior to joining Barnard, Dr. Maenza-Gmelch was a member of the faculty at New York University in the departments of Biology and Teaching and Learning. She is also an educator at the Black Rock Forest Consortium where she has developed and taught summer field programs for students from middle school to graduate school. Her research and teaching interests include paleoecology, effects of climate and land-use change on bird populations, soundscape ecology and field and digital cirriculum development. Her PhD is from New York University. 

Thomas March

Place and Personal Essay: Being in New York 

Thomas March is a poet, teacher and critic based in New York City. His work has appeared in The Believer, Bellevue Literary Review, The Good Men Project, The Huffington Post, New Letters, Pleiades, and Public Pool, among others. His poetry column, "Appreciations," which offers appreciative close readings of poems from recent collections, appears regularly in Lambda Literary Review. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry, and he is a past recipient of the Norma Millay Ellis Fellowship in Poetry, from the Millay Colony for the Arts. Aftermath, his first poetry collection, was selected by Joan Larkin for The Word Works Hilary Tham Capital Collection and will appear in Spring 2018.

Kent Minturn

What is Great Art?

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. 

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.

Mary Roma

Writing Place: Composing Profiles of New Yorkers

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), Surface Down, 80 Washington Square East Gallery (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, and installations of various media. Lara received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University and 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

The Exploration of Space

The Elegance of Physics

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 28 years, he has taught at G.W. Hewlett High School on Long Island, where he currently teaches AP Physics C and a college-level course on space exploration offered in conjunction with the University of Albany.  Ric's first assignment for the students in his AP class is always something so simple it is maddening, such as figuring out how to measure the height of a flagpole. Ric has also applied to NASA twice for consideration as an Astronaut Candidate, and has both rejection letters hanging proudly above his desk in his school office.

Carolyn Volpe

Psychology 101

Psychology of Media

Carolyn Volpe has been a guest speaker in the Pre-College Program for the past few summers and is looking forward to extending her time with students for the entire course. Since Carolyn's undergraduate days studying media, elementary education, and music, she has always been passionate about making learning fun and meaningful for children in unconventional ways. The best way to do that was to combine her educational background with her experience in the performing arts to work in educational television. Carolyn has been working in children's educational media for over 18 years doing educational research and consulting as well as casting. She is a certified teacher with a Masters from NYU's Educational Communication & Technology Program and a PhD from Fordham's Educational Psychology program.