I was hoping to send you off on winter break with light-hearted remarks about a popular meme and its relationship to research in organizational psychology and the world of work. But then I learned of the murder of Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old Barnard student from Virginia.
I don't have adequate words to express my sadness over this senseless tragedy. Tessa was a part our Columbia family. In a widely published photo of her, I can't help but see all of your faces. I see a smart, motivated, hard-working, and talented young person who sought out new experiences and new friends here in NYC. I ache for her family's loss and for the pain and fear I know many of you are now feeling in the wake of this tragedy.
When I learned about Tessa's alleged attackers, my heart broke again. Two of the suspects are 13 and 14 years old. They evidently live and attend school near Morningside Park, where the murder was committed. These children, too, are part of our community.
I do not know how to sort out my feelings of anguish over Tessa's murder, nor can I fathom the circumstances that led her attackers to commit it. I do know that it has helped these past days to share thoughts and feelings with students, staff, and faculty members. It has helped to reach out rather than to withdraw, to acknowledge sadness and disbelief rather than to retreat into stunned silence.
As a 28-year resident of Manhattan, I have numerous examples of New Yorkers' goodness. It helps me to remember that New York City offers itself up daily as a revelation -- in its energy, diversity, and opportunity, and in the kindness of its people. When bad things happen in our city, our city responds with compassion, sympathy, and love.
In the wake of this tragedy, in the darkness of December, I hope we all can find lightness and hope in our care for each other, in our shared study and work, in our community's goodness.
Please know that I speak for all the Social-Organizational Psychology program faculty and staff when I tell you we are holding you close, we are wishing you a relaxing and joy-filled winter break, and we look forward to greeting 2020 with energy and optimism for the work we will continue together in the new year.
Happy holidays to you all.
Sarah Brazaitis, PhD
MA Program Director
Current Student Profile
In the spirit of winter "break," here are recommendations for podcasts rather than more readings. :)
Entry Level with Brooks Wheelan: This funny and entertaining podcast discusses guests' experiences with entry-level jobs before they landed where they wanted to in the world of work.
Code Switch: This podcast from NPR features stories on race, culture and identity directly and honestly, but always in an empathetic way.
Slow Radio: This podcast from the BBC offers 15-60 minutes of relaxing sounds from the natural world. It is strangely compelling and is very calming.
As with all of these recommendations, feel free to let me know what you think and/or to offer your own suggestions for possible inclusion in upcoming newsletters. I welcome your input.