class photo for website


12767588_1007154125996847_300321345_nVicky Ge Huang is a writer and multimedia journalist. She grew up in Sichuan, China before moving to New Hampshire, where she studied English Literature, Media Studies and History. She graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in May 2015 and has studied abroad in France, interned in Thailand and volunteered in Nepal. She has caught the travel bug and aspires to be an international journalist after graduating from Columbia Journalism School. She covers the Hindus in New York City but is also fascinated by all religions.

12736208_1007154112663515_1847222259_nDaniel Rodriguez is a student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Originally from the Los Angeles area, Daniel headed east to complete his undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, where he majored in journalism. During his time at UMass, Daniel was the executive news producer at the campus television station and gained experience interning for several departments at NBCUniversal, including the NBC News Network Assignment Desk, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC. He also studied abroad in London and interned for the British newspaper The Independent. Daniel is an aspiring producer, interested in television and digital news production. He can be reached at @DRodrigueztv.


Chavie Lieber is a features writer at Racked, Vox Media’s fashion and retail site. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Daily Beast, the Jerusalem Post, Tablet Magazine, Haaretz, and more. She is a Davidson Scholar with the Wexner Foundation at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the co-founder of Altar Journal, a bi-annual Jewish literary publication.

12767219_1007154042663522_1507746205_nBorn and raised in Baltimore, MD, Emily Neil graduated from Barnard College in 2014 with a major in Middle Eastern studies and a minor in Spanish and Latin American studies. She worked as an associate news editor, A&E associate, copy editor, and senior staff writer at the Columbia Daily Spectator throughout her four years of university. Before beginning the M.S. full-time program at Columbia Journalism School this past fall, Emily spent a year teaching English on the island of Mallorca, Spain. She is focusing on print and visual journalism, and is hoping to work abroad after graduation. Outside of work, you can find her running, writing, reading poetry, talking to people, painting, learning to play guitar, and rooting for her favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles.

12767668_1007154092663517_1238733368_nSarah Hermina graduated from St. John’s University in 2015 with a B.S. in Mass Communications.  Since enrolling in the M.S. program at Columbia Journalism School, she’s reported on topics ranging from Queens’ first Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program to the post-revolution status of the tourism industry in Cairo, Egypt and the status of women in Libya.  In her spare time, Sarah enjoys drinking coffee, playing futbol and indulging in different cultures through travel.

12767300_1007154105996849_1161074363_nLora Moftah is a New York-based multimedia journalist. She was most recently a World News reporter for the International Business Times, where she covered religion and politics. Previously, she reported from the United Nations for Al Jazeera, covering the diplomatic aftermath of the Arab Spring protests. She plans to continue reporting on the intersections of politics, culture and religion, focusing in particular on the Middle East and North Africa. Lora graduated from Barnard College in New York, where she majored in Middle Eastern Studies and Jewish Studies. She is expected to graduate from Columbia Journalism School’s Master of Science program in May 2016.

12767705_1007154135996846_359957242_nBefore studying journalism at Columbia University, Marissa Wenzke covered the California drought and reported on businesses from publicly trade oil companies to small town farmers for the Pacific Coast Business Times in Santa Barbara, CA. While there, she and three other Business Times staffers were named finalists for a Los Angeles Press Club award honoring their coverage of the shooting near UC Santa Barbara that left seven dead. Wenzke has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCSB and led the independent campus newspaper there, the Daily Nexus, as editor-in-chief. She has also written for the Santa Barbara Independent. A free spirit at heart, she has a taste for simple pleasures like iced coffee, art shows and basset hounds.

12788249_1007154059330187_1444997178_nDivya Kumar is currently an M.S. candidate at Columbia Journalism School. Kumar graduated from the University of South Florida in 2014 with B.S. degrees in mass communications and economics. She served as the editor in chief of the university’s newspaper, The Oracle, where she covered student government, campus administration and policy, and other student activities. Kumar previously worked as a freelance reporter for the Tampa Bay Times and interned at ABC News’ Investigative Unit and the Associated Press. She is interested in covering issues that lie at the intersection of social, economic and political fault lines. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter or Instagram @divyadivyadivya.

12166074_1007154099330183_792541114_nJuan David Aristizabal is a journalist and social activist. Forbes magazine listed him on its “30 Under 30” list as a leader in using media to improve communities. He founded the Buena Nota Foundation, a digital platform showcasing social entrepreneurship in his country, Colombia.  He is enrolled in a dual-degree program in journalism and international affairs at Columbia University. He loves to sing but he is terrible at it. @juandavidaristi Email me.

12788934_1011294302249496_2092013535_oLaura Brickman is a 2012 graduate of the University of Wisconsin. As a student, she was active as both a political organizer and as a contributor to a community radio station, where she produced news pieces and a feature-length documentary. After college, Laura participated in a fellowship in public affairs in St. Louis and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue work in media and social activism. Notably, she worked for Brave New Films, Manifest Justice, and the David Lynch Foundation and is a producer for a forthcoming documentary about Hinduism in the West. Laura currently lives in New York City. Follow her on twitter: @lfbrickman.

12773078_1007201029325490_642715971_oKatie Shepherd is a reporter interested in the intersection between religion and politics. She covered state and local politics in California and Virginia, before coming to Columbia Journalism School. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times and The Free Lance-Star. A 2015 graduate from UCLA, she worked as a writer and news editor at The Daily Bruin for three years. Email Shepherd at or reach her on Twitter @katemshepherd.

12746456_1007154022663524_780588414_nCydney Tucker covers mens religious orders within the Catholic faith for Religio. She recently graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, where she interned and acted as an assistant producer at the CBS Atlanta bureau. She is a freelance stringer for NBCBLK. During the summer of 2014, Cydney also interned for CBS This Morning, CBS News’s morning program in New York.

12767280_1007154065996853_551828577_nFahmo Mohammed, a Kenya native, earned bachelor degrees in international studies and journalism at the University of Oregon. Fahmo produced short documentaries for OR Media’s Northwest Stories program and was editor in chief of OR Magazine, an iPad publication. Last year, she traveled to Cuba to produce a short documentary on the arts. Fahmo is a Manchester United fanatic and enjoys eating food.

12772985_1007201032658823_372307794_oSantiago Melli-Huber is a multimedia reporter covering immigration, LGBT asylum, and evangelical protestants. In Italy, he is covering the atheist movement as well as Argentina’s post-Pope Francis relations with Italy. Santiago graduated from Rutgers University in 2012 with a degree in Journalism & Media Studies and is also a freelance reporter for the Washington Blade.



Professor Ari L. Goldman, a former religion correspondent for The New York Times, has been teaching the “Covering Religion” seminar at Columbia since 1993. This year’s study-tour to Italy is the 16th he’s led with Columbia students. In past years, the class has gone to Russia, Ukraine, India, Italy, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. Professor Goldman was born in Hartford, Conn., and was educated at Yeshiva University, Columbia and Harvard.  He is the author of three books, including the best-selling The Search for God at Harvard. His new book, The Late Starters Orchestra, was published in June 2014.

arrigoni_photo (1)Carlo Arrigoni graduated in Modern Literatures at the University of Siena (2010), and holds a Masters degree from the Program in Literary Theory of the University of Lisbon (2013). A Ph.D student in Italian and Comparative Literature at Columbia since 2013, his interests include 19th and 20th century Literature, as well as Philosophy, Music and Critical Theory. Carlo Arrigoni has conducted research and published articles on, among others, Vittorini, Eça de Queiroz, Verdi, Mahler and Gramsci.