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Kaya Tibilova for Spectator

Among the arts-related events at Barnard Founder’s Day was a dance performance, organized by Marjorie Folkman, BC ’91, GSAS ’09, and a current member of Barnard’s dance department.

This year's Founders Day at Barnard celebrated the diverse array of achievements and interests of students and alumnae, showcasing how Barnard fosters interest in the arts.

Though Barnard's artistic alumnae boast careers in varied fields—Founder's Day showcased musicians, filmmakers, and authors—they all agree that their years at Barnard helped encourage their craft.
Marjorie Folkman, BC '91 and GSAS '09, coordinated a showcase of several dance classes for the celebration. She recently rejoined the Barnard dance department as a faculty member.

"The foundations that Barnard college, as well as the Dance department, give you don't create a framework for your work, they actually create possibilities," she said. "Now when I am back and working with students, I can see that being generated."

"I thought it was also important to be with students who loved history as much as I loved dance … and to have this conversation between all of us," Folkman added. "That is absolutely what is in the soil of Barnard for me."

Another of the day's events featured three Barnard authors, all recently graduated and making strides in the literary world. Stephanie Feldman, BC '05, Michal Lemberger, BC '94, and Jenny Milchman, BC '92, read excerpts from their novels, took questions from the audience regarding their writing processes, and gave advice to aspiring writers


Lemberger, whose novel about pivotal biblical women, "After Abel and Other Stories," will be published next year, said that  Barnard's professors inspired her to continue writing, though she was not actively attempting to publish her writing during her college years.

"I was so inspired by the professors here. I admired them. … I wanted to be them," she said. "Barnard was really foundationally crucial to making me who I was and who I am. I have two daughters, and it is influencing the way I raise them."

A poet since her preteen years, Lemberger cited the various writing classes she took that allowed her to broaden her horizons and combine her interests in religion and English.

Milchman majored in psychology and worked at a psychiatric institute for a number of years before turning to writing, when realized that combining her passion for both worlds led her to write psychological thrillers.

"I always wanted to write, but being a published author wasn't a goal of mine," she said. While she didn't participate in writing-related extracurriculars at Barnard, Milchman said her 'craft was influenced by peers in the classroom.

"I studied with great poets here at Barnard and across the street at Columbia," she said, adding that she wrote eight novels in her spare time before her first published novel, "Cover of Snow," was released in 2013.

Feldman, whose first novel, "The Angel of Losses," was published in July, admitted that though she wrote a novel for her senior thesis and the 18th-century Gothic literature she studied inspired her book, she was hesitant in her abilities as a writer when she first started college.

"I took a short story workshop, sort of to torment myself, but it began that way," she said. "One day, my professor said to me, 'You should really write a novel.' After that, I went back to Plimpton and I started writing and I just kept going after that." | @ColumbiaSpec

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