Meet the Office of University Life

The Office of University Life is led by Executive Vice President Suzanne Goldberg. A leading expert in sexuality and gender law, Professor Goldberg is also the Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law, founder and director of the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, and co-director of the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School, where she has been on the faculty since 2006.
 
Since her appointment to Executive Vice President for University Life in January 2015, Professor Goldberg has focused the office’s efforts on Columbia as community, working actively on student life, intellectual life and community citizenship across Columbia’s many schools.  Among the programs she has spearheaded are the nationally-recognized Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative, University-wide task forces on Gender-Based Misconduct Prevention and on Race, Ethnicity and Inclusion; and Columbia’s Awakening Our Democracy series focused on race, ethnicity, disparities and justice and other pressing issues of our time.
 

Lauren Silva is the Executive Assistant to Suzanne Goldberg. Prior to University Life, Lauren was a coordinator at Columbia Law School, where she also supported Professor Goldberg. Originally from the California Bay Area, Lauren earned her bachelor's summa cum laude from UCLA, where she studied art and theater. She received her MFA in visual arts from Columbia's School of the Arts and has instructed painting and served as a visiting critic for Columbia's Visual Arts department.

Lauren loves running through Central Park, dancing with friends, cooking spicy vegan food, and painting while listening to audiobooks.

 

Radhika Patel is Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President for University Life, Suzanne Goldberg. Radhika has wide-ranging experience in operations, strategy, and building teams. She previously worked for the American Red Cross as New York State Director of Administration for Long-Term Recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and also expanded operations across the region, finally serving as Director of Recovery for New York State. Prior to this, Radhika worked on large-scale economic development projects and in real estate investment advisory in New York City and abroad for 10 years. Radhika holds master’s degrees in urban planning and international affairs from Columbia University, and earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
 
She enjoys Sakura Park when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom and regards Istanbul as her home away from New York.

 

Ixchel Rosal is Associate Vice President for Student Life in the Office of University Life, developing and implementing programs across Columbia’s undergraduate and graduate schools and collaborating closely with students, administrators and faculty university-wide on student-life issues and student-driven projects. She formerly served as executive director of Student Diversity Initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin and oversaw its Gender and Sexuality Center and Multicultural Engagement Center. Ixchel also worked with community-based arts organizations serving historically marginalized communities, and has been a diversity educator, strategic planner and grant writer for several nonprofit organizations. She holds a B.A. in history from the University of California, Berkeley and her master’s in public affairs with a focus on cultural policy from the University of Texas at Austin.
 
Born in New York City but raised in California and Spain (she once aspired to be a flamenco dancer), Ixchel is enjoying re-exploring the City starting with College Walk. Before motherhood, Ixchel also wrote poetry.

Barbara Chen is senior director of communications for the Office of University Life. She comes to Columbia from Bloomberg Philanthropies' government innovation practice and previously was media relations director with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) until 2014. Prior to that Barbara worked as an ABC News network assignment editor and producer, and was New York Chapter Vice President of Broadcast for the Asian American Journalists Association. She holds a B.A. cum laude in journalism from California State University Fullerton, where she served as a commencement speaker for the College of Communications. She also graduated from the Columbia Business School Police Management Institute, and was its 2011 class speaker.

Barbara enjoys lyricism and is happy to have had a poem published in 2015. She delighted at finding a community Garden of Love on 116th Street.

 

 

Alison Ewing is the director of strategic programs and operations for the Office of University Life. She joins the team from the Office of the President and previously worked in undergraduate Residential Programs while obtaining her master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education administration from Teachers College. Alison also worked in student life at Harvard College. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Cornell University.
 
Alison has run the New York City marathon every year since relocating from Boston in 2012 and her favorite part is the amazing cheering along the course, especially at mile 20 where she often sees many of her Columbia friends and colleagues.

Zach Harrell is the director of student engagement and events for University Life. He joins the office after working at New York University for eight years. Originally from Dallas (#TexasForever), Zach moved to NYC to study Theatre Arts and Directing at Marymount Manhattan College. He also earned his master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs at NYU and has a passion for producing campus events, social justice education, media and technology, and strategic planning.

On weekends, you can find Zach in Brooklyn, at brunch talking politics, seeing every award-nominated movie, or attending a drag show. 

Jody Drafta manages Title IX research and operations for the Office of University Life. She has broad experience in executive support and special projects. Jody comes from Seton Hall University where she managed the renovation of the library and redesign of its signage. She previously worked for the Columbia University Librarian and Vice President for Information Services. 

Jody is also a licensed New York City tour guide specializing in art. She holds an MFA, a BFA and a BA in German literature and humanities from Reed College, in Portland, OR and spent a year studying at the Universität Tübingen, one of Germany’s oldest public research universities. Jody also is learning Romanian.

Erica Lopez is the marketing-communications manager for the Office of University Life. She previously was senior manager of development for the nonprofit organization Asphalt Green and has a background in journalism. Erica wrote for CNN and Fox News, and worked on the assignment desk for ABC News. She holds a bachelor's in English from the State University of New York at Albany and her master’s in branding and integrated communications from the City College of New York. Erica also contributes to the New York Daily News’ Viva, a monthly publication focused on the Latino community.

She loves to sing, share random, unsolicited fun facts, and hang out with her husband and baby boy. Currently, her favorite spot on campus is College Walk/Low Plaza, where the city and the university combine. 

Bryant Roman is program manager for the Office of University Life. He previously served as a district representative for Rep. Nita Lowey (D) in New York’s 17th Congressional District covering education, immigration and income tax regulation, and before that led voting registration and other community outreach for the Westchester Hispanic Coalition. Bryant holds a bachelor’s in English from Boston College and a master’s in Spanish language translation from NYU. He taught English in Madrid, where he also indulged in a diet consisting largely of tapas.

Bryant’s favorite views of Columbia and the city can be seen from the upper floors of the Mudd Building and Schermerhorn Hall.

Laura Migdal is the departmental administrator for the Office of University Life. She previously worked in Columbia’s Office of the Provost as the Executive Assistant to the Vice Provost for Administration and Planning, and has extensive experience in office operations, management and events coordination in the nonprofit sector, recreational programs and higher education. Laura holds a B.A. in cultural anthropology from the State University of New York at Potsdam, is a U.S. Sailing-certified skipper and loves the outdoors, arts and culture.

Her favorite spot on Morningside campus is College Walk where she enjoys the beauty of the trees in each season.

Nina Khampha is the student life coordinator for the Office of University Life. She previously served as Program Coordinator at Vanderbilt University, advising its student programming board and performing arts council. Nina holds a master's in Counselor Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs from Clemson University (where she witnessed the Tigers win the NCAA championship in 2016!). She is a proud Idahoan who earned her bachelor's degree in K-12 Physical Education from Boise State University.

Nina enjoys helping students find their passions in life, watching reruns of The Office, and being active. 

Antonia Forika is the administrative coordinator for the Office of University Life. She previously led learning programs focused on social justice at New York University, her alma mater. Antonia also taught third grade, and coached speech and debate students at The Bronx High School of Science. She holds a degree in childhood and special education with a concentration in psychology.

Antonia's favorite Morningside spot is the Hungarian Pastry Shop, and she is working on learning her grandmother's Hungarian dessert recipes. You can also find her petting friendly dogs on campus.