The Chairs

  • Sen. Tiffany Bryant has held a number of roles in government, including working for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and the State of New York.  She currently works as a political consultant. She is the Chair of Columbia College Women and on the board of the Columbia Alumni Association. Previously Sen. Bryant served as the Vice President of Columbia's Black Alumni Council. She received her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Columbia College in 2008.

  • Sen. Rosalba (Rosie) Savage (she/her/ella) is a second year policy track student in the School of Social Work. A United States Navy Veteran, Rosie served as a combat medic. She has twenty years’ experience in higher education, where she was a medical/ clinical assistant and allied health instructor. In addition to being a full-time student, Rosie, is a professional development and self awareness presenter and orientation leader. She volunteers as an examiner for Columbia’s Human Rights Initiative Asylum Clinic and as a reading mentor for underserved children with Read Ahead. She is a TEDx speaker, where she shares her story as a first gen and veteran. After Columbia, her goals are to advocate for underserved communities, and for MST survivors. She currently interns as a policy analyst for the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor. 

  • Sen. Patrice Derrington has combined architecture and business training for a diverse career in real estate. Originally trained as an architect, followed by a Harvard MBA and Ph.D. at UC Berkley, she has held academic roles at Carnegie Mellon, MIT, NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, and now as the Director of the Columbia MSRED Program and of its Center for Urban Real Estate. 

    As a vice president in the JP Morgan Chase Real Estate Finance Group, Dr. Derrington worked on capital structuring. As a managing director at Victory Capital she managed David Rockefeller’s real estate development projects and investments for over fourteen years, started a REIT fund, served as a public REIT board member, and worked on restructuring distressed debt.  In 2002, Dr. Derrington was appointed by the Governor of New York State as the executive responsible for economic and social rehabilitation programs and revitalization funding at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in the aftermath of the 9/11 destruction. During a brief period in Australia, she was the CEO of two private development companies, an independent director of the listed property trust, Charter Hall, and advised local authorities as Chair of the Brisbane Inner City Advisory Committee.  

  • Paola Valenti is an economist with expertise in development economics, applied econometrics, applied microeconomics, and economics of antitrust and intellectual property. Dr. Valenti's has expertise in industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, industrial chemicals, consumer products, food, and computer hardware and software.

    Dr. Valenti previously served as a consultant at NERA Economic Consulting, developing economic research and quantitative analysis. She has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank's Human Development Network and Social Protection Group, conducting research on poverty among the elderly in Bulgaria, Mauritius, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Tajikistan.

    Dr. Valenti holds laurea and Dottorato di Recerca degrees in economics from the University of Rome La Sapienza, an M.Sc. degree from CORIPE Piemonte, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.


  • Sen. Natalie Voigt, Ph.D., MSN, RN, is Assistant Professor of Nursing at CUMC. She has been a nurse for 17 years and has been working as faculty in the Masters Direct Entry Program for the past four years. Dr. Voigt prides herself on being an active listener, a servant leader, and helping to create environments that are inclusive for all participants. She believe in the importance of diversity of thought and respectful dissent. For the past two years, Dr. Voigt has served as University Senator on the External Relations and Research Policy Committee and on the Commission on Diversity. Her contributions include collaborating on the Resolution to Reaffirm the University’s Commitment to Excellence through Diversity, efforts to further clarify the process around student bias reporting to EOAA, and the Resolution to Include Caste as a Protected Category in Columbia University's Non-Discrimination Statement, co-sponsored by the Student Affairs Committee, the Commission on Diversity, and the Commission on the Status of Women. Dr. Voigt hopes to continue to bring this spirit of advocacy and inclusivity as a University Senator to serve the greater Columbia community and help make our campus a more equitable place where all may thrive.

  • Nancy LoIacono is a Research Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. She is an environmental scientist and epidemiologist and has dedicated her career to understanding the effects of exposure to metals (in particular lead and arsenic) on children’s neurocognitive development and the development of adverse health outcomes (cardiovascular and lung disease and diabetes) in adults. She has worked on studies at both the molecular and population levels. She has been involved in several long-term prospective studies that have focused on identifying the adverse effects of exposure to metals, evaluating the effectiveness and safety of various interventions, and formulating strategies to reduce or eliminate these exposures and/or to mitigate their effects.

  • Monica Goldklang, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Medicine (in Anesthesiology) in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Goldklang’s main area of research interest is in translational studies investigating the pathogenesis of smoking related lung disease. Her work involves understanding the mechanisms of protease upregulation in lung injury. She is currently working on a project investigating factors that alter MMP-13 expression and activity in lung disease. Moving forward, Dr. Goldklang has received NIH K08 funding to investigate the role of ion channels in smoking related lung disease. 

  • Sen. Minhas Wasaya is a second year MBA student in the Graduate School of Business. On the University Senate, Minhas is Vice Chair of the Student Affairs Committee and serves on the Executive and Budget committees. Originally from Houston, Texas, Minhas was Senior Underwriter for Power Generation & Renewables at AIG, where he worked in various roles over five years. In addition to his role in underwriting, Minhas supported corporate technology initiatives and mentored young talent. He has prior experiences in consulting and management roles in other industries. Minhas earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Houston, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

    Outside of work, Minhas was active in community service through the Aga Khan Council for the United States, the Greater Houston Partnership, and the Harris County Democratic Party, having served in various initiatives, including education, civic engagement, youth development, and economic development.  At Columbia, Minhas is focused on entering the technology industry. He is also an active member of CBS Follies, the South Asian Business Association, and the Basketball Club.


  • Sen. Marni Sommer, Dr.PH., MSN, RN, has worked in global health and development on issues ranging from improving access to essential medicines to humanitarian relief in conflict settings. Dr. Sommer's particular areas of expertise include conducting participatory research with adolescents, understanding and promoting healthy transitions to adulthood, the intersection of public health and education, gender and sexual health, and the implementation and evaluation of adolescent-focused interventions.

    Dr. Sommer's doctoral research explored girls' experiences of menstruation, puberty and schooling in Tanzania, and the ways in which the onset of puberty might be disrupting girls' academic performance and healthy transition to adulthood. Dr. Sommer presently leads the Gender, Adolescent Transitions and Environment (GATE) Program, based in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. GATE explores the intersections of gender, health, education and the environment for girls and boys transitioning into adulthood in low-income countries and in the United States. GATE also generates research and practical resources focused on improving the integration of menstrual hygiene management and gender supportive sanitation solutions into global humanitarian response. 

  • Sen. María Uriarte is Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology and Chair of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology.  On the University Senate, Dr. Uriarte co-chairs the Budget Committee.

    Dr. Uriarteis an ecologist who studies how tropical forests recover from human agricultural activities and extreme climate events, such as hurricanes. Dr. Uriarte chaired the Policy Planning Committee, the elected faculty governance body of the Arts and Sciences, from 2018 to 2019. She was a Provost Leadership Fellow from 2019 to 2021, gaining insights into key campus strategic initiatives and academic processes, strategic planning, budget issues, and challenges in higher education.

  • Sen. Letty Moss-Salentijn is Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dentistry (in Anatomy and Cell Biology) and Vice Dean for Curriculum Innovation and Interprofessional Education in the College of Dental Medicine. On the University Senate, Dr. Moss-Salentijn serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the Tenured Faculty Caucus. She also co-chairs the Education Committee and the Faculty Affairs, Academic Freedom, and Tenure Committee. Dr. Moss-Salentijn’s research has focused primarily on aspects of growth and development of skeletal and dental tissues. Much of her work was done in collaboration with her late husband Professor Melvin L. Moss and colleagues in the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. More recently, especially during the pandemic, she has worked with members of CTL, CUIT, and the Computer Science Department to assist her faculty colleagues in the use of new media applications to enrich online teaching. 

  • Sen. Julia Hirschberg is Percy K and Vida LW Hudson Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University (department chair 2012-2018). She previously worked at Bell Laboratories and AT&T Labs on TTS and created the HCI Research Department. She has served on executive boards for: ACL, ISCA (president 2005-7), CRA-W/WP, NAACL, CRA, AAAI Council, and IEEE SLTC and numerous awards committees and was editor of Computational Linguistics and Speech Communication. She is a fellow of AAAI, ISCA, ACL, ACM, and IEEE, and a member of the NAE, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She received the IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award, ISCA Medal for Scientific Achievement and ISCA Special Service Medal. She has worked many years for diversity at AT&T and Columbia. She studies speech and NLP, currently: false information and intent on social media, radicalization in online videos, code-switching, switchboard alignment, emotional, and empathetic speech.

  • Sen. John Donaldson is the Mario J. Gabelli Professor of Finance at Columbia Business School, where he teaches courses in basic finance and options. Dr. Donaldson focuses on business cycles and asset pricing, with a particular emphasis on the real side of the economy’s impact on equilibrium pricing of financial assets. Dr. Donaldson received his M.S in economics and M.S. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University, and his Ph.D. in economics also from Carnegie Mellon University. On the University Senate, he co-chairs the Campus Planning and Physical Development Committee.

  • Sen. Jeanine D’Armiento, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Medicine in Anesthesiology, Director of the Center for Molecular Pulmonary Disease in Anesthesiology and Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, and Director of the Center for Lymphangiomyomatosis (LAM) and Rare Lung Disease. On the University Senate, Dr. D’Armiento chairs the Executive Committee, and serves on the Budget Review Committee, External Relations and Research Policy Committee, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Commission on Diversity. In 2008, Dr. D’Armiento completed a two-year appointment as Associate Dean for Gender Equity and Faculty Development, where she concentrated on professional development programs for women faculty. Dr. D’Armiento has been Executive Director of the Summer Program for Under-Represented Students at CUIMC for the past 19 years. She serves on the Executive Board of the Alpha-1 Foundation, which she has chaired. Dr. D’Armiento also serves as a consultant to the Director of the Office of Rare Disease at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.


  • Sen. Jaxon Williams-Bellamy is a J.D. candidate in the Law School. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Jaxon graduated with a B.A. in economics, political science, and French from Columbia College in 2021. After a year spent teaching high school English in northern France and volunteering with the Columbia Global Center in Paris, Jaxon matriculated as a J.D. candidate at Columbia Law School. On the University Senate, Jaxon serves on the Student Affairs, Campus Planning and Physical Development, and Rules of University Conduct committees.

    As an undergraduate, Jaxon served as a peer adviser at the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement and, since graduating has maintained close ties with the Columbia College community as an alumni mentor with the Odyssey Mentoring Program. As a law student, Jaxon has continued to promote the many opportunities for collaboration and exchange available at the University and, as the Law School’s Student Senator, hopes to foster greater modes of connection between the Law School and the greater University community.


  • Sen. James H. Applegate is Professor of Astronomy. On the University Senate, Dr. Applegate serves on the Executive Committee, co-chairs the Education Committee, and serves on the Faculty Affairs, Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee.  Dr. Applegate received his B.S. in astrophysics from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. in physics from SUNY at Stony Brook. He was a Bantrell Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, and a previous chair of the Astronomy Department at Columbia.


  • Sen. Howard J. Worman, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Pathology and Cell Biology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, has been at Columbia for 28 years, researching cell biology and liver diseases, teaching medical and graduate students, and caring for patients at the medical center. On the University Senate, Dr. Worman co-chairs the Committee on External Relations and Research Policy and serves on the Budget Committee and the Faculty Affairs, Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee.


  • Sen. Greg Freyer is Professor and Faculty Director of Graduate Education of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, where he serves as chair of the Doctoral Committee. Dr. Freyer has been a member of the University Senate since 2011. He serves on the Executive Committee and co-chairs the Committee on Faculty Affairs, Academic Freedom and Tenure. Dr. Freyer also co-chairs the University Senate’s Tenure-Track and Off-Track Faculty Caucus. 

    Dr. Freyer is deeply engaged in developing educational programs, teaches multiple courses and was recipient of both the Mailman School of Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award and the Columbia University Presidential Teaching Award in 2014. Dr. Freyer’s research has focused on cellular responses to environmental insults and, more recently, on predicting infectious disease outbreaks.

  • Sen. Daniel Wolf Savin is Senior Research Scientist in the Columbia Astrophysics Lab. Dr. Savin's work addresses cutting-edge questions in astrophysics, planetary science, and solar physics through observations coupled with laboratory astrophysics studies in atomic, molecular, condensed matter, and plasma physics. On the University Senate, Dr. Savin represents Professional Research Officers and chairs the Research Officers Committee, co-chairs the Structure and Operations Committee, and serves on the Budget Committee and the Joint Benefits Subcommittee.



  • Sen. Daniel Billings is a hematology/oncology nurse practitioner with New York Cancer and Blood Specialists. On the University Senate, Dr. Billings represents alumni. He co-chairs the Alumni Relations Committee and serves on the Budget Committee.

    Dr. Billings attended Columbia University School of Nursing, beginning with the Entry-to-Practice program, and earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing. He specialized in adult-gerontology primary care, with a sub-specialty in oncology. Dr. Billing’s training culminated in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice at the School of Nursing, focusing on comprehensive care for patients with sickle cell disease. He served as a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar from 2016 to 2018, and took full advantage of leadership opportunities, mentoring students in the Peer Leadership Program and serving as co-president of the Doctoral Students Organization.

    Dr. Billings is an inaugural recipient of the Campbell Award, established by the University Trustees and Columbia Alumni Association in 2016 and presented to a graduating student from each school who shows exceptional leadership and Columbia spirit. He serves on the Columbia Nursing Alumni Board and Columbia University Alumni Association Board of Directors, and was a founding member of the Oncology Nursing of Columbia student organization.

    Dr. Billings previously worked for the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University's Irving Medical Campus as a nurse practitioner in hematology, as well as at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as infectious disease advanced practice provider.

  • Sen. Cheng Gong is a biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidate in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Cheng enjoys using the art of optics to solve healthcare and life sciences problems, and is attracted by lab-to-market biomedical innovation. As a University Senator, Cheng seeks to foster connections across schools and with the wider Columbia community. On the University Senate, Cheng co-chairs the Student Affairs and External Relations and Research Policy committees, and serves on the Executive Committee. He also chairs the Ph.D. Council of Columbia University and is a member of the Columbia Alumni Association Board. 

  • Sen. Bruce Goumain is a French Air Force veteran studying neuroeconomics at the School of General Studies. 

    Bruce deeply values the Columbia Experience for students and officers and wants to ensure that all individuals have at their disposal the necessary tools and resources to stay healthy and to thrive academically and professionally. His areas of focus are the availability and accessibility of campus student space, financial aid, access to mental health care, and course search and registration innovation. On the University Senate, Bruce co-chairs the Student Affairs Committee and serves on the Information and Communications Technology and Executive committees. He is a member of the Columbia Alumni Association Board. 

    Before joining the French Air Force, Bruce worked in the laboratories of Veolia Water Technologies, focusing on the provision of drinking water in humanitarian emergencies. He also worked for Rotary International, organizing fundraising to support rural electrification and the structural transformation of schools and villages in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Togo. Bruce strongly believes that we must speak up for those whose voices are not heard and that we each have a role to play in reducing the inequalities we witness, remaining conscious of the impact that we have on people and on society.

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