Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

2019-20 Graduate Student Mentors (GSMs)

Graduate Student Mentor, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program
Facilitator, CUSP Columbia Journey Seminar

Jeffrey Chih-yu Twu is a PhD candidate at the Department of Anthropology, where he researches border conflicts and nationalist movements in contemporary Hong Kong. His dissertation looks at the history of cartographic deliberations and corresponding transformations on the ground, especially in relation to changes in ecological, human, and political landscapes across Hong Kong’s riverine boundary with China. Through fieldwork in both the New Territories and metropolitan Hong Kong, Jeffrey observes how different demographics make sense ofand collectively reinventthe bordering principles of spatial imagination, from the era of British colonialism to the territory’s afterlife as a Special Administrative Region of China. Paying close attention to escalating turmoil between China and its former British enclave, Jeffrey tries to interpret alternating spurts of optimism and resignation that dominate the Hong Kong society today. These debates on the region’s future autonomy and identity may be more fruitfully understood in relation to the outsized role played by Hong Kong’s narrow frontier with China. An ethnography of “fictional” state boundary lines and their tangible ramifications, Jeffrey’s dissertation investigates how emerging narratives of Hong Kong nationalism/nativism on the ground gave shape to cartographic inventions inscribed from above.

Before joining Columbia, Jeffrey studied comparative literature at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and English literature & linguistics at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. He taught Introduction to Literature at Hunter College, and served as a teaching assistant in various anthropology courses at Columbia. Jeffrey was also the course preceptor for Senior Thesis Seminar in Anthropology and a writing consultant at the Columbia Writing Center. Jeffrey was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. He speaks both English and Mandarin Chinese.

Graduate Student Mentor, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program
Facilitator, CUSP Columbia Journey Seminar

Therese Cox is a PhD candidate in English and Comparative Literature. She writes about contemporary British and Irish literature, architecture, and urban planning. Her dissertation examines how writers, architects, and critics both responded to and helped shape the physical landscape in the decades after World War Two. Reading across poetry, fiction, criticism, architectural writing, maps, plans, and essays, she is interested in the ways that complex social and political forces—what Raymond Williams called “structures of feeling”—find literary, and architectural, expression. An interdisciplinary scholar, Therese holds an MPhil and MA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia, an MA in Educational Theatre and English Education from NYU, and a BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.

At Columbia, Therese has earned numerous accolades for her teaching and public humanities work. She was named a 2016-2017 Teaching Scholars Fellow, where she designed and taught an upper-level undergraduate seminar called Dystopian Postwar Fiction. As a 2018-2019 Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellow, Therese is collaborating with The Uni Project to help develop WRITE, a community arts program that brings pop-up writing stations to public spaces throughout New York City. She has taught courses in University Writing and Literary Texts and Critical Methods, as well as TA’d courses on James Joyce and Yeats, Eliot, and Auden. Prior to coming to Columbia, Therese worked as an adjunct instructor of English, a drama workshop leader in Ireland, and a volunteer writing mentor with Girls Write Now. She developed the Academic Coaching program at the SEEK program at NYCCT (CUNY) to help young scholars develop academic skills and negotiate the transition from high school to college.

Therese is also a fiction writer, accordionist, and amateur ice hockey player.

Graduate Student Mentor, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program
Facilitator, CUSP Columbia Journey Seminar

Matthew Heeney is a PhD candidate in the Philosophy Department at Columbia. He researches the philosophy of mind and action. His dissertation concerns the responsibility that we bear for our beliefs and intentions, and more generally the forms of agency that we exercise over our own minds. He is also interested in existentialism, especially the philosophy and literature of Jean-Paul Sartre. Matthew's research has been published in the European Journal of Philosophy with more, he hopes, to come.

Besides philosophy, Matthew also enjoys exploring NYC by bicycle and learning analog photography. He attends Corpus Christi Catholic Church, the university parish for Columbia University.

Matthew hails from California. Before moving to NYC to commence his PhD, he obtained an MA at San Francisco State University and a BA at UCLA. In between these educational stints, he worked in Seoul, South Korea for a year as an English teacher and at a Silicon Valley startup.

Graduate Student Mentor, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program
Facilitator, CUSP Columbia Journey Seminar

Kathryn Radishofski began a critical engagement with music, identity politics, and popular cultural studies during her tenure at Eugene, Oregon’s oldest record store, The House of Records, which opened in 1971, and has long served as a crucial hub for the city’s musical community. This experience coincided with her undergraduate studies in Cultural Anthropology, and she earned a BA from the University of Oregon in 2008; MAs in Southern Studies and Ethnomusicology followed in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Her master’s thesis at the University of Mississippi, “Last (Un)fair Deal Goin’ Down: A Case Study on the Racial Ideologies and Projects Advanced by the Blues Tourism Industry in Clarksdale, Mississippi,” considered how musical heritage narratives developed for tourists can contribute to the defining of local residents through a commodification of their culture and history in consistent and highly visible forms, as they undermine, and underwrite, social, civic, and economic agendas. Kathryn is in the process of finishing a documentary on her work in the Mississippi, with the aim of contributing it to the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation as a tool for its Delta-based, restorative justice projects. An essay version of her award-winning thesis appeared in Navigating Souths: Transdisciplinary Explorations of a US Region (University of Georgia Press, 2017).

Ms. Radishofski is currently a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University, and has also worked as a curatorial advisor for Smithsonian Folkways forthcoming Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap (SFW CD 40230). As a continuation of her MA thesis in Ethnomusicology, Kathryn’s dissertation research investigates the relationship between sound, memory, and belonging in New York City, considering how the spatial inheritances of race and gentrification articulate the audibility and visibility of hip-hop culture’s legacies. As an aurally informed ethnography, this project tracks an exceptional moment in which the historicity of hip-hop concretizes in its original “site of creativity” (Connell and Gibson 2005), as simultaneously, a crisis of racial displacement and cultural loss is perceived as carrying unstoppable momentum there. Kathryn’s research interests include African American heritage industries; race and racism in the United States; the U.S. South; urban environments; music and the culture industry; identity politics, representation, and neoliberalism; cultural tourism; public memory; and ethnographic documentary.

Graduate Student Mentor, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program
Facilitator, CUSP Columbia Journey Seminar

Benjamin Serby is a doctoral student focusing on US intellectual and political history since 1945. He grew up in the New York City area, and received his BA with highest honors from Brandeis University in 2010. His undergraduate thesis, "The Scientific Ideologist: Lewis Feuer and the Marxist Roots of Neoconservatism," explored the changing politics of the "New York intellectuals" from the Great Depression through the 1970s. Since that time, his research interests have grown to include the history of American radicalism; the relationship between social movements and social theory; psychoanalysis; critical theory; and the history of New York City.

Benjamin's dissertation, "Gay Liberation and the Politics of the Self in Postwar America," situates the gay liberation movement in the United States in the context of the history of ideas about the self, society, and the relationship between both in the three decades after the Second World War. In so doing, it demonstrates how broad cultural and political currents shaped the identities and solidarities underpinning gay politics, and how a collective demand for “liberation” reflected widely shared anxieties about psychological domination, personal autonomy, and mass culture. Combining the approaches of social history, literary criticism, reception history, and intellectual biography, "Gay Liberation and the Politics of the Self"  brings LGBT history into conversation with the historiographies of American social thought and of social movements. It draws from extensive archival research into key activists, and from close readings of the alternative newspapers and mass-market paperback books in which their ideas were expressed, debated, and disseminated. Benjamin's research demonstrates the extent to which gay liberationists drew on midcentury social criticism, the counterculture, and the radical politics of the 1960s—above all, second-wave feminism, the new left, and Black Power--in a context of material prosperity and global decolonization.

Ben's writing has appeared in The Nation and the blogs of The Society for US Intellectual History and the Gotham Center for NYC History. In 2016, he was awarded a History In Action HAPA grant to complete an online exhibition about the life and work of the historian Richard Hofstadter drawn from archival materials and previously unpublished documents. He was a 2016-2017 Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship in Museum Education at the Museum of the City of New York, where he taught young children about social movements and urban history, and developed public history content relating to the exhibition Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in 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.