Born in Alberta, Canada, Lisa Cant is an international model who has worked for such companies as Betsey Johnson, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, and Juicy Couture, and was also featured twice on the cover of Vogue Italia. While a student at GS, Lisa took classes full-time while continuing to model, and in 2012, she received the Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Excellence in History. A member of the Phi Beta Kappa society, Lisa was also awarded the Olga H. Knoepke scholarship and graduated summa cum laude. After graduation, Lisa plans to focus on raising her newborn baby girl.
Born in Jamaica, April Jackson has also lived in France and England, and was named the valedictorian of her senior class at the Royal High School in Bath, U.K. In 2008, April was named Miss Jamaica Universe, and served on a national education board at the request of the Prime Minister. Shortly thereafter, she established Give Children a Future, a charity that provides development aid for children worldwide. At GS, April was a member of the Caribbean Students Association and participated in “Paris Then and Now,” the creative writing program’s study abroad program in France. She also kept busy by writing a memoir and cookbook, and in April of 2013, she completed the Paris Marathon, raising nearly $6,000 to donate to the Child Development Agency in Jamaica. After graduation, April will continue running her charity while launching the Savour Jamaica Supper Club, bringing international chefs to Jamaica to cook exclusive dinners around the island.
One of 63 U.S. veterans graduating from GS in 2013, Dan Lagana, who was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, served two tours of duty in Iraq and received the Bronze Star Medal for performance and leadership. During his time at GS, Dan was very involved in student life, serving as President and Board Member of the U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University from 2009-2011, raising $25,000 for the organization and participating in successful congressional lobbying in D.C. for the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act. He also served as Student Council Treasurer and Finance Delegate for the General Studies Student Council from 2009-2011, and Dan was one of six students in 2011 to be selected for the Spirit Award, the highest leadership award at GS. In the fall of 2012, Dan completed an internship at the White House, and he plans to continue working in public service after graduation.
Aryeh Primus started his undergraduate career at Brandeis University, but dropped out to work in the high tech industry. He was employed by a number of startups, and eventually landed at Hewlett Packard, where he worked as a software evangelist, promoting products to customers at conferences and other events. In 2009, Aryeh took a year off from work, but quickly got restless. A friend told him about GS, and as he had always wanted to finish his degree at a top-tier institution, he decided to apply. As a student, Aryeh made his mark by teaching a lecture series entitled “Unix and Advanced Networking” for the computer science department. A member of the GS Honors Society, Aryeh graduates magna cum laude with a degree in economics and statistics, and a concentration in computer science. After graduation, he will attend Oxford to pursue a master’s in computer science.
Tiekka Tellier left high school early to pursue ballet, eventually joining the Houston Ballet in 1988 and becoming an acclaimed professional ballerina. After a 16-year career that included performing leading roles for royalty, presidents, and diplomats around the world, she decided to pursue the college degree she’d always wanted. Prior to enrolling at GS, Tiekka studied at Borough of Manhattan Community College, and as a GS student, she took classes while juggling the responsibility of being a working single mother to a special needs child. Tiekka was named salutatorian of the Class of 2013, and also received the Lifchez-Stronach Scholarship Award. A member of the GS and Phi Beta Kappa honors societies, Tiekka graduates summa cum laude with a degree in art history, which she hopes to use to pursue a career in the arts, perhaps working with special needs children. In the meantime, she will continue to teach ballet.
Born in Manchester, England, and raised in East Jerusalem, Israel Nur Arafeh took a uniquely international path to GS. Nur, who was named class valedictorian at the Lycée Français de Jérusalem, was awarded a full scholarship to attend Sciences Po in Menton, France, where she focused on Middle Eastern studies and was eventually offered the opportunity to participate in the Dual BA program between Sciences Po and GS. At GS, Nur was involved in Students for Justice in Palestine and the Turath Association, and is also a member of the GS and Phi Beta Kappa honors societies. After graduation, she will attend Cambridge University to pursue a master’s degree in development studies, and plans to enroll in a doctoral program shortly thereafter. Longer term, Nur hopes to return to Palestine to work for the Ministry of National Economy, helping to build a better Palestinian government.
GS/JTS student Sam Shuman has always been interested in politics, beginning his college career at Northwestern University, where he completed an internship for a U.S. Senator. He chose to continue his studies at GS because he wanted to attend a school that demonstrated concern about political and social issues taking place in the global community. Sam served as president of Gayava, the Jewish LGBT club, and also organized with Occupy Columbia. A member of the GS and Phi Beta Kappa honors societies, he is the recipient of the GS Dean’s Prize in Anthropology, an Ella Deloria Research Fellowship from the anthropology department, a grant from the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, and departmental honors. Sam graduates with a degree in Jewish women & gender studies from List College and a degree in sociocultural anthropology from General Studies, and hopes to apply for a Ph.D. program in sociocultural anthropology in the next few years.