Meet University Life

Meet University Life

  • Travis Vidic (he/him) is the Associate Director of Operations for University Life. He comes from Columbia University's Office of Religious Life, where he worked as both a student and staff member. He is an alum of Columbia’s School of General Studies, and a recent graduate from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where he received an MA. There, he wrote his thesis under Dr. Farah Griffin on the ontology of riot, through Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “Riot,” and scholars Sylvia Wynter, Antonio Gramsci, and Stuart Hall. He is currently studying performance, Black, and interdisciplinary studies with Fred Moten at NYU. Travis is also passionate about music (live), volunteering with Columbia's Justice in Education Program, and biking down the Hudson when the sun’s got things looking pink.

  • Stephanie Busch is the Assistant Director for Student Life at University Life. She holds a B.A. in American Sign Language and an M.S. in Educational Administration in Student Affairs with a specialization in Academic and Career Advising from the University of Rochester. Before joining University Life, she worked at Columbia University School of Nursing supporting student life, admissions, and student services. Before Columbia, she worked at The School of the New York Times as a Student Life and Communications Specialist.

    Stephanie hails from Long Island and loves the autumn season and her dogs. She's still exploring campus, and so far Stephanie’s favorite spot is College Walk. 

  • Richard Harrill (he/him) is the Executive Director of Community Impact. He earned his BA and JD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and led its Center for Social Justice and Social Innovation for more than a decade. Earlier in his career he served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Hungary and launched an educational foundation in that country that was awarded the Echoing Green Fellowship for successfully introducing service-learning and social entrepreneurship in post-Communist Central Europe. Throughout his career Richard has been a consultant to foundations such as Ford, Open Society, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, helping them design civic engagement programming and policy infrastructure in Europe, the Balkans, Central Asia, and the Caucasus Region. For the past year, he served as Founding Director of Bard College’s Experiential Learning Lab (BELL), designing a platform for students from around the world to live, study, and explore careers pathways in the private, public and non-profit sectors in NYC. Richard returned to Columbia University this summer, where he previously was a youth policy researcher for the School of Social Work from 2001-2002.

  • Rana Khan (she/her) is the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications for University Life. Rana has a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in Psychology and Communications and she is a first-generation immigrant.

    Prior to joining Columbia University, Rana was at the NYC Department of Education for over 17 years in various operational roles and supported the planning and implementation of several strategic initiatives, including all COVID crisis planning and response, for all 1,800+ NYC public schools.

    Rana is a big nature and animal advocate. In her downtime, she loves to read, travel and experience life with her friends. Rana is passionate about education and feels it is the real way to institute change in the world.

  • Peter Donatich (he/him) is an Executive Assistant for University Life. Peter started his Columbia career in the Office of the President where he worked as Senior Administrative Coordinator for several years. Before Columbia, he worked at Oxford University Press and DC Comics. In addition to publishing, he worked in consulting and lobbying. Peter earned a B.A. in English from Amherst College, he has a fondness for karaoke and enjoys exploring New York City with his wife and friends.

  • Niko Crawford is the First Year Experience Coordinator at University Life. He has experience in student support roles at Columbia and New York University focused on connecting students to resources for well-being, sexual respect, and social justice. He is pursuing a Master's Degree at Teachers College in Politics and Education, centered on building democratic and anti-racist pedagogies.

    Niko hails from the Bay Area, California, and is a current Brooklynite and lover of RnB and Filipino food. He loves to take in the views of the Amsterdam overpass bridge.

  • Nicolas Duran (he/him) is the Events & Operations Manager for University Life. He has worked previously as a staff member of Columbia’s Religious Life team and Residential Life team. He is an alum of Columbia College, where he studied Music. In addition to his role at University Life, he is the vocal quartet Tenor at the Church of St. Edward the Martyr where he serves on the Vestry, and he organizes the Open Mic at the Mobilization for Change Garden on Tuesday nights. Apart from his official roles, he loves to read, play piano, tend his garden plot, CitiBike, dance, and write poetry. He is planning on studying poetry at Columbia’s School of the Arts starting Fall of 2024.

  • Lori Paulson (she/her) is the Strategic Initiatives Manager for University Life, working with both the communications team and the Student Affairs Network. Before joining University Life, she worked at the School of General Studies. Lori's interest in web design and communications strategy stems back to the early internet days of Angelfire and Geocities, where she liked to build websites about her cats and favorite musicians (not a lot has changed). She's also passionate about viewing the student experience holistically and creating systems to support students from the ground up.

  • Joseph Defraine Greenwell serves as Senior Vice President for Student Affairs in University Life. A leader and strategic partner in student affairs for more than 20 years, he has served at the University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco State, Stanford, Colgate, and Vanderbilt Universities. In his role at University Life, Joseph partners with Columbia's 17 schools, central student services and students, staff and faculty on a wide range of student affairs and campus climate topics. He focuses on wellness and mental well-being, equity and inclusion, and community citizenship in order to best support students at Columbia and beyond. 

    Joseph received his Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University, where he also earned his Bachelor of Music and Master in Education degrees. He is passionate about the arts, plays piano, enjoys exercise and hiking, and is excited to collaborate with all members of the Columbia University community to continually enhance the student experience.

  • Jennifer Haastrup (she/her) is the Program Manager for Student Life, Inclusion & Belonging. Prior to joining University Life, Jennifer worked at Fordham University School of Law where she served as the Program Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the three years. In that role she led anti-racism workshops for faculty, students and staff, managed pipeline programs, produced student-facing events and advised student organizations. Jennifer is also a licensed social worker in the state of New York. In her role at University Life, Jennifer oversees the Graduate Initiative for Inclusion & Engagement and the Social Justice Mini Grant program.

  • Jada Sherrod (she/her) is a Graduate Assistant at University Life. She is pursuing her Master of Health Administration in the department of Health Policy and Management at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Jada decided to pursue a career in health administration to address the health disparities that exist in minority and marginalized populations.

    Previously, Jada attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN where she received Bachelor of Arts degrees in French and in Chemistry. She worked as a Health Plan Operations Intern with Fidelis Care and a Healthcare Finance Teaching Assistant with Columbia University. She has experience in student leadership roles, and she is currently the External Affairs Chair for the Black and Latinx Student Caucus at Mailman.

  • Rev. Dr. Ian Rottenberg directs Columbia’s Earl Hall Center for Religious Life. Dean Rottenberg has academic degrees in philosophy and theology from Haverford College, Yale University, and Fordham University. As a leader of faith communities, he is passionate about increasing multi-faith dialogue, promoting mutual understanding, and working to meet the diverse religious needs of our university community. 

    He loves appreciating Columbia’s collection of outdoor sculptures and frequenting the many great coffee shops on and around campus.

  • Eunisha Tucker (she/they) is the Project Coordinator for Student Life, Inclusion & Belonging at University Life. She has experience implementing DEI-centered programming, events, and trainings to enhance student sense of belonging and promote cultural competency amongst faculty, staff, and admin. They recently completed their master's in Higher Education Student Affairs at New York University. They served as the graduate assistant for programs and events with the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs.

    Eunisha is a native New Yorker hailing from Brooklyn. She enjoys listening to K-pop and Beyoncé, creating playlists on Spotify, and watching anime. They look forward to exploring more of the campus and discovering their favorite restaurant on the West Side!

  • Emma Winters (she/her) is the Content Strategist & Editorial Coordinator for University Life at Columbia. Prior to joining University Life, she managed communications for three years at the Center for Migration Studies of New York, a think tank and educational institute that studies international migration and promotes rights-respecting immigration policy. She began her career reporting Catholic news and working on audio, newsletters, and social media at America Media. Emma is a 2018 graduate of Boston College.

  • Dawoom Jung (she/her) is a Graduate Assistant at University Life. She is studying Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy with a specialization in International Organizations and UN Studies at the School of International and Public Affairs.

    Before joining Columbia University, she worked as a Communications Officer at an Asia-Pacific regional organization in South Korea. She also has experience in student leadership roles at Yonsei University, where she holds her B.A. in International Studies, and Justice and Civil Leadership. Dawoom is from Seoul, South Korea but she grew up in Aurangabad, India for most of her life. She is fluent in both Korean and Hindi and loves to explore the diverse Asian cultures and cuisines in NYC.

  • David Beltran (he/him) is the Social & Multimedia Specialist for University Life. He has a BA in Journalism from Brooklyn College and has spent the past few years in the non-profit and public education world where he loved sharing the stories of students and staff alike on social media. 

    David was born and raised in Queens and is a big New York sports fan. You can often find him at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field catching a baseball game, but he's also looking forward to exploring his new home at Columbia University. 

  • Camilla Nelson (she/her) is the Administrative Coordinator for University Life. Camilla joins University Life with an event planning and operations background in the fashion and financial services industries. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Retail, Merchandising, and Product Development from Florida State University. Originally from Miami, FL, Camilla is a proud Brazilian-American who spends her free time performing in musicals, enjoying Central Park, and honing her volleyball skills. Her favorite place on campus is College Walk when the trees are decorated for the holiday season. 

  • Alexa Oord (she/they) is the Associate Director of Administration & Special Projects in University Life. They previously worked as the Administrative Assistant for Undergraduate Student Life in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. Alexa holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Harvard University and an M.A. in Gender/Cultural Studies from Simmons University. She spends her free time listening to science-fiction audiobooks while working on her latest crochet, embroidery, or sewing project. 

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