About Us

Instructor: Leah Anderst, PhD, Associate Professor of English, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

Hello! Welcome! I’ve been teaching film studies courses at the Grad Center since 2017 and film, lit, and writing courses at QCC since 2012. At QCC I coordinate our first year writing courses, comp 1 and 2, and I regularly teach courses on documentary cinema. I earned my PhD and MA in Comparative Literature from the Graduate Center. My primary areas of scholarship are autobiographical discourses and documentary film, psychological fiction and film, narrative theory, and writing pedagogy. You can learn more about me here. You can contact me via email here: LAnderst@qcc.cuny.edu.



Mona Abouzid is in the Middle Eastern Studies Concentration at MALS, and she completed her undergraduate work with a double major in History and Political Sciences and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Mona is the oldest of four daughters and one of her favorite things to do is read in the park.

Liza Engesser is in the Biography and Memoir concentration, and she conducts research for The Irish in New York Oral History Project at Queens College. She’s currently a first year student in the program and her interests are in Oral History. She’s taken Irish Film History. A cool free movie you can watch on YouTube is called Emerald City written and directed by Colin Broderick; she highly recommends it. Phelim Dolan is currently teaching his History of Irish Film course at Queens College this semester. She also highly recommends that course.

Joyce Larson is in the American Studies concentration and she has an intense interest in contemporary American classical and experimental music (living composers) and “indie” American opera. She has an extensive collection of recordings of classical music and opera and is building a personal library of books on American music — when it comes to media choices, she am hopelessly (and enthusiastically) old-fashioned! She loves cats, and her orange tabby has been known to make guest appearances when she’s on Zoom.

Tian Leng is in the MALS Film Studies Concentration, and he studied video technology and sound design in his undergraduate work. Here is his Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/winterinjuly3/ Check it out.

Diana Maron is a Musicology Student at the GC, and she’s interested in Opera and early technology. She is from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). She worked as a professional ballerina until she became a singer and an actor. She graduated in both Music (Singing) and Sound Technology. She’s passionate about the stage-backstage relationship and how audio and video technology changed the way we perform on stage.

Sana Matsuda is for the moment in the Fashion Studies Concentration at MALS. She’s also an actress, and she’d like to connect what she’s learning at the Graduate Center with her future career.

Andrea Negret is in the Social and Environmental Justice program at the GC. She was raised in Bogota, Colombia but born in Aurora, Illinois and came back to the US as an adult. So she is still adapting to the many changes and challenges that come with being an immigrant. She says she’s not great with having a defined plan for life so she kinda goes with the flow and takes the opportunities that life has to offer. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have goals, she says, she just doesn’t let them define her whole life.





Photo of Anthony SweeneyAnthony Sweeney is in the Film Studies concentration in MALS. He was, for several years, the outreach manager for a documentary film company specializing in engagement campaigns around nationally broadcast public television programs. His main task was to galvanize communities around a social issue or activity (higher education, basketball, play therapy), and to use the television broadcast to make positive improvements in their lives. Through this work, he was part of a team that helped to bring Eyes on the Prize back to television. He says it was the best job he ever had, and he hopes to do something similar in the future.




Penny Weber is in the Individualized studies concentration and graduated with honors from Bard College with a B.A in history, and has spent the years since working in the academic nonprofit world. She’s interested in modern myth-making, storytelling, and self-advocacy, and once undertook a brief apprenticeship to a haberdasher in order to complete a project in which she crafted hats and masks to represent several Jungian archetypes.

Hardik Yadav is an Indian-born student of film and literature with an interest in criticism; ask him about Barthes, Bollywood, and Barry (HBO). He has appeared in The New Yorker for “taking issue with Trump’s ‘gibberish’” in their 2016 article, “Donald Trump vs. New York City” by Daniel Wenger.



Hao Yang is studying Ethnomusicology at the GC. He’s interested in ethnographic film and documentary film practices, specifically the emerging “Music Ethnographic Film” in Chinese ethnomusicology. Hao is also a photographer and a chef. He’s really good at cooking Chinese food!!