2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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Storm-Tossed

New Orleans students take refuge at TC   

Leaving New Orleans on the eve of Hurricane Katrina, Samantha Morrison packed light. The Ph. D. candidate in Education and Psychology at Tulane says the school's website predicted the hurricane would only delay classes by a day. She set out first for Baton Rouge and then for Atlanta to wait out the storm at the home of a friend's brother.

The morning after she arrived, New Orleans was almost entirely underwater. So Morrison, a native of upstate New York, took refuge with two of her brothers in their apartment in Manhattan. Then, she began calling New York City universities to find a way to finish her classwork.

The semester had already begun, but Teachers College offered her free classes, so Morrison signed up. She was eventually joined by three other students and a researcher, Annie Weiss, a former doctoral student in school psychology at Tulane, who was studying emotional self-regulation in young children. (Weiss has since joined TC's National Center for Children and Families.)

Morrison had some hard times at first. Her dissertation research, about children's responses to community violence, was back in Louisiana, and she feared she might have to use pre-collected data to continue. But a month into the semester, she visited New Orleans and found that her apartment had been spared. She plans to return to Tulane in the spring to work as a teacher's assistant and apply for internships.

"I was lucky," Morrison says of her time at TC. "I had family here who could house me and a great university to help me out."   

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