Class of 2021 Sets Sail During Orientation Week

September 10 @ 7:56 pm
By Communications Office

After an intense week of Orientation, the Class of 2021 had a chance to let off some steam and get to know each other in a more casual setting when they boarded the Spirit of New York for a four-hour cruise, with food, music, and breathtaking views of the city skyline. The cruise marks the culminating event of Orientation, and this year’s students were blessed with relatively fine (as in not too hot and humid) weather. One member of the Communications team, Katrin Kalketenidis, joined in the onboard festivities, camera in hand. She caught up with several students and asked how they were holding up and what they were most looking forward to, now that they’re actually here at Columbia.

How was orientation week?


Isabel Santos: “I was a bit nervous originally… but I feel a lot more at ease, especially seeing that a lot of the community here has the same values that I do. I feel a sense of belonging here.”

A graduate of the College of Saint Elizabeth who interned her junior year for Sen. Cory Booker, Santos plans a career in international social welfare.


Chris Mansa LaPorte: “Orientation was a great opportunity for me and other people to get to know each other and where we come from and the different environments. It gave us a source of energy—a sense of ‘We’re together.’ We’re together in this, and we have to cope amongst ourselves.”

LaPorte received a degree in sociology and anthropology from UMass Dartmouth and has worked in mentoring programs for youth.


After the orientation, what are you most looking forward to?


Diego Quezada: “Hmm, finding out what it’s going to be like to be a good juggler! People have told me that in social work it’s a lot to balance because you’re both in classes and doing field work. And I’m also doing work-study.”

Quezada graduated from Duke University and has several years of public policy experience.


Krystal Parker: “Although I’m a reduced-residency student and I’m already in the field, I’m looking forward to being active, hitting the ground running, being as involved as I can, and embracing this experience as much as possible. I want to make the most of my time on campus.”

Parker has worked in the mental health field since 2011 and plans to become a psychotherapist.


Anshera Galan: “For now my aspiration is to build a very strong network with my classmates and professors at the School of Social Work and learn as much as I can about the opportunities for all of us to be successful in this field.”

Galan studied French and African Studies at Emory University and has interned at the Haitian consulate in New York.


We wish them all the best of luck as the semester begins and look forward to hearing from them, along with other members of the Class of 2021, at various stages of their journey.