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Columbia to the Core

The Core Curriculum encourages students to ask questions, to wrestle with enduring books and themes, and to develop independent voices in the context of shared inquiry. Our students, faculty and alumni, and their innovative endeavors, reflect the values of this educational philosophy. They are at the heart of Columbia College. They are Columbia to the Core.

Connecting with Cosmonauts

While I have continued to work on this project for my Russian senior thesis ... it is the unexpected similarities between these letters and my own that have stuck with me. —Kate Seidel CC’17

Exploring Activism in Kyoto

“Overall, working on this project taught me how to plan a research project from its inception to its end; conducting research in a foreign environment developed my adaptability while widening my global perspective.” —Karim Nader CC’17

WKCR Celebrates 75 Years

“That’s what I think is the most beautiful thing about KCR — it’s a constant process of education and spreading knowledge and sharing alternative music.” — Cooper Lynn CC’17

Civic Engagement from Page to Place

“I believe that I have become better equipped not simply for the working world ... but to go back into the classroom and the so-called ‘real’ world and make both my experiences there more meaningful.” — Matthew Buck CC’17

Opening New Doors through the Special Concentration in Business Management

“I am so grateful for the Special Concentration in Business Management, but not just because it made me an effective public speaker. The courses I took made me think about questions that I’d never considered before.” —Madeleine Matthews CC’17

Through A Different Lens

So if you were to ask me what class to take next semester, I would answer based on personal experience: take a class that will push you beyond your limits and encourage you to interpret the world you live in through different lenses, like Video as Inquiry quite literally did for me.” – Lauren Swerdloff CC’17

Discovering a New Side of Venice

“I’ve seen a side of Venice that I wasn’t really familiar with....” —Aaron Smithson CC’19 

Maintaining Curiosity in Jordan

“Every day here, I learned something that forced me to reevaluate – my opinions, my actions, my intentions. The potential for personal growth is far greater, it would seem to me, the less comfortable you are.” —Elise Gout CC’19

Exploring Narratives in Venice

“Can we sleep and let the world turn without it affecting us?” —Bruce Young CC’19

Reflections from the Desert

“Never in my life have I been as ecstatically calm as when I ate breakfast in a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum after watching the sunrise at the top of a sandstone mountain.” —Katherine Hacthoun CC’19

A Graduate of the College Learns the True Meaning of Double Discovery

“Columbia showed me a more expansive world.” Jean-Franco Diaz CC’16

Senior Snapshot: Karina Jougla CC’16

“It was humbling to be on stage with all those world leaders.” — Karina Jougla CC’16

Senior Snapshot: Lorenzo Gibson CC’16

“[The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship gave me] a concrete sense of what life as a professor and a researcher could be.” —Lorenzo Gibson CC’16

Senior Snapshot: Sarah Kellner CC’16

“How people move tells you a lot about them. From the way people move their shoulders, for example, you can get insight into what they are thinking or feeling.” —Sarah Kellner CC’16

Senior Snapshot: Sharon Liao CC’16

“I’ve been passionate about education and youth development, and Community Impact has helped me sustain and expand that passion.” –Sharon Liao CC’16

Senior Snapshot: Benjamin Rosenblum CC’16

“Jazz has allowed me to make connections with people I would have never met otherwise — people from different backgrounds, cultures and countries, and different ages.” —Benjamin Rosenblum CC’16

Senior Snapshot: Karleta Peterson CC’16

“Being able to make a difference in my own neighborhood was something I really enjoyed.” –Karleta Peterson CC’16

Senior Snapshot: Charles Sanky CC’16

“Medicine combines all the things that are important to me — advocacy, education, community service and science.” —Charles Sanky CC’16

Exploring a Global Education

“My coursework, study abroad and extracurricular experiences have pushed me to think globally in different and unexpected directions.” — Anjelica Neslin CC’16

Interning to the Edge of Space

“Thanks to Columbia’s Work Exemption Program, I have been able to do groundbreaking work and explore the limits of my intellectual capabilities while researching the boundaries of the known universe.” —Francesca Jarrett CC’19​

Woodworking for Literature

“Creating the stool allowed me to connect with Don Quixote on a deeply personal level — it helped me to discover what Don Quixote meant to me.” — Scott Sonnenberg CC’18

A Summer Navigating the French Archives

“From my archival experience this summer, afforded to me by the various generous grants and fellowships I received, I’ve been given a chance to contribute my voice to the rapidly evolving narrative of my area of study.” —Wallace Teska CC’16

Twenty Years of the King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe

“KCST brings challenging, socially aware theatre to the Columbia community.” — Jenna Lomeli CC’15

Wrestling with the Uncertainties of Research

“I was fortunate to be forced into the discomfort and challenge presented by scientific research and to learn lessons that I hope will serve me well in my aspirations for the future.” — Junghoon Kim CC’16

Fifty Years of Postcrypt Coffeehouse

“Its special because every show is unplugged and the performers visibly relax as if they're just playing and chatting with friends in their living rooms.” — Spenser Krut CC’16

Finding Focus in Composing

“Studying music here [at Columbia] has granted me the time to contemplate and understand what it is I like to listen to — and from there I can understand what it is I want to compose.” —Daniel Lazour CC’16

Finding Weasels at Wawel Castle

“I returned from my time in Poland with a profound sense of peace in having found a balance between my scientific pursuits and my love of the humanities.” — Alixandra Prybyla CC’18

Ten Days on the Columbia University-Japan Study Tour

“My experience in Japan caused me to consider questions I had never before realized existed and added another dimension to the academic inquiry I will engage in for the next three years.” — Trevor Menders CC’18

Studying Art Humanities in Paris

“After my Art Hum class in Paris concluded, I realized that one might consider Paris a work of art itself.” — Alexi Thomas CC’16

Finding Serenity through Research

“Lamont is more than a research haven. It is my meditative retreat to unwind and reset, to think and to push my limits.” — Tianjia Liu CC’17

Exploring Math, Music and Everything in Between

“What do we value when we’re saying something is good or not? This is the same kind of question that we ask in Lit Hum or [Contemporary Civilization].” — Robbie Lyman CC’15

Allie Carieri CC’15 Stars Behind the Scenes

“One of the things I loved most about my time at Columbia is that I got to try many different styles of shows. I really enjoy the variety and the challenges that each brings.”

Hahn Chang CC’15 Values Service, Community

“Service has always been my passion.”

Ebe Ouattara CC’15 Seeks To Help Ivory Coast Youth

“Coming to Columbia has given me the opportunity to look at things from international and regional perspectives....”

Alyssa Menz CC’15 Dives into Global Sustainability

“Every day I wake up thankful to have had the opportunity to come to Columbia.”

Djordje Vuckovic CC’15 Uses Chemistry To Do Good

“I knew research interested me and that I wanted to major in a science.”

Shondrea Thornton CC’15 Stays Committed to Social Justice

“My life and my trajectory have been helped by being brave and taking a stand. I’m leaving happy.”

Benjamin Gittelson CC’15 Is Hooked on Language

“It was cool to formulate a research question, execute it and analyze the data.”

From Southern Oregon to Columbia and Back

“I doubt I could have grown as much personally and intellectually anywhere other than Columbia.” — Maren Killackey CC’15

A Week for Getting Out the Vote

“I hope that Voting Week will outlive my time at Columbia, ... making voting important in the minds of young Americans regardless of political inclination.” — David Kang CC’15

Around the World in a Columbia College Year

“The more I found a home [at Columbia], the more desire I felt to push myself further and further out of my comfort zone.” — Chloé Durkin CC’15

A College Experience Shaped by Water

“My teammates and I will leave Columbia forever changed by our time together.” — Sam Dunkle CC’15

Fighting Ebola from Morningside Heights

“Ultimately, inventing Highlight and starting Kinnos with Jason and Katherine has been one of the most defining parts of my time at Columbia thus far.” — Kevin Tyan CC’16

Student Group Invests in Experience

“I think we have the right people to make it [last]. And I think the passion is contagious.” --Sonia Parekh CC’17

Julian NoiseCat CC’15 Makes Space for Native Student Community

“I want to be someone who inserts Native issues into the conversation.” — Julian NoiseCat CC’15

Kailee Pedersen CC’17 Expresses Herself in Many Genres

“I take on personas that are mythical or literary and play with the boundary between ‘Who am I as a real person?’ and ‘Who am I in the context of literature?’”

Pearl of the Pacific: Seven Days in the Marshall Islands

For the project, we were united in our interest in nuclear issues, an interest that grew in part from our experiences in Frontiers of Science.” — Asha Banerjee CC’17

The Aeneid: A Musical Retelling

“I wound up pushing myself to figure out what the Aeneid means to me far more than I would have if I had written the paper.” – Paul Bloom CC’17

From the Moon to the Core: Karen Bao CC’16’s “Dove Arising”

“I thought it was really important for me to read the Core as a writer and to know what intellectual tradition I was getting into.” — Karen Bao CC’16

Technology in the Classroom

“I’m happy with this new approach. I couldn’t imagine going back to the old style.” — Brent Stockwell, professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry

Paving the Way for Future First-Generation Students

“If my involvement in the First-Gen Brunch Series can help at least one family and their student navigate the cultural and linguistic barriers ... then I’m all the more proud for having been a part of it.” — Genesis Sanchez CC’15

Columbia College Student Ambassadors Strengthen Bonds Between Alumni and Students

“You get to contribute to the school because you’re really strengthening the ties between alumni and students.” — Jackson Tse CC’15

Venturing into the World of Startups

“Startups will go where the talent is… so the more that we as an institution can do to connect students with those opportunities, the better the startup community as a whole will be and certainly the better our students will be.” —Patrick Smith, senior associate director of employer outreach, CCE

SIC House Creates a Community of Communities

“Our weekly dinner is an opportunity for people from all the different communities to share a meal … I think everyone who lives in SIC House wants to know everyone else who lives in SIC House.” — Julian NoiseCat CC’15

A Fully Funded Summer Abroad

The experience “impacted my view of myself, my confidence in my language abilities and my cultural understanding.” –Wina Huang CC’17, 2014 Presidential Global Fellow

Winston Lin CC’15 Serves Up Success for Columbia Men’s Tennis Team

“It’s been so much fun playing for the team, playing for the coaches. I feel I’ve gotten a lot better every year.”

Exploring Jordan through CEO Amman

“My experience in Amman was more than just an internship; it helped me realize the direction in which I want to guide my career after graduation.” — Meghna Mukherjee CC’15

Fishing for Science in Fiji

“I left with a better sense of the entanglement between the conservation of marine resources and socioeconomics, politics and globalization.” — Elora López CC’15

Sasha DiGiulian CC’16 Scales New Heights

“Climbing serves as my passport to see the world through a unique lens. I want to transmit this passion to as many people as possible.” — Sasha DiGiulian CC’16

Graffiti and Memory Games in South Korea

“I’ve taken thousands of pictures, but I can never come back and see Seoul’s walls as they are now.” — Brendan Donley CC’15

Native Students and Alumni Engage, Educate and Mentor the Next Generation

“We believe that through discussion, mentorship and knowledge, we can empower young Native people, ourselves included, to be agents of change in Native communities.” — Fantasia Painter CC’13

Poetic Exploration in England

"Getting to live in Oxford for the summer allowed me to ground everything I was learning and experiencing in tangible places." — Luke Foster CC’15

First-year Football Players Serve the Community

“It’s great to get in touch with our new community.” —Connor Heeb CC’18

Youth For Debate gives New York students a voice

“There are countless stories about that student who was quiet at the beginning and then [he or she] gets up at the end and gives an incredible speech.” — Misha Solomon CC ’14

Marlen Rosas CC’14 Inspired by Roots to Pursue Academic Path

“All these opportunities were thrown at me and I knew I had to grab them.”

Residential Life Supports Student Wellness

“... I found Bhakti Club, which helped me learn a lot more about myself. I really accredit this club with making me a better person.” — Miguel Winsor CC ’15

Lukas Matern CC’14 Combines Music and Medicine

“From performing, I’ve realized that the arts and human interaction offer temporary reprieves from suffering, if not lasting cognitive benefits.”

Rebekah Lowin CC ’14 Explores her Love for Music and Creative Writing

“Your professors really make you feel like you have a voice. ... Be a voice: that’s what Columbia has taught me.”

Maps After Mongolia

I am not wandering to get lost; I am wandering to find intimacy with a place. — Kening Zhu CC ’14

Class of 2014 Senior Snapshot: Kalena Zimmerman

Strengthening the Native American and native Hawaiian communities at Columbia “has been my biggest goal here.”

Class of 2014 Senior Snapshot: Marvellous Iheukwumere

“It’s really powerful to produce knowledge and tell people something new.”

Class of 2014 Senior Snapshot: Kai Schultz

While in London, Schultz started the website Let Me Speak (letmespeakproject.com), where he showcases “the diversity of queer life in urban spaces” through interviews with members of the LGBT community.

Class of 2014 Senior Snapshot: Onella Cooray

“Not everyone has the time to sift through it or the knowledge to unpack it to see what actually goes into [the food] they eat and [the things they] use.”

Class of 2014 Senior Snapshot: Finn Vigeland

“It’s mind-blowing to me that at the ages of 20 and 21, I was responsible for something I like to think had a big impact on people’s lives around campus and around the city.”

Class of 2014 Senior Snapshot: Luisa Lizoain

“The field work forced me to pay attention to elements of the landscape that I might ordinarily take for granted.”

Class of 2014 Senior Snapshot: Darpan Patel

“I wanted to get an inroad into how clinical research is done, especially cancer clinical trials, and, more generally, get a better notion of how cancer patient-doctor interactions work.”

College Has Broadened Bintu Conteh CC ’14’s Love of Theater

“Something I like to say on my tours is that I want to be a genius. I want to know everything, and the Core is helping me with that endeavor.”

Stringing It All Together

String Theory, Columbia's undergraduate cello ensemble, make waves on and off campus.

Sida Li CC ’15 Returns Home to Bring Health and Peace to China’s Rural Villages

“I’ve always thought that the most concrete way I could help people would be to make them healthy.”

Documenting a Sustainability Crisis Through Film

Chris Canales CC ’14 and Angad Singh CC ’16 visited Punjab, India in the summer of 2013 to film a documentary about the region’s sustainability crisis and its impact on local communities.

At the CORE of It

The Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs (CORE) gives students resources to start their own businesses while connecting them with start-ups and young companies.

In the Line of Fire

“Diligence and virtue are essential values to acting as a responsible representative of the community.” — William Cornacchia CC ’17

Olympian Nzingha Prescod CC’15 Balances Fencing and Academics

“Fencing can take you so many places and give you so many opportunities and make you such a better person. ... I really hope younger kids can see that through me.”

Ben Hirschfeld CC ’16 Gives Gift of Clean Light

“Being there and putting a human face on all of these issues really brought it all home for me — both the huge difference we could make in people’s lives with this tiny piece of technology and the humbleness that comes from knowing how many people are still dealing with the same problems.”

Pianist Conrad Tao CC ’15 Explores His Relationship to Music

“I love the work; that’s what keeps me committed to performing works that have been around for centuries.”

Zahra Bhaiwala CC’14 Dreams of Address­ing Public Health Issues in the Middle East

“The questions I was asking had to do with structural prob­lems. How does poverty contribute to a healthcare system? What problems do vaccine campaigns run into?”

An Online Platform for 21st Century Literacy

Former students Ryan Bubinski CC ’11 and Zach Sims created Codecademy, an online platform that teaches practical programming skills through fun, engaging exercises.

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: Richard Fineman

Richard Fineman CC ’13, who majored in chemical physics with a concentration in math, realized he wanted to be an astronaut after a summer internship at NASA.

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: Zuzanna Fuchs

Zuzanna Fuchs CC ’13, who grew up in Poland and Michigan, plans to study morphology, a subfield of linguistics that studies the structure of words and the processes through which words are created, in a Ph.D. program next fall.

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: A.J. Hudson

A.J. Hudson CC ’13, a psychology major with a concentration in sociology, loves "understanding how thoughts work, how they are processed and where certain things arise in the brain."

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: Eric Kutscher

Eric Kutscher CC ’13 merged his interests in Africa and sexual health through his study abroad and internship experiences at the College

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: Norita Mengu

Norita Mengu CC'13 was inspired by courses in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies and summers in Lebanon and Turkey to pursue international human rights law.

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: Gerard Ramm

Gerard Ramm CC ’13 will explore his Native American heritage after graduation with the College's Henry Evans Traveling Fellowship.

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: Devyn Tyler

Devyn Tyler CC ’13 put her film career on hold to study French and Francophone Studies at Columbia College.

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: Katie Meili

Katie Meili CC ’13, one of the best swimmers in Columbia history, competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and hopes to join U.S.A Swimming, the national team.

Class of 2013 Senior Profile: Ashley Shaw

Ashley Shaw CC ’13 started the “At Your Service” volunteer program for Columbia students at Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center.

Gaining Work Experience Abroad

The Center for Career Education provides international opportunities for College students. Each summer, the program sponsors about 60 students abroad.

Blending Politics and Communications at the White House

A student pursues her passions for politics and communications with help from the Columbia College Alumni & Parent Internship Fund.

Empowering Teachers with Data-Driven Software

Jennifer (Schnidman) Medbery CC ’06, founded Kickboard, an educational software company whose namesake program tracks and analyzes student performance data and empowers teachers.

Improving College Access

Jaye J. (Pace) Fenderson ’00 had little help with the college admissions process. She is trying to change that for prospective college students.

Researching Homes Close to Home

Michelle Rosales ’12 studies the housing crisis through the MMUF research program

Engaging the Community

Columbia College and Kenneth Cole P'10 empower the next generation of community leaders.

Exploring the Frontiers of Science with Students

Professor Emlyn Hughes GSAS’87 recruits student interns to research nuclear proliferation.

Building Businesses and Cultivating Entrepreneurs

Jared Hecht CC'09 turns his Columbia Student Enterprise experience into a successful start-up.

Have a story to tell?

If you know of a Columbia College student, faculty member, alumnus/alumna or program we should spotlight, or if you would like to submit a story, please contact:

Columbia College
Office of Communications
cc-comms@columbia.edu

Sydney Schwartz Gross
Executive Director of Communications and Media Relations
Columbia College
(212) 851-0291
sms2134@columbia.edu

Elena Hecht
Associate Director of Digital Content and Communications
Columbia College
(212) 851-4345
eh2317@columbia.edu