StorySpace (Part 2: Learning & Becoming)

photo-1467240483012-340e4f1000aa.jpegThis week is the second installment of StorySpace@Columbia from the Office of University Life. If you haven’t heard Part I, go back to last week’s episode and listen to it.

But here’s a quick refresher:

StorySpace@Columbia is a new storytelling project that presents personal and inspiring stories from students across Columbia.

So, today, we continue with our theme of “identity” with three stories about learning. Not the academic kind of learning that we find in the classrooms across campus - this is learning that comes from overcoming our fears and discovering our strengths.

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StorySpace (Part 1: Identity)

StoryShare.pngToday, we’re tuning in close by—on campus, in fact.

For this episode, we’re partnering with the Columbia Office of University Life. The Office was created in 2015 and it convenes students, faculty, and administrators to work together on pressing issues within the University and our broader society—from inclusion and belonging to mental health and wellness to sexual respect and gender-based misconduct prevention, and much more.

It also produces University-wide events and opportunities for the Columbia community. For this episode, we’re shining a light on one of those events. It’s called StorySpace@Columbia, and it’s a new storytelling project that presents personal and inspiring stories from students across Columbia.

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On Leadership

medal.pngThis episode is a little different. In honor of a marquee event that the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) has coming up in October, we decided to gather some thoughts from prominent Columbia alumni about leadership. What it means to them, what makes a good leader, and how Columbia has contributed to the ability to lead. These are some of the many questions that alumni will consider when they attend the annual Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend on October 7-9.

The weekend is a time for Columbia’s top alumni volunteers and leaders to convene and brainstorm exciting forms of alumni engagement and new ways of developing the next generation of volunteer leaders. Jam-packed with panel discussions and breakout sessions, it is the ultimate opportunity to meet and interact with Columbians from across the University and around the globe.

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Preview: Columbia Energy Exchange

Every once in a while, we like to shake things up a bit at The Low Down and give you a peek at some other Columbia-related podcasts out there.

In this preview, we’re featuring an episode from the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast. The Columbia Energy Exchange is a weekly podcast series by the Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs. Each episode explores the most pressing energy issues with top leaders in government, business, academia, and civil society to enhance the global energy policy dialogue.

In this episode, host Bill Loveless sits down with a Columbia expert to discuss the effects of the Iran nuclear deal, since its implementation in January 2016. The landmark deal between Iran, the US, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany was developed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and lift the nuclear-related economic sanctions on Iran.

You can hear more interviews about current energy issues and trends by subscribing to the Columbia Energy Exchange through their website at energypolicy.columbia.edu or through iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud.


Olympics Edition: Going for Gold

dimas.jpgTrent Dimas graduated from the Columbia School of General Studies in 2002. He also worked for an advertising agency in New York, graduated from law school, coached gymnastics at Yale, and now works as a fundraiser for the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

But before doing all that, Trent won a gold medal in gymnastics at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain.

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The Definition of an Explorer

One of the most pressing and universal issues of our day is how to address climate change. Although most do agree that the environment has evolved tremendously over time, many are not aware of how rapidly the recent changes are occurring and what the consequences can mean for us in the years to come.

That’s where researchers like Hugh Ducklow come in. 

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All That Jazz

For most Columbia students and alumni, when you hear the words "jazz at Columbia" it's almost impossible not to think of Christopher Washburne '92GSAS, '94GSAS, '99GSAS. Washburne is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance program at Columbia. In addition to being a jazz scholar, he's a jazz musician in his own right. He has performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Tito Puente, Justin Timberlake, Marc Anthony, Celine Dion, and the list goes on. His most common instrument of choice is the trombone, though he also plays the tube, the didjeridu, and percussion.

In this episode, we play you a mashup of two talks that Washburne gave at Columbia. One he gave as part of the School of Professional Studies (SPS) T@lks Columbia series. The other was delivered to Columbia staff members. In both talks, Washburne explores the creative process of jazz, paying particular attention to the role that collaboration and improvisation plays. And in this exploration, he delves into how this process can inform your everyday decisions in the workplace, from leadership and adaptability to innovation and risk management.

Who knew jazz was so useful? Well...Washburne did.

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Columbians on Broadway

When it comes to Broadway musicals, Columbia alumni have contributed a startling amount to the canon of musical theater. Rodgers and Hammerstein '16CC set the musical standard during the golden age of broadway in the 40s and 50s; the music of John Kander '54GSAS probed the darker recesses of humanity, giving legendary choreographer, Bob Fosse, innovation-inspiring scores. Most recently, Tom Kitt '96CC and Brian Yorkey '93CC were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their musical, Next to Normal, in 2008, and Jeanine Tesori '83BC made history in 2015 with Fun Home, when she was part of the first all-female writing team to win the Tony Award.

But in today's podcast episode, we’re turning our attention to Columbia alumni who work in a different capacity on Broadway. Today, we’re talking about directors.

Thanks to recent events, hosted by Columbia College Women and CAA Arts Access, we were able to record discussions with two alumni who are currently working on Broadway: Diane Paulus '97SOA (Director, Waitress) and Tyne Rafaeli '14SOA (Associate Director, Fiddler on the Roof).

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Pomp & Circumstance

It's my favorite day of the year. Because it's tens of thousands of people out here being excited about what our students have done. And it's awesome.

- Katharine Conway '02CC, '06TC, '07TC, '12TC
‎Chief of Staff & Secretary of the College at Teachers College

Columbia's Commencement week ended two weeks ago. New graduates moved out of University housing to start their lives off-campus and the streets of Morningside Heights have emptied out for the summer. In September, new and returning students will move in and the streets will vibrate with excitement and energy again.

But, in this episode, we're not going to look ahead. Instead, we're going to look back at the height of Columbia excitement and energy: Commencement. If you've never experienced Columbia’s Commencement, that's ok. We interviewed alumni, faculty, staff, and students to give you a glimpse at the day.

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I Feel the Earth Move: Walter Pitman and the Smoking Gun of Plate Tectonics

By Stacy Morford, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Fifty years ago, a graduate student named Walter Pitman ’67GSAS made a discovery that would change the way we see our planet. It was late at night, and Pitman was reviewing charts of ship data that had just come off the computer at what was then Columbia University’s Lamont Geological Observatory. The ship, the Eltanin, had crossed a mid-ocean ridge—part of a 40,000-mile undersea volcanic mountain chain that encircles the Earth—while recording the magnetic alignment of the rocks in the seafloor below.

Pitman suddenly saw symmetry in those recorded lines, with the mid-ocean ridge as the center point. “It was like being struck by lightning,” he said.

That symmetry was the smoking gun that confirmed the theory of seafloor spreading and set the stage for our understanding today of plate tectonics.

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