Jeffrey Brodsky (2008)

For his thesis, Jeffrey Brodsky conducted more than 60 hours of oral history interviews, in which politicians recount their first political races. Read transcripts and watch video clips in the Washington Post. You can also listen to NPR interview Mr. Brodsky about the project.

Continuing his thesis research on the international front, Mr. Brodsky has interviewed a dozen world leaders about their formative political experiences and campaign memories. Among those Brodsky has interviewed include Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar, President Alejandro Toledo of Peru, Prime Minister Wim Kok of the Netherlands, President Mary Robinson of Ireland, President Jorge Sampaio of Portugal, Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Bondevik, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jenny Shipley, President of Panama Martin Torrijos, President of Colombia Andres Pastrana, and Gerry Adams of Northern Ireland.

In 2012, Chief Executive magazine commissioned Brodsky to interview chief executive officers on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). These CEOs included James Turley of Ernst & Young, Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Company, David Novak of Yum Brands, and former Chrysler and Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli.

As an oral historian, Brodsky has conducted a series of extensive interviews with Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Kann, the former publisher of The Wall Street Journal and CEO of Dow Jones. He has also recorded oral histories with television news veterans Sam Donaldson of ABC and Bob Schieffer of CBS.

Prior to studying at Columbia, Mr. Brodsky received a BA in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.

Jonathon Fairhead (2015)

Jonathon Fairhead is a South African oral historian, living and working in Brooklyn. His research focuses on the fields of education, human rights, activism, and the arts. 

A recent graduate of the Oral History MA Program at Columbia, Jonathon's thesis maps the individual narratives of the Equal Education social movement in South Africa. Equal Education is a movement of learners, activists and policy makers that seek to undo the inequalities in state provided education created by apartheid.

Jonathon has served as an interviewer for the Atlantic Philanthropy Oral History Project, prior to which he served as Secretary to the General Education Advisory Board at the Open Society Foundations.

He holds an Ed.M in Peace Education from Teachers College Columbia University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

Yutong Wang (2016)

Yutong Wang is an international student from Shenzhen, China, who graduated from the Ohio State University in 2015.

Her project this year in OHMA is about recent Chinese students who study in America. By interviewing these students, she hopes to help them tell their stories of studying and living abroad. 

Meghan Valdes (2015)

Meghan Valdes is a New Jersey native, recently graduating summa cum laude from Rutgers University where she obtained her B.A. in history - and discovered her passion for oral history. Working at the Rutgers Oral History Archives, she has conducted interviews with World War II veterans and transcribed interviews for the ACLU Oral History Project, which seeks to document the changes in the American Civil Liberties Union in the post-9/11 landscape. She comes to OHMA straight off of an internship at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, where she served as the memorial exhibition intern for the museum’s In Memoriam exhibition, which honors victims through photographs, biographies, and audio remembrances. Her interests include jazz, travel, diners, and listening to jazz at diners she’s traveled to.

 

Leonard Cox (2014)

Leonard Cox is a corporate communications professional with 36 years of experience in the field. He is currently the Assistant Vice President of Communications for the Facilities and Campus Operations division of Columbia University in New York City. Prior to joining Columbia, Cox worked as a partner at the Michael Cohen Group, LLC, where he managed the firm’s corporate communications and media entertainment practice areas.

During his 14 years working with Michael Cohen, Cox developed and managed large-scale communication campaigns as well as managed audience development initiatives for the firm’s television clients.  Prior to the Michael Cohen Group, Cox was Director of Corporate Communications at the National Broadcast Company (NBC). In this capacity, Cox managed the network’s internal communication initiatives and directed several public and governmental affairs campaigns. In addition, he served as a producer at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Before moving to New York City in 1987, Cox served as the Assistant Press Secretary to Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor. Cox is passionate about documentary filmmaking. His film, THE KILLER WITHIN, was nominated for an EMMY for best documentary. His documentary, QUESTIONING FAITH, was broadcast on HBO/CINEMAX and was ranked among the top 10 influential films of 2002. His short film, FRIENDS IN DEED, won a TELLY Award. Cox has been nominated for two additional EMMY Awards.

Cox received Purdue's 2004 College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni Award and the Gold Medal for creativity from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Cox is celebrating his 28th year as a volunteer at the Dwelling Place, a shelter for homeless women located in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. Cox is a past member of the Advisory Board for the Brian Lamb School of Communications at Purdue University. He has served on the Board for Columbia University’s Community Service initiative, is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Dwelling Place, and is a past member of the Auburn Media Project’s Board of Advisors.

 

Dina Asfaha (2016)

Dina M. Asfaha joins OHMA from Barnard College, where she was an Africana Studies major and recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. Her time in the Mellon program was incredibly formative, inspiring her to pursue her passion of using academia as a platform to celebrate and commemorate Eritrean revolutionary history.

In her senior year, Dina conducted an honors thesis entitled, “From Repression to Revolution: Making Space for Eritrea,” wherein she analyzed three documents written by Eritrean pro-liberation groups as creative responses to Ethiopian colonial domination. This year in OHMA, she hopes to expand on her work by examining music and sounds of the Eritrean revolution.

Dina’s research interests include: memory studies, decolonization, post-/colonial studies, music-culture, cultural preservation, nationalism, and identity. In her free time, Dina enjoys attending concerts and practicing her digital and film photography skills.

Wu Chen (2015)

Wu Chen is a Chinese student. She earned her B.A degree in International Politics and History from Nottingham University in China and is a recent graduate of Melbourne University, with a degree in psychology. After graduation, she interned in a historical documentary project, where she interviewed and recorded the stories of survivors from the Great Famine, Cultural Revolution, and Sino-Japanese War. From this experience, she became interested in exploring historical trauma, from the perspective of victims of war, survivors of genocide, refugees, asylum-seekers, and ethnic minorities. She hopes to study trauma from cultural, sociopolitical, and clinical perspectives, alongside the systematic study of oral history, in order to produce written records of historical witnesses and explore the impact of narration and remembrance in measures of resilience and strength.

 

Nyssa Chow (2015)

Nyssa Chow is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, and a recipient of the Hollywood Foreign Press Award, the Women in Film and Television Fellowship, the Toms Fellowship, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Foundation Award. She has worked as a photojournalist and in broadcast journalism. Nyssa has served as the Chief Editor of Generation Lion Magazine with circulation throughout the Caribbean, New York, and Miami. She is the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Sloan Foundation Grant, and in fulfillment of the grant, produced a feature length web-series. In 2014, she won the Zaki Gordon Award for Excellence in Screenwriting. Most recently, Nyssa has been one of five writers nominated for the Blue List, and invited to appear in the Hollywood Black List database. Born in Trinidad, she has a particular interest in social justice, trust, and political participation. 

Margaret Gooding-Silverwood (2015)

Margaret Gooding-Silverwood earned her B.A. from Tufts University with a double major in History and Political Science. She concentrated much of her work on self-definition, and civil rights, and the intersection of policy, and implementation with a focus on the American South. After graduating, she worked in campaign finance for Tim Kaine (D-VA), bar management, and media & marketing. Though seemingly unrelated, these fields had one thing in common—listening to, telling, and recording stories. In 2015 Margaret entered the Columbia University Oral History MA program. Her thesis Turning Bullshit into Fertilizer: Empowerment Narratives, Re-definition of Self, and Sense-of-Place in Agriculture in the American South is an exploration of the intersections of Southern identity, land stewardship, and memory. The thesis looks at the importance of agency over, and authorship of, one’s narrative—especially in contrast to, and in conversation with, “imposed intuitional memories”, and their effect on intergenerational memory, ritual, and the body. Margaret also worked as a videographer for Columbia University during her program, and specializes in audio and video recording, and editing—including optimizing content for digital/web publication. Margaret hopes to continue exploring the unique and interdependent worlds of audio documentary and alternative visual media.

Mark Campbell II (2015)

Mark Campbell II is originally from Merrillville, Indiana where he spent the first eighteen years of his life. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While at Calvin College, he studied abroad in México and Guatemala. Additionally, he nationally and internationally toured with the Calvin College Gospel Choir, through which he served two years as Chairman. He has an M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His research interests include: life histories, religion, social movements, fashion, news, craft beer, history, and building community. He aspires to create a connection between student affairs and oral history. Mark is an avid reader and knows a vast amount of random facts about the world.

Andrew Viñales (2015)

Andrew Viñales, a Bronx born Puerto Rican and Dominican, earned his B.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Union College in Schenectady, NY. Much of his academic focus was on Queer Latinidad culminating in his thesis entitled, “Visibly Queer: Reclaiming Dominican and Puerto Rican Identities.” After graduating from Union, Andrew was awarded the Minerva Fellowship in which he had the opportunity to live and work in a small, impoverished community on the coast of Ecuador to promote sustainable development. Upon returning, he became involved in community organizing, participating in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in NYC and visibility of Afro-Latinxs. Andrew grew up around storytellers in his family and religious community. These stories highlighted oppression and survival of being Queer, Afro-Latinx, and the maintenance of the Lukumi/Santeria tradition. Andrew would like to focus his work with the OHMA program on these stories. 

Pablo Baeza (2015)

Pablo Baeza Breinbauer, raised between Santiago, Chile, and suburban Maryland, joins OHMA after five years in sunny California, where he majored in Urban Studies at Pitzer College and later worked as a creative writing and literacy educator at 826 Valencia in San Francisco. He has also gotten to know a variety of communities as a community organizer and ethnographer, having participated in an environmental justice bike tour of southern Louisiana and eastern Texas in 2012, and having done ethnographic research on the praxis and politics of arts districts in San Diego and Tijuana. In 2014, Pablo attended the UN Climate Summit in Lima, Peru, where he helped the Sierra Student Coalition begin Climate Stories, a project focusing on individual narratives of environmental justice. He is interested in migration, assimilation, and intergenerational memory, deindustrialization and community resiliency, and restorative justice.

Eylem Delikanli (2015)

Eylem Delikanlı is an independent researcher and a writer for the daily BİRGün. Her articles focus on American politics and culture. She holds an MA in Sociology specializing in the sociology of communication. She is the co-author of the book Keşke Bir Öpüp Koklasaydım (with Ozlem Delikanli in Turkish, Istanbul: Ayrıntı Yayınları September 2013), a work of oral history about the 1980 Coup D’État in Turkey. Her current research as a sequel focuses on the political refugees living in Europe and North America after the Coup. She is the co-editor and contributing writer for an upcoming book on authoritarianism in Turkey.

Eylem is a founding co-op member of Research Institute on Turkey - a grassroots research cooperative based in NY focusing on communization practices for social change in Turkey with an emphasis on social and economic justice, gender equality, sexual rights, cultural and political recognition, and ecologic sustainability from a critical historical perspective. Her recent archival work as part of the RIT Collective Memory includes the press archive of Devrimci Yol, one of Turkey’s largest political movements in the 70s. Eylem is also a member of Çocuklarız Bir Aradayız initiative – a group working towards building a collective memory of 1980 Coup D’État in Turkey.

Christina Pae (2015)

Christina Pae joins OHMA after almost twenty years as a corporate lawyer, intermingled with several forays in the food industry. In her prior lives, she worked at some of the largest financial institutions in the world, a Michelin 3-star restaurant, and a cheese cave in Long Island City.

 

Christina received her A.B. in Russian Studies from Brown University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She is particularly interested in stories about Koreans of her parents’ generation, who emigrated after the Korean War.

 

Reem Aboukhater (2012)

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Reem Aboukhater just moved to New York City from Boston - her favorite city in the world! She attended Boston College where she pursued her love for literature. When Reem is not conducting OHMA interviews she’s working at Stick Figure Productions helping to make documentary films. Reem originally comes from the Middle East; she grew up in England and France, and now she describes herself as a citizen of the world.

Maggie Argiro (2013)

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Maggie Argiro, originally from Columbus, Ohio, joins OHMA from Ohio Wesleyan University where she received a BA in Sociology/Anthropology. She has in interest in writing and wishes to find ways to bridge the humanities and the social sciences with oral history. In 2012 Maggie received a “Theory-to-Practice” grant through Ohio Wesleyan University to travel to Cuba and learn about the history and people of Santería. While there she conducted interviews and returned with a photographic exhibition that incorporated the collected oral histories.  She has also interned with the Somali Documentary Project, a non-profit organization formerly located in Columbus, Ohio. She assisted with grantwriting and research, and became involved with the Somali community. She intends on returning to collect life histories from Somalis who live in Columbus. Her research interests include the movements of people, transnationalism, and ideas about home and place, all of this with an eye toward revealing social inequalities and giving voice to those who are regularly overlooked. She is particularly interested in literary uses of oral histories, and in debates about what is considered to be nonfiction or fiction. She is currently the oral history intern at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

Laura Barnett (2013)

Laura Barnett comes to OHMA with a background in theater and performance art, photography, and education. She has directed at NYC theaters including 59E59 Street and Judson Church.  For Chashama Experimental Theater, she curated WINDOWS ON 42nd STREET, a series of installations and performances designed for storefront windows in Times Square; she performed her own performance pieces in windows in NYC and Berlin. In the 90s, she toured with Love Theater, the company performed at festivals throughout Europe and venues including London’s ICA, Budapest’s Katona József Színház and The Wooster Group’s Performing Garage. Laura has had dual careers as a producer and casting director of commercial photography and as an educator. She currently teaches theater at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights, where she created a high school elective that focuses on autobiographic, site-specific theater. She has taught at Columbia University’s Summer Program for High School Students and is on the Advisory Board of Equality Now’s Adolescent Girls’ Legal Defense Fund. A graduate of Brown University, with a degree in English-Creative Writing, Laura is a native of Brooklyn, where she currently lives with her husband and son.

Carrie Brave Heart (2013)

Carrie Brave Heart joins the OHMA program from South Dakota. She
received her BS in History/Art History from Northern Arizona University
in 2010. She has a great love of Native American History and is excited in the possibilities resulting from the use of Oral History to add to the telling or use in the revision of traditional western historical narrative. In 2010, she began a project pertaining to artwork contained in the David Humphreys Miller Collection. This ongoing project’s purpose has been to locate living descendants of a group of Northern Plains Native American women, who Miller drew individual untitled portraits of, in the 1930’s. Her ultimate goal is to create biographies for each of these women to accompany their portraits, through the use of oral history interviews. Her current thesis work in the OHMA program is the Indian Village at the New York State Fair.