Humanities Research Scholars Program

The Humanities Research Scholars Program (HRSP) offers a select group of rising juniors at Columbia College the opportunity to pursue independent research projects and to develop analytical and investigative skills that will serve them well in any future endeavor. This program is designed to help students learn from one another as well as from leaders in the academic and professional world, and to support students in their intellectual pursuits and their future growth. It focuses on students interested in research in the humanities or humanistic social sciences.

Humanities Research Scholars will engage in two main pursuits over the course of one summer session of research: (1) the development of knowledge, skills, and approaches to the study of the humanities that will be transferable to any professional field; and (2) the development of an independent research project over six weeks of the summer that allows the exploration of a specific topic with guidance from a faculty member.

Learn more about the of Humanities Research Scholars Program here and below:


2023 Cohort Humanities Summer Research Scholars Bios

Hannah Halberstam CC'25

Hannah is a history major who is slowly consolidating my interests into the history of the relation between place and identity. On campus, she is a member of the Athletics Spirit Band, the Klezmer Ensemble, the Cu SLAM!, and Housing Equity Project. Outside of academics, Hannah enjoys writing fiction, learning facts about reptiles, and going for walks in riverside park with my friends.

Hannah's research will be looking at the life and writings of Virginia Gildersleeve, the dean of Barnard College from 1911 to 1947, to analyze her feminism, support of women's romantic friendships, and antisemitism, and the effects of these on students at Barnard College. Her attempts to include certain groups and exclude others based on Jewish and sexual identity categories at this time offers insight into a particular moment of shifting societal meaning in regards to these same categories. Analyzing Gildersleeve's opinions, and students' reactions to the expression of these opinions, helps illuminate this moment, and gives us an understanding of the ways in which shifting meaning of identity was reflected on the Barnard-Columbia campus during this time.

Rainier Harris CC'25

Rainier Harris is sophomore at Columbia interested in becoming a playwright one day. He is an English major with a background in journalism and making radio.

Rainer's project aims to research acclaimed playwright Jeremy O. Harris, specifically how his work can be placed in the legacy of experimental Black playwriting.

Samuel Klein Roche CC'25
English and Jewish Studies

From Boston, Samuel is studying English and Jewish Studies at Columbia, prior to which he spent two years living in Israel studying in a traditional rabbinic seminary. He loves living in New York City, learning new languages, discovering the best restaurants and watching good movies.

Samuel's project is an exploration of the early manuscripts of Shneur Zalman of Liadi, a key intellectual and spiritual leader in the Hasidic movement, a Jewish spiritual revivalist movement which began in the late 18th century. Samuel will examine his treatment of eros and gender in these texts and compare his teachings with those of earlier generations of Hasidic thinkers as well as his other written works. He intends to establish a chronology of these manuscripts to track the development of key elements of Shneur Zalman's theology.

Mira Mason CC'25
Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and English

Mira Mason is a sophomore in Columbia College studying English and Gender Studies. They are interested in the structure and historical development of transmisogyny. Their work has appeared in the Gadfly, The Columbia Review, and The Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism.

Mira is researching Julian Eltinge, a prominent silent film actor, Broadway theater star, and vaudeville star famous for his female impersonation. Despite his prominence as a national celebrity in the 1910's and 20's, Eltinge and his gendered performances have recieved little critical attention. Mira's project seeks to analyze Eltinge's carreer in order to understand how his trans-femininity fitted into contemporaneous understandings of gender and how that shaped our modern understandings of trans-femininity.

Olivia Ruble CC'25
Ancient Studies and Visual Arts

Olivia Ruble, originally from Indiana, is pursuing a degree in Ancient Studies with a concentration in Visual Arts. Outside of class, Olivia writes and illustrates for Columbia’s undergraduate satire magazine, The Federalist, and is also an editor for the Columbia Undergraduate Journal of Art History. In her free time, Olivia enjoys making pottery, teaching swim lessons, and listening to music before it becomes cool.

Olivia’s project will examine how the image of Daphne, the Greco-Roman mythological nymph-turned-laurel, is reimagined through art in the 21st, 20th, and 19th centuries. Myth-tellers (and re-tellers) have often used the tale of Apollo and Daphne to illustrate the opposition between chastity (Daphne’s preference) and the pleasures of the flesh (Apollo’s aim). This project seeks to understand how each artist has interpreted the mythologically-perverted narrative of Apollo and Daphne in their unique historical contexts, as well as provide further insight into how each work may be informed by the artists’ contemporary concerns regarding sexuality and authority.

Janus Yuen CC'25

Janus is a history major at Columbia College with wandering interests in classics, religion, and anthropology. Besides these preoccupations he is also a geography nerd, milk tea connoisseur, and wikipedia junkie. His ideal state is watching Minecraft redstone videos on Youtube while snuggled under his favorite blanket.

At the turn of the 20th century, the population of New York City exploded, driven by immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe and by Afro-Americans from the South. Janus' project seeks to understand how these communities and the religious institutions they imported (Catholic parishes, Orthodox synagogues, African Methodist Episcopal churches, etc.) interacted with the city at the heart of the American commercial revolution—specifically whether, how, and to what extent these theologically diverse congregations reacted to the emergent consumer culture and its radically individualist ethic. At stake was these religious communities' ability to provide their members moral guidance in the midst of this new, disorienting, commercial capitalist world.