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. 

  • 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. 

  • Patience Akariza is a sophomore at Barnard College majoring in Economics and Mathematics. She has been working with The Food Pantry at Columbia as a volunteer since her freshman year and recognizes the various impacts of food insecurity on individuals. She hopes to widen the reach of The Food Pantry at Columbia to everyone in the Columbia community because she has seen firsthand the difference it makes to those who need it.

  • Michael is a School of General Studies senior 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 five years since it's inception, The Food Pantry at Columbia has opened three locations throughout the University, gained a university-wide reputation for serving the entire student body in the fight against food insecurity by distributing almost 6,500 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.

  • 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.

  • Leila is a 1st year law student at Columbia Law School. While serving as the Vice Chair of Finance for The Food Pantry at Columbia, she also volunteers with local New York legal aid groups for underserved populations. Her main drive is to ensure equal access to all basic necessities, without any weight to someone's social or economic status.

  • 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.

  • Jasmine Wang is a sophomore at Barnard College looking to study biochemistry with a minor in architecture. She hopes to fulfill her commitment and responsibility to her peers and those impacted by the University by addressing food and housing insecurity through campus organizations such as The Food Pantry at Columbia and the Housing Equity Project. She will also be working to assist students as a Science Fellow at Barnard, and along with being the Vice Chair of Volunteer Management, she aims to form connections with and support individuals in the community in any way possible.

  • Helena is a senior in the Dual BA Program between Columbia and Sciences Po majoring in anthropology. She is passionate about making Columbia a more equitable community through combatting food insecurity. As Vice Chair of Events Coordination, she aims to raise awareness of food insecurity on campus through organizing exciting educational and collaborative events.

    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
    • Anna Sung (2019-2021)
    • 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
    • Marc Cohen (2020-2021)
    • Matthew Linsky (2018-2020)
    Vice Chair of Finance
    • Mario Garcia (2019-2021)
    • Jason Mares (2017-2018)
    Vice Chair of FLIP Collaboration
    • Miguel Yepes (2017-2019)
    Vice Chair of Operations
    • Sal Volpe (2019-2021) (Pantry Operations - Medical Center)
    • Louis Vowell (2020-2021) (Pantry Operations - Lerner)
    • Gehad Hassan (2020) (Pantry Operations - Barnard)
    • Damian Hernandez (2019-2020) (Pantry Operations - Lerner)
    • Madison Delaney (2018-2019)
    • Leon Tsai (2018)
    • Kai Segall (2017-2018)
    Vice Chair of Technology
    • Richard Shin (2020)
    • Sharanya Sivakumar (2018-2020)
    Vice Chair of Volunteer Management
    • Adam He (2019-2020)