Effie Cao is a full-time student in our MA program. She is a natural people connector, avid learner and enthusiastic sharer. Her journey into the world of organizational psychology started when she volunteered for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games as a member of the people function and liaison for foreign volunteers. From there, she worked at different companies of various sizes, which piqued her interest in how people learn and grow in organizations.
She spent her Spring semester and part of her Fall semester working at a national health care agency on the Talent Management and Organizational Development team as an intern. One of her favorite projects was to design, deliver and facilitate a leadership development program on Action Learning, which let her practice directly applying theoretical frameworks that ultimately made an impact on the company's high potential development program. Currently, Effie is working on an OD consulting project with the engineering team of a multinational company and will soon start working with a I/O psychology consulting firm on competency modeling and instrument development.
Prior to TC, she worked at a New York-based training and development firm. There, she executed 40+ training programs on topics of team building, education leadership and more based on experiential learning principles. She is very grateful for having the opportunities to travel to different parts of US, UK and China while working onsite with the clients.
In her spare time, Effie loves to read, dance, listen to podcasts ("WorkLife with Adam Grant" and "Coaching for Leaders" being her current favorites) and go on spontaneous road trips with friends and family.
Feel free to reach out to her and share your favorite podcasts or discuss the future of work, which is the topic that currently fascinates her.
Nina Traylor is a first generation immigrant by way of Jamaica and Puerto Rico and by way of somewhere in Africa. She is a U.S. Army Captain and graduated from the Organizational Psychology MA program in 2018 through the Eisenhower Leader Development Program (ELDP). ELDP is conducted in collaboration with the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership (BS&L) at the United States Military Academy (USMA), West Point, New York. Before enrollment at Teachers College, she served as a logistics officer in a U.S. Army Special Forces Unit and on two combat deployments.
Currently, Nina is assigned as a Human Resources Officer in the U.S. Corps of Cadets at the USMA, West Point. Using many of the theories she learned in the Organizational Psychology MA program at Teachers College she analyzes gaps in Army policies, procedures, and doctrine to better deliver administrative functions to 4,600 people and aligns talent and culture with the integration and implementation of a new Army Human Resources system.
Outside of Teachers College, Nina teaches yoga at a small studio near West Point. She is interested in understanding how the yoga way of life can bring about better job satisfaction, deeper organizational commitment, organizational citizenship behavior, and affect managers' goal orientation.
If you'd like to connect with Nina, feel free to do so via LinkedIn.
Mitchell Walton is a 2017 MA Program graduate and now works as a Senior Talent Management Analyst for McKinsey & Company in NYC. Originally from Seattle, WA, Mitchell is an avid Seahawks fan, and is at his happiest with a hot cup of coffee on a cold, cloudy day.
Prior to graduate school at TC, Mitchell worked for a boutique consulting firm specializing in employee engagement survey analytics. This experience helped develop his passion for the field of Org Psych, but left him dreaming about, one day, creating actual change for organizations and their people. He credits his time in the TC's Organizational Psychology program with making that dream a reality.
In his current role, Mitchell focuses on talent management and strategic human resources for McKinsey's technology and digital talent; working on organizational design, workforce planning, performance management, and (bringing things back to his roots) engagement surveys and people analytics. In one of his current projects he is helping the Firm to understand better what motivates and engages technology talent and is excited to implement targeted solutions for attracting, developing, and retaining colleagues in the technology space. Mitchell routinely draws on the skills and knowledge that he gained from the program and regularly uses learning from Human Resource Management, Group Dynamics, Organization Change, and the Understanding Behavioral Research courses all of which influence many areas of his work.
Mitchell enjoys remaining an active member of the Social-Organizational Psychology community at TC, regularly meeting with prospective students through the MA program's virtual open houses, and connecting students to internship opportunities with McKinsey. Since graduating, Mitchell has been using his new-found spare time to catch up on reading, to spend time with friends and family, and to explore his "official" new home here in NYC.
If you'd like to connect with Mitchell, feel free to do so via LinkedIn.
Gilbert Pelissier is a full-time student in our MA program. He is from New York, having lived in Manhattan for several years and now in Long Island for the past two years.
Before enrolling at Teachers College, Gilbert was part of the Global Compliance and Ethics business unit of American Express. His previous experience also includes the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York, Knight Capital Group, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, and conducting extensive market research and analysis for a boutique package design company. Gilbert is currently working with the New York City Department of Buildings as a Workforce Planning Intern, collaborating with his team to develop a more strategic approach to the recruitment of new employees to the Department. In pursuing a consulting career, Gilbert aims to combine the lessons learned from the program with his professional experience to help organizations align their goals, priorities, culture, and values with their people, in order to ensure lasting success for both.
Outside Teachers College, Gilbert is an active member of St. James Church, where he is a lay reader and chalice bearer on Sunday services, as well as a member of the St. Jamesians' Committee. Gilbert and his father also volunteer every month to cook for the church's Friday Night Dinner Program for the homeless.
In his downtime, Gilbert reads about business, politics, sports, and history, listens to all kinds of music from hip-hop to classical, and enjoys watching movies. He also follows the New York Giants and Yankees as well as the NBA, Premier League, and La Liga soccer.
Thomas Eskew is a 2012 graduate of the MA Program whose career has focused on learning, leadership development, and talent management strategy. Originally from Houston, TX, Thomas has been fortunate to live and work in many vibrant cities, including New York, Seattle, and his current hometown of Atlanta.
Prior to joining the MA program, Thomas lived in New Orleans and wore many professional hats, working as a musician, cook, grocery store cashier, and project manager. While at TC, he bolstered his relatively few years of OD experience with internships at Retensa and JetBlue, and through active involvement with OHDCC. Thomas served as OHDCC President from 2011-2012 and credits the leadership experience and strong professional network he gained in this role with the path his career has taken since.
After graduation, Thomas joined Deloitte Consulting, where he worked with global organizations to shape their talent development strategies and programs. He then spent two years as an internal consultant for a large healthcare organization but decided to return Deloitte in 2017. In his current role, he is responsible for developing capabilities within Deloitte's evolving workforce, and he values the flexibility offered by a remote role.
If you'd like to connect with Thomas, feel free to do so via LinkedIn.
Tommy Pan is a full-time student in our MA program. He recently moved back to Harlem after living the past 2 years in Astoria, Queens and loves his new commute.
His most recent internship was at the NYC Department of Buildings, where he developed a "summit" for the Interns to gain greater purpose for their work in a government agency and to leverage career development opportunities through networking with and mentoring from senior leadership. He has also interned at Global Brands Group where he supported various change management initiatives for several acquisitions.
Tommy wants a career that gives him the freedom to create and develop, as well as that combines the business strategy side with the people. He is always up for chatting about the past, current, and future states of technology, society, business, sports, media, and race over a hot cup of coffee or Kombucha.
Tommy is an active member in his local church and has been mentoring under-privileged and at-risk high school youth from the Bronx and Harlem for the last four years. He enjoys playing and watching basketball, cooking, listening to keys or strings covers of contemporary pop music, and reading. He will be very busy the next six months planning his wedding with his fiancée.
Kristen Bakalar is a 2013 MA graduate, former New Yorker, and lover of all things bourbon-related. She is currently the Director of Talent Management at athenahealth in Boston where she oversees the learning and development function, building and delivering impactful training programs for employees at all levels. She is also building an organizational effectiveness program, and a more holistic talent development strategy for the organization. Integrating performance management, high-potential programming, leadership development, employee engagement, diversity, and career progression are all part of her master plan. She's got her hands full.
Prior to this role, Kristen worked as a Leadership Development consultant for BlessingWhite, a boutique consulting firm in New Jersey. She's spoken at numerous conferences, advocated publicly (and privately) for diversity and inclusion, and partnered with esteemed companies, clients, and individuals to develop high-impact programming.
Since 2015, Kristen feels as if she is finally doing the work she was always meant to do. Developing humans in the workplace is her personal mission and a clear passion, and the MA degree in Organizational Psychology has fed that purpose. There is not one day that goes by - even the weekends - when Kristen does not use some element of her graduate degree or call on the experiences and wisdom she gained at TC. Plus, it gives her a ton of street cred.
You can find Kristen on LinkedIn:
Tanha Ashraf is a full time student in the Social Organization Psychology program. Currently, Tanha is a Senior Talent Management Associate at Retensa, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in retention strategies that reduce staff turnover.
Tanha's role at Retensa consists of running data analytics and designing and delivering management training courses. Though she thoroughly enjoys the variety that comes with project work in consulting, Tanha is most fulfilled when she is working with executive teams developing strategies on how to develop, retain and maximize talent across their organization. Upon graduating in May, Tanha plans to continue consulting in organizational development and design.
Her slight irreverence of social cues will likely lead her to talk your ear off about some fringe co-op board game should you ever run into her in TC.
Jake Tuber is a 2013 M.A. graduate and is the founder of Ticonderoga Advisory LLC, where he works as a facilitator, coach, and leadership development advisor. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the City College of New York, where he is designing and teaching a graduate survey course in I/O psychology this spring. Last summer, he returned to Teachers College as a member of the AEGIS doctoral cohort in Adult Learning and Leadership and is scheduled to complete his coursework in 2019.
Jake loved his time in the Organizational Psychology program and regularly brings his learning into his current role as a leadership development facilitator and coach. His coursework in organizational dynamics, staff development and training, and executive coaching directly inform the majority of his client work. Jake says that the printed copies of the Burke-Litwin Model and Gleicher's Change Formula that he posted next to his computer were consistent conversation starters every time anyone walked into his office.
When not working or completing his current TC workload, Jake is an avid runner and spearheads a running-based fundraising campaign on behalf of a children's summer camp. He lives with his amazing fiancée, Jessie, and their sweet black lab, Russell, in Arlington, VA.
If you'd like to connect with Jake, feel free to do so via LinkedIn.
China Hoffman is a part-time student who commutes to TC from Park Slope, Brooklyn. This semester, she's also interning at RiseBoro Community Partnership in Bushwick, a large social services organization that works towards "holistic community revitalization" through a range of services including job placement, building affordable housing, senior centers, youth after-school programs and much, much more. China has spent most of her time there developing a strategy for staff development and training, and she has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to apply classroom theory in the real world. She'd like to work in the non-profit sector after graduation.
When China isn't working, she's usually hanging out with her kids, cooking something, or reading a novel (Currently reading: The Animators, by Kayla Rae Whitaker).
Chaveso 'Chevy' Cook is a 2013 MA graduate who is currently an Army Officer working in Psychological Operations at Fort Bragg, NC. He is an Operations Director for a battalion level organization specializing in the African continent seeking to amplify African solutions for African challenges. His unit deploys special operations teams of high performing soldiers and civilians who work to persuade foreign audiences to respect the rule of law, protect minority rights, provide services for their people, and secure their borders.
Chevy values his TC education tremendously. Earlier this year he completed a deployment that took him to Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, U.A.E., Kuwait and Tajikistan. He says that his understanding of group dynamics was invaluable in key leader meetings, work groups and exercises as he and his teams work through hands-on engagements with host nation leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and citizens. He actively uses skills learned in executive coaching when advising and assisting NGOs, local militaries and other partner forces. He's been able to help members of his team understand that changing behavior requires an understanding of both the environment and the people, never missing an opportunity to quote Kurt Lewin. In his spare time Chevy enjoys working out with his wife, Ashley (who is also his personal trainer), and listening to violin concerts courtesy of his 8-year-old daughter, London.
If you'd like to connect with Chevy, feel free to do so via LinkedIn.
Nirupama Narayanaswamy is a current student in the M.A. Program in Organizational Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Driven by the urge to create transformational learning experiences, and to create a bigger impact at the leadership level, she found the M.A. Program to be the best fit for her. She has chosen to focus on Executive Coaching, in addition to her other areas of interest: Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, Group Dynamics, Process Consultation, Change Management, and Cross-Cultural Management.
During her time in the program, she has completed an internship at Montefiore Health Systems as a Talent Management and OD Intern and is currently working as an Intern in the Professional Development and Leadership Team at the Columbia Engineering School. She also served as the Student Senator of the Department of Organization and Leadership, wherein her committee won the “Best Committee of the Year” Award, for introducing academic policy initiatives at the University Level.
Previously, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management (HRM) & Marketing. She has an overall work experience of 6 years in the Information Technology (IT), Education and Healthcare Industries. Before coming to TC, she worked as a Software Engineer in IT Multinational Companies such as Infosys and Robert Bosch, and worked as the Human Resource Management Trainee at Tata Consultancy Services, an IT Multinational Company. Realizing her inclination towards Learning & Development, she joined Trinity Skillworks, an Employability Skills Social-Entrepreneurship Venture, where she imparted Employability Skills Training for students in South India using experiential methodology. Her thirst for knowledge and self-introspection has also motivated her to undergo trainings on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Associate Certified Coaching.
Backed by intent, powered by intellect, and driven by values, she looks forward to pursuing a career in the Leadership Development/Executive Coaching domain, to help people transcend barriers, and transform lives. Being a person of rich and varied interests, she enjoys pencil sketching, painting, singing Indian Classical and light music, reading fiction and self-development books, watching movies, exploring different places, and cuisines and interacting with people from different cultures.
Contact Niru with suggestions, questions, or just to say hello at email@example.com.
Marissa Pipe is a 2016 M.A. graduate who is currently working as a Senior Consultant in People Advisory Services at EY. Right now she is working with a large mining organization to review and assess their current Diversity and Inclusion strategy and to help the client increase the number of women in leadership positions within a traditionally male-dominated organization and industry.
Marissa notes that her time at TC informs her work daily on a daily basis. She told us, "The fundamentals of organizational change and the Burke Litwin model, of course, are something that I refer to all the time. I also learned so much about group/team dynamics that I leverage very frequently - from an executive leadership client meeting to an internal team session, I am constantly noticing the way that people interact with one another, the authority they have, and using myself as an instrument." When she's not working, Marissa enjoys binge watching This Is Us on Netflix and is loving every mushy second of it.
If you'd like to connect with Marissa, feel free to do so via LinkedIn.
Ian Rios is currently a second-year student in the Social-Organizational Psychology M.A. program. What Ian loves most about the program is how broad the opportunities are to make the program what you want. He's been a bit of an academic dilettante, spreading his time between OD, consulting, conflict resolution, and coaching. This Fall, he is enjoying being a full-time student after 3 years working as a full-time officer in Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where he created and executed Diversity and Inclusion efforts to service the Computer Science PhD and Post-doctoral community. He has also been combining his background in education with his consulting training as a consultant at Solomon Admissions Consulting this semester.
As a native New Yorker and former educator, Ian finds joy in what comes from the exchange of different perspectives. He has cultivated a passion for doing work in the Diversity and Inclusion space and also sees his future career involving work in trainings, Learning and Development, Coaching, or anything involving client-centered work. This year, Ian happily took on a role in the OHDCC leadership team as Director of Alumni Affairs where he has been thrilled to connect TC's vast and vibrant Social-Organizational Psychology alumni community with all of the bustling energy vibrating throughout the current student community here at TC.
Outside of a full life as a student at TC, Ian spends his time cooking up a storm of Asian food in the kitchen. Of late, he's recently been working on his repertoire of vegetarian dishes to accommodate his growing number of dietary-restricted friends (looking at you, OHDCC leadership team). When not in front of a stove, Ian will happily carve out a few hours for a weekend board gaming session. Challengers welcome!
Tyler Sharp is a second-year student in the Social-Organizational Psychology M.A. program, with a background in Human Resources Management. Last semester, she served as Kappa Delta Pi's Vice President, ushering in the Honor Society's class of Fall 2018 initiates. Outside of her academic involvement, she is currently completing an HR internship with NBC Entertainment. In her few years of work experience so far, Tyler has had the opportunity to work in several industries, including pharmaceuticals, non-profit, luxury fashion, off-price retail, and most recently, media. The resulting exposure to different company cultures -- some toxic and some healthy -- initially sparked her interest in returning to school to learn more about effective management.
Through Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations program, the Social-Organizational Psychology program at Teachers College, and various internships and externships, Tyler's focus has turned mostly to organizational behavior and diversity. In particular, she was fascinated by the ways in which stereotypes, unconscious biases and microaggressions interact to disparately impact the careers that minorities experience. Her hope in joining this program was to learn about the dynamics driving discriminatory employment practices and behaviors, and to acquire the skills necessary to foster a more equitable and comfortable workplace for employees from marginalized groups.
One thing that Tyler loves about this program is its emphasis on cultural sensitivity and respect for others. There is a real importance placed on the experiences of people from different backgrounds, and how these cultural differences may impact their interactions and understanding of the world. Having participated in a program that acknowledges and celebrates differences, rather than trying to diminish them, has been a refreshing and invaluable experience.
In her final semester, Tyler is focusing on successfully completing her NBC internship NBC and deciding on her next career move. Outside of work and school, she enjoys listening to music and singing. She is a faithful member of the Bee-Hive (Beyoncé's fanbase) and can be found around campus faintly singing Destiny's Child songs.
Annie Dickson is a proud 2015 alum of the MA program, and presently works as an HR Business Partner at General Electric (GE). Following graduation, Annie joined GE's HR Leadership Program, where she moved around the US to complete multiple assignments in Organizational and Talent Development and HR client support.
In her present role, Annie partners with the Chief Digital Officer of Current by GE to develop and implement the people strategy for global Digital Product Management and Software Engineering teams. Her work focuses on executive coaching, organizational design, change management, M&A readiness and integration, employee engagement, and workforce planning. Annie loves GE's culture of continuous learning, which has provided life-long mentors and challenged her to push boundaries.
Annie presently lives in Oakland, CA, where she spends most of her time outside of work hiking, drawing, attending yoga class, and enjoying a cold beer with friends and family.
Annie would be delighted to connect - feel free to reach out to her through LinkedIn.
Craig Aman is a captain in the U.S. Army and a full-time student in the Social-Organizational Psychology M.A. Program. He is one of 24 military service members part of this year's Eisenhower Leader Development Program (ELDP). Craig is passionate about leveraging our most valuable asset of human capital and has stated the coursework and deliberate reflection designed into the program have been pivotal in his development.
Prior to joining the Organizational Psychology team, Craig has served in various roles as a Medical Service Corps Officer, including time in Washington State, Virginia, North Carolina, and a deployment to Iraq. Whether he was in command of 82 medical personnel charged with providing tactical medical care and evacuation as part of a 4,500 paratrooper Army unit, managing a small staff coordinating inter-theater personnel and logistics movements, or navigating covert operations in staff meetings, Craig has observed countless interactions and artifacts that speak directly to the value one gains from the tenets and theories presented in this program.
Craig is most thankful for the direct and indirect lessons he has absorbed from Dr. Burke, the critical insights gained from Dr. Church's course which he has directly applied to the Army's strategic talent management task force, and most importantly, the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from his colleagues.
Following this program, Craig will be assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point as a Tactical Officer overseeing a 120-Cadet company. In this position, he will coach, mentor, and set an environment to assist in West Point's mission to commission leaders of character for service to the nation as second lieutenants in the Army.
Craig's wife, Alison, is also an active duty Army officer who is completing her master's degree through Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). In addition to his studies, Craig enjoys spending time with Alison and their three children (with a fourth on the way), painting, gardening, backpacking, hiking, and listening to audiobooks.
Alexandra Rivera is a proud graduate of the 2010 MA class who could not have imagined the opportunities that followed after her TC days. She is currently an AVP of Learning & Development at OppenheimerFunds, where she has spent the last two years providing L&D opportunities for the Legal, Risk and Compliance functions and broader change and talent development initiatives for the firm.
After graduating from Teachers College, Alex moved to Arizona and became a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Specialist. While not exactly the job she had in mind after graduating from the MA program, finding a "relevant" job in a new city with no professional connections was a humbling experience. However, she quickly learned that with the right manager invested in your growth, development and contributions, a seemingly irrelevant job can still move your career forward.
After two years in Arizona, Alex moved back to New York where she spent over four years in the Organizational Development and Learning team at NYU Langone Health System as a Training Specialist and later as an Organizational Development Specialist, primarily focused on small group interventions and change management. Alex left NYU to pursue other opportunities and coincidentally now works alongside a fellow TC alum.
Today, Alex is leading efforts to help employees manage the changes associated with the firm's recent acquisition by Invesco. She will be joining the combined firm in May as a People Development Consultant.
Alex lives in Brooklyn in a multicultural and multi-generational home with her husband, mother, and her twin daughters. She enjoys dancing with her girls in the living room, the occasional date night, and running in Prospect Park.
Alex loves building connections with fellow TC students and alumni. Don't hesitate to connect with her on LinkedIn.
Kopal Manglik is a second-year master's candidate in Social-Organizational Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Kopal was born in India and grew up in Hong Kong, and she holds a bachelor's degree in Economics and Finance. She has worked and interned across a range of organizations, including a boutique recruitment agency, a UN organization and McKinsey & Co. Currently, her research interests include team effectiveness, social networks analysis and people analytics. After graduation, she plans to continue to gain research experience and to pursue a PhD.
In addition, Kopal is involved in group relations work and is the Vice President of the organizational psychology student organization, OHDCC. She is also an avid Broadway fan and has seen 13 shows during her time in the master's program.
Additionally, Jennifer is passionate about cultivating community. She is currently working with The Cosmos, an international community that helps Asian women flourish and thrive. In her free time, you can find Jennifer urban hiking with her mini goldendoodle or hunting for the best boba spot in town.
Feel free to connect with Ankita on LinkedIn.
In his spare time, Greg tries to squeeze in many hobbies, which include writing music, photo restoration, reading, sports, and when his brain and body are tapped out, TV, movies, and video games.
Feel free to connect with Geeta on LinkedIn.
Clifton Wallace is currently a second-year student in the Social-Organizational Psychology MA Program. After graduating from American University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Clifton joined Teach for America’s 2011 Corp in New York city, where he pursued a Master’s in Education teaching students with learning disabilities. He became a special education teacher and a founding special education administrator for an all-girls uncommon charter school in Brooklyn.
Clifton first became interested in organizational psychology during his final semester at American University and explored it further as a special education administrator. During his time as an educator, he became particularly interested in coaching and training, diversity and inclusion in education, and the impact of systems and processes on staff and student culture. After seven years as an educator he decided to pursue a degree in Organizational Psychology to learn how to help organizations align their systems and processes with their mission and vision.
For the last two years, Clifton has worked as Operations Specialist at Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educator-created materials. In this role he supports educators around the world who create rigorous and engaging resources for teachers and students to use globally. In addition, he organizes specialty tournaments at Gotham Volleyball, a volunteer run LGBTQA Volleyball organization in NYC, where he gets to use organizational psychology frameworks to improve member experience.
Clifton loves planning events that bring people together, learning about different cultures, traveling, cooking, and training and competing in volleyball tournaments. He believes one of the best things about the program has been connecting with and learning from really thoughtful classmates who care deeply about people and want to make a difference.
Juliane Corman graduated from the Social-Organizational Psychology MA program in 2017. While at TC, she developed a specific interest in coaching and group dynamics. She is currently an independent coach and consultant, splitting her time as a one-on-one Leadership and Executive Coach and as a member of the Leadership Team for 6 Team Conditions, working with Ruth Wageman.
After spending some time developing and leading management trainings, Juliane received her coaching certification and started her own coaching company (Juliane Corman Coaching + Consulting). She now contracts with companies to work with their leaders/managers and is currently a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation (ICF), working with clients ranging from founders to new managers. She has worked with clients in companies including Reddit, New York Times, Department of Education, and Taboola, among others.
In her other capacity, Juliane works with Ruth Wageman and Krister Lowe as a member of the Leadership Team, Trainer, and Facilitator at 6 Team Conditions. Juliane was first introduced to the 6 Conditions for Team Effectiveness at TC in the book Leading Teams, which Richard Hackman wrote with Ruth Wageman. Using the 6 Conditions Framework and the Team Diagnostic Survey (TDS), Juliane supports the launch or re-launch of teams in organizations to set them up for success. Juliane is also a facilitator of their TDS Advanced Practitioner Certification, training HR professionals and practitioners on how the TDS and framework can be used to set up great teams and brilliant collaborations.
Juliane credits TC for putting her on the path to doing work she loves and having the opportunity to work independently, especially as a mom. When not working, Juliane spends time learning about the world from her 2-year-old son and now knows a lot about construction vehicles. She loves going to the theater, watching classic movies, and traveling whenever she has the opportunity.
Nadege holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Area Studies Eurasia from the United States Military Academy at West Point. She also has a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Webster University, as well as a Master of Arts in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University's Teachers College.
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.
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.
Katrina Monton is a second-year M.A. student in the Social-Organizational Psychology program. Prior to attending TC, Columbia University, she was a professional athlete on the Canadian Women’s National Water Polo team, competing in five Aquatic World Championships, two Pan American Games, and countless tournaments at the national and international level. Following her retirement from team Canada, she completed a M.A. in Counselling Psychology at McGill University, in her hometown, Montreal, Canada.
During her time at TC, Katrina has become passionate about the intersection between social justice and sport. As an athlete, she experienced positive and negative coaching, leadership, and sport culture first-hand. Katrina’s athletic experiences have become a driving force in her life and have prompted her to pursue a number of opportunities in this area. This past summer, she was a program research associate with the US Center for Safe Sport, where she assisted with the development and evaluation of content for training programs related to the safety, equity, and inclusion for Olympic and Paralympic athletes in the United States. Katrina is currently a program officer and safe sport advisor with the Equality League, a non-profit that seeks to advance gender equity and safety in sport. As well, she is a research fellow at the Canadian Olympic Committee, where she conducted a study investigating the role of well-being and sport-life balance on athletic performance at the 2019 Pan/Para Pan American Games.
Katrina hopes to continue her academic journey next fall in a doctoral program. She is passionate about developing the skills necessary to become a practitioner who cultivates safe, equitable and inclusive sport environments. Katrina’s current research endeavor involves combining her athletic and academic interests to explore the impact of organizational culture on athlete safety.
Natalie Keretho is a 2018 MA graduate. Based in New York, she is working at Dow Jones as the People Development and Engagement Associate and Project Manager overseeing the strategic planning and execution of her team’s projects. Her work spans across organizational development, performance management, talent reviews, employee engagement, and executive programs. Natalie’s proudest accomplishment was the design and execution of 'IGNITE,' an award-winning women’s leadership program. She finds a great deal of joy in creating space for individuals to discover passion and achieve the best version of themselves.
Originally from Thailand, Natalie has a unique experience working across various cultures and industries. She previously worked in the public sector at the United States Agency for International Development in Bangkok. This experience sparked her interest in social psychology and the role it plays in organizational success.
After moving to New York, Natalie immersed herself in the new culture and built an incredible network of colleagues and life-long friends at TC. Beyond attending classes, she once served on the Group Relations Conference’s Administration team — one of the most memorable learning experiences during her time at TC.
In her free time, Natalie dedicates her energy to mastering a perfect shot of espresso and making latte art — a newly found hobby that keeps her occupied during the pandemic.
Feel free to connect with Natalie on LinkedIn.
Dr. Shari Bowen is a student in the Social-Organizational Psychology MA program and is part of the group of Army officers that comprise the Eisenhower Leadership Development Program (ELDP). She is the co-founder of House of Clay International Ministries LLC, where she spreads Christian education throughout the United States and the Caribbean.
As a logistics officer for the Army, Shari has led a plethora of teams and has been directly involved in organizational change efforts. Her experience includes leader development, organizational change, and cultural transformation within Army organizations and church communities. Moreover, as a mother of six and wife of Randolph, a wounded veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Shari has firsthand experience managing complex group dynamics.
Upon completion of the MA program, Shari will teach leadership in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department at West Point. In this role, she will have the opportunity to coach and mentor cadets, thus influencing the next generation of Army leaders. She has always had a passion for nurturing and developing young minds.
Shari anticipates becoming a professor in organizational leadership following her Army career. She and her family enjoy riding motorcycles, singing, and helping people.
Colin Corcoran is a first-year M.A. student in the Social-Organizational Psychology program. Before attending Teachers College - Columbia University, he ran his own residential interior design studio. While working as an interior designer, Colin discovered a passion for understanding human behavior. A drive to understand his clients on a deeper level allowed Colin to interpret their needs in the context of creating beautiful and uniquely functional spaces that improved the way his clients lived their lives. Through his human-centered interior design work, Colin learned how to navigate family organizations, the dynamics of couples' relationships, and other intimate parts of human life, including religion, race, and culture.
Colin's passion for interpreting people motivated deeper learning and the pursuit of a new career path. The S-OP MA program at TC was an ideal opportunity for Colin to use his experience within a dynamic learning community to gain the skills needed to effect real change in organizations and society. With a deep understanding of human behavior and continued experiential learning, Colin is confident that he will be able to co-create individualized organization change capable of fostering new ways for people to work, produce and impact our global community.
Colin began an internship this spring with Veldhoen + Company, a leading international consultancy specializing in integrated workplace strategy, using the philosophy they founded called Activity Based Working. Veldhoen uses a holistic approach to organization change to foster new ways of working capable of having a global impact by transforming how we all work. Veldhoen's integrated approach believes physical space is a crucial element of whole organization change. Colin will use his experience as an interior designer to bring value to Veldhoen while simultaneously applying his new knowledge from TC and gaining ongoing experiential learning.
Eventually, Colin aspires to be a catalyst for impactful change in the organizations within our society. His ultimate goal is to work and support change leaders in organizations to develop diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments focused on meeting all organization members' needs. Colin believes that a holistic, integrated, and strategic approach to change that prioritizes individual and collective needs is the strongest way for organizations to achieve their goals.
Gun Jun (David) Yoon is a 2017 M.A. graduate in Social-Organizational Psychology. Prior to TC, he majored in Communication Studies at UCLA and worked at the National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Korea. His inspiration to learn more led him to TC, where he sought to expand his intellectual as well as professional horizons, and to explore the intersection between Eastern and Western practices. During the M.A. program, he developed a special interest in conflict resolution, leadership, group dynamics, and organizational development (OD).
After returning to Korea, David chose to live in solitude for two years. He traveled alone, practiced meditation, read hundreds of books, and studied East-Asian classics including Saju (a traditional multi-purposed study in East Asia known as “the four pillars of destiny”). He thinks this journey of soul-searching and finding the meaning of life was one of the best moments of his life.
David is currently working at SL, a car component manufacturing conglomerate whose clients include Hyundai and Kia in Korea, GM and Ford in the U.S., BMW in Germany, and Geery in China. As a HR Specialist at the company headquarters, he is applying what he learned at TC to lead projects in Global HR, HRM and HRD, which he hopes will positively influence over 12,000 employees worldwide. His passion to help others through advanced knowledge and experience has only just begun.
Michelle Lai is currently a second-year M.A. student in the Social-Organizational Psychology program. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in International Relations, Michelle joined a management development program at a financial institution in Upstate New York, where she had the opportunity to engage in her first organization-wide change management project. This ignited Michelle’s interest in change management, organizational design, and the human aspect of the workplace. After working in the financial industry, Michelle moved home to Ohio where she helped manage her family business for a few years. It was there that she realized her passion for organizational psychology and decided to pursue her master’s degree in the field.
Michelle enjoys her time as a full-time student making new friends and learning more in-depth theories that she can put to practice. During the summer of 2020, Michelle interned at PwC as a summer senior associate where she was able to implement theories she learned from TC as practical solutions for clients. Michelle is excited to be returning to PwC after graduation to start her new career in management consulting.
Samira Abdul-Karim is the Co-founder and Principal Consultant of Hyphens and Spaces, a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consulting company that works to improve inclusive practices and implement meaningful change in organizations dedicated to furthering social causes.
Samira is an organizational psychologist with over 10 years of experience in DEI consulting, leadership and team development, designing learning strategies, coaching, and facilitation. She consults with organizations to generate and execute DEI strategies that create more equitable institutions and support the underrepresented and marginalized individuals within them. She takes a human-centered approach to organizational development and change by designing thoughtful interventions that leave team members and clients feeling empowered and connected. Whether in-person or online, she creates learning experiences that prioritize human connection and interconnectivity.
Samira has always had an interest in the study of people and cultures. She has lived and worked in different countries around the world and applies a culturally relevant perspective to DEI work. Samira’s educational training in anthropology and organizational psychology informs her culturally contextualized view of systems thinking.
Samira holds a master’s degree in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University Teachers College and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Wesleyan University.
Program Director: Dr. Debra Noumair
Teachers College, Columbia University
Room 222 Zankel