Joan C. Waters joined Columbia University as University Ombuds Officer in April 2014. A native New Yorker, she earned her undergraduate degree from Fordham University (Bronx, New York) and she earned her juris doctorate from St. John's University School of Law (Queens, New York). Joan's legal career started in civil litigation and management-side labor and employment work in private practice and local government in Westchester County, New York. During her legal career, she was also the managing partner and then sole proprietor of a small family law and residential real estate law practice with a particular focus on mediation and collaborative law. Immediately prior to joining Columbia, Joan served as an Associate General Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at The City University of New York with responsibility for all aspects of higher education policy and legal issues.

In 2001 and again in 2008, Joan was elected to serve as the Village Justice for the Village of Sleepy Hollow, presiding over the weekly docket of civil, criminal, small claims and vehicle and traffic matters, as well as, bench and jury trials. For the period 2011 and 2017, Joan served as an elected school board trustee for the Pocantico Hills Central School District in Pocantico Hills, New York. Currently, Joan serves as a Board Trustee for Xavier High School in Manhattan. Since joining Columbia, Joan has become a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA), has obtained Certified Organizational Ombudsman (CO-OP) status from the IOA, an has become a Certified Trainer in Workplace Conflict Resolution from the Mediation Training Institute at Eckerd College. Joan lives in Westchester County with her husband, daughters and rescue dog, Mia.

"It's my intention to be visible, approachable, and open, with the hope to make people comfortable seeking assistance."


Marilyn Molina joined the Ombuds office in July 2015 as the Administrative Manager. Marilyn had previously served the University for eight years, managing University events as a member of the Events Administration unit of the Facilities Department.

In April 2017, Marilyn was promoted to the position of Assistant Ombuds Officer after an immersive six month training period.  A Nuyorican, raised in Brooklyn, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business, Management and Economics from SUNY Empire State College and in 2010, earned her Master of Science degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University.  Marilyn is trained in mediation and negotiation, an active member of the IOA with the intention of soon obtaining CO-OP certification, and has become a Certified Trainer in Workplace Conflict Resolution from the Mediation Training Institute at Eckerd College.

"Conflict is no stranger to any of us. We experience it daily whether it's at home or at work. I'm here to provide a confidential space for you to talk, for me to listen, and together to explore options and resources."




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