Photography alumna Alexa Rubinstein found a place to practice her artistic discipline professionally while she was still in school—right here on campus. As an intern with Columbia’s Creative Services office, she had the chance to work as a professional photographer, doing shoots for a range of college materials, including this annual report. “I feel lucky to have had that head start,” she says.
Alexa lived in southern Spain for three years between finishing high school and enrolling at Columbia. “I was in love with the country and completely enjoying my life there,” she says. “I came back to the States because I knew that I wanted to study photography, and there were no good schools there for that medium.” She adds, “I wanted to live in a big city. Even while I was in Spain, I wasn’t in a major city, so I had a desire to experience that lifestyle.”
However, one of her most memorable times at Columbia brought her to a rural setting. “Going to the Dominican Republic with Latino Alliance my first year was definitely my most amazing experience at Columbia,” says Alexa. “One of the trustees put up the funds to send about 10 of our members to the country for a week to do a service project. I’ll remember that trip for the rest of my life.”
Starting college at age 20, Alexa felt at home on Columbia’s diverse campus. “I was drawn to the fact that Columbia had more nontraditional students and many students who live off-campus,” she says.
Photographing members of the Columbia community for this annual report reminded her of just how diverse Columbia is. In the studio, she worked with current students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, and the college’s president and chairman of the board. “It was a great project,” she says. “I loved meeting so many interesting people and hearing all their stories.”