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2018 Presidential Global Fellowship winners announced

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Eighteen first-year students in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and the School of General Studies have received 2018 Presidential Global Fellowships. The students, whose academic interests range from political science to the arts, from American studies to computer science, from astrophysics to history, from English literature to history, and from sustainable development to engineering, were selected from a pool of more than 142 for the University’s undergraduate global summer fellowship program.

The Presidential Global Fellowship program, established in 2014, covers the program fee associated with a Columbia global program, as well as a stipend to cover round-trip airfare and living expenses, for students to study in a location at or near one of the Columbia Global Centers. It is open to rising sophomores in Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and the School of General Studies.

Applicants were chosen for the opportunity by a faculty committee after demonstrating their interest for issues surrounding globalization and how their global studies would be guided by that interest, as well as how being a Presidential Global Fellow would benefit fellow students and the greater Columbia community. They will be spending the summers in locations including Kyoto, Japan; Rio de Janeiro; Venice, Italy; Paris; and Athens, Greece.

The program is unique in that it includes a specialized group orientation and advising sessions to help fellows identify how their global opportunities can enhance their experiences at Columbia and their future intellectual, professional and personal goals, and also provides opportunities for mentoring and alumni connections.

The 2018 Presidential Global Fellows are:

Andrew Albor

Andrew Albor CC’21

Andrew Albor CC21
Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies

By spending his summer in Kyoto, Andrew seeks to continue his pursuit to combine his two most passionate interests and fields of study: political science and East Asian languages and cultures. In an increasingly globalized world, Andrew is particularly interested in Japan’s ability to retain its fundamental values and rich culture while engaging in the larger interplay of international affairs. Andrew believes that a fluency in Japan’s complex language system will not only allow him to learn about the most precious aspects of Japanese traditions, but will also prepare him to effectively engage with the country in solving broader regional issues as the diplomat he aspires to later become.

Sara Bell

Sara Bell SEAS’21

Sara Bell SEAS21
Columbia Summer in Paris: Art Humanities and Music Humanities

Of intercultural heritage, Sara has grown up fascinated by the ways in which people connect to one another — or can't, or won't. She sees these questions at the center of many of the major issues in sociopolitical events today, especially those in the United States and France alike, and also sees them as a key component of art and music. A potential major in just about anything from sociology to molecular biology, Sara is especially interested in the study of art because of its capacity to put a wide range of topics in conversation with one another. She wants to study art and music in Paris to better understand how those conversations differ across culture and time, and is especially excited to immerse herself in the contemporary art scene in Paris, with an eye to how globalization has shaped French art in recent history.

Emilie Chapman Biggs

Emilie Chapman Biggs CC’21

Emilie Chapman Biggs CC21
Columbia Summer in Paris: French and Francophone Studies

As a future comparative literature major with an interest in European philosophy and a fascination with translation studies, Emilie views time spent within the countries that have produced our objects of interest as crucial to understanding those objects themselves. Having lived in a variety of Anglophone countries, as well as several Spanish-speaking ones, she is intrigued by the way different artistic and philosophical traditions emerge within distinct cultural and regional boundaries, and how they can be appreciated when exported beyond those borderlines. She is drawn to Paris because of the arts and methods of thought that the city has created, and specifically to Reid Hall due to its investigations into the world of translation. She hopes this program will help her overcome her own American, English-speaking boundaries, and enable her to participate in a philosophy and a literature inaccessible from within the walls of an American lecture hall.

Jonathan Criswell

Jonathan Criswell GS’23

Jonathan Criswell GS23
Columbia Summer in Paris: French and Francophone Studies

Jonathan’s interest in different cultures and languages started at a young age, while moving frequently with his family throughout California and Hawaii. Subsequent military service allowed him to live and travel abroad extensively, as well as to work in a diplomatic environment in several locations, both of which fed into an extant interest in diplomacy. As an American Studies major — with an eye towards understanding how to make well-considered policy — Jonathan is interested in the Columbia Summer in Paris: French and Francophone studies program not only to increase his proficiency in French, but also to better understand some of the problems both the United States and France face, including racism and economic inequality, among others. Jonathan plans to use the knowledge he will gain from this experience to enrich classroom discussion. Furthermore, he hopes to help foster a stronger sense of community among Columbia’s diverse student population, many of whom are from abroad.

Christina Drevets

Christina Drevets CC’21

Christiana Drevets CC21
Columbia Summer in Greece: Art, Environment and Curation

Christiana, raised in a small town in Oregon but passionately curious about the larger world, wants to expand her relationship with the stories of the globe. As a writer and an artist, she seeks the underlying structures of humanity that present themselves through cultural art, and the way that these structures connect every individual. She looks forward to examining the many facets of Greek history and culture in such a personal, hands-on way and expanding her interests in art history and storytelling. Upon returning to the United States as a sophomore, Christiana wants to integrate the storytelling techniques and truths about art that she learns in her class and personal projects, and be able to deepen the Columbia community’s identity as a global population.

Javier Fernández

Javier Fernández CC’21

Javier Fernández CC21
Columbia Summer in Rio: Portuguese Language

Javier, a Chicano male from Los Angeles, has immersed himself in community involvement projects since the age of 13. Aspiring to explore and make an impact at an international level, he would like to serve Rio de Janeiro’s Carioca community in order to gain insight to the issues affecting Latin American marginalized low-income neighborhoods and apply this knowledge when serving similar communities in Los Angeles and New York City. He hopes his study of the Portuguese language and exposure to the Carioca culture will cultivate the problem solving, communication and adaptability skills necessary to immerse himself in any English-speaking, Spanish-speaking or Portuguese-speaking region in the world, and hopes his time in Rio de Janeiro will provide him with the opportunity to serve and foster community in Latin American neighborhoods here and abroad.

Zachary Ginsberg

Zachary Ginsberg CC’21

Zachary Ginsberg CC21
Columbia Summer in Venice

Having been an artist his whole life, Zachary is all too excited to spend part of his summer in Venice. He is eager to learn the history behind art that has shaped the world and live in the culture that produced it. He hopes to use this experience to learn from the best so he can improve his own art and use it to connect with people just as the Venetian masters did centuries before.




Christian Kowalczyck

Christian Kowalczyck SEAS’21

Christian Kowalczyk SEAS21
Columbia Summer in Paris: Art Humanities and Music Humanities

While he plans to major in computer science, Christian maintains a large amount of respect and passion for the humanities. With an interest in photography and undergoing the transition from a rural town in northeast Pennsylvania to New York City, he has been able to see firsthand how a change in location leads to a disparity in architecture, people and overall atmosphere. He hopes that by traveling to Paris he will be able to experience an even more profound cultural enhancement that will make him a more knowledgable person. He is also optimistic that a more formal education in art and music will be applicable to his future as an engineer, because the shift in perspective can lead to innovative solutions to problems.

Nora Kushner Salitan

Nora Kushner Salitan CC’21

Nora Kushner Salitan CC21
Columbia Summer in Venice

Nora is a native New Yorker. She grew up visiting the City’s many cultural icons and developed a love of art. This background drew her to Venice, another cultural mecca with a wealth of history, literature and, of course, art. Nora plans to study comparative literature and society with a focus on Spanish and Italian, and perhaps a concentration in ethnicity and race studies. She is interested in food justice and committed to fighting to alleviate hunger in NYC. Nora hopes that the Columbia Summer in Venice program will expose her to new and exciting ideas that will aid and deepen both her studies and her extracurricular pursuits.

Janette Levin

Janette Levin SEAS’21

Janette Levin SEAS21
Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies

Janette has always been fascinated by the way languages are influenced by their cultures. She believes that studying the culture and history of a country is integral to achieving proficiency in its language. Through language immersion in Kyoto, she hopes to deepen her understanding of the Japanese culture and, in turn, become more proficient in the Japanese language. She is also very excited to explore various historical sites in the area. As a prospective applied math major with an interest in astrophysics, Janette expects to enter a highly multicultural community in the future. The ability to communicate fluently in several languages is important to her. She believes that the scientific and engineering community is most effective when it is globally interconnected and hopes to contribute by becoming multilingual herself.

Eoin Matthews

Eoin Matthews CC21

Eoin Matthews CC21
Columbia Summer in Venice

A native New Englander but aspiring urbanite, Eoin is fascinated by the way public art and architecture influence city spaces. Planning to major in English and art history, he views the Columbia Summer in Venice program as the perfect intersection of past and present. At a time of rising xenophobia and nationalism throughout Europe, Eoin wants to investigate the long history of cultural exchange between the Islamic world and the Italian peninsula in Venice, one recorded in the materials of the city itself. He believes his time in Venice will expand his understanding of the role art plays in cultural memory, returning to Columbia better equipped to analyze the cross-cultural facets of global, artistic traditions.

Christopher Mingo

Christopher Mingo CC21

Christopher Mingo CC21
Columbia Summer in Venice

As a student of history and political science, Christopher is excited to study in Venice this summer in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for Italian culture. During his time in Venice, he will explore Venice’s legacy as a crossroads of east and west and as one of the world’s longest lasting republics. Armed with a limited knowledge of the Italian language, Christopher plans to interact with both locals and fellow visitors in la serenissima to learn about different cultures and further his Columbia global education. As a native of Long Island and an Italian by descent, he is eager to improve his Italian language skills and learn more about his ancestral culture.

Dora O'Neill

Dora O’Neill CC’21

Dora ONeill CC21
Columbia Summer in Paris: French and Francophone Studies

Dora is British and Hungarian but grew up in Abu Dhabi. It was there that she became interested in the themes of displacement, cultural juxtapositions, and the power of art and literature as a way of coming to terms with heritage and location. Following a class she took her first semester on African diasporic poetry, Dora has become fully immersed in exploring this important artistic field. In Paris, she hopes to further explore how the city influenced the works of African diasporic writers and artists, as well as prominent movements such as Négritude. Aspiring towards an English and Visual Arts double major, Dora intends to use what she gains over the summer to participate in research at the English department.

Coco Ruan

Coco Ruan CC’21

Coco Ruan CC21
Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies

Coco discovered her interest in medicine, literature and society with a focus on Japan after doing research in neuroscience and attending various lectures held by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University and the Japanese department. She is interested in how health issues, such as population aging and depression, are simultaneously portrayed and influenced by literature in different countries. Besides medicine, literature and society, Coco is an avid advocate for global language diversity and hopes to enhance her future studies through the acquisition of multiple languages. This summer, she looks forward to sharpening her Japanese skills and acquainting herself with the psychology of the Japanese people. Having filmed multiple short documentary films about multilingualism, she is excited to continue using videography as a medium of storytelling and to extend her project on a global scale. Having lived in two countries and five cities, she is familiar with cultural nuances and is excited to discover and embrace more of them.

Eric Scheuch

Eric Scheuch CC’21

Eric Scheuch CC21
Columbia Summer in Greece: Art, Environment and Curation

Growing up in the wilderness of rural New Hampshire, Eric experienced the environment firsthand on a daily basis. Since coming to Columbia, he has developed a strong interest in how others perceive the environment and display that perception through art. He hopes that the Columbia Summer in Greece: Art, Environment and Curation program will help him better explore his budding interests in art and curation, as well as give him a better understanding of the turbulent politics of southeastern Europe. He also looks forward to sampling all of the great food the Hellenic peninsula has to offer. Outside of academics, Eric is a committee director for Model United Nations and explores the outdoors as a board member and trip leader for the Columbia Outdoors Club.

Coleman Sherry

Coleman Sherry CC’21

Coleman Sherry CC21
Columbia Summer in Greece: Art, Environment and Curation

A proud Oregonian, Coleman grew up in a culture heavily shaped by its surrounding nature, and is excited to trace the influence of the Mediterranean environment on Greek culture in both ancient and contemporary contexts. As a prospective history major, Coleman thinks studying the past is critical toward understanding the present, and looks forward to exploring the curated exhibit as a way of sharing historical findings with wider audiences. Despite lacking confidence in his conventional “artistic” abilities, Coleman is excited for the challenge of learning to express himself in new ways, and is optimistic about a future where he is able to communicate his ideas more fluidly across barriers of language and prior exposure to important issues.

Alejandro Velasquez Blas

Alejandro Velasquez Blas CC’21

Alejandro Velasquez Blas CC21
Columbia Summer in Paris: French and Francophone Studies

An Argentinian native with roots in Peru, Alejandros interest in French arises from his admiration for the multicultural blend within France, which parallels his own Latino identity. As a planned political science and sustainable development double major, he seeks to gain insight into what it means to be “French” in the current political climate that a globalized France finds itself in and to obtain crucial information about public opinion on the innovative renewable energy practices France employs. After studying in Paris, Alejandro hopes to have achieved a natural fluency in French in order to one day, through environmental policy, help build a meaningful lasting agreement between America and France for a greener, cleaner and more sustainable world.

Ketsia Zinga

Ketsia Zinga SEAS’21

Ketsia Zinga SEAS21
Columbia Summer in Paris: French and Francophone Studies

Ketsia plans to pursue an engineering degree but also supplement the STEM-heavy coursework with classes that satisfy her interest in the humanities. She hopes to bridge her diverse interests in a city that boasts both a strong arts and scientific culture. With strong roots in central and East Africa, Ketsia seeks to do work that can benefit developing countries in the global periphery and semi-periphery by taking into account unique cultural contexts. Gaining French fluency will be the first step of many in connecting what she learns during her time at Columbia to the global sphere. She is excited to discover all the things she doesn't know that she doesn't know yet and get (intentionally) lost in the city of lights.

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