Community Assistants

Community Assistants

Community Assistants (CAs) are part-time staff members who serve as a resource to all residents. Community Assistants are responsible for programming, community development, crisis intervention, and fostering a living environment that is supportive of and productive for all groups and individuals in the residence halls.

Whittier Hall

Elijah Gardner smiling
Floors 2 - 4

Elijah Gardner is a second-year Masters of Education student in the Sociology and Education program. He was born in Newark New Jersey and earned his B.A. in Abstract Mathematics at Rutgers University-Newark. Elijah spent his final year at Rutgers as a Resident Advisor for undergrad and graduate students. He has 5 years of experience as a mathematics tutor and mentor to middle school, high school, and undergraduate students in Newark, New Jersey. Elijah's interest includes researching and developing anti-racist pedagogy in STEM education and expanding social safety nets for African Americans, Latinx, and other marginalized American students and communities. Future plans include Urban education research and education policy development, with a critical focus on Newark, NJ, and NYC public schools. During his free time, Elijah enjoys watching basketball and football, playing video games with friends, and taking walks around the city.

Vik Joshi smiling
Floors 5 - 7

Vikramaditya (Vik) Joshi is a second-year doctoral student in the Philosophy and Education program. Before coming to Teachers College, Vik graduated from Bard College with a B.A in Philosophy and Literature. He then graduated from the University of East Anglia with an M.A in Biography and Creative Non-Fiction. He served as an academic advisor for the Bard Prison Initiative, a college-in-prison program. He held a fellowship at the Center for Justice at Columbia University and is currently part of the inaugural cohort of Fellows at the Gathering for Justice. He led the development of a curriculum on anti-Muslim bias, supported by EdVenture Partners, the McCain Institute, and the Department of Homeland Security, securing funding and the Invent2Prevent scholarship. He is working on a manuscript (biography) of a Professor at Bard who was a spy in the French Resistance. Vik’s research at TC is focused on the work of B.R Ambedkar, an architect of the Indian Constitution and, in 1913, a student at Columbia University under the tutelage of John Dewey. As a Community Assistant, Vik aims to foster an inclusive environment that is supportive and nurturing. Apart from running Marathons (Brooklyn was his first!) and playing squash, Vik enjoys learning languages, canoeing, and enjoying art — be it a museum exhibition, theatre, live Jazz, or stand-up comedy. Vik is absolutely thrilled to be a Community Assistant and be there to listen, dialogue, share, and learn with every student during their time at Teachers College.

Melanie Alcala smiling
Floors 8-10

Melanie Alcala is a graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is pursuing a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders - Bilingual Extension: Dual Certification, and recently earned her Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Fullerton. She looks forward to cultivating her twin passions of Armenian and speech-language pathology. As a Community Assistant, Melanie strives to support residents and make for a positive environment. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying out a new restaurant, spending time with friends, at a museum, or grabbing a cup of coffee. Melanie looks forward to serving Whittier Hall and welcoming residents, both new and returning!

New Residence Hall

Iris Hinh smiling
South Tower

Iris is a second-year Master’s student in the Politics and Education program. She is primarily interested in K-12 education policy and is always open to chatting about it. Prior to TC, she attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for her B.A. in Political Science and minors in Education Studies and Asian American Studies. At UCLA, she was involved in Residential Life and really enjoys making connections with folks in the community. Iris was born in Manhattan and has family in Brooklyn, but she grew up in San Diego, CA. She enjoys exploring new foods, going to any place with a great view of the NYC skyline, going for runs, and volunteering. Iris is extremely excited to be a Community Assistant and the TC community.


Brendon Muniz smiling
North Tower

Brendon is a second-year Master's student in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Before attending Teachers College, Brendon graduated from New York University with a Bachelor's degree in Childhood/ Special Education. He is a native New Yorker. He loves to take public transportation to all 5 boroughs of New York and enjoys eating Colombian food. In his spare time, Brendon likes to swim, read newspapers, and watch Batman-related movies. Brendon is excited to be a Community Assistant and he can't wait to meet everyone in the community!

Grant and Sarasota Halls

Abbas Abbasov smiling

Abbas is a Ph.D. student in the Comparative and International Education program. He is originally from Baku, Azerbaijan. Before coming to TC, Abbas worked as a student affairs professional in his hometown after deciding to make a major career shift from foreign affairs into higher education. He holds a B.A. in International Relations from the Australian National University in Canberra, ACT as well as M.A. in Higher and Postsecondary Education from TC. Abbas aims to pursue research and teaching as a way to challenge the status quo and give voice to the marginalized and oppressed. During his leisure time, Abbas likes to explore the food scene in New York. Apart from being a major foodie, he regularly plays tennis but needs a lot of practice to improve his game. Abbas is thrilled to be the Community Assistant and help his peers get the best out of their time at TC.

Bancroft Hall

Christie Marquez smiling
Floors 1-4

Christie is a second year Master’s student in the Anthropology & Education program. Before coming to Teachers College, Christie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin (hook ‘em!) with degrees in English and Neuroscience. Her family is originally from the New York area, so it’s been great to spend more time with aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Her husband, David, loves the TC community and will definitely join in on events. During their free time, David and Christie like to cook, explore coffee shops, practice instruments, sing, and crack up laughing. You may spot them running through Central Park as they train for an upcoming half marathon! Christie is excited to be a Community Assistant for the 2021-2022 Academic Year and share the city with amazing residents!

Jalnidh Kaur smiling
Floors 5-8

Jalnidh is a doctoral student in the Economics and Education program. She grew up in India and completed her Bachelors in Economics from St. Stephen's College, Delhi in 2013. As a Rhodes scholar, she earned an M.Phil in Economics from University of Oxford in 2015. Before joining TC, she worked as a researcher and teacher in classrooms of rural India. She is joined in Bancroft by her husband Divjot Singh and daughter Haadra Hadur Kaur. Divjot is a finance professional and a seasoned tabla player. Both Jalnidh and Divjot are trained in Indian classical music and enjoy singing and composing music together. Their favorite pastime in NYC is exploring parks with their infant in stroller and connecting with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. They are humbled and honored to serve the TC residential community.

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