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Interviewers

Meet the Senior Interviewers who conduct most of our on-campus interviews!
 

India Choquette

Hometown:  Thetford, Vermont

High school: Thetford Academy

Major: Theatre

Additional Designation: Centennial Scholar

Study Abroad: Prague Film School (Czech Republic)

Activities at Barnard: Centennial Scholars, Emerging Leaders Program, Barnard Bartending, Vagina Monologues, Intensive Film Workshop with Barnard Center for Research on Women, Employee in the Office of Student Life and the Theatre Department

Activities outside of Barnard: Volunteer Assistant Teacher for J.E.E.P English as a Second Language, filmmaking (writing, acting, producing), voiceover work for documentaries and video games, blogging, running, yoga

Internships: Art Farm Artistic Residency, Braven Films, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater

“Initially, adventure was my main priority for college. As a farm girl in rural Vermont, I was itching to get a taste of city life, and since I had heard that New York was the greatest city in the world, I wanted to visit every New York City school that had a pamphlet in my guidance counselor’s office. However, I almost skipped Barnard because I was unsure about how I felt about a women’s college. My mind was made up though an hour after I set foot on campus: this was the school I was meant to attend.  I was overwhelmed by the passion and level of engagement I encountered that day. The student at the desk in the Visitors Center couldn’t stop herself from telling me about the incredible dance program, and my tour guide just bubbled over when she started speaking about the Reacting to the Past course. I had never, in my life, met women so close to my age that were like this—confident, open, and passionate.”

 

Gwen Fishel

Hometown:  Alexandria, Virginia

High school: West Potomac High School

Major: English

Minor: Race and Ethnic Studies (MORE program)

Study Abroad: King’s College London (United Kingdom)

Activities at Barnard: WKCR-FM NY radio host of The Tennessee Border Show and Honky Tonkin’, WKCR-FM NY Country Fest planning committee, Vice President of Risk Management for Alpha Chi Omega Sorority

Internships: Talk Radio News Service, Bob Dylan Music Company, Fund for Alexandria’s Child

“My favorite Barnard experience is Midnight Breakfast. I had heard about it before I attended Barnard, but I’m not sure that I was quite prepared when my first Midnight Breakfast rolled around the fall of my freshman year. In my humble opinion, this event represents the best of Barnard. The community comes together to embrace tradition, eat food, talk about academics, and spend time with one another. In essence, it’s a giant celebration of Barnard, its students, and the success of the academic semester. There is nothing better than relieving the stress of finals by being served pancakes by President Spar or tater tots by Dean Hollibaugh and remembering why you decided to become a part of this terrific community.”

 

Gladyn Innocent

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

High school: North Cobb High School

Majors: Africana Studies and English

Additional Designation: Barnard Opportunity Program Scholar

Activities at Barnard: Public Relations Chair and Vice President of Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters (BOSS), Proxy Literary Magazine, Head Fellow in the Writing Fellows Program, Program Coordinator of New Student Orientation Program (NSOP), Producer for Black Theatre Ensemble, HEOP Office Assistant, Peer Career Advisor (PCA) for Office of Career Development

Internships: Goldman Sachs, Carol Mann Literary Agency, Sarah Jassir Designs

“When I was a senior in high school, I would flip through the Barnard viewbooks and look at the pictures of the students. I would look at the red pea coats, the snow boots, the shorts, the tee shirts, and, most importantly, the smiles.  I would say to myself, I could fit here. For some reason, I knew that my face could just as easily be in a Barnard viewbook and I would look natural. There was something about the girls in the Barnard viewbook that was inviting and that was heartwarming. I could say that I chose Barnard because I wanted to be at a top tier liberal arts college, but that would be a lie. I chose Barnard because I knew that I could fit and because I knew that I was welcomed by the smiling faces of the students in the Barnard viewbook.”

 

Malvina Kefalas

Hometown: Plainview, New York

High school: Bethpage High School

Major: Sociology

Minor: Modern Greek

Additional Designation: Athena Scholar

Study Abroad: NYU Summer in Athens (Greece)

Activities at Barnard: Student Government Association, The Emerging Leaders Program, Hellas: Columbia University Undergraduate Greek Students Association

Activities outside of Barnard: Guest Blogger for The New Agenda: “The Feminist Divide,” Published in Habitus: The Yale Undergraduate Sociology Journal

Internships: The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, The New Agenda Foundation for Women

“Although the pizzas in the Diana Center cafe at lunchtime, the charming curves of the Milbank staircases, and the magnolia tree on Lehman Lawn are all staples of Barnard life, the essence of Barnard is the people here and how deeply they devote themselves to the betterment of our world through the education of women.  I will miss what that feels like each and every day. I will miss that the norm is my fellow leaders believing in their causes, my feverish discussions with classmates about books and sociology journals, my professors telling me to take a leap of academic faith, and administrators asking me to help solve problems on campus. These things are all so special to me because they will not just have been the memories of four years at Barnard, but the forces that have irrevocably left their mark on who I am and how I will live my life beyond Barnard.”

 

Kelsey Kephart

Hometown: Kent, Connecticut

High school: The Kent School

Major: Anthropology (Archaeology track)

Concentration: Evolutionary Biology of the Human Species

Activities at Barnard: Barnard Student Admissions Representative (BSAR), Office Assistant for Pre-College Programs, Financial Manager of the Barnard Bulletin, Research Assistant at Columbia University Archaeology Labs

Activities outside of Barnard: Zookeeper in the Ornithology Department at the Bronx Zoo, Shelter Volunteer at Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC), Librarian at the Morbid Anatomy Library 

“I chose Barnard because I saw women on campus who I wanted to be. After deciding not to go into the military, I was persuaded to take a tour of Barnard. As a first generation college student, I did not have any experience with women who went to college. I did not know what a Ph.D. program was. When I visited Barnard, I heard students discussing how excited they were for their classes, their internships, and their plans for graduate school. I was shown possibilities, and I was shown women who I wanted to emulate.” 

 

Kavisha Khanuja

Hometown:  Rutherford, New Jersey

High school: Bergen County Academies

Major: Biochemistry

Activities at Barnard: Barnard Student Admissions Representative (BSAR), Barnard Speaking Fellow, Program Coordinator for Health Leads, S3 Pre-College Program Coordinator, Biochemistry Research, Genetics Teaching Assistant, and Organic Chemistry/General Chemistry Labs Grader

“Organic chemistry is infamous amongst science majors for its difficulty. However, at Barnard, this course ended up being one of my absolute favorites. My professor was engaging from the very beginning, color coding her molecules on the chalkboard and making jokes along the way. Her availability outside of the classroom was incredible as she had several office hours throughout the week. The way the course was taught also promoted group work and collaboration, which I appreciated having in a science class. I met a wonderful group of students and developed a solid support system as a result of this class.”

 

Gina Lee

Hometown:  Horsham, Pennsylvania

High school: Hatboro-Horsham High School

Major: Anthropology

Minor: English

Study Abroad: SIT South Africa

Activities at Barnard: Deputy News Editor and Associate Copy Editor at Columbia Daily Spectator, America Reads, Barnard C.I.T.Y., Peace by PEACE, Student Government Association

Internships: Teach For America

“Coming to Barnard as a first-year, I was entirely uncertain about what I wanted to pursue academically. The flexibility of the Nine Ways of Knowing lets me explore my interests without any inhibitions, and in my sophomore year, just in time for major declaration, I took an anthropology class that was the perfect introduction to the discipline. Since then, I’ve taken so many enriching anthropology classes, but that class, Introduction to Language and Culture, was the one that opened me up to new ways of thinking and drew me into the department. I didn’t think that picturesque success story of stumbling upon and falling in love with a discipline would happen for me, but this class proved me wrong.”

 

Becca Litvin

Hometown: Rumson, New Jersey

High school: Blair Academy

Major: English

Activities at Barnard: Barnard Student Admissions Representative (BSAR), Sigma Delta Tau Sorority, Challah for Hunger

Activities outside of Barnard: Tutoring

Internship: Teaching Intern at St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program, Conditioning counselor at Camp All Star, Residential and Academic Counselor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

“My favorite aspects of Barnard are the diversity of opinion present on campus, the knowledge I encounter in the classroom, and the passion of Barnard students.  I am always surprised by the background and life experiences my classmates bring to discussions, and the incredible wealth of knowledge that exists amongst us as a community.  Simply having a discussion with a fellow Barnard woman is both intellectually stimulating and comforting, as I know Barnard women possess mutual respect for one another’s ideas.  We care deeply about whatever it is we are involved in.  In my application essay, I wrote about wanting to ‘be able to grow and learn in a community of diverse and thoughtful women.’  The commitment and positive energy I see around me on a daily basis to so many personal, academic, and social interests reminds me over and over how fortunate I am to be a student at Barnard.”

 

Sinead Roban

Hometown:  Queens, New York and Trinidad and Tobago

High school: Martin Van Buren High School

Major: Sociology

Minor: Race and Ethnic Studies (MORE program)

Study Abroad: CIEE Liberal Arts (Brazil)

Activities at Barnard: Multicultural Committee Chair of McIntosh Activities Council, Emerging Leaders Program, Perspectives on Diversity Facilitator, Consent Educator and Orientation Leader of New Student Orientation Program, Students to End Modern Slavery, Assistant in the Office of the Provost, Office Assistant to Higher Education Opportunity Program, Barnard Babysitter, Events Assistant to Events Management

Internships: Rock and Wrap it UP, New York State Unified Court System

“My favorite Barnard class thus far has been Ethnic Conflict and Unrest with Jacqueline Olvera. I knew the class would be great from the time I read the course description, and luckily, Professor Olvera allowed me to take her advanced seminar as a sophomore. This course allowed me to reconcile the two things I study—sociology and ethnic studies—and bring an academic lens to conversations I often have with my friends. This was the kind of class in which every reading on the syllabus sparked an amazing discussion, which is exactly what made me enjoy the class as much as I did. Week after week, my classmates brought diverse perspectives to the discussion table, and by the end of our two hour classes my interest in the topic at hand had always grown enough to prompt personal inquiries.”

 

Kate Scarbrough

Hometown:  Talladega, Alabama

High school: Alabama School of Fine Arts

Major: Urban Studies

Concentration: Environmental Science

Study Abroad: IHP: Cities in the 21st Century (India, Senegal, and Argentina)

Activities at Barnard: Resident Assistant, Barnard Babysitting, Office Assistant in the Environmental Science Department, Photo Deputy of Columbia Daily Spectator, Barnard SGA Housing Advisory Board

Activities outside of Barnard: CUNY Citizenship Now! Volunteer Corps, Teaching Assistant to the Global Language Project

Internships: Writopia Lab, Coburn Communications, City of Anniston/Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama

“I still remember my first Big Sub.  Each year Barnard tradition dictates a sandwich that spans from the Diana Center to the Quad.  My friends and I arrived ten minutes before the kickoff, unaware that we were entirely unprepared to take part in this great venture.  Now we go armed with Tupperware and backpacks, each stationed 30 minutes prior at different locations (and try to show First Years how to do the same thing).”

 

Rachel Silvern

Hometown:  Santa Monica, California

High school: Santa Monica High School

Major: Environmental Science

Minor: Chemistry

Study Abroad: SIT: University of Iceland (Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics)

Activities at Barnard: Artistic Director of Columbia Ballet Collaborative, Research Assistant in the Environmental Science Department, Barnard Student Admissions Representative (BSAR), Library Renovation Task Force, Saturday Science Seminar Program, Grader for the Chemistry Department

Activities outside of Barnard: PCR Services Corporation

Internship: Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory Summer Internship Program

“My favorite experience at Barnard has been doing research in a geomicrobiology lab since my first year. It has been incredibly meaningful to use the science and lab techniques I have learned in my academic classes in a research setting where I have gotten to work very closely with my advisor and other students. I had the opportunity during my junior year to travel to Bangladesh to do field work, collecting samples from groundwater and doing sediment coring. It was a great experience to get to travel to the sites that I had been working on in the lab, and see first-hand where our samples are coming from and why our research matters. It was very eye opening to travel to Bangladesh, and like my experiences in the lab, I learned a lot about problem solving, thinking on my feet, and responsibility.”

 

Ellen Watkins

Hometown:  Ferrisburgh, Vermont

High school: Vergennes Union High School

Major: Art History

Study Abroad: University College London (United Kingdom)

Activities at Barnard: Barnard Babysitting, Barnard Bacchantae, Barnard-Columbia Choir and Chamber Singers, Barnard Bulletin

Activities outside of Barnard: Freelance Public Relations for Southwestern Association for Indian Arts

Internships: Christie’s, Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (Capital Unit), NYLON Magazine

“New York City is a veritable paradise for an art history major. I enjoy Barnard’s close proximity to some of the world’s most esteemed museums and galleries, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, and the Museum of Modern Art. Many art history courses involve trips to these world-renowned institutions, or even to less traditional locations, such as the High Line. Rather than looking at an image of Vermeer’s “Officer and Laughing Girl” or Warhol’s “Mao” online, I can look at these seminal works in person, discuss them with my peers, and dig deeper into formal and conceptual analysis. New York City also boasts innumerable artistic and cultural events, such as Fashion’s Night Out, special college nights at the Met, and outdoor film screenings. No matter your interests, New York City has something for you.”