About Us & Contact Information

We are OPEN!

Come on by & ask us all of your data-related questions, sit in the space & work, or pick up stickers and buttons to show your undieing support for us!

We're here anytime someone is listed as available on the calendar.

~ The ERL Staff


About Us

The recently created Empirical Reasoning Lab (ERL) is designed to provide infrastructural support for empirical reasoning across the curriculum. Empirical reasoning focuses on critical thinking about numerical data, quantitative literacy, and qualitative analysis.

For students, faculty, and staff, we offer consultations to help formulate empirical questions, find appropriate data sets, or offer guidance and training with analysis software. 

For courses, we provide supplemetary training sessions focusing on how to use analysis software, how to find meaningful data sets, or how to use the libraries resources effectively for research. We can also help develop course specific assignments focused on increasing Empirical Reasoning across the curriculum. 

Who we are

Michelle Loo

Michelle is a junior at Barnard College majoring in Urban Studies and history. She is also interested in exploring social issues and may be of help for both quantitative and qualitative research. She hopes to apply data analysis to her social justice work. 

ERL Fellow

Olga Garduno

Olga is a senior at Barnard double majoring in Psychology and Art History. After graduating from Barnard, Olga plans to apply for psychology Ph.D. programs where she hopes to pursue her interest in research on the psychology of creativity. She is happy to help students with statistical analysis software, such as Excel, basic GIS software, SPSS, and Stata, as well as help students find datasets for their research.

ERL Fellow

Sarah Linden

Sarah is a sophomore at Barnard College. She plans on majoring in political sciences and mathematics-statistics. Sarah hopes to apply her knowledge in statistics to her interest in politics by examining voting patterns and exploring poling techniques. Her skills include statistics, Stata, SPSS, Excel, and basic GIS software. Sarah enjoys reading Nate Silver's 538 blog, which features stories that apply statistics to trending news topics.

ERL Fellow 

Belinda Archibong

Belinda is a Ph.D. candidate in Sustainable Development at Columbia.  Her research interests include energy valuation and investment and natural resource management and economic development in African countries; her current research focuses on the centrality of space and geography for energy, infrastructure and natural resource use and valuation.  Her spatial and statistical analysis software skills include R, Stata, Excel, MATLAB, and ArcGIS.  At the ERL, she's also available to assist students with any general research methodology questions they may have.

Graduate Lab Assistant

Francis Annan

Coming soon---


Graduate Lab Assistant

Katherine Vasbinder

Katherine is a graduate student in the Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences program at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, concentrating in Experimental Methods. Currently she is working as a credit risk analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She is interested in eventually pursing a doctoral degree in public policy. Her software skills include Stata, SAS, Excel, MATLAB, VBA and SQL. She is addicted to Junk Charts.

Graduate Lab Assistant

Heather Van Volkinburg, PhD

Heather has happily crossed the street to join the Barnard Library and Academic Information Services (BLAIS) after completing her PhD in Psychology at Columbia University in May 2012. Her research in Psychology focused on the perception and memory of time, or in other words, how we learn about time from our environment and how we remember and use those representations to make decisions and manage our time. She also developed an interest in pedagogical support in higher education especially pertaining to the development of empirical thinking in the STEM and social science fields and nurtured this interest by conducting and coordinating a series of workshops for Columbia University’s GSAS Teaching Center in 2011 & 2012. As an undergraduate student she worked on a project revitalizing a Native American language (Mutsun) with no living speakers using primary source materials and completed her degree in Linguistics minoring in Mathematics. 

Associate Director of Learning Initiatives and Data Services



Contact Information

In order to best support the Barnard community, the Empirical Reasoning lab can be accessed in person in Lehman 200 on the second floor of the Barnard library (look for signs when you exit the stairway). For exact hours of operation check out our calendar.

Electronic correspondence and requests for consultations can be sent to erl@barnard.edu.

Mailing Address:
Empirical Reasoning Lab
c/o Heather Van Volkinburg
3009 Broadway
New York, NY, 10027

Phone: 212-851-9692 (calls will be directed to Heather Van Volkinburg)