Meet Our Board Members

Our Team

The team of board members of The Food Pantry at Columbia includes founding members, current board members, and advisory board members, all of whom work tirelessly to manage the The Food Pantry's daily operations alongside committee members and volunteers. Click on each profile to learn more about each team member. 

  • Sal Volpe is a first-year Master's Candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Biomedical Informatics. He graduated from Columbia College in May 2019 with a B.A. in Neuroscience & Behavior. Along with being the inaugural Vice Chair of Pantry Operations - Medical Campus, he is involved in the Queer Ally Partnership at CUIMC and as a CPR Instructor at the Staten Island Heart Society. Sal recognizes that food insecurity is a university-wide issue and wants to help facilitate a system that meets the needs of the Washington Heights student population in an accessible and approachable fashion.

  • Richard Shin is a third-year student at GS studying Computer Science. As the Vice Chair of Technology, his primary goal is to break down any barriers to assistance with the help of technology. Additionally, Richard manages the social presence and website of the Pantry. Before attending Columbia, Richard served in the United States Army primarily stationed in the Southeastern United States.

  • Ramond Curtis is a combat veteran who moved back to New York in 2012 after spending three years in Mexico working as an English teacher. He was the University Senator for the students of the School of General Studies from '16 to '18, and the co-Chair of the Subcommittee for Students with Disabilities. During his time as senator he worked to improve conditions at Columbia for low-income students and students with disabilities. After he graduated in May 2018, he and his husband continue to work as advocates in their community to bring positive and impactful change to those who need it most. 

  • Michael is a third-year GS student studying Urban Studies with a Geographic Information Systems specialization. He is the Co-Founder and Chair of The Food Pantry at Columbia. As part of The Food Pantry at Columbia's executive team, Michael has been influential in bringing the issue of campus food insecurity to the forefront. In the short two years since it's inception, The Food Pantry at Columbia has gained permanent space within Lerner Hall, gained a university-wide reputation for serving the entire student body in the fight against food insecurity by distributing almost 1000 non-perishable food disbursements, and became the first Ivy League food pantry run by students for students. Michael's dedication to and passion for The Food Pantry at Columbia is magnified by the extraordinary team working beside him on a daily basis to propel The Food Pantry at Columbia to new heights.

  • Mario Garcia is a sophomore in Columbia College majoring in Chemistry. In addition to serving on the board for the Food Pantry as the Vice Chair of Finance, he is involved in the theatre community at Columbia primarily as an actor. He realizes that as the Columbia community gets further diversified and inclusive, opportunities open up for more students. His larger goal is helping students of all identities and ability to be involved in the community in any aspect they wish and combating food insecurity is working to remove one obstacle that impede their path.

  • Marc Cohen is in his fourth year at Columbia University, wrapping up an undergraduate degree in Economics-Political Science at the School of General Studies and starting a Masters of International Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs. Marc is passionate about combating food insecurity after having volunteered at the Food Bank of NYC throughout his sophomore year of college. His mission as Vice Chair of Events Coordination is to spread awareness about food insecurity on campus and partner with different clubs on campus to minimize food insecurity.

  • Manuela Orjuela-Grimm is a molecular epidemiologist and pediatric oncologist whose research focuses on gene-nutrient/ environment interactions during pregnancy and early childhood and the development of later genetic and epigenetic changes in childhood disease. She leads a multidisciplinary team examining folate pathway metabolism and risk for retinoblastoma in collaboration with investigators in Mexico, and Canada, including the Hospital Infantil de Mexico, the Hospital de Pediatria (IMSS), the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica (INSP), the Jean Mayer USDA at Tufts, and the University of Toronto.

    Manuela has been affiliated with The Food Pantry at Columbia since February 2018 when she generously donated her time and resources to provide in-depth research and analysis on the data that The Food Pantry at Columbia collects. Manuela was formally appointed as a member of the inaugural Advisory Board in September 2019.

  • Mackenzie Collins is a senior at the School of General Studies and is majoring in English and Comparative Literature. Before coming to Columbia, they worked in the food industry in a number of positions, most notably as a chef, and will strive to use their knowledge and experience to help further the development of The Food Pantry at Columbia. In addition to serving as the Vice Chair of Development for The Food Pantry, Mackenzie also serves on the General Studies Student Council and is a published writer. They have dreams of ending food insecurity across the United States, and plans to start with Columbia University.

  • Lara J. Nettelfield is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Human Rights at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. She is also affiliated faculty of Columbia’s Harriman Institute. Currently, she is working on an oral history project, The New Humanitarians, about the refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East. Her research interests include human rights, forced migration, transitional justice, technology and society, and social movements.  She is the co-author of Srebrenica in the Aftermath of Genocide (Cambridge University Press, 2015) which received Honorable Mention for the International Studies Association’s Ethnicity, Migration and Nationalism (ENMISA) Distinguished Book Award (2015) and was shortlisted for the 2015 Rothschild Prize of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN). She is the author of Courting Democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Hague Tribunal's Impact in a Postwar State (Cambridge University Press, 2010), winner of the 2011 Marshall Shulman prize of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). She teaches courses about forced migration, human rights in the United States, and research methods.

    Lara has been affiliated with The Food Pantry at Columbia since April when, after reading an article regarding The Food Pantry at Columbia, immediately took action and proposed initiative to further our mission. Such initiatives include surveying the University student population who do not necessary utilize The Food Pantry at Columbia's resources. Lara was formally appointed as a member of the inaugural Advisory Board in September 2019.

  • Gehad Hassan is a junior at Barnard College studying Psychology with a concentration in Public Health. Gehad is an advocate for The Food Pantry at Columbia because she understands food insecurity and how it might affect communities on campus. In her freshmen year of college, Gehad volunteered at her local mosque's pantry and distributed food to her community. On campus, Gehad is also a Resident Assistant and mentored students in Opportunity Programs at Barnard. As the Vice Chair of Pantry Operations at Barnard, Gehad is committed to contribute to the movement against hunger and food insecurity on Barnard's and Columbia's campuses. 

  • Daeun Sung is a third-year student at Columbia College studying biochemistry on the premedical track. Community service has always been a big part of her life and she has worked with various food banks and kitchens and has been involved with the Food Pantry since her freshman year. She highly values the organization's objectives in serving the students of Columbia and addressing food insecurity, as she firmly believes that no one should have to sacrifice their fundamental needs. Daeun is dedicated to expanding the presence and coverage of the Food Pantry whether in press, on campus, or in the greater New York area, and looks forward to continuing to fight campus hunger on the executive platform.

    Helping Hands

    Our Former Board Members

    The Food Pantry at Columbia has had significant growth since inception, and we would like to thank our past board members for their contributions in helping us along that journey. 

    Vice Chair of Communications
    • Benny Chen (2018)
    • Paulina Fein (2017-2018)
    Vice Chair of Development
    • Samantha Valente (2018-2019)
    • David Lee (2018)
    • Chelsea Faison (2017-2018)
    Vice Chair of Events Coordination
    • Matthew Linsky (2018-2020)
    Vice Chair of Finance
    • Jason Mares (2017-2018)
    Vice Chair of FLIP Collaboration
    • Miguel Yepes (2017-2019)
    Vice Chair of Operations
    • Damian Hernandez (2019-2020) (Pantry Operations - Lerner)
    • Madison Delaney (2018-2019)
    • Leon Tsai (2018)
    • Kai Segall (2017-2018)
    Vice Chair of Technology
    • Sharanya Sivakumar (2018-2020)
    Vice Chair of Volunteer Management
    • Adam He (2019-2020)