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Adult Learning and Leadership
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Adult Learning and Leadership

In the Department of Organization & Leadership

Student Resources > Our Students

Our Students

Our Students | Doctoral Students | Students' Map | Our Alumni | What's Happening

The following is a sampling of our current masters degree students.

  • Casarin, Tonia
    Tonia Casarin is the first TC student to receive a Lemann Fellowship, a program of Brazil’s Lemann Foundation, a major Brazilian educational philanthropy with strong ties to Columbia University.  Casarin considers herself a case study in how Brazilian education and professional development lag behind the country’s economic success. Career advising is minimal in high schools and universities, she says. Students pick fields with little information and even less support to create their own path. In particular, they lack tools to become good managers or leaders.  After earning her undergraduate business degree in 2007 from Rio’s Pontifícia Universidade Católica, Casarin worked for a telecommunications company and a consulting firm before taking a job developing a management program for a department of the Rio de Janeiro city government. She also certified in Coaching and still working with clients around the world.   By strengthening her foundation in social and emotional learning at TC, Casarin hopes to return to Brazil ready not just to ramp up her coaching practice, but also to build the missing connections between schools, universities, and the working world. Although adults have been her focus until now, she is keen to start working with teens in Brazil, where, she says, too many opportunities remain confined to the rich and connected.
  • DiMarco, Andrea M.
    Andrea M. DiMarco is a first generation college student and has seen the true value of education first hand. After graduating from Montclair State University with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, she entered the private sector full-time. While working, DiMarco noticed a "gap" between what is taught in the classroom and what is expected after college. She realized through this experience that her life goal is to better prepare students for life after college by providing students "life skills" prior to graduation. After leaving the corporate sector, DiMarco finds herself as a full-time Masters student in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to learning both adult development and adult learning theories, she has had the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice by working as the advisor for Senior Experience (S|X) at Barnard College in NYC, which is her first step in accomplishing her goal.
  • Fenton, Chris
    Chris Fenton is an MA candidate in the Adult Learning and Leadership Program. Currently, Chris is the Director of Talent and Leadership Development at HomeServe USA in Norwalk, CT. Prior to this role, he held positions of leadership in the OD functions at Montefiore Medical Center in NYC, Norwalk Hospital in CT, and United Healthcare based in Minneapolis. In his current role, Chris is designing the learning function from scratch, with an intense focus on leadership development, and is revamping the succession planning process. Chris came to the program at TC due to its reputation as the best master's degree in the field, and to formalize his ongoing love of learning. Chris holds a BS in Accounting from Salve Regina University, is an exercise freak, and rows crew on a regular basis. He lives in Darien, CT.
  • Fisher, Jeffrey A.
    Jeffrey A. Fisher, J.D., M.S. is the Special Programs Administrator at Touro College and University System and has worked there since 2002.  He also has work experience in the Aerospace and Defense industry.  Jeffrey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Long Island University, C.W. Post campus (magna cum laude).  He holds two graduate degrees, a Juris Doctor from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University and a Master of Science in International Business Finance from Touro College Graduate School of Business.  Currently he is developing new learning programs for adults.  Jeff is a member of the TC 21st Century Leaders Committee and is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in the Adult Learning and Leadership program at Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • Holmes, Melissa Smisko
    Melissa Smisko Holmes is a senior manager of Compliance training at Pfizer Inc.  In her current role, she develops and deploys e-learning modules on Compliance topics such as healthcare laws and code of ethics, which are taken by ~90,000 people in 30 languages.  Melissa is responsible for managing the Compliance Learning Management System, developing the annual Compliance training strategy, and ensuring training is rolled out to the appropriate audience and completed on time.  She also participates in a cross-divisional team whose goals are to connect learning professionals across the company to share best practices and resources, improve the overall learning experience for employees, and foster culture change.  She has held positions as a financial auditor at KPMG, internal auditor at Marriott and Pfizer, and as a client service manager at Cvent.   Melissa has a BBA in accounting from James Madison University and is a CPA.  Although she started her career as an auditor, Melissa has been involved in training in all of her roles and is passionate about learning.  She is pursuing an M.A in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College to formalize her post-graduate education and is interested in re-thinking the approach highly regulated organizations take towards required learning.
  • Kang, Lennie
    Lennie Kang is a master's student with a passion for continuous development and education. She did her undergraduate studies in sunny San Diego at UCSD, obtaining degrees in Political Science and Anthropology. After a year of working at a management consulting firm in Southern California, she felt the itch of academia again and decided to make her way to New York. She has been fortunate enough to have had a variety of experiences since starting down the career path of adult learning. Some notables positions being a product development management intern at a successful educational tech company, assisting with organizational flow and process, as well as a talent management intern at an exciting video game publisher working with talent planning and corporate education initiatives. In her off hours, she enjoys crossing things off of lists and animals of all shapes and sizes.
  • Kolin, Elyse
    Elyse Kolin received her BA from UC Santa Barbara in Film and Media Studies with a Minor in Spanish. Since graduating, Elyse has  established a career in higher education at a private Art University. While here, Elyse worked extensively with both Undergraduate and Graduate students, faculty, and administrators through admissions processes, academic counseling and program development. In addition to her university work, Elyse is involved with several nonprofit community arts organizations in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. Elyse is pursuing her MA in Education with a Concentration in Adult Learning and Leadership to further explore her passion for lifelong learning within adult populations. Elyse was drawn to the Department's emphasis on Transformative learning as well as Teachers College's strong reputation, global perspective and long tradition of forward thinking.
  • Palmieri, Michael Andres
    Michael Andres Palmieri is a transmedia writer/producer/consultant. He has been designing, developing and leading transformational immersive educational programs geared to creative entrepreneurs for 17 years. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Creative Lab - a new State of Hawaii economic development initiative. There, he designs, develops and leads programs for writers, producers, directors, actors, musicians, fashion designers, and tech entrepreneurs. Creative Lab's commitment is to develop the State of Hawaii as a nexus for creative entrepreneurs in the Pacific Rim and the world. He has guest lectured at the University of Southern California, UCLA, Columbia College, Chapman University, AFI, Loyola Marymount, University of Texas, University of Hawaii, and Hawaii Pacific University. In media, he has worked at Fox Broadcasting Company, and at various production companies based at TriStar Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Polygram, Twentieth Century Fox and Walt Disney. His written and produced works include projects in motion pictures, television and new media. He holds a Bachelor of Arts interdisciplinary degree from the Annenberg School of Communication and the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, has participated in Landmark Education programs for 15 years, and participated in the Northwestern University, Kellogg Innovation Network program.
  • Sweeney, Kate
    Kate Sweeney is an instructional designer and senior trainer at Exec|Comm, specializing in presentation, negotiation, writing, selling, and leadership skills. She trains global fortune 500 clients in large and small group settings, as well as privately coached sessions. Before joining Exec|Comm in 2007, Kate spent 12 years in the United States Army as a Chinese, French and Italian linguist.  Having lived and worked in countries as diverse as Japan, China, India, Italy and France, she used her skills to liaise effectively with embassies and diplomats worldwide. In the United States, Kate worked for the Department of Defense, training military personnel in leadership skills. Kate is a mediator with New York City Peace Institute, specializing in community and parent-teen mediation. She is also a facilitator at Soliya, which specializes in online cross-cultural education with universities worldwide to provide students with a deeper understanding for the perspectives of others around the world on important socio-political issues. Kate holds a B.S. in International Relations and an M.S. in International Management from the University of Maryland University College. She chose Teachers College because the ALL program perfectly married her passions for both leadership and adult learning, which she hopes to use to find new ways to inspire her participants.
  • Zhou, Yuan
    Yuan Zhou is the Director of Leadership Solutions at KSI Advisors in New York, where she is responsible for team management, training and program development. Yuan also leads the Program & Curriculum Development at RoboTerra, a spin-out KSI company backed with venture capital investment, which provides robotics educational toolkits and course packages to students and schools. Yuan worked in both China and US, taught hundreds of students ranging from elementary school to graduate school. She also conducted teacher training programs and staff training guidelines for different sectors such as Chinese local government, cultural exchange companies and nonprofit organizations. Yuan earned a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Technology in China and a Master's degree in Applied Statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. Yuan fell for education at Teachers College and decided to devote herself into lifelong learning development. The Adult Learning and Leadership program at TC is able to provide her the best resources and assistance in her career.