Meet Our Class


Premilla Nadasen is a professor of history at Barnard College and a scholar-activist who teaches and writes about race, gender, social policy and labor history. She is most interested in visions of social change and how poor and working-class people, especially women of color, have fought for social justice. She is the author of Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States and Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women who Build a Movement. She currently serves as the President of the National Women’s Studies Association.


Alisa Rod, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Empirical Reasoning Center at Barnard College, where she provides direct and programmatic support for the faculty’s efforts to integrate empirical techniques and methods throughout the Barnard curriculum. She has a background in survey methodology and her research interests include interdisciplinary applications of quantitative methods, assessment, and pedagogical innovations related to spatial data analysis and visualization. She is currently serving as a board member of the National Numeracy Network.


Fatima Koli is the Lab Coordinator for the Empirical Reasoning Center at Barnard College, where she develops training on empirical methods that incorporate critical theory on race and power. She is currently a Masters Data Science student at Columbia, studying at the intersection of data science, public policy, and critical cartography. Her interests lie in the ethics of data analysis and in racial justice, particularly through the lens of the criminal justice system.


Lilly Anderson is a Sophomore at Barnard College majoring in History and Political Science. Lilly is a member of the Columbia Debate Team and the events director for the Columbia Political Union, and also works off campus as a middle school debate coach. Last summer, she led an Inclusive Practices for Immigrants Initiative in the Boston City Council. Lilly is interested in immigration and domestic worker advocacy and hopes to attend law school after graduating. Lilly is one of two students responsible for managing the class blog.


Tirzah Anderson is a Sophomore at Barnard College from Jacksonville, FL. She is majoring in History, with a specific interest in Southern History. In the class, she is a part of the team working on the class syllabus and updates on local news in Mississippi.


Cesay Camara is currently a Junior majoring in Urban Studies with a concentration in Economics. A proud of native of The Bronx with Gambian-Soninke roots, she is most passionate about community development and economic justice and envisions herself as an equity planner—ensuring that the concerns of marginalized communities are elevated in urban planning processes. She currently serves as a Peer Academic Leader in collaboration with the Dean’s office, acting as a mentor for first-generation and low-income students at Barnard. She looks forward to learning about low-income women’s economic security within the context of Mississippi and working with the class to create an engaging survey!


Winsome Ching is a sophomore at Barnard College,  majoring in Economics. She is working with Atrianne and Fatima to develop a website for Mississippi project’s maps, tables, and data. Outside of the Mississippi project, Winsome is a tutor for the STEP Program, student assistant at Barnard Recreation, and secretary for Skip Stop.


Abby Connell is a junior in Columbia College majoring in Human Rights and concentrating in History and Gender Studies. On campus, she is a Peer Advocate at the Sexual Violence Response Center and a founding member and coordinator of Que(e)ry, Columbia’s first undergraduate journal of queer and feminist theory. After graduation, Abby plans on pursuing her PhD in history.


Danielle Hopkins is a sophomore at Barnard College from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, majoring in History with a thematic concentration in Race and Ethnicity and minoring in Spanish. On campus, she is a Barnard Student Admissions Representative, a Barnard Speaking Fellow and is the treasurer of the Columbia University Black Theatre Ensemble.


Aya Ouais is a senior in Columbia College majoring in History. They are a community organizer against gentrification, mass incarceration and police brutality in NYC. Their commitment to community based solutions to social issues drove them to take this class. They are responsible for the survey that the class will be conducting in Mississippi to get a picture of women’s economic security. After graduation, they will continue to organize for an economic system where poverty does not exist!

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Destiny Spruill is a junior at Columbia College majoring in Political Science. On campus, she participates in a capella and other performing arts groups.  She previously served as a deputy editorial page editor for the Columbia Daily Spectator. She teaches French to young students in Harlem public schools. Last summer, Destiny worked as a production assistant at Yahoo! News. After graduation, Destiny plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Public Policy.


Halle Young is a Junior at Barnard College majoring in Anthropology. Halle teaches sex education in NYC public schools through Peer Health Exchange, and has served for the past two year’s as Senior Communications Fellow for J Street U, an organization of college students that advocates an end to the Occupation in Israel-Palestine. Last summer Halle worked in New York City Council helping constituents navigate eviction, public school admissions, and securing legal aid.  Halle helps manage the blog and website for the Mississippi Semester.

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