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ASEP Biannual Barnard College

Message from ASEP Volume 1, Issue 4

The Academic Success and Enrichment Program (ASEP) staff is very glad to present the fourth issue of the ASEP newsletter. We are committed to

providing opportunities that will enrich and complement the intellectual life of all students. We work in collaboration with various College offices to achieve its objectives in recognition of the College’s mission: to engage students in rigorous academic experiences while providing the support needed to meet academic challenges and to discover their own capabilities. Since its inception in 2008, we have used the newsletter as a medium to display the

Spring 2013 The Newsletter for the Academic Success and Enrichment Programs at Barnard College Dean Michell Tollinchi-Michel

incredible accomplishments that students within our programs have been engaging in. It is with great delight that we present articles written by current Barnard Students and Barnard Alumnae. We hope you enjoy it!

We are very excited to congratulate our graduating strong beautiful Barnard women and wish them success in their lives post Barnard!

Miss Virgin Islands Camila Daniels (CD) is currently a senior at Barnard College majoring in applied mathematics and the current president of the Black Organization of Soul Sisters (BOSS). She was crowned Miss Virgin Islands on July 23rd, 2011. Below is an interview conducted by Mariany Polanco (MP) where we get first hand insight on Camila’s experiences in the pageant!

MP: How did you become interested in running for Miss Virgin Islands? CD: I became interested in running for Miss Virgin Islands as a senior in high school. I attended the pageant and played the Virgin Islands March and National Anthem, and I was very impressed by the contestants that year. MP: How would you describe your experience in the compe-

tition? CD: It definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but I learned a lot from the other contestants. There were women who had already graduated from college and had started their own businesses, who were pursuing professional degrees, and Miss Massachusetts was already a dental hygienist! Continued on page 5

Inside this issue: Miss Virgin Islands


From Nepal to Spelman To


The Lechon Mask


The STEP Experience


Reflections of a Recent Grad


Making Strides Globally


From STEP to Barnard


Women Changing Brazil


The Annual CSTEP Conference 7 Farewell


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From Nepal To Spelman—To Barnard My name is Palpasa Manandhar. My major is Mathematics and I am planning to pursue a graduate degree in Biostatistics. I took Introduction to Modern Analysis, Hinduism, Analysis and Optimization, Inference to Statistical Methods and Modern Dance 1 at Barnard/Columbia in Spring 2012. Due to the unstable political situation in Nepal and the amazing opportunities available in the United States, it is a big dream for students from Nepal to study in the United States. Inspired by my father, I also had the same aspirations. However, it was necessary for me to get a good scholarship because it is very expensive to study as an international student. I applied to a lot of colleges and received funding from very few. However, at Spelman College, I received the Bonner Scholarship for community service which covered my tuition, room and board. That was the best opportunity that I had ever received and delighted about that, I got excited to trav-

el to the States to pursue my education. The big transition was not as easy as I had imagined. It was a challenge to be away from home in a completely different environment with very few international students. But as time passed, I managed to adapt to the new place and focused on my goal. While at Spelman, I learned about the Barnard/Spelman Domestic Exchange Program. I thought it would be an interesting experience to study in a different university for a semester. New York City was a place everyone recommended that I visit and Barnard was the perfect place for me to embark on that journey. I had a wonderful semester at Barnard and it ended so fast. It felt great to be in such a diverse environment. There were so many events organized by students from various backgrounds. I was very

happy to be one of the performers in ‘Tamasha’ organized by the club ‘Zamana’. Also I was able to take some classes that were not offered at Spelman. All in all, I am glad that I decided to visit Barnard.

Palpasa sitting on Columbia Low Library steps

Thesis Topic: The Lechon Mask Stephanie Marchena graduated last year from Barnard College with a major in Art History. She is currently applying to PhD programs and fellowships and is still very much involved with MMUF. Below is her reflection on the process of conducting research and writing her thesis.

strated that the Lechon functioned both as a municipal symbol for Santiago and as a deceive of memory. It also transcended the borders of the island and reached the hands of Santiagueros, outside of the Caribbean, who continued to feel a connection with their native city.

What was your thesis topic? My thesis project focused on the Folkloric arts of Carnival in the Dominican Republic. I argued that the Lechon, a character of the Carnival, functions as a municipal symbol for Santiago because of its connections to Santiago's early colonial history and because of the government's support of mask making traditions. Through a visual analysis of the lives and works of two artists, one residing in Santiago and the other in the United States, I demon-

How did you become interested in this topic? I became interested in this topic partly because of my Dominican heritage; but also from a frustration of the lack of art history courses on Latin American and Caribbean Art. I decided to go ahead with a project I was interested in, and luckily, the following semester a course titled "Caribbean Art" was offered in the fall by Professor Kellie Jones. This course and the professor, who later became my

thesis advisor, helped me a great deal during the research process of my thesis. How did you go about conducting your research? I began by doing a lot of reading! I learned about the history of Carnival, the Dominican Republic, and read a lot of scholarly articles on Carnival theory. From all of my readings, an article on memory by Domonique Breibon allowed me to stumble upon the overall argument of my thesis. I also felt that it was important to travel to the Dominican Republic to witness the Carnival firsthand and to interact with artists who made the masks of the Lechon. Thus, fieldwork became the second method in my research

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Thesis Topic: The Lechon Mask process. The interviews I conducted and my travels to the Island were very helpful for me because they provided me with a perspective that I was not going to obtain from textbooks.

Stephanie Marchena with Dominican mask maker Ivan Erickson.

How would you describe your experience writing your thesis? Writing my thesis was difficult! It was challenging to write such an extensive research paper, particularly when having so much information that you want to provide to your readers. Finding a balance between what information to include and

omit was the most challenging part for me. Who helped you fund your research? Without the support of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, I would not have been able to take my research outside of the library. MMUF provided me with great mentors, funding for my trips to the Dominican Republic, and other expenses pertaining to my research. I am very grateful for all of the help I received.

The STEP Experience for Tionney Nix STEP has helped cultivate my academic goals and aspirations. I have surrounded myself with a cohort of friends who have shared their ambitions with me as well as provided me with constructive criticism, encouragement, and support towards my own. It has prepared me for college since I first joined in my sophomore year of high school, and the combination of support and hard work of the staff, instructors and students alike have helped me attain my goals. I have attended the Saturday enrichment classes and the 5-week summer program that Barnard College STEP offers since my sophomore year of high school. During my first summer, I learned how to play chess. At first I did not move with speed, but I acquired great analytical and strategic skills that I would not have gained had I not learned the game. I soon fell in love with chess and devoted sometime every day to continue building my skills as a chess player. After just one year of chess lessons, in the Spring of 2012 I won the 1st place trophy in a field of over 150 participants in my first competition—an annual science, technology, engineering, and math scholastic exposition called Super Saturday. In addition to my exposure to chess,

STEP allowed me to explore the tech start up world by way of an internship. It wasn’t just the location near the iconic Times Square or the fancy design, but the friendly tech atmosphere and the ‘Stay Rad’ sign at the check-in table that made my first experience at The Alley love at first sight. These were my immediate thoughts upon completing my first day at The Alley. The Alley is a co-working space that houses many of the beginning startups in NYC’s growing tech community. I was introduced to this space when Barnard STEP Digital Media instructor, Mr. Daniel Day, negotiated the possibility of an internship with a female entrepreneur who has a track record of incubating technology start-up companies. As a senior at Saint Jean Baptiste High School, my experience at the Alley, surrounded by a community of ambitious and creative tech experts, helped me get acquainted with my desired profession—a career in software and program engineering. My internship introduced me to the world of technology from the ground up and gave me that priceless backstage view of the workings behind the tech community. I learned coding in several software languages and also learned about the busi-

ness and marketing efforts that are necessary to have a successful company. The expeTionney Nix in STEP riences that I gained thus far have been truly invaluable. In my senior year of high school and of the STEP program, I applied for the Questbridge scholarship, and have been granted a full four year scholarship to Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where I will be attending in the Fall of 2013. I plan on studying computer science as well as political science, a second love of mine. Although I will be leaving STEP soon, the influence and impact that STEP has had on me will always resonate. I know I can come back at anytime and still be called “Nixie,” (as I was affectionately called) and receive the same support and encouragement that I got as a student in the STEP Program.

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Reflections of a Recent Grad—Britney Wilson ing in a lab in the Environmental Health Sciences Department at the Mailman School of Public Health. This research later turned into my senior thesis, which examined the effects of obesity on exhaled nitric oxide concentrations, a commonly used biomarker for asthma. I would not have been able to spend almost two years on this research project without the gracious financial support from CSTEP and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. Funding from CSTEP also made it possible for me to travel to Kenya to complete a Tropical Biology course that focused on developing and improving students’ field research skills. Britney Wilson in Barnard Commencement May 2012 along side President Obama

Through CSTEP I was exposed to many amazing opportunities one of which was a research internship with AMGEN Scholars. During my junior year I began work-

These numerous research opportunities along with different leadership roles such as serving as a Residential Assistant for three years, being a part of The Network of Pre-medical Students volunteering committee, and my strong academic record resulted in me earning numerous honors during my time at Barnard. I was

awarded the Donald and Nancy Award given to students conducting a biological study or research, the Barnard Leadership Award, and I had the honor of presenting the beloved Sally Chapman with the Barnard Medal of Honor at the May 2012 commencement. Currently I am residing in Boston participating in a Post Baccalaureate Research Program (PREP) at the Molecular Oncology Research Institute at Tufts University. The PREP is a 1-2 year program funded by a federal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by the Sackler School and is designed to prepare under-represented trainees for leadership in biomedical research and for entry into PhD or MD/PhD programs. My research focuses on differentiation states of basal and luminal breast cancer. I am a volunteering at the Tufts Floating Hospital for Children and mentoring Boston youth and will be applying to MD/PhD programs this summer.

Making Strides on a Global Scale My name is Weyu Hodge and I am a graduating senior at Barnard. During my time here, I’ve had life changing and overall wonderful opportunities. I have always been passionate about service to the community, and wanted to explore that on an international level. I became a Mellon Mays Fellow in spring 2011 and participated in the Esperanza International Inc. internship in Ecuador. These programs allowed me to live in the Amazon for the summer of 2011 with the indigenous Secoya people to gain a better understanding of how oil companies affect community life. After my experience in Ecuador, I was further inspired to live and learn more about indigenous populations in Latin America. In spring 2012, I studied abroad in Bolivia to learn about the preservation of Afro-Bolivian culture

using this material to complete my senior thesis. I hope to highlight oral histories as evidence of a shift in how AfroBolivian identity was defined in the past and how it is defined today. Moving forward, I hope to use public health as a means to educate survivors of trauma and help them overcome their circumstances. What definitely is a constant for me is to work with underserved communities on an international level. I have applied Taken in Secoya Indigenous community- Ecuadorian to the Peace Corps as well as Amazon for a Fulbright Fellowship as a within that community. I was able to means to continue making strides on a record songs and narratives from memglobal scale. bers of this community and I am currently

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From STEP to Barnard—Chantal Mota “Any questions, comments, concerns?” This is a phrase I heard constantly at the devoted and compassionate Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP ) at Barnard College. The beauty about STEP is that it shows that the students who join the program have made a choice. A choice to take a Saturday or a summer course and make it a learning, and more importantly, a growing experience. It confirms that all of us embrace scholarship. I was determined to join and remain in STEP because I wanted the upper hand. I wanted to make sure that when the time came, I would get to choose my college, my college wouldn’t choose me.

Eighth grade is when the cultivating adventure began. I was taught to do more and strive for more. Academically, I was now always prepared and ahead in class. I engaged in extracurricular activities such as chess and tennis, which I grew to love. The staff was always there for me and our relationships were enriching. I learned so much from all the instructors and they believed in me and brought out my potential. I was introduced to so many colleges and universities through trips and realized what I did and did not want from a school. I learned how to

write a good paper and how to sell myself in a supplement. Finally, STEP introduced me to Barnard. Walking the halls, exploring the campus, and listening in on classes, made me realize that this was my dream school. STEP gave me something to reach for. Through recommendations and assisting me throughout the application process with my essays or any questions I had, I was able to accomplish what I really wanted in life and was accepted into the school of my dreams. Continued of Page 6….

Miss Virgin Islands Continued… It was inspiring to be surrounded by women who worked so hard, especially since pageant contestants are not generally viewed as intellectuals or accomplished business women. MP: What made you look into the pageant? CD: Upon doing further research, I learned that the Miss America organization was a scholarship pageant that encourages young women to pursue higher education and be active in their communities through the implementation of personal platforms. MP: How would you describe your interactions with the contestants? CD: We had a lot of fun together! While we were in Las Vegas, we spent about a week and a half there before the competition making appearances at different venues and filming promotional footage for Miss America's sponsors. We ate at famous restaurants, hosted a fashion show for Express, and got to spend time in really beautiful hotels and casinos for filming. We really did get along well with

each other and I genuinely enjoyed my time in Las Vegas.

happy with the friends I've made and experiences I've had.

MP: How did you prepare for the competition? CD: There were five aspects of competition: Lifestyle and Fitness, Talent, Evening Wear, Interview, and the Onstage Questions. To prepare for lifestyle and fitness, I made an effort to monitor my portion sizes and exercise regularly, and for talent, I worked with a professor at the Manhattan School of Music on my piece. For Evening wear, I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky and met with Miss America 2000 Heather French-Henry who designed my competition gowns. I had an amazing time trying things on! And lastly to prepare for the interview portion I kept abreast of current affairs by watching the news daily and listening to the radio.

MP: Is there anything about your experience in the competition that you will bring back to Barnard? CD: I definitely have started to take makeup and hair more seriously and may start doing so professionally on campus. I did my own makeup throughout the competition, so if anyone is interested in makeup application they can contact me.

MP: Would you do the competition again? CD: Yes. But I am content with the way everything turned out this time. I love our current Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler (my end of the alphabet buddy!) and I'm

Camila Daniels Photo courtesy of Miss America

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From STEP to Barnard—Chantal Mota... STEP was like music. I’ve always loved music. I learned to play the piano at a young age. Every day I would practice, religiously, a half an hour to an hour. My eyes would lazily graze the notes in front of me, and my hands would falteringly climb up the scale as I practiced my arpegios. But, as the days past, I be-

came more confident and my hands began to glide up and down the piano. I realized what dedication meant. One more hour of practice just meant that much greater a result. STEP was my climb. Every day was just another step up. Every class, every instructor I met at this program was an-

other key up the scale. Not only was I dedicated to the program, but everyone in the program was dedicated to me. And now, after five years, practice is over and I’m ready to put everything I learned to good use during my career in college and beyond.

Chantal Mota

Barnard’s Fifth Annual Global Symposium: Women Changing Brazil Through the Global Symposium’s for the past five years Barnard has begun to create a global dialogue about women’s leadership. Global Symposiums have been held in Beijing, Dubai, Johannesburg, and Mumbai and for its fifth year; Barnard has decided to go to Latin America, more specifically Brazil. In each location Barnard gathers women leaders of all fields, ages, and experiences. The time I spent in Brazil as a Global Symposium Fellow surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. In summer 2012, while interning at Goldman Sachs in the Human Capital Management Division, I worked closely with the Women’s Career Strategy Initiative Program, an initiative at Goldman Sachs that

provides women with the support and skills to optimize their performance in the workplace. While assisting with the research to implement this program I became very interested in women leadership and the role of women in society. The Women Changing Brazil Symposium was the perfect way to continue my interest, especially because while interning, we worked with the Sao Paulo office that was also running the Women’s Career Strategy Initiative Program. Six Barnard women were chosen to attend the Symposium to create and implement workshops for young high school women to explore the role of women’s leadership in Brazil. The six fellows included, Annelise Finney, Mary Glenn, Adriana Moore, Victoria Steinbruch, Dhvani Tombush, and myself. Once the fellows were chosen, we met weekly to plan the workshop. We had the support of many of the staff who were experts on Brazil and the former global symposium fellows who shared how they planned and implemented previous workshops. The actual symposium occurred two days before the high school workshop and it sparked great conversaSymposium Studet Fellows: (left to right) Adriana tions. The first panelists created a Moore, Victoria Steinbruch, Mariany Polanco, conversation about what it means to Mary Glenn, Dhvani Tombush, Annelise Finney identify as a feminist. Many panelists continued to discuss their role as

women in Brazil and surprisingly many claimed that their gender played no part in their careers. They alluded that Brazil is governed by the first elected female President and made up of citizens who are in favor of women’s rights. Brazil is at the forefront of economic development and on tackling women’s issues. After leaving such an impactful and stimulating event the fellows and I were eager to hear what the students of Brazil had to say. We decided to create a simulation for the workshop. Each student was assigned a role and each role was assigned specific characteristics the young women had to embody. The young women really got involved with their assigned roles. During the debriefing it was fascinating to hear how these women viewed their role in society and their experiences as young women. They were eager to discuss ways to improve the status of women and become involved in their perspective high schools. It was such an inspiring moment and a great way to end our time in Brazil. Even after experiencing the symposium these young women had so much more to say and to advocate for. Creating a global conversation about women’s leadership was an empowering experience and it has been one my most memorable experiences at Barnard. By: Mariany Polanco

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The 21 st Annual CSTEP Conference “Our experience at the 21st Annual CSTEP conference was very enriching. Apart from the fancy food, presentations, and general CSTEP spirit, there were a number of workshops offered to enhance our knowledge and skills in different areas” stated the group of women who attended the 21st Annual CSTEP Conference. Below are reflections from ASEP students, Shelley Ramrattan and Annell Ovalles. Shelley’s Experience: I attended a workshop called “It’s not just your grade point average: How to ask for, and Earn, Great letters of Recommendation,” given by Dr. Michelle Boucher from Utica College. As a renowned organic chemist who has worked with the American Chemical Society, she offered good advice about obtaining letters of recommendations. Since I am a senior and have already asked for letters of recommendation, I initially thought that this workshop was not going to be very helpful to me. However, after attending it, I

realized that it had value. While it is true that I have asked for some letters of recommendations already, I technically have not asked for letters of recommendation for graduate schools. I ended up learning about some things that will truly help me when I decide to apply to graduate school. Dr. Boucher’s presentation stressed the importance of being involved in extracurricular outside of the basic classroom requirements to show commitment because a person who goes the extra mile is very desirable to hire or accept. She made it clear that getting to know faculty and mentors is essential, and that getting the highest grades is not the most important thing. In the end, she made me more mindful of how to approach the process of getting letters of recommendations. Annell’s Experience One of the most inspirational workshops that I went to was “Research Success” by Dr. Gezzer from the Howard Medical center. Dr. Gezzer was also a CSTEP

student at Brooklyn College. It was amazing and inspiring to see a Latino man speak about his route to success. He shared many tips with the CSTEP students; one of his suggestions was to find a mentor, someone who can offer support and guidance during different processes in your career. He was very open and willing to share what he found to be beneficial in his career path. Another part of the CSTEP Conference that I really enjoyed was the oral presentations. I love the passion that the students had for their work and you can tell that they really put a lot of work and effort into their research. It made me very passionate and excited about doing research in Psychology. I cannot wait to be able to motivate others like myself. This weekend was really inspirational; I was surrounded by intelligent men and women who are ready to change the world with their knowledge and research! Below are pictures from the conference:

Barnard College ASEP OFFICE 105 MILBANK HALL TEL: 212-854-2024 STEP & C-STEP 5 MILBANK HALL TEL: 212-854-1314 HEOP 001 MILBANK HALL TEL: 212-854-3583

Congratulations to the Graduating Seniors! CSTEP Trina Choudhury (HEOP) Camila Daniels Faizunnahar Dewan (HEOP) Samima Habbsa Sana Javaid (HEOP) Mayelin Lizardo (HEOP) Angelica Lopez (HEOP) Evelyn Morfin Digna Nosike Crystal Quallo Shelley Ramrattan Jacqueline Rodriquez Carmen Romero Sadea Shahan Simone Sobers STEP Adrienne-Marie Alverio Mamadou Bah Cristina Cruz Stephanie Fleury Bradley Girigorie Harriet Gyamera Stanley Laloi Chantal Mota Tionney Nix Joy Nuga Stella Oduro Marcia White

HEOP Nadia Abedi Liscare Castro Rishu Chen (Sissi Trina Choudhury Asuncion Cora Faizunnahar Dewan Christina Eugene Mary Feng Michelle Hernandez Natalie Hernandez Shameka Hodge Sana Javaid Wanyin Liang (Anna) Xueying Lin (Alice) Mayelin Lizardo (Madge) Angelica Lopez Mariany Polanco Andrea Rodriguez Tiffany Rodriguez Sadea Shahan Katherine Taylor Ka Yuk Wong Aye Kyaw Alesia (DePeiza) Hall

We are proud of you all!

ASEP Programs: ASEP Programs: The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP) at Barnard College is a New York State funded program for current Barnard undergraduates, designed to increase access for historically underrepresented minorities or economically disadvantaged students, who demonstrate interest in and show potential for, scientific, technical, health and health-related fields or the licensed professions. The Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) is a program for high school students that provides comprehensive science and mathematics enrichment and college preparatory support for historically under-represented and academically underserved high school students who show promise in math and science. The Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) is a statewide program put in place by the New York State legislation in 1969. Barnard

College started its program in 1970 and is funded by both the New York State Education Department and Barnard College. Barnard and The Arthur O. Eve HEOP Scholars Program give bright and motivated students who are economically disadvantaged access to higher education. Once a student is admitted to Barnard as an Arthur O. Eve HEOP Scholar, the Program provides academic support services to ensure her success in college. The Barnard/Spelman Domestic Exchange Program: Established in 1996, the Barnard and Spelman College Domestic exchange program offers an opportunity for current Barnard and Columbia undergraduate students to undergo a semester or year-long course of study at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF): Established in 1996 for current Barnard undergraduates, the MMUF program encourages minority students, and others with a

demonstrated commitment to racial diversity, to pursue academic careers. Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MMUF provides opportunities for talented undergraduates to work with faculty mentors in research and other activities designed to encourage the pursuit of the PhD in the humanities and sciences.

The Intercollegiate Partnership (ICP): Established in 1991, the ICP program is a collaboration between Barnard College and LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York that seeks to facilitate the transfer of community college students to four-year colleges. Sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, ICP focuses on students interested in the natural sciences.

Spring 2013 newsletter  

ASEP Scholars Spring 2013 Newsletter

Spring 2013 newsletter  

ASEP Scholars Spring 2013 Newsletter