Dear Students,

It’s been quite a month. (And, we are only halfway through it.) Each day my brain feels overly crowded with a cacophony of disturbing news. The pandemic in the United States rages on. Our Presidential election continues to be unsettled. Our country remains sharply divided. I struggle to focus on my numerous daily tasks, juggling myriad challenges at work and at home (as we all are doing) and pretending an on-line yoga class will do the trick to quiet my mind.

November 2020 seemed to be synonymous with Election Day in the United States. Now that the day has passed, I am relieved to be reminded of November’s greater fullness. November 11 was Veterans Day in the U.S., a day for remembering and honoring all those who served and who have made immense sacrifices on our behalf. November 14 marks the beginning of Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. Thanksgiving is coming on November 26, when we will especially remember to express gratitude.

This November, I am wishing for you and for all of us in the Social-Organizational Psychology community a spirit of remembrance, light and gratitude, experienced with a quiet mind and an open heart.

Warm regards,
 

Sarah Brazaitis, PhD
MA Program Director 

 

Current Student Profile

 

Varshini Srinivasan is a second-year M.A. student in the Social-Organizational Psychology program. Originally from Bangalore, India, Varshini has found her second home here in the Columbia ecosystem, having done her undergraduate degree at Barnard College.
 
After working in the non-profit education space for a few years, Varshini discovered her passion for social justice within institutional contexts, which brought her back to Columbia to pursue her M.A. at Teachers College. She has since gone on to demonstrate this interest in her role as Vice President of Psi Chi, the International Honors Society in Psychology, and member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism (DEIA) Working Group here on campus. Outside of school, Varshini works at International Flavors & Fragrances leading their education, communications, and employee resource group strategies for their D&I Center of Excellence.
 
In her spare time, Varshini can be found engaged in spirited conversations about the shortcomings of the New York City MTA, various anime series (her favorite is Attack on Titan), Met Gala red carpet looks, and other issues of vital importance. 

Alumni Profile 

 

Dymitri Dutkanicz is a 2018 M.A. graduate currently working at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. Originally from Connecticut, Dymitri attended TC as a member of Cohort 13 of the Eisenhower Leader Development Program (ELDP) from 2017 to 2018. Before ELDP, Dymitri commanded a Stryker Cavalry Troop in Washington state with duty in such exotic places as Thailand, Malaysia, and Yakima.
 
Upon graduation from TC, Dymitri served as a company TAC (teach-advise-coach) officer for over 120 cadets, relying heavily on the conflict resolution, group dynamics, and coaching skills that he gained at TC. He is currently the executive officer for the Brigade Tactical Department, responsible for coordinating administration and operations for over 4,500 cadets at West Point. Dymitri notes that the education he received at TC both informs and inspires him daily.  
 
Dymitri is extremely proud to report that after seven years and three moves his amazing wife Larissa will complete her bachelor’s degree in nursing in December 2020. When not at study or work, they spend their free time entertaining their children, Helena and Grant, and enjoy exploring the greater New England area.
 
If you'd like to connect with Dymitri, feel free to hit him up at dymitriduke85@gmail.com.