Dear Students,

Happy (almost) fall and welcome or welcome back to our 2020-2021 academic year at Teachers College, Columbia University. I send these newsletters monthly from September through May to our MA program community to communicate key program information, to share interesting articles, and to spotlight student and alumni accomplishments. Feel free to let me know if there is anything you want highlighted in upcoming newsletters.

During our MA Program Orientation on September 3, I spoke about our program's strengths and values and linked them to our shared world. Skilled organizational psychologists have never been more essential in every industry around the globe as we continue to stand in the middle of the change curve and try to address society’s most pressing problems. I also offered my best advice for you -- advice I try to tell myself too. If you are interested, see my remarks here: Brazaitis Orientation Remarks 2020 .

It was wonderful to see so many of you at our Zoom community-building event on August 31, at Orientation on September 3, and in class too. My faculty and staff colleagues and I are committed to offering new and varied ways for all of us to connect, collaborate, learn, teach and study (and laugh) together with energy and hope in our virtual academic community. In these times of immense suffering and challenge, I am especially heartened by all of you and the work we do together at TC. I am looking forward to a great semester and year with you all.


Warm regards,

Sarah Brazaitis, PhD
MA Program Director


Current Student Profile

Jimit Thakkar is a second-year student in the Social-Organizational Psychology M.A program. He has worked in leadership development organizations and global nonprofits across India, Indonesia, and Greece. His passion lies in building systems that enable people and organizations to find and unleash their potential to build a better world. Currently, in the program, he is focused on learning about group and team interventions, social-emotional intelligence, theories of adult learning, and change management. 

Beyond school, Jimit spends his time learning about personal transformation practices, jazz music, and being around animals.

Alumni Profile

Allison (Gitomer) Hight completed her Master’s in Social-Organizational Psychology in 2010. During her time at Teachers College, she worked in Human Resources, Organizational Development and Change Management at several companies, including L’Occitane, Retensa, and LF USA (now Global Brands Group). 

Allison is an experienced HR professional with a strong background in change management, leadership development, organizational effectiveness, workshop design and facilitation, and culture transformation. Her experience includes developing and delivering tailored change management strategies that increase leadership alignment and employee engagement, enabling successful adoption of business transformation initiatives. 

Following graduation, Allison spent several years working in Change Management, where her focus was on system implementations and rolling out strategies to increase end user adoption. She has spent the last 7 years at Hudson’s Bay Company (parent company to Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks OFF 5TH, and Hudson’s Bay) in several different roles within Human Resources. Currently, Allison is Director of Talent & Experience Programs on the Saks Fifth Avenue People Team, where she is responsible for building and delivering strategy related to learning and development, talent management, employee engagement, and change management.  

On a personal note, Allison is preparing for the birth of her first child next month! She is looking forward to this next chapter of her life and is excited to pick back up the exciting work she is doing at Saks Fifth Avenue after her maternity leave.  

Reach out to Allison on LinkedIn.

Recommended Reading

The following article offers an interesting take on behavior as a function of person and environment, as it relates to individual responses to the pandemic.
Personality and Sheltering-in-Place During the Pandemic