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.
- Hoxha, Samantha
Samantha is an Active Duty Military Police Officer in the United States Army. She has served in various leadership and staff positions from Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Company Commander, Operations Officer, Force Protection Officer and Military Police Analyst. Samantha was stationed in Fort Richardson, AK, Fort Leonard Wood, MO, and Fort Eustis, VA and served a combat tour in Balad, Iraq. In addition to her roles and responsibilities as a Military Police Officer, Samantha is also a certified Resiliency Instructor and Non-Lethal Weapons Instructor. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geopolitics from the United Stated Military Academy. She is currently attending Columbia Teachers College in New York, NY and is enrolled in the Master of Arts Program in Adult Learning and Leadership (ALL). She believes that the foundation of the Army is its Soldiers and the success of the Army relies upon how well our Soldiers are trained and prepared. Samantha applied to the ALL program at Columbia Teachers College due to the rigorous nature of the program and the ability to explore different areas of interest related to adult 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.
- Ramirez-Catalano, Judelaine
Passion to perform is the driving phrase that fuels the training manager, project manager, blues and pop singer, Judelaine Ramirez-Catalano. A native of Manila, she served as a Project Manager in Deutsche Bank responsible for process migrations by and among branches in Europe, Middle East and the USA. She also worked as a contractual Project Manager for the mobilization department at the Arthur Anderson consulting offshoot, Accenture where she was tasked to do migration of "Procure to Pay" processes of Diageo (the world's largest producer of spirits) from Hungary to the Philippines and Romania. Prior to her project management roles, she served as a Senior Training Manager in the Global Business Services (GBS), TeleTech Holding Incorporated and was the sole training provider to support functions: IT, Quality Control, Talent Acquisition, Procurement, Accounting and Payroll based in South Africa, Argentina and the Philippines. Her relevant work experiences revolved around start-up companies within the BPO and financial industries. She was able to establish a paperless Funding Department in Manila that catered to Ardent Financial Services. She also served in the faculty of the AMA Computer University in the Philippines as a part-time College instructor for World History, Speech Communication and General Psychology. Judelaine was an active youth leader for MORAL (Movement of Responsible and Able Leaders) and was involved in civic projects on poverty alleviation through livelihood, cottage industry programs, literacy campaigns and medical missions in CAMANAVA Region, Philippines. She was the 2008 GBS Service Excellence Awardee for initiatives such as the Pulse Newsletter, Email Writing and International Business Skills Curricula. In 2003, she represented the Philippines and was the student speaker in the Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities convention which was held in Bang Na, Thailand. She was also the 2000 International Air Cadet Exchange IACE Philippine Aerospace delegate, an international youth aviation program of the Civil Air Patrol and NASA held in Washington D.C., and Maryland, USA. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Major in Mass Communication with Cum Laude honors in San Sebastian College under the SEJA (Senator Edgardo J. Angara) scholarship. She aims to supplement her experiential knowledge on training and project management and grow as an efficient leader through the Adult Learning and Leadership Master's program that she's currently completing at Teachers College, Columbia University.
- 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.