Like all of you, our lives have changed in unprecedented ways as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our office has been operating remotely for over a month, and our tight-knit team has been adjusting to not spending our days together. We’ve taken to sharing activity ideas, coping mechanisms, TV and book recommendations, and cooking experiments amongst ourselves to stay connected and keep our spirits up.

We’ve been inspired by the Teachers College Come Together initiative, a virtual space where we can all share our experiences, challenges, and triumphs. One day we’re joining a virtual community fitness class and the next, we’re taking tips from culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks (M.S. ’03) on how to make the most out of the current contents of our pantries. 

Read on to find out how the TC Admission Team is staying busy while sheltering in place, and let us know what you’ve been up to in the comments!

Kelly Sutton-Skinner, Director of Admission & New Student Enrollment

I’m catching up on my reading-for-fun! I have a whole shelf of borrowed and inherited books that I haven’t had time to read, so this is the perfect moment. I just finished Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, and have moved on to Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. I’ve also discovered YouTube yoga, and have enjoyed putting together creative meals inspired by what I already have in my pantry.

Deanna Ghozati Gregory, Senior Associate Director of Admission

I brought out my old bass guitar from storage. Haven’t picked it up in years! My husband has an electric guitar, so we’ve been jamming together while our two-year-old dances around. Zoom concert, anyone?

Nicole Siniscalchi, Associate Director of Admission

Staying active through fitness and yoga classes, and hopping on my stationary bike for a little cardio are some of my favorite activities–all of which I have continued to incorporate into my weekly routine! My fitness and yoga studios have been offering at-home versions of my favorite classes and I love to decompress each day with one of these or a few minutes of indoor cycling!

Douglas Alford, Assistant Director of Admission

I loved working out at the Columbia University Dodge Fitness Center! It was always my first stop after work, but now my gym is my living room floor. I live in a decent-sized apartment, but I’ve had to get creative. I spent so much time online looking up new exercises and routines that I started to feel like a personal trainer…so I said why not, I’ll give this a try! I’ve always been into physical fitness, and this seems like it could be fun. So, for my shelter-in-place activity, I’m preparing for my Certified Personal Trainer exam!

Ashley Blasland, Assistant Director of Admission

As a musical theater nerd, I have been working with my favorite theater companies to help them create fun content for their audiences, even when their stages are dark! I’m currently participating in a hilarious fundraiser where we send surprise singing telegrams to donors as a special thank you for their efforts to support the arts! I’m also excited to finally teach myself how to play the guitar–but I can only allow that to happen after I finish my graduate program requirements!  

David Estrella, Assistant Director of Admission

Nevada’s Mojave Desert is at my back door. Exploring Sloan Canyon, known for its petroglyphs, is exciting because you never know what you will find and see. I’m keeping my eyes open for the bighorn sheep.  

Kyle Lindenberger, Assistant Director of Admission

At this juncture, I’m running out of things to do! I’ve binge-watched television, gardened, finished puzzles, and cleaned relentlessly. I’m currently partaking in a 30-day exercise challenge and cooking as many meals as I can. Now is just as good of a time as any to start living a healthier lifestyle! Also, I’m doing my part by staying inside, and I’ve donated to two organizations, Direct Relief and NYC Health & Hospitals, to help support the health workers currently saving lives. Thank you to everyone assisting in relief efforts!

Perri Meeks, Assistant Director of Admission

I’m spending time in my kitchen with projects large and small. I’ve made some nice risottos and scallion pancakes. Currently, I’m working on pickling some beets that I couldn’t resist at the green grocer. I’m trying to have very little food waste, and I’m enjoying the challenge of using all of the parts of vegetables that come into my home. I’m hoping to make some stock this weekend. 

Tessa Minardi, Welcome Center Coordinator

I have been staying connected with friends and family all over the country by scheduling video chat activities! Along with a budding virtual book club, I’ve had Zoom dinner dates, online game nights, and even FaceTimed with friends to take the same livestreamed dance class “together.” I hope to keep this up with my faraway peeps even after this stay-at-home period ends!

Natalie Scarpelli, Admission Systems Specialist

I’ve done a ton of Spring cleaning! I’d like to give a special shout out to my DIY makeup brush scrubber board and drying stand. Also, I’ve experimented in the kitchen. I finally had the time to bake bread for the first time, and it was totally worth it!

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