Mariana Costa Checa, Arundhati Katju, and Other Alumni in the News

Mariana Costa Checa as Barbie doll
Mattel, Inc.


Mariana Costa Checa ’13SIPA is one of more than twenty “extraordinary women role models” who have been honored with Barbie dolls made in their likenesses. She is the cofounder and CEO of Laboratoria, a startup that prepares women in Latin America for careers in tech.


Four Columbians were named to the Time 100, the magazine’s list of the year’s most influential people, including Columbia doctoral student Arundhati Katju ’17LAW. Katju and Columbia Law School researcher Menaka Guruswamy were recognized for successfully challenging India’s colonial-era law banning gay sex. US attorney general William Barr ’71CC, ’79GSAS and School of the Arts professor Lynn Nottage also made the list.


Four Columbia alumni were honored with Pulitzer Prizes this year, along with one professor. Harriet Ryan ’96CC was part of a Los Angeles Times team that won the investigative-reporting award for a series on a former University of Southern California gynecologist accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of women. Carlos Lozada ’05JRN, the nonfiction book critic for the Washington Post, won for criticism. Composer Ellen Reid ’05CC won in the music category for her opera prism. And School of the Arts professor Eliza Griswold took the general nonfiction award for her book Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of AmericaMichael Rothfeld '93CC, '98JRN was a lead reporter on the Wall Street Journal team that won the national reporting award for their series exposing President Trump's hush-money payments.


The US Senate confirmed Roy Altman ’04CC to the federal bench in South Florida. At thirty-six, Altman is one of the youngest judges ever confirmed to a lifetime post. Born in Venezuela, he has primarily worked in private practice in Miami, specializing in aviation law. 


Kristin Simmons ’12CC won a Women of Change Award from the SDG5 Global Alliance, which was organized to support the United Nations’ fifth sustainable-development goal: achieving gender equality. She also became the organization’s first artist in residence. As a part of the yearlong appointment, Simmons will create a body of work that addresses gender equality in industry.