Reflection by BRICLab Visiting Scholar Marcella Ramos

My time at Columbia was absolutely transformative, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been part of such a vibrant academic community.

September 06, 2023

From the moment I set foot on campus, I was captivated by the intellectual energy that permeated the halls of Columbia University. The diverse range of people I encountered from all corners of the globe enriched my experience and broadened my understanding of different cultures and perspectives. It was an invaluable opportunity to connect with fellow scholars, engage in thought-provoking discussions, and forge lasting friendships.

One of the highlights of my time at Columbia was the privilege of attending classes as a listener. I had the pleasure of immersing myself in the world of nonfiction writing through the Nonfiction Workshop and Nonfiction Seminar, both taught by Phillip Lopate. Mr. Lopate's expertise and passion for nonfiction were palpable in every class session. Learning from him was an absolute delight, and his teachings have left an indelible mark on my understanding of personal essays. I consider myself fortunate to have been present during his final semester before retirement, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned from a true master in the field.

I also had the opportunity to participate in the class "Media Under Stress Situations" at the Journalism School, taught by the brilliant Zeynep Tufekci. As a journalist myself, this class was an invaluable experience. Engaging in weekly conversations about the coverage of delicate topics allowed me to delve deeper into the challenges faced by media professionals in today's complex world. Zeynep's insights and guidance were truly enlightening, and her expertise in the field of media and communication made each class session a stimulating and intellectually stimulating experience.

Lastly, I had the privilege of enrolling in the Leadership class with Jan Švejnar, the CGEG director. This class stands out as a testament to the diverse and inclusive nature of SIPA and Columbia University as a whole. Interacting with individuals from all walks of life, hailing from various countries and backgrounds, was an eye-opening experience. The class discussions were enriched by the diverse perspectives brought forth by my classmates, providing a global perspective on leadership and governance. Jan Švejnar's expertise and ability to facilitate engaging and thought-provoking discussions made this class a true highlight of my time at Columbia.

And speaking of my time at Columbia, I can't go without mentioning my beloved libraries. Butler Library was my ultimate retreat, a contemporary haven on campus where I found solace and rejuvenation. It truly enriched my experience at Columbia, leaving me with cherished memories.  On the other hand, the Lemann Library at SIPA had its own unique charm. With its modern design and curated collection, it became a hub of intellectual exploration and collaboration. Both libraries left an indelible mark on my Columbia experience.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the Center on Global Economy and Governance for providing me with this life-changing experience. I am confident that the knowledge and experiences I gained during my time at Columbia University will continue to shape my academic and professional endeavors in the years to come. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to all the faculty, staff, and fellow scholars who made my time at Columbia a truly unforgettable journey.

Marcella Ramos, BRICLab 2023 Visiting Scholar