Meet The Team

Nick Lemann Headshot

Nicholas Lemann Director

Nicholas Lemann directs Columbia World Projects as well as Columbia Global Reports, a book publishing venture that commissions reporting around the globe on a wide range of political, financial, scientific and cultural topics. He is Dean Emeritus and Pulitzer-Moore Professor of Journalism at Columbia. During his deanship, the Journalism School completed its first capital fundraising campaign, started its first new professional degree program since the 1930s, and launched significant initiatives in investigative reporting, digital journalism and executive leadership for news organizations. His board memberships include Columbia’s Knight First Amendment Institute, the Authors Guild and the Russell Sage Foundation. He is a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a staff writer for The New Yorker.

Sue Radmer Executive Assistant to the Director 

A historic preservation advocate in a former life, Sue returned to campus in 2003 to support then-Dean Nicholas Lemann at Columbia Journalism School.  She has a master’s degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. 


Avril D. Haines Deputy Director, Columbia World Projects

Avril Haines is a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University, Deputy Director of Columbia World Projects, Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School and a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. She additionally serves as a Member of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service and co-chairs the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Simon Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide’s Advisory Group. Avril serves on a number of boards and advisory groups, including the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Bio Advisory Group, the Board of Trustees for the Vodafone Foundation and the Refugees International Policy Advisory Council. Prior to joining Columbia University, Avril served as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. She chaired the Deputies Committee, the administration’s principal forum for formulating national security and foreign policy. Before that, she served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Avril also held a number of senior legal positions in the government, including Legal Adviser to the National Security Council. Avril received her bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Ann Bourns, Director, Project Management

Ann joined Columbia World Projects in April 2019 as the Director, Project Management.  She has spent most of her career working with non-and for-profit organizations and universities to support the growth and development of global health and research initiatives. Most recently, she was the Director of Strategic Operations at ThinkWell, a health systems development organization. Prior to joining ThinkWell, Ann was the Deputy Director, Operations for FANTA, a global nutrition project at FHI 360. Previously she worked as a Director, Operations with the Global Strategic Information (GSI) Group at the Global Health Institute at the University of California, San Francisco and as Director, Management Unit at ICAP at Columbia University. Before focusing on global health, she worked with the International Rescue Committee on an education program based in Somaliland. She holds master’s degrees in public health and education from Harvard University and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Columbia University.

Nik Steinberg Forum Director

Nik joined Columbia in 2017 as a senior advisor to President Lee C. Bollinger. He previously served as the Counselor and Chief Speechwriter for Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Prior to that, he was a Senior Researcher in the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, where his work focused primarily on Mexico and Cuba. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Malo Hutson Director, Project Development

Malo is an Associate Professor in Urban Planning and founder and director of the Urban Community and Health Equity Lab at Columbia University. He is also an Associate Member of the Earth Institute faculty at Columbia. His specific focus is on community development and urban health equity, racial and ethnic inequalities, urban policy, as well as the environment and health. He earned his Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and earned both his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Master of City Planning degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program where he was a fellow at the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health within the School of Public Health.

Hillary Schrenell Associate Director, Project Development

Hillary joined Columbia World Projects in May 2018.  She was most recently Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs for New York City, where she developed new programs to leverage the United Nations as a resource for New Yorkers.  Prior to joining city government, Hillary served as senior advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2010 to 2015. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, Hillary also has experience working on access to justice programs in West Africa and southern Texas. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and a New Jersey native.

Ari Shaw Project Officer

Ari joined Columbia World Projects in June 2019. He has worked as a researcher-practitioner across the academic, non-profit, and philanthropic sectors, largely focused on human rights and LGBT politics. Most recently, he was a consultant to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, where he co-authored a report examining the impact of gun violence on the LGBT population. He previously consulted on human rights and global governance issues for the Open Society Foundations and the University of Chicago Poverty Lab. From 2013 to 2014, he was a Fulbright scholar and visiting researcher at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Prior to consulting, Ari held positions at the Council on Foreign Relations and the United Nations Association of the USA. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in political science from Northwestern University. 

Lily Wendle Project Officer

Lily joined Columbia World Projects in August 2019. She has worked as a global health professional with non- and for-profit organizations and universities to support strengthening health systems. Her background involves project development and management both domestically and internationally, with particular focus on emergency systems strengthening, forced migration and maternal and child health. She holds a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology and Global Health from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. 

Cassandra L. Ziegler Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director

Cassandra is Executive Assistant to Avril Haines and coordinator for the research projects team. She has a master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University and holds two bachelor’s degrees from Washington State University. Between her studies she lived in San Francisco, Thailand and Spain working in education.


Ira Katznelson Deputy Director, Columbia World Projects

Ira is Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History at Columbia University. His most recent books are “Southern Nation: Congress and White Supremacy after Reconstruction” (2018; co-authored with David Bateman and John Lapinski) and “Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time” (2013), awarded the Bancroft Prize in History and the Woodrow Wilson Award in Political Science. He is a former president both of the American Political Science Association (2005-06) and the Social Science Research Council (2012-17). 

Thomas Asher Director, Convenings & Scholarly Relations

Thomas worked at the Social Science Research Council for a decade where he directed grant and fellowship programs to strengthen social science research capacity and networks across the world, including in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the United States. He is in the midst of two writing projects, one exploring urbanism in India and Kenya, the other exploring principles for collaborative research in the global north and south. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago.

Lisa Dolberry Hancock Fellowship Director

Lisa leads the Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University. She was previously a Vice President at Goldman Sachs where she was head of employee community engagement, leading the creation of advisory programs to strengthen nonprofits and small businesses, and overseeing grants administration and management for the Goldman Sachs Foundation. She has held positions in philanthropic program development and management at Time Warner, TCC Group, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Council on Foreign Relations. Lisa is a graduate of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and Drexel University.

Zachary K. Wong Fellowship Program Manager 

Zachary is the Fellowship Program Manager for Columbia World Projects, where he works with the newly-established Obama Foundation Scholars Program.  His prior work at Columbia University includes serving as the Manager of Communications and Projects for the Office of the President and as the Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator in the School of Professional Studies.  Zachary received his bachelor’s degree in Community Development from the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning at Portland State University and his master’s degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education Administration from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Rainah Umlauf Fellowship Program Associate

Rainah previously worked at Trinity Wall Street where she coordinated justice, advocacy and outreach programming focusing on a range of issues including racial equality, the arts, housing and homelessness, and the Close Rikers campaign. She has also worked with justice organizations including Search for Common Ground, the Summer Institute of Human Rights and Genocide Studies and Vietnam’s Center for Health and Development. She is a graduate of Vassar College, from which she received a B.A. in International Studies. 

Abby Anderson, Program Associate

Abby previously worked as a research associate at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. She collaborated with the Urban Community and Health Equity Lab at Columbia to explore reconstruction and resilience of cities following natural disasters. Her specific interests lie in urban ecology and the intersection of urban planning and public health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Environmental Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Natalie Kirchhoff, Program Associate

Natalie previously worked for a plaintiff-facing law firm where she assisted with preparing and managing materials for legal matters concerning employment and civil rights law. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American Culture Studies and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, where she wrote an honors thesis examining how systemic racial biases animate false narratives of voter fraud and undergird suppressive voter legislation.


Samantha Slater Director, Communications

Samantha joined Columbia World Projects in July after nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, serving as a Communications Director in both the Senate and House of Representatives and as Executive Director of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. A native New Yorker, Samantha graduated from Brandeis University and received a master's in public administration from the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College. She started her career as a journalist for Politico.

Christopher D. Shea Assistant Director of Communications

Before joining Columbia World Projects in 2018, Christopher was a Bosch Foundation fellow based in Berlin. He researched media startups in Europe and North Africa for the foundation while working for two German newscasters. Prior to that, he worked for the New York Times in London and reported for the paper on academic findings (and disputes), London nightlife, Berlin's theater leadership and a range of other topics. He has a master's degree from Humboldt University of Berlin and a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago.

Logan Werlinger Digital Strategist

Logan joined Columbia World Projects as the Digital Strategist in November 2019. Prior to joining CWP, Logan was awarded a Fulbright Arts Grant to the Czech Republic and was a visiting researcher at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague. He studied at the Documentary Center at George Washington University in Washington D.C., and worked as a Multimedia Producer at The George Washington University after beginning his career as a photojournalist in the Midwest and Northeast. He holds an M.A. in Photography and Visual Communication from Ohio University and a B.A. in Mass Communication and Documentary Journalism from Minnesota State University Moorhead. 


David R. Murray Director of Development

David is an enthusiastic face-to-face fundraiser and philanthropy evangelist with 25 years of global experience across the nonprofit sector. He is responsible for managing charitable relationships between Columbia World Projects and its supporters. David previously held senior leadership positions at Syracuse University and the American University of Beirut, along with PBS, GLSEN, and Blackbaud. He earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Bucknell University and an M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly School at Indiana University.


Marina Vasilyeva Director, Grants Management

Marina joined Columbia World Projects in March 2019. She has dedicated most of her career to the field of grants management where she has experience in pre- and post-award grants administration. Prior to Columbia World Projects, Marina served as the Director of Sponsored Programs at Yeshiva University. Before Yeshiva University, she was the Associate Director of Awards Pre-Proposal Support and the Assistant Director of Grants and Contracts at the Research Foundation (RF) of the City University of New York (CUNY). She holds a master’s degree in business management & leadership from CUNY SPS.

Sarah Silliman, Associate Director of Grants Management

Sarah joined Columbia World Projects in July 2019. She works on the grants team on all aspects of donor engagement and resource mobilization for projects, as well as post-award management and reporting. She has over a decade of experience in organizational development, program design and fundraising for domestic and international projects. Prior to joining CWP, Sarah served as the Director of Development at Cicatelli Associates, Inc. (CAI), a large New York City-based non-profit focused on research and education to address health inequities, where she helped raise over $60 million in public and private funds. Before that, Sarah was the Director of Programs for The Huairou Commission, an international network focused on women-led development, working on issues including housing rights, HIV/AIDS, community resilience and local governance with partner organizations in more than 40 countries. She holds a master’s degree in International Development from the New School.


Antonio Pagán Director, Finance & Administration

Tony comes to Columbia World Projects with over 25 years of development and management experience from his various responsibilities in public health and social service organizations. He is a long-time Columbian, having previously worked as a Senior Program Officer for the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and having earned both his bachelor’s degree and his master's in social work at Columbia.

Cheryl McIntyre Assistant Director, Human Resources and Administration

With more than 25 years of people, process and program management experience in higher education and in the health care and finance industries, Cheryl returned to Columbia University after 17 years to join Columbia World Projects.  She holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Communications from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed graduate coursework at Columbia University's Teachers College.

Liam Noonan Assistant Director, Finance

For two decades Liam has served Columbia University as a financial administrator working for the Office of the President, the School of Social Work and the university’s central Accounts Payable. He possesses extensive knowledge of business and internal controls in the areas of accounting, administration, finance, operations, risk management and procurement. Liam is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Hunter College with a degree in accounting.