Get to Know Our Team
2021-2022 General Studies Student Council Members
Get To Know Simas
Major: Economics '24
Simas is a sophomore Economics major at GS (who is still in the process of choosing a concentration). He is expecting to graduate in May 2024 with his younger brother, Rimas CC'24, after a happy set of coincidences led their paths back together after high school at Bergen County Academies. Simas grew up in northern New Jersey, not too far from campus, and coming to Columbia was something of a childhood dream come true because his parents met in Mudd Hall as graduate students. Simas is happiest on his grandparent’s biodynamic organic farm in rural southern Lithuania, where he learned how to drive, off-roading in a 1999 Ford Ranger, while chasing rogue sheep. He worked there for some time prior to coming to Columbia.
He is passionate about building community at GS, both as a distinct, diverse, and supportive community and as a part of the wider Columbia undergraduate student body. His top priorities for the year are maintaining high levels of transparency, continuing accountable and responsible spending practices, and actively facilitating the work of the GSSC in conditions that make long-term planning difficult. For any questions, comments, or concerns pertaining to the work of the Finance Committee, please know that his door (email inbox) is always open.
Get To Know Siena
Major: Ethnicity and Race Studies '24
Siena is a first year student at GS from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is looking to major in Ethnicity & Race Studies with a 2024 prospective graduation date. Siena’s background is in nonprofit and organizing work. She’s worn a lot of hats in that arena: fundraiser, archivist, event planner, and most enduringly and happily communications specialist. As part of GSSC, she is looking forward to putting her professional skills to use on behalf of our GS community, making sure that the needs and voices of GS'ers are amplified and celebrated.
In her free time, Siena is an incorrigible TV binger and an incurable book worm. She is so excited to be in New York as part of the GS community, and since she was actually born in Manhattan, this feels like a wonderful full circle journey for Siena.
Get To Know Shatize
Major: Human Rights
Shatize Pope is a junior at GS. She transferred from Broward College in Davie, Florida by way of Harrisburg, PA. She is a Human Rights major who hopes to attend law school and then work for the United Nations.
Shatize works for a wonderful non-profit called Community Impact through Columbia. She has a beautiful daughter named Airianna who is her best friend. She loves sunflowers and watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory when she needs a good laugh. Helping people is her passion, and she hopes to one day become the first Black female to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, just like Ruth Bader Ginsburg!
Get To Know Serengeti
Major: Political Science '22
Serengeti is a Political Science major graduating in 2022. She first joined GSSC in the fall of 2019 as First Year President, and then served as Vice President of Policy on the GSSC during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Throughout her time on GSSC, Serengeti has been incredibly passionate about furthering policy that helps GS students.Some of the initiatives she worked on in the past two years have been freezing tuition during the 2020-2021 academic year, increasing Covid-19 emergency grants for impacted students, amending our Constitution and By-Laws to make them more inclusive, and advocating for more flexible grading policies during remote learning. Her goal is to constantly increase student representation in various spaces on campus to ensure student voices are always weighed into crucial decisions.
Serengeti started her career interning for the New York City Campaign Finance Board, developing and implementing civic engagement campaigns across the five boroughs. She also interned for Manhattan Borough President, Gale A. Brewer (GS '97). Serengeti then took her skills to the California State Capitol where she interned for a State Senator and the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments. She previously attended The New School in New York City, where she pursued a double-major in Politics and Economics.
At Columbia, Serengeti hopes to implement policies that tackle inequity and inefficiency, and promote transparency and collaboration. Her virtual door is always open for any questions or a quick coffee chat!
Get To Know Rubaab
Major: Human Rights '23
Rubaab Poonawala is a third-year Human Rights major in the Class of 2023, serving as GSSC’s Diversity and Equity Representative. She studied in France as part of the Dual BA with Sciences Po, and is now beginning her first year on the Columbia campus. Rubaab is passionate about gender and religious rights and inequalities, motivating both her major of choice and her application for this position. Through this position, she hopes to focus on sexual violence and gender-based discrimination on campus within the larger framework of intersectionality and unequal access to resources. Furthermore, she would like to actively work with the Diversity and Equity teams throughout the Columbia schools in order to holistically promote an inclusive environment.
Get To Know Rachel
Major: Architecture and Design '22
Rachel (or Rae) is a senior majoring in Architecture and Design. Outside of class, she serves as a Resident Advisor and enjoys exploring NYC! This year she hopes to bring her class together after the pandemic to celebrate their college journey in whatever way they can. She is looking forward to working together with the other schools to create meaningful and lasting experiences and creating a great community for all!
Get To Know Nour
Major: Sustainable Development '23
Nour is a Junior in the Dual BA program between Sciences Po and Columbia University. He spent the first two years of his undergrad in Menton, France studying Political Science & Government specializing in the Middle Eastern & Mediterranean region. Now at Columbia, he is majoring in Sustainable Development and is expected to graduate in May of 2023. Throughout his college career, Nour has recognized the importance of investing in a sustainable future that addresses climate change but also the variety of environmental, social, and economic challenges that we face today and hopes to bring this understanding to his time on GSSC.
As Community Services and Sustainability Representative, Nour hopes to create innovative programming for students that increases their community service engagement and expands their understanding of sustainability on campus, in New York City, and on national and international scales. He will always make sure to give valuable advice to the rest of the GSSC on sustainability and will continue to push Columbia’s students, faculty, and administration to be positive actors in these global challenges.
Outside of the classroom, Nour enjoys traveling and exploring new areas of town, especially through the lens of his camera as an avid photographer. He is always trying to build community and friendships wherever he finds himself after having moved 8 times across 5 countries throughout his life.
Get To Know Nick
Major: Financial Economics '22
Concentration: Business Management
Nick Li is a Financial Econ major in his fourth year of the Sciences Po Dual BA Program. He also has a concentration in Business Management and is interested in psychology, sociology, and behavioral econ.
Outside of classes, he dances on CUGeneration and enjoys listening to good music and learning everything and anything food-related. As the new Senior Class VP, he hopes to better understand his class' wants to create and provide better events for this upcoming year! With the context of this year and the years past in mind, he hopes to help the senior class make the most out of their time left at Columbia!
Get To Know Nasser
Nasser is a first year student at GS and is incredibly excited to be serving as the Vice President of Policy for GSSC. He was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and recently lived in Connecticut. Nasser is a second bachelor’s student at GS and worked for a nonprofit supporting refugee women before coming to Columbia.
Nasser is new to NYC and loves to explore different parts of the city. He especially loves trying out new restaurants and bars and welcomes any recommendations. He is extremely excited to meet and connect with fellow GS students, especially first years, and is proud to help create a strong, vibrant GS community as the student body emerges from the pandemic.
Get To Know Mike
Major: Economics and Sustainable Development '23
Mike is an Economics and Sustainable Development major and planning to graduate in the Fall of 2023. He was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. Before he transferred to Columbia, Mike studied at Binghamton University – SUNY. He started his career path as an alternative investment intern at PineStreet Asset Management for over 18 months. Currently, he is working as a project finance and M&A intern at EDP Renewables. Outside of Columbia, he is a big foodie who also likes to cook a lot.
On the GSSC, Mike serves as the Alumni Affairs Representative and hopes to bring various opportunities for GS students to build up solid connections with GS alumni in a variety of career paths.
Get To Know Lisa
Major: Political Science and Economics '23
Lisa is currently at the end of her second year and expects to graduate in 2023 as a Political Science and Economics major. Lisa aims to help establish a culture that truly represents the diversity of backgrounds at this school of non-traditional students. She is committed to GSSC’s mission of reflecting the views of the student body. In her free time, Lisa loves to visit museums and watch political dramas.
Get To Know Kyle
Major: Political Science '23
Kyle is a junior studying Political Science and expects to graduate in spring 2023. Outside of the classroom, he enjoys playing tennis with friends, hiking, and reading fiction. Mixology is also a particular interest. Experimenting and fusing different spirits and liqueurs is his respite from the world.
After high school, Kyle knew there was nothing conventional about him or the (educational) path he’d soon traverse, hence his arrival at GS. Whether rejected or questioned, Kyle is adamant that he reassure nontraditional students that there will always be a seat for them in academia. For this reason, Kyle is passionate about advocating on behalf of students who have followed a similar path. Throughout the remainder of the school year, Kyle’s goal is to continue assisting Nasser as Chief of Policy and further facilitate policy rollouts.
Get To Know Katie
Major: Film Studies and Psychology '23
Katie is a first generation high school graduate/university student and the first in her extended family to attend an Ivy League institution. She grew up in Wyoming where she served on the Board of Directors for Stage III Community Theatre, during which time the theatre was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Katie has since lived in multiple places including Johannesburg, South Africa; Charleroi, Belgium; and Austin, Texas, USA.
Katie transferred to Columbia University from Los Angeles Valley College in California. While there Katie garnered several awards and achievements which include the Earleen DeVivo Memorial Scholarship awarded to one outstanding psychology student, a 2021 Fellowship from the Hollywood Foreign Press, a 2021 grant from the Anti-Racism Committee at Los Angeles Valley College to produce a film focused on the message of anti-racism, and had her joint project short film "The Bee" premiere at the Oscar qualifying festival LA Shorts International. "The Bee" will also screen at the 2022 San Diego Comic Con.
While serving as Chief Negotiator, Katie hopes to use her past experience as a film producer and sports team manager to secure equipment and monetary endorsements for GS student clubs. She also hopes to use her negotiating savvy to attain more value per dollar for GSSC funds and advocate for more class access and funding specifically geared toward working students and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Get To Know Josh
Major: Mathematics and Talmud '23
Joshua is a junior in the JTS/GS Joint Program studying Math/Computer Science and Talmud. When his head is not buried in his books, whether a math textbook or a tome of Talmud, you can often find him walking the halls of JTS or eating peanut sandwiches somewhere on Columbia’s campus despite finishing dinner just an hour ago.
Although Columbia & JTS are located right next to each other and students in the program travel between both schools every day—even making a mad dash between classes to not be late—it can feel as if the two schools exist in alternate universes. So, as JTS Rep, Joshua hopes to bring GS’ers and JTS students together from across the seemingly endless two block ocean that is Columbia’s Campus and JTS. By doing so, he will help foster relationships that allow JTS students and GS students to feel part of one common community.
Get To Know Jeremy
Major: Economics & Political Science
Jeremy studies Economics and Political Science at GS. Originally from Los Angeles, he moved to New York in 2017 and is a proud alumnus of Queensborough Community College. Jeremy is also deeply involved in social justice and service initiatives around Columbia University and New York.
Jeremy is passionate about connecting students with resources and has conducted public policy research on administrative burdens and university student access to welfare and other publicly funded programs. On the University Senate, Jeremy is Co-Chair of the Student Affairs Committee and Vice-Chair of the Housing Policy Committee. He also serves on the Executive and Rules of University Conduct committees.
Get To Know Han
Major: Financial Economics 25'
Han is serving as First Year Vice President. Prior to coming to Columbia, he served two years in the military as a Naval Officer after high school. He was a National Champion in tennis in Singapore and in high school he was Student Council Vice President. Han believes that his experience serving on a Student Council will enable him to excel and serve his University community. Han loves music, especially rock music, and his favorite artists are Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, and the Arctic Monkeys.
Get To Know Garrett
Major: Applied Mathematics '23
Garrett is a rising senior, graduating with the Class of 2023. His major course of study is in Applied Mathematics, but he’s also regularly engaged in independent study of nuclear weapon policy under Professor Ivana Hughes of Columbia's K=1 project. He’s also considering a minor in Italian. Garrett is interested in architecture and urban design, an ardent reader of political history, and a bit obsessed with brewing his own espresso.
When he’s not too busy working or studying, Garrett loves getting to know his fellow GS students better and serving our community. He is excited to serve you this year as the Senior Class Treasurer to make sure we can finance all of the special senior events that our school has come to know and love. He’s confident that with input and support from fellow students we can bring back much of what makes the final year together on campus so special, even after such a profoundly difficult two years.
Get To Know Ferdinando
Major: Political Science '24
Ferdinando is majoring in Political Science and should graduate in 2024. A fun fact about Ferdinando is that he was a professional Kung Fu athlete and Soccer player.
Ferdinando is an international student from Venezuela. Venezuela’s economic depression and civic unrest forced him to leave his country, changing his conception of community and exposing him to the significance of service leadership. As a member of the Policy Committee, Ferdinando will work hard to address the GS community’s needs, such as disability advocacy, emotional and mental wellness, and food insecurity.
Get To Know Faith
Major: Computer Science
Faith was born in Portland, Oregon, and raised in South Orange County, California; she is presently a sophomore studying Computer Science and has an anticipated graduation year of 2024. She began the year as the GSSC Community Services and Sustainability Representative and presently she serves as the First-Year Class President.
Outside of Columbia, and before COVID-19, Faith maintained a career as a Freelance Hair and Makeup Artist in the advertising and celebrity industries. In her free time, she takes pictures of her cat Mer, updates her never-ending “home inspiration” Pinterest board, and utilizes her friends’ birthdays as an excuse to bake cakes.
Get To Know Evan
Major: History '23
Evan is a Junior in the Trinity-Columbia Dual BA majoring in History in the class of 2023. At Trinity, he was the Secretary of the Olympic Rifle Team and was School Convenor for the School of Histories & Humanities. Since coming to New York, he’s loved being able to get out and explore the city, especially the parks!
As Dual BA/Joint Program representative, his inbox is always open for any concerns regarding the Dual BA and Joint programs. He’s always looking for suggestions on ways to make the transition from abroad to Columbia more seamless for our students. Currently in the works is a program to build up the Dual BA alumni network and working towards clarifying the academic policies relating to the transition.
Get To Know Erin
Major: History '23
Erin is a sophomore in her second year at Columbia. She's studying History, but hopes to also explore creative writing while on campus. When she's not studying or working, she enjoys exploring New York City, experimenting in the kitchen, and reading (ideally near a window and with a cup of tea and her cat).
Erin's motto is simple and nicked straight from a children's book classic: “Once you are real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” It worked for the velveteen rabbit and it works for her. This year Erin is excited to focus on making all students with disabilities feel like connected, engaged, and valued members of the campus community. She is particularly focused on the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic on student’s health and well-being, and is eager to create an open and frank dialogue on campus.
Get To Know Emily
Major: Art History '23
Emily is a junior studying Art History with an expected graduation year of 2023. In her spare time, you'll catch her at museums or reading a good book. As Chief of Campus Life, she’s looking forward to bringing back in-person events as we return to campus! She hopes to contribute to building our community and giving GS’ers an awesome slate of events for this year!
Get To Know Cole
Major: History and Theory of Architecture '22
Concentration: Medieval Studies
Cole is majoring in and writing his senior thesis on Medieval Gothic Architecture. He was born in Tokyo and raised in Westchester County, NY, where he was trained as a classical cellist. After spending a number of years performing, teaching, and learning at and with institutions that include El Sistema, The Latin American Cultural Council, Radio City Music Hall, and Juilliard, he decided to leave the classical music world and begin his undergraduate education at GS in 2016.
Cole is very involved in GS life, having served as an Orientation Leader since Spring 2017, worked as an ARC tutor in Music and Art Humanities since spring 2020, and served as a member of the 2019-2020 Senior Fund Committee. Outside of school, Cole enjoys good food, better friends, Formula 1 and endurance racing, and has a penchant for German watches since they’re less expensive than Swiss ones!
Get To Know Catherine
Major: Neuroscience and Behavior '23
Catherine is in her first year at Columbia and will be majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior with a concentration in Education. Outside of her studies, she is a content creator and digital artist.
Catherine is honored to be part of the Communications Committee as Technology Chair. She hopes to further GSSC through various technological updates and outreach efforts, especially during this transitional period back from a fully online school experience.
Get To Know Carol
Major: Comparative Literatures and Societies '23
Carol is a junior in the Sciences Po-Columbia dual degree program majoring in Comparative Literatures and Societies, and minoring in Philosophy. Born in Ningbo, Southern China and splitting most of her time between Ningbo and Vancouver, she also had the fortune of living in France, Southern California, Washington D.C. and Brussels.
Having been an international student for a good part of her life, she is humbled and happy to serve her fellow international students on the GSSC! Her goals for this year are to a) create as many bonding opportunities through events and forums for international students as possible, b) provide more specialized support and resources to international students, and c) listen to everyone and understand your priorities. Outside of GSSC, she spends most of her time trying new cuisines (Japanese, Vietnamese and Italian are the current favourites) and doing various sports.
Get To Know Bruce
Major: Neuroscience-Behavior and Economics-Political Science '25
Bruce is a freshman at GS majoring in Neuroscience-Behavior and Economics-Political Science, planning to graduate in 2025. Bruce was previously in the French Air Force, loves hiking, track and field, and reading books on personal development!
Bruce is really looking forward to building a strong community within Columbia and making sure that nobody is left behind. He truly believes that we can all help each other in having an amazing Columbia experience and this is something that we must strive towards! Bruce intends to organize sporting and wellness events such as group runs, cardio-training, and meditation, whether they may be virtual or in-person, we will persevere and keep our campus active!
Get To Know Brian
Major: English '22
Brian is an English major in his Junior year here at GS. He is planning to graduate in the Spring of 2022. Prior to coming to Columbia, he spent two years studying in Ireland as part of the Dual BA Program between Columbia and Trinity College Dublin. During that time, he made a number of amazing friends from all over the world, traveled throughout Europe, and found his interest in communications.
Having previously served as Social Media Representative, Brian is now very excited to continue on the GSSC as Vice President of Communications. His main goals include ensuring the student body is updated on what the student council has accomplished and any events coming up, increasing student engagement as we return to campus, and making sure that the GSSC feels friendly and approachable. In his downtime, he loves to read, watch films with his friends, and attempts to better his culinary skills by watching cooking channels on Youtube.
Get To Know Andre
Major: Economics '22
Andre is majoring in Economics and is scheduled to graduate in 2022. He was born and raised in San Francisco, California, speaks three languages fluently (English, French, and Bulgarian), two languages conversationally (Italian and German) and has dual citizenship (USA and Bulgaria).
Andre feels that he has a debt of gratitude to pay off to the GS community. After moving from San Francisco to New York at the start of online classes, his GS peers gave him an unforgettable junior year, despite classes being online. Recognizing the short and sweet amount of time GS’ers have at Columbia, he wants to make sure that GS students can have as much of a college experience as possible. He hopes to make campus as accessible and vibrant as possible within the limits of COVID-19 restrictions.
Get To Know Alejandro
Major: Political Science '24
Alejandro is proud to be the newly appointed Student Veteran Representative. This is his first year at GS, and he plans on graduating in 2024 as a Political Science major. Before attending Columbia, Alejandro served 4 years in the U.S Navy with a deployment in the Middle East and a humanitarian / disaster relief mission in the Caribbean.
After transitioning into student life, Alejandro discovered a plethora of educational resources that helped veterans like himself pursue higher education, thus inspiring him to go after the position of Student Veteran Representative. Alejandro’s plan is to multiply all these wonderful resources, helping veterans excel in the community and reach for leadership positions that they would thrive in. He is a firm believer that veteran experience is an asset to any field in our student body, and he plans on facilitating that process.
Get To Know Alan
Major: Economics and Political Science '23
Alan is a junior studying Economics and Political Science in the class of 2023. Outside of school, his interests include golf, cross-country road trips, and Formula One racing.
As Chief of Finance, he will do his best to coordinate with other committees and promptly fund our events. Alan will work closely with others in the Finance Committee to keep a close watch on our budget and won't hesitate to do what he can to make the campus experience enjoyable and memorable for all GS students.