Learn more about CSSW's racial justice initiatives.


CSSW seeks scholars of race and racism, with a particular focus on anti-Black and/or anti-Latinx racism.

CSSW COVID-19 Updates

Click here for the latest communications issued by CSSW. Looking for social work volunteer opportunities, resources, and trainings for helping with the pandemic? See our Action Lab for Social Justice website.

Who works at the Writing Center?

CHAYA BABU is a South Asian American writer, journalist, artist, and educator based in Brooklyn. Her work focuses on power and oppression, cities, the body, foolishness, individual and collective healing, and more, and has been featured in or at The Margins, BuzzFeed, VICE, Open City, the Porter Gulch Review, GO HOME!, and Project for Empty Space, amongst others. She teaches classes on personal narrative, poetry, and reporting with Community Word Project and the School of the New York Times while she works on her first book.

KARIN E. CHRISTIAENS is a Ph.D. candidate in Graeco-Roman archaeology at Columbia University. Her research analyzes how architectural spaces both shaped and were shaped by societal change. Karin has held fellowships with Columbia’s Center for Teaching and Learning and taught Art Humanities in the Core. After consulting for the Columbia Writing Center, she served as an inaugural fellow at the GSAS Writing Studio, piloting workshops, groups, retreats, and developing resources in support of dissertation writers. Karin enjoys working with writers to accurately represent their ideas in diverse genres, from personal statements and grants to more analytical or theoretical projects.

MICHAEL DRUFFEL is a PhD candidate in English literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is an adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York, where he teaches composition and humanities classes, and has worked in the Graduate Center’s writing center as a writing consultant.

SARAH GUAYANTE received her M.A. in English Literature from Yale, where she studied eighteenth-century travel writing and the early novel. She has taught classes in Literature of the American South and the Victorian Novel. Since 2013 Sarah has worked at a range of writing centers throughout the New York metropolitan area.

ADAM PELLEGRINI directs the CSSW Writing Center. He developed his understanding of rhetoric and writing pedagogy from years teaching in the first-year classroom, writing centers and community workshops. He has a professional and scholarly interest in exploring the overlap between direct social work practice and student-centered teaching in writing centers. He regularly draws inspiration from CSSW students, colleagues and curriculum.

CHERRANDA SMITH is a CSSW Class of 2017 alumna from Athens, Georgia. She concentrated in Social Enterprise Administration while at CSSW and served as events coordinator for the Black Caucus. Currently, Cherranda is working as an Associate Editor for the Black Information Network at iHeartMedia.

GABRIELLE TANG has an MSW from Columbia School of Social Work, with concentrations in Public Policy and International Social Welfare. She has over a decade of experience working on issues of social justice – particularly the intersections of economic, gender, and racial justice – through the methods of direct services, philanthropy, strategic advocacy, and grassroots movement building. In addition to critical analyses of social justice issues, her writing experience includes grant proposal writing, field studies and scoping projects, strategic planning, and policy memos.

CHRISTIANA TAYLOR graduated from the Columbia School of Social Work in 2018 with a concentration in Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming. During her time at CSSW, she served as a PDSA Program Coordinator and Power, Race, Oppression, and Privilege (PROP) curriculum developer. She comes to the Writing Center with six years of program coordination, evaluation, and monitoring experience with an emphasis on advocacy and community organizing. She specializes in resume and cover letter reviews, advocacy writing, and research.

PIYALI KUNDU-VELDHOVEN, LMSW, is a clinical social worker providing psychotherapy to adults in a private practice in NYC. She graduated from CSSW in 2021 and has a Master of Science in healthcare and social sciences. Previously, she worked as a management consultant in Europe and the Middle East. She managed academic and applied policy and program research projects in public and private sector organizations focused on global health, social welfare, and contemporary social issues such as immigration. In her roles as a manager, Piyali wrote and evaluated proposals, scholarship applications, resumes and cover letters, and personal statements.