Life After List College

The alumni of JTS's Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies are active in their communities, with high-achieving careers in a wide variety of fields. Why? Because earning two bachelor's degrees from top universities allows students to pursue their passions. 

Meet Our Alumni

Michael Bohnen (LC '10)
MD / PhD Candidate
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
New York City
Modern Jewish Studies and Biology

How would you describe List College?

It's an ideal place to grow as an intellectual, as a scholar of Judaism, and most importantly, as a person. With a combination of rigor and flexibility, List College helps its students determine what is important to them and instills strong values for leading a life of goodness and charity. And, though the dual-degree program is challenging, List College supports and encourages extracurricular activities. I was able to play on the Columbia University men's varsity tennis team and keep up with my studies.   

How did List College help prepare you for your future?

I'm currently a medical student. The List College Joint Program offered the perfect balance for me: learning the sciences as a premedical student at Columbia, while learning about Judaism and Israel and experiencing the Jewish community at JTS.

What important things did you learn during your time at List College?

Talmud classes taught me to think critically. Modern Jewish Studies classes helped me understand the complicated situation of Israel and the Jewish people today. At List College, I learned what it means to be Jewish and what the survival of the Jewish people entails: passion and effort.

You haven't fully experienced List College until you . . . Get the $2 burgers on meat day!  

What is your favorite memory of List College?

Meeting my wife; Rachel Lipsky-Bohnen and I got married on November 20, 2011. 

Chief Operations Officer
My Learning Springboard
New York City
Talmud and Dance
MA, William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education

What are you doing now? 
I am the chief operations officer of My Learning Springboard, a learning concierge service specializing in case management, private tutoring, test preparation, enrichment teaching, special education services, admissions support and college counseling, homeschooling, professional development, and parent education. 

Why did you decide to attend List College?
I was looking for a unique college experience, and I heard about List College while at Camp Ramah. I visited the school with my parents and I was sold! The idea of completing a dual curriculum was a challenge I was thrilled to tackle. 

How did List College shape who you are today? 
List College helped me realize my potential as a student and also as a community leader. Learning from the greatest minds in Jewish and secular education taught me the importance of being a responsible global citizen and a divergent thinker.

What are some of your favorite memories about List College?
Dinner in the JTS sukkah and the Columbia dance marathon.  

You haven't fully experienced List College until you . . .
Have experienced a "finals study break" in Mathilde Schecter Residence Hall.

What did you like most about List College?
At List College, you are made to feel like a valued member of the collegiate community. Professors and deans will not only share their knowledge with you, they will mentor you and help you strive to be your best self.  

MBA Candidate
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
Bible and Urban Studies

What are you doing now?
I am an MBA candidate at Cornell University, focusing on strategic marketing and sustainability. I have also taken on leadership roles in our marketing association, sustainability club, and nonprofit board fellowship.  

How did List College prepare you for life?
List College quickly taught me how to set goals, prioritize, adjust when things don't go the way I expect them to, build relationships with others, and develop a true love for the liberal arts and Jewish texts. 

What are your favorite memories about List College?
1. attending List College formals
2. taking part in the List College Links to Leadership Retreat
3. going out to Carmine's with my LitHum cohort and post-performance meals at Tom's

Who was your favorite professor, and why?
I deeply appreciated Bible Professor David Marcus for his encyclopedic knowledge of ancient Near Eastern languages and for sharing his enthusiasm for the discipline with his students.  

What three activities should new students do during their first year at List College?
1. go to Orgo Night at Columbia University's Butler Library
2. attend the Jewish Collegiate A Cappella Festival
3. find an excuse to go to the outer boroughs  

President and Founder, Berman Group, Inc.
New York City
Modern Jewish History and Urban Planning

What are you doing now?
My company is the Berman Group, Inc., a full-service marketing, public relations, and special-events firm serving business-to-business clients, with concentration in the real estate, construction, legal, and financial industries.

How did List College prepare you for your career?
Managing a dual curriculum is a lot like managing the challenges of running a business-and List College definitely prepared me to multitask!

How did List College shape who you are today?
List College was my first opportunity to study at a Jewish institution full-time, and I felt like I found a home. Today, I am the proud parent of two children who attend day school, and a third child who will begin in a few years.

When you think about your time at List College, what words come to mind?
Energy, motivation, talent, and support.

What would you tell prospective and new students?
New York is a big city. Having a strong Jewish community and identity maximizes your chances of success. Bring your confidence and curiosity, and know that the world will be at your fingertips!

Account Executive /
Senior Analytical Lead
New York City
Comparative Literature and Society (Persian, Hebrew, and Arabic)
and Modern Jewish Studies (Middle East Jewry)

What are you doing now?
As an account executive and senior analytical lead at Google, I work with Fortune 500 companies to come up with strategies and solutions that meet their unique business and media objectives. I also serve on the boards of two incredibly meaningful nonprofits: Housing Works (Positive Health Project Division) and Global Potential. Both the founder and board president of Global Potential are peers I met during my years as an undergraduate.

How did List College shape who you are today?
It prepared me for success in a competitive workforce, and helped me to become a more spiritually aware and astute global citizen.

You haven't fully experienced List College until you . . .
Sit on the steps in front of Low Library on a perfect summer day, watching people or reading a book.

Who was your favorite professor at JTS and why?
Dr. Diane Sharon in the Bible Department. She taught me to analyze critically, read beyond the written text, and most importantly, be a seeker of truth. Her devotion to her students was unparalleled, and I'm grateful that she and I remain in touch to this day.

What would you tell prospective and new students?
Be ready to grow as a person and to be challenged as a thinker, and remember to give back.

Program Director
University of Chicago Hillel
Midrash and History of Social Inequality in the Americas

What activity were you involved in at List College that most influenced your life today?
The List College Fellowship in Jewish Social Entrepreneurship allowed me to engage in deep discussions about social entrepreneurship with my peers, and create, launch, and implement a JTS micro-grant project. The experience provided me with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop and implement new social justice programs after graduation.

The internship affiliated with the fellowship completely immersed me in every aspect of work at a start-up nonprofit, allowing me to get a sense of how organizations function and where I fit best. During the eight months I interned with Nourishing USA (then Nourishing Kitchen), I produced an annual report for stakeholders, planned a program for more than 300 community members, and wrote grant proposals (one of which garnered $25,000 for the organization after winning a massive social media campaign).

What was the most important thing you learned at List College?
List College taught me the importance of investing in your community. It showed me that I can-and should-be involved in many communities.

What did you love most about List College?
I loved being part of a small, intimate community. When we had our senior dinner, it was amazing to look around the room and know and feel comfortable with everyone there.

Marketing Manager, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
New York City
Psychology and Bible

What professional successes have you had since leaving List College?
My partner and I recently received a grant for more than $1 million from a team of three organizations-the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the AVI CHAI Foundation-to start Camp Zeke, the first Jewish summer camp focused on whole foods, culinary arts, and innovative athletics. We are building the camp from the ground up, and are overwhelmed by the support we've received from the List College community. In fact, List College's Dean Shuly Rubin Schwartz is on our advisory board.

Who was your favorite professor and why?
Professor David Roskies. In his class, we read and discussed the best of American Jewish literature. His passion and enthusiasm motivated the students, and led to some incredibly interesting discussions.

What would you tell prospective and new List College students?
1. You will meet some amazing people, who will become lifelong friends.
2. You don't have to come from a Jewish day school or a religious background to love List College.
3. Go to office hours, ask lots of questions, and befriend your professors (at List College and Columbia University or Barnard College). They will expose you to new ideas, guide you on your career path, and help open countless doors for you
4. Remember that there's a big city outside of Morningside Heights. As much as you will love spending time on campus, make sure to venture out and explore what New York City has to offer.

Apply to List College

Career Development
List College offers students an array of career-related services. Students receive personalized advice throughout their four years in areas such as:

  • Career planning
  • Résumé building
  • Finding internships
  • Recommendation writing
  • Graduate school options
  • Networking opportunities

Take advantage of one-on-one mentoring opportunities to help you discover your future career. We will connect you with a member of your chosen profession who will assist you in developing the necessary contacts to get a head start in the workplace.

Tap into the List College Alumni Network. This vast network can be utilized as you research your chosen field to develop your career options and make solid contacts. List College alumni have made themselves available to current students to provide support during the job search process.

The centers for career development at Barnard and Columbia also work closely with List College students to take advantage of all their services. Our offices work in tandem to provide essential information about internship/job opportunities, on-campus recruiting, and career fairs.

Senior Forums
Special programming is offered each semester for seniors only, thanks to the generosity of Dr. Ruth Samson-Lefkowitz and Charles Lefkowitz. These Senior Forums address issues that seniors face imminently, such as graduate school plans, alternative career options, budgeting, housing, student loan repayment, fostering a Jewish identity, and getting involved with local Jewish communities after college.