Julia Kalow, Columbia College
Claim to fame:
I’m the one you have to listen to at CC Class Day who’s not Joel Klein.
PhD in organic chemistry at Princeton.
Preferred swim test stroke?
What are three things you learned at Columbia?
1. The academic part of college (which is all I’m qualified to talk about) is fun if you allow yourself to be a dork enough to enjoy it. Look for the things that interest you, that surprise you, that impassion you, and then have unabashedly loud and dorky arguments about them with your dorkiest friends in inappropriate places.
2. Appreciate your departmental administrative assistants. If they like you, you can get around a lot of red tape. Also, some of them will give you cookies.
3. If someone asks you a question that you can’t answer, the best response is: “That would be a good thought experiment.” I heard Horst Stormer use it once at a seminar, so it must work.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less.
I make sublime scrambled eggs. Heartbreakingly tender. And I know how to fit a 32-inch timpani into the Lerner elevators.
What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia?
The one in the chemistry department that no one talks about. Shhh…
What Columbia memory best exemplifies your college experience?
Once I was in Lerner late at night, trying to study, and a girl sat across from me and proceeded to eat spaghetti and meatballs—with her hands. She ate strand by strand, tilting back her head like a baby bird, and when she was done she slid her finger around the container and licked off the extra sauce. Then a mouse ran out from underneath my chair. Since then I’ve studied in my dorm room.
Which prof do you think would be the best kisser?
Horst Stormer. Now that would be a good thought experiment.
What percentage of seniors do you think are virgins?
Twenty-two and dropping. I assume there’s some sort of last-minute pre-graduation scramble.
Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese?
Let me put it this way: Westside Market offers free samples of only one of these things.
Days on Campus memory?
I applied early decision, so my parents didn’t see the point in my going to Days on Campus. “What’s the point?” they said. “All that bother, sending you to New York for two days to see a school you already know you’re going to?”
I should have gotten a Duane Reade club card back when I was a freshman.