The “Meet the Advisors” series highlights the interface between students and the Macaulay administration: the Macaulay advisors. We know them from our meetings and course planning, but who are our advisors outside of college? Part 1 of this series focuses on the on advisors at Hunter College.
What was your background before becoming a Macaulay advisor?
Charlotte Glasser: I taught 11th and 12th grade English and Composition for about 24 years. I then attended the Columbia University School of Social Work, following which I became an advisor at Hunter, where I’ve been for 13 years. I also devoted myself to raising my two sons, currently ages 32 and 28.
Cris Gleicher: I worked for over 10 years as the Director of the Honors Program at LIU/Brooklyn, favorite part, advising students! Before that I was the Director of Orientation and Freshman Seminars at LIU. Basically, I was the crazy person at the front of the auditorium trying to get everyone excited about their first year in college. I would love to say that before working at Hunter I was an aerialist with the Big Apple Circus, but alas, I have always been interested in education at the college level and working with students to help them discover their potential and thrive at the university.
Joanna Kata: For many years, before starting college, I wanted to be an architect. I attended Macaulay Honors College at City College for that purpose. However, in my second semester studio class I quickly figured out that I did not want to actually study architecture, so I explored other majors such as math and political science until I ended up being an English major. Still unsure of what I wanted to do exactly, I went to law school and became a licensed attorney. I practiced law for a few years before becoming dissatisfied with the type of work I was doing. I then landed on this advising position here at Hunter and it’s been the dream job I didn’t know I wanted. I am now going on my fifth year here at Hunter.
Vasily Arkanov: My background is in journalism. I have two journalism degrees, one from Moscow State University and another one from The Columbia School of Journalism. Prior to becoming a Macaulay advisor, I was an occasional contributor to a number of Russian magazines as well as an on-air reporter for one of the major Russian channels, NTV. I also translated several English fiction books into Russian, most notably, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
What is your favorite aspect of being a Macaulay advisor?
Charlotte Glasser: Working with students.
Cris Gleicher: My favorite aspect of being a Macaulay at Hunter advisor is the students. Hunter students are charming, smart, funny… simply marvelous. Every day I get to talk to students about their lives, their classes, their careers, their ups and downs and, hopefully, help them make informed decisions about their futures. In turn, every day I am inspired by my students’ abilities, potential, accomplishments and aspirations. It’s pretty cool.
Joanna Kata: A tie between the first day of fall classes and spring graduation season. I love hearing about student’s exciting summer experiences in the fall, and in the spring, all the excitement around graduation as the seniors go off to do amazing and wonderful things.
Vasily Arkanov:I love getting to know students and being able to help them find their footing in life.
What is your least favorite aspect of being a Macaulay advisor?
Charlotte Glasser: Completing paperwork.
Cris Gleicher: My least favorite aspect is the chocolate. Here’s the deal, if you give me chocolate, I will eat it. Stop giving me chocolate! And doughnut Fridays…Lev, I cannot eat anymore doughnuts. And all Joanna has to do is mention burgers and I am eating one for lunch. I just can’t say no. Definitely the worst part of being an advisor at Hunter…the food.
Joanna Kata: All the temping sweets and treats that come through the office! Cris baking delicious cakes, Lev declaring doughnut Fridays, Mel with leftover peer mentor meeting snacks. There seems to always be something to mindlessly snack on in an office!
Vasily Arkanov: The fact that I need to type my CUNYfirst log-in 99,000 times a day.
If you could invite 3 people, dead or alive, to a dinner party, who would they be, and why?
Charlotte Glasser: I would dearly love to know Martin Luther King Jr. and pick his brain about the relationship between religion and social protest. Next, I would love to talk to the great naturalist John Muir about his glorious adventures in the wilderness and the many works of narrative writing that have come to define his literary presence. Finally, I would like to love to converse with Chief Sitting Bull, not so much about his famous battle successes as his relationship to his people, his land, and the lifestyle that he fought to protect.
Cris Gleicher: Frederick Law Olmsted, Julia Child and Lucinda Williams. In many ways, all three of these people bring beauty into the world and that makes me (and others, I’m sure) happy, although one of them, by virtue of their beautiful songs, makes me melancholy. Olmsted is a hero of mine, not only because he created Central Park and so many other parks across the country, but because he framed his park making as social improvement. The things he accomplished in his lifetime, social commentary, founder of the US Sanitary Commission, landscape architect, public lands advocate all have positive repercussions today. He was a genius! I would hope that the dinner would be prepared by Julia Child! And then I would love to hear about her adventures during World War II in the Office of Strategic Services…was Julia a spy?! Finally, Lucinda could serenade us with some of her heart-breaking (anti)love songs. She has the saddest voice and her lyrics tear my heart out. I imagine us shedding salty tears into our potato leek soup, while Olmsted rearranges the table settings to appear more “natural.”
1. Lauren Singer, she is famous for making less than a small jar of garbage every year through her zero-waste lifestyle and founded a store in Brooklyn that sells everything without packaging. I very much strive to produce as little waste as possible and have a minimal lifestyle, so I would love to pick her brain about her experiences.
2. John McCain, I love politics and have admired this politician for a very long time. I think we would have some pretty intense conversations about governance and the state of the world, which sounds very fun to me.
3. Alexandra Kosiorowska, my grandmother, she passed away a decade ago and I miss her, would love to have a chance to see her again.
1. Vladimir Nabokov because I want to know what it’s like to be in a company of a genius writer. 2. My grandmother because she would treat us to a Gefilte fish like no other. 3. Danny Kaye because he’ll make the party really fun.
What’s a mistake you often see students make, and wish you could head it off in advance?
Charlotte Glasser: Some students do not realize how much time they need to put in to test preparation. They always learn the hard way, unfortunately, and I just wish they could take a short-cut by digging deep from the outset. However, Life tends to be the Great Teacher in this regard.
Cris Gleicher: Hmm…mistakes…my students don’t make mistakes… True, everybody makes mistakes but I do not think there are any general or universal ones that all students make. Here’s one: Students don’t read their Hunter/Macaulay/Cris/Melissa emails! READ YOUR EMAILS…all will be revealed in your email!
Joanna Kata: Procrastination and missing deadlines.
Vasily Arkanov: The biggest mistake is not being present in the moment, letting so many things pass by unnoticed, not taking advantage of the opportunities the college – and life – present you. I don’t know if there is a way to head it off in advance. I think I was the same when I was 18 (minus earphones). One needs to grow up to realize that some adults in your life were actually occasionally right…
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Charlotte Glasser: Plan out your graduate degree goals and options sometime by the end of Freshman year in college.
Cris Gleicher: 18 was a very loooong time ago for me! Um, I would tell myself… “Self, be fearless. Don’t worry what others think.” Amen.
Vasily Arkanov: Relax!
If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?
Charlotte Glasser: Foreign languages. I would to speak an array of foreign languages as so many of my students do!
Joanna Kata: Learning to swim has been on my to-do list for a long time, and it’s hard for me to learn! I’d like to instantly be an expert swimmer
Vasily Arkanov: Tap-dancing.
What is some advice you want to give Macaulay students and graduates?
Charlotte Glasser: Continue to work hard, as you do, while also giving yourself time and energy to do those things that lead to personal growth and spiritual strength.
Cris Gleicher: Take a hike. Really… go hiking, discover nature, sleep under the stars. Trust yourself.
Vasily Arkanov: Don’t be a stranger.