Meet the Team


Camp Kesem Columbia is really becoming a household name on campus, as we had more applicants for our board positions this year than ever before. We’re so excited to present our 2014-2015 Board!

 

 

Co-Directors
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Alex “Rabbit” Xu

School/Year: Columbia College ’15

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day: I’m from Seattle, so there aren’t very many sunny days, but when there is one we try to take full advantage of it by going boating or swimming with friends on Lake Washington or going for a hike. I used to be on the crew team and there is nothing like rowing when the weather is nice and the water is calm. In New York, sunny days are great for going running along the river or walking across Central Park to try some restaurants on the impossible-to-access east side of Manhattan.

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is any place where you feel totally comfortable being yourself. It should be somewhere relaxing, a place where you look forward to going after a long day at school or work. Often, homes are filled with people you love and who love you back, but a home isn’t always filled with people all the time. I think one person can have many homes and each one can mean something different.

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Michelle “Kirby” Lee

School/Year: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences ’16

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  Look for people I know on the steps, read a book outside, lie in the grass and watch the clouds, or throw around a frisbee. That’s a lot of things I know, but I really like sunny days. :)

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is anywhere I feel like I have a community of people I can rely on, and who can rely on me. It’s also a place where I feel comfortable in my own skin, where I can truly feel like and be myself.

Development

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Swati “Mushu” Amin

 

Coming Soon!

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Shelly “Little Red” Hafif

School/Year: Barnard College ’17

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  Go walking, relax, read and tan!

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is a space of comfort, love, and closeness. It includes my family, friends and “homey” experiences like Camp Kesem!

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Anthony “Italian Stallion” Pensiero

School/Year: Columbia College ’17

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  My favorite thing to do on a sunny day is go to the beach and spend time with my family or friends. My friends are the people who get me through every single day, and I know I can depend on them no matter what. My ideal day is sitting on the beach with some ice cream or swimming with the people that make me who I am.

What does the word “home” mean to you? To me, home is a place you can always go, no matter what you’re going through. Everyone faces their own sort of hardships throughout life, but home is that one place that you can always go back to. It’s where your family is. It’s where you feel comfortable doing everything from talking about your feelings to telling jokes to thinking about the future. Home is the one thing you have your entire life.

Outreach

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Lindsey “Unicorn” Bell

School/Year: Barnard College ’16

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day: Read on the lawn outside one of the libraries on campus.

What does the word “home” mean to you? A place where I can be totally and completely myself.

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Maria “Boo” Mavrommatis

School/Year: Columbia College ’17

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  Grabbing my sister and going for a long drive to some beautiful place. It really doesn’t matter where exactly: a lake, a nature walk, an open field, a hike, our backyard, etc. Anything will do as long as it involves my sister and being outside!

What does the word “home” mean to you? To me, “home” is not a place. It is not the house in which I grew up, the dorm in which I currently live, or the one-day apartment I will eventually own. Rather, it is a person or a group of people that make me feel safe, supported, and most importantly, happy. No matter where I physically am, if I’m surrounded by the people I love, I am home.

Volunteer

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Sophia “Zelda” Golec

School/Year: Columbia College ’15

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day: Go on a run in Riverside park! Especially on weekends, there are always tons of kids, dogs, and people enjoying the sunshine that makes the run that much more fun.

What does the word “home” mean to you? A group of people who support and accept me, even when I’m on bag number 5 of Flaming Hot Cheetos.

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 James “Otter” Zhang

School/Year: School of Engineering and Applied Science ’16

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day: If I’m not working, I’d love to go out and play some football! Or spend time with friends and have a mini picnic. You can never get enough Vitamin D!

What does the word “home” mean to you? There is no permanent location of home. Home is where I am with my parents and sister, where I am with my friends, and where I am at camp hanging out! I don’t associate home as a geographical location. It’s the people that make home what it is!

Secretary/Make the Magic

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Hannah “Nemo” Steinhardt

School/Year: Barnard College ’15

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day: Sunny days are pretty much my favorite thing and one of my favorite things to do on them is walk along the Hudson River down to the 79th street Boat Basin.

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home means never feeling alone, whether that means being physically supported, emotionally encouraged, or ultimately empowered. Home means knowing that I am safe and loved. Home means Camp Kesem, my home away from home.

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Mallorie “Dory” Thomas

School/Year: Barnard College ’15

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  On a sunny day I like to try to spend the day outside, maybe a bike ride along the Hudson River or a picnic in Morningside Park. I love to explore different neighborhoods in New York City, so a sunny day is the perfect time to wander!

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is a place where you can laugh as loud as you want, or cry as often as you need because you know it is a place where no matter how much time has passed, the people there love and support you!

Operations

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Molly “Skippy” Doernberg

School/Year: Barnard College ’16

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day: Grab a friend and go sit outside with a giant iced coffee and a good book!

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is wherever I feel totally comfortable being myself and where I’m surrounded by wonderful people who care about and support me. Being home means being with my family, whether in the biological sense or otherwise. Home is a place that I can always come back to, no matter how long I’ve been gone.

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Ritty “Starbucks” Zhai

School/Year: Columbia College ’16

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day: My favorite thing to do on a sunny day is going to the park and having a picnic with friends and family.

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is where I’m accepted, loved, and appreciated for who I am! :)

PR/Marketing

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Chris “Stitch” Kim

School/Year: School of Engineering and Applied Science ’16

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  If I’m at home, I like to go to the beach with my friends and family. If I’m at school, I like to go to the beach with my friends. I really like going to the beach.

What does the word “home” mean to you? Being surrounded by the ones you love.

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Elliot “Direwolf” Xu

School/Year: Columbia College ’17

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  When I was younger, my favorite thing to do on a sunny day was to go hiking with my family and to take a boat out on a lake to go fishing. Now, just being outside is enough for me!

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is somewhere I’ll always be able to go back to if I’m going through hard times, where I’ll always feel welcome, comfortable, and loved.

First-Year Coordinators (FYCs)

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Darius “Dush” Ansari

School/Year: Columbia College ’17

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  Any time it’s nice outside I really enjoy either trying to explore the city a little bit or reading a book outside! If I’m feeling extra motivated I love taking runs down Riverside Park.

What does the word “home” mean to you? I don’t necessarily consider home to be a physical place, but anytime I’m surrounded by people that I truly love and care for! This applies to whenever I have the chance to spend time with my family and close friends.

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David “Snow” Dai

School/Year: Columbia College ’17

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  Take a nice jog around on the beach or in a nearby park. If possible, gather a group of friends and play a fun game of soccer.

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is a place where friends and family can gather to enjoy each other’s company and to make the most out of life. Mount Pleasant, Michigan, is home; Oceanside and Los Angeles, California, are my homes. Columbia is home; Camp Kesem is home.

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Nina “Raven” Kumar

School/Year: School of Engineering and Applied Science ’16

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  My favorite thing to do on a sunny day is walk across Central Park three times, stumble upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and go row-boating on The Lake.

What does the word “home” mean to you? “Home” is where I feel comfortable and loved by the people around me!

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Michaela “Buffy” Schwartz

School/Year: Barnard College ’18

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day: Swim with dolphins. I’ve never actually done it, but I imagine it’s quite lovely.

What does the word “home” mean to you? Home is any community that truly accepts you for who you are.

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Elizabeth “Poppy” Stern

School/Year: Barnard College ’18

Favorite thing to do on a sunny day:  As a native San Franciscan, a sunny day is a rare treat. When the weather’s nice, I love exploring Golden Gate Park (and now Central Park!) – as long as I’m wearing LOTS of sunscreen.

What does the word “home” mean to you? To me, home means being surrounded by the people I love, whether that’s family, friends, or campers!