Valedictorian | Zuzanna Bijoch
The valedictorian of the Class of 2023 is Zuzanna Bijoch. Born in Katowice, Poland, she worked as a model in the high-fashion industry represented by Next Model Management, and was consistently ranked as one of the top models in the world before enrolling at Columbia University. Throughout her career, she participated in all of the major fashion weeks including New York, Paris, Milan, and London, walking for the likes of Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Valentino, and countless others. She was also featured on the covers of various editions of Vogue magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle, and was a guest judge on Poland’s Top Model. She received the Poland Woman of the Year award, presented by Glamour magazine in Poland, and has been featured regularly on Polish television channels. Zuzanna used her experiences growing up in the fashion industry to write and publish her novel Modelka.
Zuzanna has always been interested in finance and thus decided to pursue a degree in financial economics. At Columbia, she worked as a research assistant in Columbia’s Department of Economics. She also won a Romine Prize from the same department for her seminar paper titled “The Role of Activist Ownership and Management Sentiment in Corporate Spin-off Value Creation,” and was on the winning team in the IIG Investment Case Competition sponsored by Citadel. She has also held leadership roles as a director of the business division at the Columbia Economic Society and as a board member of the Lion Fund, a student-run hedge fund.
Zuzanna was named to the Dean’s List, and is a member of the GS Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa. She graduates summa cum laude with a degree in financial economics. After graduation, Zuzanna will join BDT&MSD Partners in New York City.
Salutatorian | Alexander Alvalade Ximenes
The salutatorian of the Class of 2023 is Alexander Alvalade Ximenes. Alexander is from Manhattanville and also grew up in Western Europe and the Middle East. A son of two multilingual immigrants, he has spent much of his life advocating for secular democracy, women's rights, and human rights.
Alexander has worked in the legal field, and was appointed a philosophy writing tutor at Hunter College, won Model UN Awards, was granted a Tukman Scholarship, was named Grove Fellow at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, and received departmental honors in both philosophy and political science. He co-authored Understanding the Contemporary Middle East with Jillian Schwedler before ultimately transferring to Columbia. Alexander has pursued many interests including controversial clauses in the US constitution, gerrymandering, the Political Question Doctrine, Kantian philosophy, and the case for equal pay for women in the US. He was named to the Dean’s List and inducted into the GS Honor Society, the Pi Sigma Alpha Society, and Phi Beta Kappa. He graduates summa cum laude with majors in both political science and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies.
Outside of his research, Alexander maintained a commitment to public service during his time at Columbia, teaching English as a second language, a culinary health class, and three GED classes to new immigrants and formerly-incarcerated New Yorkers. He has also volunteered to help with housing injustice. After graduation, he will work for a real estate law firm in Downtown Manhattan, and hopes to become a law professor and trial attorney—contributing to constitutional academic discourse and serving at the highest federal bench.
Baccalaureate Service | GS Speakers
Class of 2023 GS graduates Victoria Ardelean and Jacob Baumstein will speak at the Baccalaureate Service, which will take place on Sunday, May 14, at 10 a.m.