Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, Tom Kitt, and Other Alumni Newsmakers

March 29-April 5, 2021 Time Magazine cover featuring art by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya
Time cover illustration by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya

Artwork by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya ’10CC was featured on the cover of the March 29/April 5 issue of Time magazine. The image was a part of Phingbodhipakkiya’s public-art campaign “I Still Believe in Our City,” which she created in response to a rise in anti-Asian discrimination and hate crimes in New York. 

Tom Kitt ’96CC won the Grammy Award for best musical-theater album for the cast album of the rock musical Jagged Little Pill, which features his arrangements and orchestrations. This is Kitt’s first Grammy; he has won two Tony Awards and also shared the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 2020 Kitt composed the new school song “Oh, Columbia,” which was performed again at Columbia’s 2021 virtual graduation. 

The all-digital 2021 Sundance Film Festival showcased work by three Columbia alumni. Joshua Cohen ’14SOA co-produced Land, a feature about a woman rescued in the wilderness by a local hunter, and These Days, a series about online dating during the pandemic. Snowy, a documentary short about a pet turtle codirected by Alex Wolf Lewis ’12CC made its premiere at the festival. And Luzzu, a feature film about a Maltese fisherman produced by School of the Arts professor Ramin Bahrani ’96CC, competed in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. Additionally, Doublespeak, a short film written and directed by current School of the Arts student Hazel McKibbin and co-produced by students Stephanie Fine ’18CC and Meera Vaidya, was shown.  

Nobuhisa Ishizuka ’82CC, ’86LAW was named president of USRowing, the organization that oversees all American rowing teams and coordinates the United States’ participation in the Olympics. Ishizuka, who was a lightweight rower as an undergraduate, is the executive director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies at Columbia Law School

Samantha John ’09SEAS appeared on the reality competition show Shark Tank and secured a $550,000 investment from Mark Cuban for Hopscotch, an app that she developed with Jocelyn Leavitt ’07BUS that teaches kids how to code by letting them design their own games. 

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