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CUSP Structure and Staff

Senior Assistant Dean, Student Affairs
Director, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program 

Born and raised on the Columbia campus, Lavinia Lorch earned her B.A. summa cum laude from Barnard College as a Senior Scholar and her PhD in Classics from Columbia University where she taught both Latin and Literature Humanities.  Lorch’s teaching career includes Latin and Greek at Vassar College and French at New York’s New School for Social Research as well as language and literature classes in several private city high schools.  She is the recipient of the Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship for Greek Studies, the Lawrence H. Chamberlain Fellowship, the President’s Fellowship, the Murray Fellowship for the Humanities, and the Mary Allison Prize for General Excellence in Scholarship.  She has published on Euripides as well as Ovid and Dante, has translated poetry from Greek, Italian, and French, has lectured both in the States and abroad, and played the lead role in Euripides’ Medea performed off Broadway in ancient Greek.  In 2008, in recognition of her contribution to French education, the French Republic bestowed on her the honor of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

Lorch’s academic interests lie in relating and applying the lessons of classical literature and philosophy to real world issues.

In the Fall of 2000, Lorch was hired to design, implement, and direct the Scholars Program at Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.  Until 2005 she also directed the university’s Fellowships office which prepares and advises students for prestigious national fellowships. Lorch’s previous experience in educational administration includes ten years working in New York City's private school system, specifically in bilingual bicultural settings.  She served as the founding Headmistress of La Scuola New York (now La Scuola d’Italia), and later worked at the Lycée Français de New York as Director of the English Program, Director of Admissions, and Academic and Administrative Director. Believing in the philosophy of educating the complete individual, Lorch focuses on implementing interdisciplinary projects and paracurricular programs in collaboration with colleagues and professionals in diverse fields.  

Lorch spends weekends at her Catskills New York farm with her husband, Michael van Biema, and their children, Fiamma and Tristan, raising a barnful of animals including llamas, alpacas, a donkey, peacocks, and chickens.


Advising Dean, Center for Student Advising
Assistant Director, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program

Kristin was born in New Haven, Connecticut and spent her first few years living in Germany and Switzerland. She was raised in Princeton, New Jersey. Kristin received her B.A. from Barnard College and then went on to pursue a Ph.D. in European History (with a specialization in French history), at Princeton University. She spent two years in Paris working in the archive and manuscript divisions of the National Archives and the Bibliotheque Nationale. Kristin joined the History Department at the University of New Hampshire as an Assistant Professor where she taught courses on the Renaissance, the Reformation, Western Civilization and the History of the Family and Sexuality in addition to advising history majors and honors students. She won a prize for her dissertation, which gave her a semester’s leave to edit the dissertation for publication as a book. She published her book, Blood Ties and Fictive Ties: Adoption in Early Modern France with Princeton University Press in 1996. She is a recipient of the Fulbright, the Chateaubriand and the Rollins and Davis Grants for graduate study and research.

In 1996 Kristin moved to Paris and spent three years working as an independent scholar. Her next project (still underway) tells the story of the only female court jester in the French Royal Court in the 17th century. In addition to living in Paris, Kristin spent her Junior Year abroad studying at the University of Florence and a year studying German in Berlin, Germany. She returned to the U.S. and accepted a position as Trade Science acquisitions editor at Princeton University Press where she worked with scientists to publish their work in book form and for a broad, general public audience. Kristin then pursued a Master’s degree in Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute in NYC, specializing in academic librarianship. Upon completion of the degree she was hired at the Watson Library at Emory University as the “European History and Humanities Librarian.” Here, she taught courses on library research skills and advised students on term papers.

After a brief interlude in the business world working for a consulting firm based in Paris, Kristin realized how much she missed working with students and was lucky enough to join the Center for Student Advising at Columbia as an Advising Dean and Assistant Director of CUSP in January, 2011.

When not working with students at the CSA and attending CUSP events, Kristin runs with her dog in Central Park, practices yoga, reads widely and continues to explore the many facets of New York City.


Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2562

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.