the Arts & Culture MA class of 2010 at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism


 Hailing from the blustery North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland, Kathy has spent much of her short career focusing on theatre and issues of gender and sexuality. She has indulged her journalistic passions at various publications including The Dubliner magazine and the Belfast Beat. She also interned briefly at the Irish Times where she was alternatively making coffee or being generally ignored- such is bureaucracy. Kathy can generally be found munching audibly at an iced pastry in some bookstore or other and enjoys short strolls in Washington Square Park.



East London chick Herpreeto Grewal used to think Bruce Springsteen was the way out of the ghetto but since then she’s made her own extraordinary escape without the help of The Boss to the great U S of A. Such self-determination is typical of the girl, whose ability to make the best of tricky situations would make Houdini proud. Before her move to New York she worked for The Times of London and social policy journal Regeneration & Renewal and freelanced for UK papers, The Guardian and the Observer. A true hack with a heart, she’s no doubt on her way to the stars.



Abigail writes about gender, sexuality, culture, and the arts. Her first book is the bestseller Restless Virgins: Love, Sex, and Survival at a New England Prep School (William Morrow, 2007; Harper, 2008; coauthored). A work of nonfiction, it follows the intimate lives of seven teenagers during their senior year of high school. Abigail has also written about Barbie, elite prep schools, and the love industry for the Special Reports section of She’s covered quirky, unexpected projects coming out of MIT’s Media Lab for the Boston Phoenix, motherhood and plastic surgery for the Boston Globe, and the relationship between teenagers and television for She graduated from Dartmouth College in 2003, has a Masters in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and worked as a staff editor and intern at the Atlantic. Born and raised near Boston, Abigail now lives in New York City, where she is pursuing her M.A. in arts journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.



Catching the earnestness of stars, identifying the heroism of unsung artistes – has kept her hooked to arts journalism. She worked as a reporter and editor at The Hindu Newspaper, a 130-year-old daily, in Delhi, before moving to New York. In 27 years, she has lived in ten cities in three continents and studied at nine schools. Re-locating and travel have shown her that there are multiple realities and infinite stories. She likes to believe that she is a story teller of this world.



Bao is perpetually obsessed with food ⎯ eating, cooking, reading, watching and reporting about it. Mostly eating. From the top-ten fried chicken restaurants to the politics of consuming sustainable fish, everything culinary-related is on his mind. When Bao wakes up, he’s already thinking about dinner. But to support these ⎯ at times ⎯ expensive eating adventures, he only has his poor-paying journalism skills to rely on. He worked as a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press (but never sampled lutefisk) for two years. Bao then uprooted himself to New York City, where he enrolled in the French Culinary Institute and somehow managed to graduate in June 2009 without suffering a heart attack after consuming what was likely a stick of butter each week. These days he’s subsisting on coffee as a student at Columbia University studying arts and culture reporting.



Since graduating in 2003 with a B.A. in journalism, Laura has reported on General Electric’s work to remove PCBs along the Housatonic River bank in the Berkshires, school board disputes and murder in Bennington, Vermont, and historic houses and the gallery scene on Nantucket. In the buildup to the current war in Iraq, Laura spent six months in the research library at National Public Radio’s headquarters compiling the Iraq War Briefing Book for all reporters. She has also been published in The Brooklyn Rail and The New York Times. Laura thinks she understands Gaston Bachelard’s “The Poetics of Space” (1958) and is interested in writing about exactly how and where that poetry takes place in the architecture of New York City and beyond



Shirine enjoys wandering in obscure gallery shows and listening to experimental rock operas; grabbing a hot dog in front of the Met and sipping bourbon at a gritty jazz pub. Born in Lebanon, she’s lived in Paris, Montreal, New York and Beirut. Her life experiences, between East and West, feed her work as a journalist and editor. From contemporary art, which she studied at McGill University, to indie rock, conceptual fashion and architecture, she draws links between disciplines and cultures. After receiving a Masters of Science in Magazine Editing at the Columbia School of Journalism in 2004, Shirine worked as the Lifestyle Editor of Montreal’s leading alt-weekly. Then she became the editor-in-chief of MARIAGE, Quebec’s only wedding magazine and the Montreal Editor of FASHION Magazine. She has written for Elle QuebecWWDFlare and



In her seven years as a feature writer, New Zealander Nicola has probed what toilet etiquette and anxieties might betray, sought to define “emo” and “hood rats” , profiled artists, politicians, business and sports figures, and wondered whether a city’s bicycle friendliness may be the ultimate indicator of its sophistication. A staff writer for Aotearoa-New Zealand monthly magazine North & South and then the Herald on Sunday newspaper, Nicola has won several national journalism awards. In 2009, she received a Fulbright General Graduate Award to study arts journalism at Columbia University, New York. She’s enjoying spending hours at gigs, galleries and theaters and calling it “homework”.



In his fifteen years as a freelance set designer and prop stylist Tom Stoelker’s work was seen in the pages of Architectural Digest and in the windows of Harvey Nichols in London. For several years he had an novel arrangement with the landlord to pay his rent at The Chelsea Hotel: $200 a month plus flower arrangements for the lobby. After a brief stint of making curry at Churchill’s Pub in Miami he moved back to Manhattan, got behind camera and started taking pictures. Community reporting forManhattan Times and an internship as research assistant at New-York Historical Society honed his current interests in architecture and urban planning.



With a background in design and a passion for food, Sylvia Ulloa plans on eating her way through the five boroughs of New York, focusing mostly on good and cheap ethnic cuisines. While working primarily as a graphic designer at the San Jose Mercury News in Northern California, she also has written restaurant reviews and Food & Wine cover stories on New Mexico green chile and gargantuan tamales from the state of Hidalgo, Mexico.




A New England native, Curtis M. Wong returns to New York City after four years in Europe, where he covered real estate, crime, politics, human rights, features, and most recently, food and restaurants for The Prague Post, the Czech Republic’s English-language weekly. His love of the arts began at age six, when he pranced across the stage in a sequined vest and top hat as part of a local dance troupe. Fourteen years of tap, ballet, jazz and modern dance study later, he realized he was better suited to the role of arts aficionado – though he still finds himself recalling old routines under his desk on occasion. He also adores hiking, biking, fine dining, theatre, book-and-music store browsing, and discovering new neighborhoods, cities and countries to explore. A self-professed pop culture junkie, Curtis’ writing has appeared in The Hartford CourantPassport MagazineBusiness Insurance Weekly, United Arab Emirates’ The National, Austria’s Packed Magazine and Ohio’sAkron Jewish News.