Meet the 2015 Faculty

Gania Barlow

From Camelot to NYC: King Arthur Through the Ages

Gania Barlow holds a PhD in medieval literature from Columbia University’s Department of English and Comparative Literature.  Her research interests include creative retelling both in and of medieval literature, as well as theories of authorship and literary authority in the Middle Ages.  She has taught medieval literature and freshman writing and literature courses at Columbia, and is currently on the First-Year English and First-Year Seminar faculties at Barnard College.

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.

Burcu Baykurt

Journalism and Politics in the Digital Age

Burcu Baykurt is a PhD candidate in Communications at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where she studies how technological change is affecting cultures of policymaking, journalism, and politics. Before coming to Columbia, she studied Political Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London and completed her MA in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University on a Fulbright scholarship.

Deborah Berebichez

The Physics of Bridges

Deborah Berebichez is a physicist, TV host and STEM advocate. She is the first Mexican woman to graduate with a physics PhD from Stanford University. Dr. Berebichez is the co-host of Discovery Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science TV show (2012 – 2014) where she uses her physics background to explain the science behind extraordinary engineering feats. She also co-stars on the TV show Humanly Impossible (2011) produced by National Geographic channel. Dr. Berebichez carried out research in the area of acoustic wave propagation and time-reversal of waves, inventing a highly effective technique in the field of wireless communications whereby a cell phone user can communicate with a desired target user in a location far away. She currently works as a Principal Data Scientist at Thoughtworks in NY. Dr. Berebichez’ work in science education and outreach has been recognized by the WSJ, Oprah, Dr. Oz, CNN, TED, DLD and WIRED.

For the lab portion of the course, Debbie will be assisted by her husband, Neer Asherie, Professor of Physics and Biology at Yeshiva University. Professor Asherie received his BA at University of Cambridge and his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Julie Bleha

Our Town: Women in New York City History

Women’s Studies 101

Ms. Bleha holds an MA and MPhil from the English and Theatre PhD program at Columbia University. She also holds an MA in Text and Performance Studies from King's College, London / RADA. She has taught drama, literature, composition, and history at NYU's Gallatin School, Columbia University, Fordham University, and King's College, London, and she works as a dramaturg, director and producer with various NYC theatre companies and artists.

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.

Ope Bukola

Introduction to Web Development

Ope Bukola is a Product Manager at a Brooklyn-based education technology company. She is passionate about building technology that improves teaching and learning.  She is a self-taught web developer and loves introducing newbies to computer programming.  Ope is a co-founder of CodeLift, a nonprofit organization that teaches front-end web development to women of color. Prior to her current role, she was founder of an early-stage edtech company that provided a free, web-based Algebra 1 course.  She is an avid reader and writer, and the founder and co-editor of Zora, an online magazine for women in the African diaspora. She is a graduate of New York University where she earned a joint degree in Economics & Mathematics.

Liane Carlson

Literature and Love in World Religions

Liane Carlson is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, where she received her MA in 2010 and her MPhil in 2012 after graduating summa cum laude from Washington and Lee University in 2007.  Her research interests include philosophy of religion, the intersection of religion and literature, and the history of emotion.  In the course of her studies, Liane has been awarded a Fulbright IIE Research Grant in Germany, a Jacob K. Javits Doctoral Fellowship, and an American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship. 

Taylor Carman

What is Philosophy?

Taylor Carman, Professor of Philosophy, came to Barnard College in 1994. He has also taught at the University of California, San Diego. His teaching course load at Barnard includes "Phenomenology and Existentialism", "Recent European Philosophy," and "Hermeneutics, History, and the Human Sciences." In addition to his teaching duties for the Department of Philosophy, Professor Carman is also affiliated with Barnard's Comparative Literature Program.

Jill DiDonato

Fiction Intensive

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.

Diane Dittrick

What's Up in Your World? Create Your Own Sustainable World in Five Days 

Diane K. Dittrick, senior associate in environmental science and co-director of the Environmental Science Laboratory, joined the faculty of Barnard in 1996. Her scholarly interests are in environmental ethics, leadership, and sustainable communities.Prior to joining Barnard, Ms. Dittrick worked as science book editor, writer, and consultant for major publishers in the New York City area, including McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, Academic Press, Wiley-Interscience, Random House, and Columbia University Press. Ms. Dittrick was nominated by students for the Emily Gregory Teaching Award in 2007. She is currently working on a lab manual for Brownfield Action and handbooks for the climate and senior seminar courses.

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.

Sharon Fulton

Discovering Old New York

Sharon earned a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 2012. For the last two years, she held a postdoctoral appointment as a Literature Humanities Lecturer in Columbia University's Core Curriculum, and she has taught literature and writing at Columbia University, NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and Cooper Union in New York City. In addition to studying medieval literature and nineteenth-century adaptations of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Sharon is interested in pedagogical approaches that integrate literary studies with the study of art history.  Sharon writes fiction; currently, she is working on her first (comic) novel.

Charlotte Friedman

How Stories Change Us and the World 

Charlotte Milholland Friedman, who holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and an MS from Columbia University, is an Adjunct Professor in the English Department at Barnard College, where she teaches Introduction to Narrative Medicine and is a student advisor. She taught in the Masters Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia and was the Clinical Placement Director for the program. Charlotte lectures and runs writing and narrative medicine groups in community and clinical settings and teaches globally, most recently in Israel. She is the author of The Girl Pages: A Handbook of the Best Resources for Strong, Confident, Creative Girls (Hyperion), writes personal essays and is finishing a memoir, I Did Not Ask for a Blessing: A Meditation on Love, Death and Faith.

Judy Jarvis

The Psychology of Gender Difference

Judy is the Director for the Campus Life LGBTQ Center and Women's Center at Vassar College. She leads a range of programs, workshops and initiatives on diversity, inclusion and leadership topics; supports campus and student engagement in issues of gender and sexuality; and collaborates closely with professors and administrators across campus. She completed her MA in Higher Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and completed her BA at Vassar College, where she double majored in Psychology and Media Studies.

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 received her BA in Theatre from Yale University and her MFA in Acting from UC Davis. A professional theatre director and acting coach, she is the Artistic Director of Theatre 167 (,) where she specializes in the development of new plays and musicals. Other credits include world premiere productions in New York, Scotland, and regional theater. 

Jamie Krenn

Psychology of Media

Psych 101

Jamie Krenn holds a PhD in Educational Psychology: Cognitive Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University.  She also holds three MAs in developmental and cognitive psychologies as well as a Bachelor of Science in Art Therapy. She is currently a Psychological Research Consultant for Miscellaneous Media, which produces such popular programs as MTV’s True Life. Dr. Krenn is also the Creator and Director of the social media mission Think Before You Fat ( whose aim is to educate the media about the dangers of weight bullying. Dr. Krenn has been an instructor at Teachers College, SUNY Queens College and Westchester Community College teaching various media and psychology courses.  She currently oversees a Masters program at Teachers College entitled “Children’s Media: Analysis & Evaluation.” In the past, Dr. Krenn was a Research Assistant for the Little Einstein Series, which appeared on the Disney Playhouse.  Her research interests include 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

A researcher, educator and trained architect, Marcelo studied his first year of architecture in his native Chile, and obtained his BArch from the School of Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR), Cum Laude. He co-founded the research group CIUDADLAB in 2004, has been Assistant Professor of design studio, research and representation at the PUPR, where he directed the 2009-2010 Lectures Series Sense Recession: What Comes Next?, and also directed the Roundtable Series for four years. From 2008-201, Marcelo edited the journal Polimorfo, which he also co-founded. He has written for EntornoDomusPlanning Perspectives, CCGSAPP, been an invited juror at the UPR, GSAPP, Barnard + Columbia College, Pratt Institute, Parsons, and NJIT, lectured at Cooper Union, exhibited his drawings in San Juan and Berlin, and his architectural design work has been awarded several times. After relocating to New York, where he currently lives, he developed the thesis Destructive KnowledgeTools for Learning to Un-Dō around the work of the artist Gordon Matta-Clark, obtaining an MS in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture of the GSAPP at Columbia University. He is a partner of A(n) Office, based in New York and an Adjunct Faculty at the School of Architecture of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Architecture Department at Barnard + Columbia College.

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).

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. 

Roz Myers

Crime and Society

Roz Myers, JD, is a writer and editor in the field of criminal justice, focusing on subjects related to crime victims, offender accountability, justice and ethics, and law and society. She teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and has served for over fifteen years as the managing editor and legal columnist for Civic Research Institute. Her work has appeared in publications by West, Matthew Bender, and other major legal publishers. Ms. Myers is a doctoral candidate at John Jay, and a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley and Fordham University School of Law.

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: 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. 

Joanna Scutts

Modernist New York

Joanna is associate editor for PEN America, the biannual literary journal of the PEN American Center, and a part-time faculty member at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, where her research focused on the literature and culture of the early twentieth century in Britain and the US, and she is particularly interested in writing by women, visual and literary representations of the city, and memoir and autobiography. She is also a freelance critic and editor, and has written for publications including the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Originally from London, she is happiest surrounded by crowds, city noise, and tall buildings.

Soomin Seo

Introduction to Global News Media

Soomin Seo is a PhD candidate in the Communications Program at Columbia’s Pulitzer School of Journalism. Her research focuses on the evolution of foreign news in light of changes to technology, global politics and the business of news media. From 2000 to 2008, she worked as a journalist in South Korea. Most of her reporting related to North Korea and the nuclear crisis, and she also wrote from conflict zones like Darfur and northern Sri Lanka. Soomin has a BA from Seoul National University and also holds an MA in Public Policy from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she was a Shorenstein Scholar and received the Jane Mansbridge Research Award in 2010.

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

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 25 years, he has taught chemistry, physics, and other science courses (including one called “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 written extensively for a blog dedicated to the advocacy of scientific and rational thought and, as first observed by George Carlin, often wonders why we never see the headline “psychic wins lottery.”

Stephen Sullivan

Immigrant Women in the Empire City

Stephen Sullivan earned his first degree from Columbia in 1982, a BA in History and Anthropology from the College. He spent the next three decades teaching high school social studies and earning another three degrees in United States History at Columbia University. The Long Island public school educator has been honored numerous times as one of the nation's top high school teachers by such groups as The Walt Disney American Teacher Award Program, The Organization of American Historians, The National Teachers Hall of Fame, The U.S. Department of Education, etc. Dr. Sullivan has taught college courses at Columbia University, Adelphi University, Hunter College, Nassau College, Lawrence High School, Nazareth Regional High School and the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach. His own research explores the history of Irish America and New York City. Stephen has published in journals as diverse as New York Irish HistoryThe Journal of Urban History, The International Journal of Eating Disorders and Psychology of Women Quarterly. However, he is best known for the unmatched success of his students in research competitions such as the Intel Science Talent Search, the National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars program, and American Psychological Association poster sessions.

Benjamin VanWagoner

Sex and Betrayal: The Renaissance Taboo

Ben is a PhD candidate in Columbia's Department of English and Comparative Literature. Although his research focuses primarily on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, he has also won awards for his work on 20th century poetry and economic theory in literature. His current research explores the theatrical and narrative management of risk and uncertainty in early modern accounts of exploration. Before entering academia, he taught high school math in St. Louis with the Teach For America program. He holds a BA in English Literature and Economics from the University of Michigan, and an MPhil from Columbia University.

Julia Westerbeke

Contemporary Art NYC

Julia Westerbeke is an artist, curator and writer based in Brooklyn and San Francisco. With a community of fellow artists, she runs A.I.R. Gallery, the first artist-directed gallery for women in the United States founded in 1972. She works closely with the gallery’s Fellowship Program, which supports emerging artists through mentoring, professional development and exhibition space. Westerbeke served as the Visual Arts Curator at Barnard for 3 years, curating and organizing alumnae and student exhibitions at the McCagg Gallery and the Barbara Novak Gallery. She is a former Adjunct Faculty and Visual Arts Associate in the Art History Department at Barnard, and a Barnard alumna herself. Westerbeke holds an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Solo exhibitions include “The Deluge” at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco, and “Morphology,” at A.I.R. Gallery. For more information on exhibitions and press, visit the artist’s website:

Sara Zaidi

Gender, Sexism, and Schooling 

Sara Zaidi is an educational researcher whose work focuses on the educational experiences of young immigrant women living in the United States. Having earned her PhD in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center, she is currently part-time faculty in the Education Program at Barnard College where she teaches the course Contemporary Issues in Education, which investigates the critical and controversial issues confronting education today.