Nine Wonderful Women at Macaulay

Lisa Brundage

  • Role at Macaulay: Director of Teaching, Learning and Technology
  • Bio (via Macaulay’s website)In this role, she supports integration of pedagogically appropriate academic technology into Macaulay seminars and provides student and faculty support for digital project development. Lisa also oversees numerous experiential learning events at Macaulay, including co-directing the annual BioBlitz, IDEA Day, and Night at the Museum. Working with Senior Associate Dean Joseph Ugoretz, Lisa supervises Macaulay Instructional Technology Fellows, and is herself an alumna of that program. In addition, she periodically teaches upper-level Macaulay seminars, most recently offering a course on Margaret Atwood.

Gianna Chrisman

  • Role at Macaulay: Assistant Director of Internships & Undergraduate Research
  • Bio (via Macaulay’s website): Gianina Chrisman leads the college’s efforts to match Macaulay students with high-level internships and research positions.

She comes to Macaulay from VISIONS, a non-profit organization that provides resources for people who are blind and visually impaired, where she served as the Youth Employment Coordinator. Prior to VISIONS, Gianina worked at the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, and Hunter College. Gianina is also an avid fencer and is currently the Assistant Coach at Yeshiva University.

Vanessa Iaffa

  • Role at Macaulay: Pre-Health Programs Advisor
  • Bio (via Dean Pearl): In her last position at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, she helped expand a number of Masters programs within the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research. At Macaulay, she meets and chats with all interested pre-health students.



Kelly O’Donnell

  • Role at Macaulay: Director of Science Forward
  • Bio (via BioBlitz 2014’s website): Kelly is an evolutionary ecologist with an interest in invasive plants and plant response to the novel conditions of the urban environment. She has conducted research on invasive Japanese knotweed and compared natural selection dynamics of that species with a non-invasive relative, woodland knotweed. Kelly is very interested in undergraduate science education and outreach. At Stony Brook where she received her doctorate, she created video podcasts for an introductory biology laboratory and investigated the effect of these podcasts on student performance and attitudes. Kelly has an urban flora project with the Encyclopedia of Life that involves the creation of an urban plant educational resource featuring species that live in New York City. 

Mary Pearl

  • Role at Macaulay: Dean
  • Bio (via Macaulay’s website): Newsweek magazine described Dr. Pearl as a leading biologist who has “spearheaded the development of ‘conservation medicine’ – a scientific exploration of the links between the health of humans, wildlife and ecosystems.” She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.Dr. Pearl has written a column, “Natural Selections,” for Discover Magazine. She edited the series Methods and Cases in Conservation Science at Columbia University Press, and is co-editor of Conservation Medicine (Oxford 2002) and Conservation for the 21st Century (Oxford 1990). She has published numerous scientific papers, is Associate Editor of the academic journal Ecohealth (Springer), and serves on the editorial board of Conservation magazine.

Veronica Maldonado

  • Role at Macaulay: Director of Student Activities
  • Bio (via Macaulay’s website): Veronica earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Brooklyn College. She is deeply committed to CUNY’s mission of academic excellence, equal access and opportunity.  Veronica is most inspired at Macaulay by the ambition of the students. She enjoys working to assist students in realizing their dreams of studying or volunteering abroad. She believes in the Macaulay model of education where students play an active role in developing their education.


      Safina Joseph

  • Role at Macaulay: Development Coordinator, External Relations Department
  • Bio (via Macaulay’s website): A native of Lahore, Pakistan, Safina Joseph holds a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from the University of the Punjab, as well an M.A. in English Literature from that same institution. From 2010 to 2011, Safina   participated in the Community Colleges for International Development program on a Fulbright Scholarship. She emerged from the program with a certificate in Human Resources Management from Lorain County Community College in Ohio.  Safina joined Macaulay in November 2016, bringing with her a wealth of experience in office and administrative support. Her background includes a long sojourn as an Office/HR Coordinator at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

Miriam Korn

  • Role at Macaulay: Chief Psychologist
  • Bio (via Macaulay’s website): Miriam Korn, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist directing mental health services at Macaulay Honors College.  Dr. Korn specializes in multicultural counseling with immigrants and first-generation college students, as well as patients who identify as LGBTQIA, differently-abled, and non-traditional students. She brings her firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of a counseling center at a large, urban, multicultural public university to the Macaulay community with an appreciation for the unique challenges facing Macaulay scholars.


Elizabeth Reis

  • Role at Macaulay: Professor
  • Bio (via Macaulay’s website): Elizabeth Reis is a professor at the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York where she teaches courses on Transgender Issues, Reproductive Technologies, The Politics of Women’s Health, and Medical Ethics. Before that she was Professor and Department Head of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon. She graduated from Smith College and received her Ph.D. in History at the University of California, Berkeley. Reis is the author of Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex; Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England; and the editor of American Sexual Histories. She is interested in both the history and contemporary analysis of medical ethics, gender, sexuality, and religion and has published essays in the Hastings Center Report, Bioethics Forum, Journal of American History, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, and the New York Times. Reis is a member of the Ethics Committee at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Hospital and an editor of, a collaborative blog project that focuses on the intersection of gender, history, and medicine.

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