Brooklyn native Lillien earned her BA at Georgetown University before coming to Gallatin for graduate school to study history and museum studies. “I am interested in thinking about and creating ways to teach history that are engaging, inspiring and innovative,” she says.
For her thesis, she is creating an audio-documentary about the life of Polly Adler, a Russian-Jewish immigrant who came to New York alone, at the age of 13. She ultimately became a notorious high-class madam in the city from the 1920s to the ‘40s. “She was arrested 17 times,” says Lillien, “but only jailed once.”
Professor Jack Tchen is her adviser. “He uses a lot of interesting teaching methods, including mind-mapping, walking and sensory exercises to explore the history of a place,” she says.
At Gallatin, says Lillien, “It’s not just that you direct your content by selecting courses and a thesis topic, although that is obviously wonderful, but you also direct your level of engagement with your adviser and can develop relationships with a wide range of faculty members. You can tap into the Gallatin community to become more involved in NYU or find internships or jobs, or take classes at other institutions.”