The Blog


Photo Courtesy of Double Discovery Center

Today, an email was sent out to the Double Discovery Student Volunteers by the executive director of the program to let them know that the Department of Education has ceased their funding of the Upward Bound program for first-generation and low-income students due to a technicality: incorrect spacing in parts of the application.

The full email can be found below:

Dear Double Discovery Student Volunteers:

I am writing with some difficult news regarding Double Discovery Center’s Upward Bound Program, which, as you may know, each year provides supplemental schooling and support to prepare nearly 200 first-generation and low-income college-bound students for success.

We have been notified by the U.S. Department of Education that DDC’s application to continue funding for our Upward Bound program from July 2017 through June 2022 has been deemed ineligible for consideration due to a technicality regarding the line spacing of our charts, tables, figures, and graphs. That means a devastating loss of funding for this important program.

The decision by the Department of Education has been distressing given its direct impact on students and the longevity and proven success of our Upward Bound program. We have received Upward Bound support from the U.S. government for more than 50 years. Unfortunately, DDC is not alone–at least 40 other Upward Bound programs have had their applications denied due to technicalities this year.

Upward Bound is an essential part of DDC and an invaluable service to our community and we are committed to doing all that we can to maintain the program in the future. Columbia College and Columbia University Government and Community Affairs have contacted our senators and congressmen, who are advocating for the program at the highest levels. Key legislative members have asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and others within the Department of Education to reconsider our application.

The College has identified contingency funding for the Summer Academy so that we can provide assurances that the summer program will take place regardless of what happens on the legislative front. Our Talent Search grant, which was renewed last year for four years, is not impacted by this current situation.

We remain committed to Double Discovery’s work of providing academic, career, college, and financial aid counseling and support services to low-income and first-generation college-bound youth in our neighboring communities, and we are grateful for your support of and dedication to this work and to Double Discovery students.

I will notify of you of any updates. In the meantime, I wish you the luck on your remaining finals, and encourage you to reach out or stop by our offices if you have any questions or if you want to talk about this difficult news.

Sincerely,

Joseph Ayala

Executive Director

The Roger Lehecka Double Discovery Center at Columbia College

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Kevin–a senior who is graduating from Columbia College with degrees in Mathematics and Music–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

I am passionate about music, especially guitar. Columbia has no doubt provided me with so many opportunities, both to learn the craft of music-making and to showcase it in venues like Carnegie Hall. To be honest, I didn’t expect much from Columbia’s music scene initially, but now I’m really grateful for everything I came across: Arthur Kampela’s guitar/life lessons, Susser’s Ear Training, Milarsky’s Conducting, free concerts at the Italian Academy, and fabulous student performance groups like CCP. Also, being in NYC, I could easily go watch concerts and shows downtown, e.g. at Lincoln Center, Broadway, Carnegie Hall, 92nd Y, or Smalls.

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why?

Bacchanal, freshman year. I didn’t do much back then.

 What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

Tendency to resort to close-mindedness for an easy way out.

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

I would be the Music Library. It’s a hidden gem that not many people even know exists. It’s really a hidden gem. Actually.

 What advice do you have for the incoming class?

Broaden your horizon! Hanging out with people in fruitful ways will help you, not necessarily spending more hours at Butler.

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Rozanne–a senior who is graduating from the School of General Studies with a degree in Anthropology–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

My mother was a genealogist and avid collector of family photos and memorabilia, and so perhaps I get my obsession with family history from her. Before Columbia University I had always chalked up that interest to nostalgia. But my study of anthropology helped me see that my interest in family lineage and archival material, such as old photographs, letters, family Bibles, newspaper clippings, etc., actually serves my deeper passion for storytelling and narrative. During my time at Columbia I learned how to locate the internal logic of archival material and discover how documents can tell a narrative about the past while simultaneously opening up meaning concerning the cultural patterns enacted in present day relationships.

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why?

The Anthropology Senior Thesis class was by far one of the most rigorous and time-intensive classes of any I have taken at Columbia. But I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Certainly I came away with valuable research skills and increased confidence in my ability to write under pressure. But above all, I learned what it is like to work as colleagues with my professors, preceptors and classmates. Offering and receiving feedback and gaining an appreciation of the personal investment that each of us had in our work built a tremendous level of trust that I have since found difficult to replicate.

What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

So many of us think that we have a key to solving someone else’s personal problems. We may not say it out loud, but you can hear the judgment in statements like, “If that person would only…” or “If it were me, I would…” Chances are that there are hidden histories and relationships attached to any one person’s personal struggles.

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

Butler Library. Because it’s haunted and naturally, as an anthropologist I’ve always had a thing for ghosts.

What advice do you have for the incoming class?

The best advice that I received was to find excuses to regularly visit my deans or to go to my professors’ office hours and let them know what was going on in my life. I did not expect to become best friends; in fact, I always made a point of addressing them as Dean or Professor to indicate that I respected the boundaries of our relationship. Still I think it’s important for our deans and professors to be reminded that students are human. I was often surprised at their compassion as well as their knowledge of specific resources that helped me manage my situation. Also, take a class with Professor Thomas Roma, especially if you are not majoring in visual arts. He will alter your entire perspective on learning and life.

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Kunal–a senior who is graduating from Columbia College with a degree in Human Rights–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

I’m passionate about community building! This means everything from socializing with friends watching a movie in a floor lounge, to attending academic symposiums and meeting exciting people. Columbia has a space for everyone, and I believe that the struggle lies in find one’s niche and figuring out how you want to go through the four years that you get to spend here. 

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why?

I want to re-experience the Bacchanal-Holi celebrations! The day on which these events occur has been, hands down, among my favourite days of the year. The amount of fun (and drink!) which was had was unparalleled. I wish that we had more events that would bring our community together, which make it more fun, and less stressful.

What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

Measuring the weather in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius (this system literally makes no sense…). But seriously, I would say lack of empathy is deeply concerning to me. This is of course something that extends beyond Columbia’s campus, but I find that it plagues us here too. Talk to that random person you see who looks stressed out, say hi to strangers in elevators, just take a moment to listen 🙂

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

I would be definitely be the area outside the Law Library – I say this because I have studied in a library exactly 9 times in the span of my Columbia career. The area outside the Law library is nice though – it comprises of nice couches and talking and eating (even smiling!) students, which are all the things I wouldn’t find in the ref room in Butler. 

What advice do you have for the incoming class?

Try everything under the sun! I hope that by the time you graduate, you have experienced stress, contentment, heartbreak, loneliness, wholesome love, (being in) love, incessant worry, and delirious happiness. Do everything you can to achieve all that you want – but never forget to value the important people around you. 

Earlier today, the Barnard community received notice of a phishing attack aimed at university students. The phishing attempt occurs when a hacked university account attempts to share a Google doc with the target. When the target clicks the link to open the document, the hackers gain access to the target’s login information and may install malware to their Google account. Victoria Swann of Barnard User Services offers tips for staying safe and what to do if you’ve been hacked below*:

Dear members of the Barnard community,

There is currently a major phishing attack underway; not just at Barnard, but also Columbia and many other higher ed institutions. It takes the same form as any ordinary notification of a Google Doc being shared with you; and it may come from a person you know, or it may come from an address at “mailinator.com“.

DO NOT respond to that message or click the link in it.  If you did click the link, change your password immediately at password.barnard.edu or contact the BCIT Service Desk for assistance at 212-854-7172.  (Students can also go to 307 Diana for assistance; faculty and staff can go to Milbank 13.)

The link *may* also have given the malware package other access to your Google Account.  Please check the apps linked to your account (My Account -> Sign-in & Security -> Connected apps & sites) and remove any that you do not recognize.  Again, please contact BCIT if you need further assistance.

Google is aware of the issue and is working to alleviate it; and we are working to block additional copies of the attack coming into our domain.

Best Regards,

Victoria Swann
Director, User Services
Barnard College | Columbia University

*The procedure may be different for Columbia students. Contact CUIT for assistance.