Meet Your 2021 Student Leaders
Peer Mentors are current NYU Steinhardt students who help new students with their transition to college life. During NYU Welcome, Peer Mentors host programming, and in the fall, they will co-facilitate New Student Seminar with departmental instructors. In 2021, Peer Mentors at Large support our rising second year students with navigating campus life.
Before starting your studies, see NYU Steinhardt through their eyes via Instagram. Once you activate your NYU email, you'll be added to your department's Google Group. This message board is where you can get fast answers to your questions about registration and student life in your specific department.
Marissa Alonzo is a rising senior majoring in Applied Psychology with a minor in Chinese. She is from Florida and came to New York City to experience new cultures and to push herself to step out of her comfort zone and into city life. She spends most of her time in small coffee shops and finds joy in getting lost in the city. Marissa is a proud Latina who focuses heavily on the intersectionality between culture and psychology and the mental health of undocumented women. She is a returning peer mentor who is always available to have a meaningful conversation and loves to tell new student’s about the best coffee shops she’s found in the city. She can’t wait to meet all of APUG’s new students and is looking forward to making new memories in the upcoming academic year!
Jordan Lopez is a rising senior in Applied Psychology with a double major in Sociology and a minor in ASL. She is originally from sunny south Florida but enjoys having actual seasons in New York rather than it just being summer all year round. Some of her favorite things to do in New York City are exploring all the parks, thrifting at many of the shops around the city and exploring the museums. Jordan is a president of Pulse Dance Project, an audition-based dance club here at NYU that is perfect for students who love to dance but are not majoring in it. She is also a part of the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy research team. She is excited to meet and get to all the new students joining APUG and is here to help them have a great first semester here at NYU!
Yuxing Kitty Chen is a rising senior majoring in Applied Psychology and pursuing a minor in Japanese. She comes from Guangzhou, China, and get to NYU as an international student in 2018. She is attracted by the fantastic diversity performed by the community of NYU and loves to encounter opportunities that this stunning New York City offers. She likes to spend her spare time exploring various restaurants, strolling along the streets, and enjoying the sunshine at the park with her friends. She went through many great times and challenges on campus and can’t wait to share her experiences with coming students. She is excited about getting back to the campus and is looking forward to meeting the class of 2025!
Haeun Ro is a rising junior majoring in Applied Psychology and pursuing minors in Studio Art and Creative Writing. She was born in South Korea but grew up in NYC - she actually used to live in the apartment right next to the NYU Card Center! Today, she commutes to campus from upper Manhattan. Her favorite things to do include listening to music, playing lacrosse, and taking Molly (that’s the super cute dog in the pic!) to Carl Schurz Park. She also works as a Writing Partner at the Writing Center. She is looking forward to meeting the Class of 2025.
Morgan Beene is a rising junior in Applied Psychology. She is also pursuing a minor in Media, Culture & Communications and is really interested in how media, identity and psychology work together. Morgan is originally from the Illinois suburbs, so she loves the change in pace that NYC provides! She enjoys trying different foods & cafes around the city (NYC brunch is the best!) She is also the Director of Communications for NYU’s chapter of the Brain Exercise Initiative. Morgan is passionate about helping and building connections with others and hopes to be a child and adolescent psychologist in the future. She can’t wait to meet APUG’s class of 2025!
Gianna Boccieri is a rising junior studying Applied Psychology and pursuing a minor in American Sign Language. Gianna grew up in different places around the country but now calls Houston, Texas home. She has always been in love with NYC and enjoys going to see Broadway shows! Gianna is involved with Camp Kesem and volunteers with The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention outside of campus. She is very passionate about mental health advocacy, music, reading, and films. She is a big animal person and is more than happy to share pictures of all of her exotic pets! When Gianna isn’t studying, you can usually find her in a local book shop, doing yoga, or exploring a new part of the city. Gianna is so excited to meet the incoming Class of 2025 and help with their transition into NYU life!
Art and Art Professions
Caleb Williams is a rising senior pursuing a Studio Art major and minor in The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology at New York University. A product of the Big Apple, Caleb has spent her life immersed in the cultural multitude that makes her home so unique. She is an activist, artist, and creative director who seeks to challenge and inspire her audience through her artwork. Her artwork surrounds topics of social justice, vulnerability, and identity. In her free time, she loves to go to different art museums and galleries; skateboard or bike around the city, and walk around the city taking photos on her film camera. One thing she loves doing most of all; is meeting new people, and being able to connect with them. I am so grateful for this opportunity to welcome the new Steinhardt students and offer my guidance and friendship to them.
Daniel Martinez is a NYU Steinhardt student and a New York native. He is studying Studio Art with the goal of becoming an art teacher. Daniel sees visual arts as a way to enjoy oneself by putting their thoughts and creativity on paper. Whether to express any concerns that a person may have or to simply relax and have fun creating something. He has an interest in reading comics/graphic novels, drawing from life, and silly jokes (puns and dad jokes are his favorite).
Communicative Sciences and Disorders
Kenzo Kimura is a rising junior in the Communicative Sciences and Disorders department with a focus on Pre-Medical studies. Growing up in Tokyo, Sao Paulo and South Florida, his passion for CSD and medicine has ties to his identity as a fourth generation Japanese-Brazilian. Not only is Kenzo a returning peer mentor at NYU, but he has also focused a lot of his time researching speech perception in bilingual adults for his honors thesis as well as representing the class of 2023 as Freshman, Sophomore, and now Junior class President. Outside of his roles at NYU, Kenzo’s work has shined primarily on both health accessibility publications at the United Nations and AAPI advocacy through the East Coast Asian American Student Union. In his free time, Kenzo’s a fan of skateboarding, poke bowls, and melatonin. He can’t wait to welcome and ease your transition as the next generation of healthcare professionals/speech-language pathologists!
Agnesa Xu is a rising junior majoring in Education Studies. She has also declared her minor in Japanese and Nutrition. She was born and raised in Shanghai, China but has already fallen in love with New York City in her first year. She loves exploring art museums, popular restaurants, and famous landmarks around the city with her friends. She loves traveling, baking, k-pop, boba, yoga and so on. You may come across her in small coffee houses or dessert shops around union square every weekend. Agnesa is so excited to meet all new students and make amazing memories in the upcoming academic year!
Cosette Libier is a rising junior studying Media, Culture, and Communication, and minoring in the Business of Media, Entertainment, and Technology. She plans to work in the marketing industry. She was born and raised in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia, and now lives right near campus! She is a proud Jamaican who loves to travel and experience different cultures, and she is passionate about helping others. She has previously started a mental health awareness club, and has brought these acquired skills to NYU through her peer mentor role. One of her favorite parts of going to NYU is being able to explore the city and try out different restaurants and coffee shops (she used to work at Starbucks, ask her for some drink recommendations!) Cosette is so excited to meet the new MCC students and share her experiences!
Camillia Khamedoost is a senior studying Media, Culture, and Communication with a minor in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Originally from Southern California, Camillia is passionate about the entertainment industry and hopes to pursue a career in production or marketing for film and TV. Through her previous internships, she has experience in event design, political campaigning, and most recently, creative marketing at Showtime Networks. Camillia is also the VP of Events for NYU’s CommClub. In her free time, you can find her seeking out new Italian restaurants in the city, watching sci-fi movies, or listening to Arcade Fire. Camillia is also a big vegetarian foodie, so feel free to reach out for recommendations! She is eager to welcome incoming students and help them adjust to NYU and the city as a whole.
Maame Attakora (pronounced MAH-ME) is a rising Senior majoring in Media, Culture and Communication with a minor in Business of Entertainment Media and Technology. After having such an amazing time mentoring for the last two years, she did not hesitate to return as peer mentor this fall. She is a Ghanaian-American who enjoys traveling and interacting with diverse communities and people which explains why she is a part of the Global Media Scholars program. To her, NYU has played a key role in unearthing her love for all things media and is currently even working on producing her own podcast. When she’s not doing all of that she loves to read, write, take pictures or try her hands on new DIY projects. Maame can’t wait to meet the new MCC class of 2025, share her experiences, give tips on how to maneuver NYC and help them find their place in NYU!
Vanessa Dong is a rising junior majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication. She was originally raised in Shanghai, but attended a boarding school in Maryland to finish her high school education. Now, she is in New York and looks forward to more adventures in the future. During the weekends, you can find her exploring the vivacious city. If you go to Soho and Koreatown, there is a large chance that you will see her dining in a restaurant and chatting with friends. In her free time, She enjoys listening to music, trying out new restaurants, and visiting art galleries. One of her goals before she graduates is to make a brochure about five of her favorite boba places. If you want a recommendation for boba places or restaurants, she will definitely be glad to help you with that. She looks forward to meeting the new MCC students!
Christina Morris is a rising junior studying Media, Culture, and Communication with a minor in the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Originally from New Jersey, she grew up with a love for the city. Christina is involved in numerous clubs on campus that have allowed her to take full advantage of all that NYU has to offer. Christina is extremely passionate about music, writing, mental health, and philanthropy. When she is not studying, working, or writing, you can find Christina taking walks along the Hudson River or drinking coffee in the park with friends. Her favorite thing about New York is that she is able to walk everywhere and that there is always something exciting to do. Christina is so excited to meet the Class of 2025 as they begin their time here at NYU!
Connor Silverstein is a rising senior majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication with a minor in the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. He was raised in Rockland County, New York, and has dreamt of living in the city since his childhood. Connor entered NYU as a junior transfer, and is part of the Community College Transfer Opportunity Program. He is also a member of NYU Cheer. During his free time, Connor loves to explore the city, and is always open to recommendations of cool places to visit. He also enjoys reading, listening to music, scrolling through social media apps, and helping others in need -- he helps his mother run a nonprofit! Connor is extremely excited to welcome the new students to NYU and is eager to meet them!
Hannah Hocom is a rising junior studying Media, Culture and Communications with a double minor in Business of entertainment, media, and technology and Producing. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Hannah grew up playing sports all her life including soccer, softball, track, and her favorite basketball. Hannah has been very involved in the NYU athletic program, playing for the NYU women's basketball team as a freshman as well as working events, marketing and operations for the athletics department. She is also a sports writer for the Washington Square News. Her dream job is to eventually travel the world and produce documentaries surrounding sports and culture. When she is not busy with school or working you can usually find her at the gym or running on the Hudson River. She also loves playing guitar, photography, video editing, and calling her two younger brothers daily. Hannah’s favorite thing about the city is undoubtedly the food. She spends most weekends with friends exploring the city and finding new places to eat. She is so excited to meet the class of 2025 and help them get adjusted to life at NYU!
Claudia Fernández-Toledo is a rising sophomore majoring in Media, Culture and Communication and minoring in French Studies. Claudia was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is a Capricorn. She loves reading, photography, watching and reviewing films, writing, and discovering new music. In her spare time, Claudia is involved with the NYU Teaches Program, other student organizations, and can be found in a nearby coffee shop or bookstore. She is passionate about literature, Spotify-playlists, Letterboxd, shoegaze, to-do lists and pop culture. As a new Peer Mentor, Claudia is excited to meet the class of 2025 and ease their transition into social life and college academics!
Kaitlyn Stewart is a Junior in NYU Steinhardt’s Media, Culture, and Communications program with a minor in the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Since joining NYU, she has served as the Director of Communications for her freshman dorm, a member of the Steinhardt Honors Program, and gotten involved in clubs like Bite Club and STEBA. She is interested in non-profit marketing, virtual reality, technology innovations, and ranting about science fiction and Marvel movies. If you want to learn where things were filmed around the city, the best Italian restaurants nearby, or the coolest MCC courses to take, she is ready to help!
Ben Schonhorn is a rising junior at NYU Steinhardt studying multiple woodwind performance. He is also pursuing the 5-Year Dual Degree program with Music Education. Ben was born and raised in New Jersey where he was very active in the music program at his high school. Growing up, Ben visited New York a lot with his friends and family, and he loves that he is now able to call New York his home. Ever since dying his hair for the first time, Ben has been addicted and has done almost every shade of blue and red imaginable! Ben plays a myriad of instruments: clarinet (his primary), oboe, flute, saxophone and piano. He aspires to be a professional Broadway musician and loves being a member of NYU’s Broadway Orchestra, as well as the other ensembles that NYU has to offer. When he’s not practicing late at night on the 9th-floor of the Ed Building, Ben can be found doing work in the basement of Bobst, at Bagel Bob’s or Starbucks, going to a concert, or hanging out and watching movies with friends. Ben is very excited to meet all the new MPAP students and help make NYU their new home!
Katarina Demos is a junior majoring in Flute Performance in Steinhardt pursuing a pre-law track with a double minor in Philosophy and Law and Society. She hails from both rural and urban Kentucky but now calls the city her home with love, living in an apartment and working two jobs in the city. Kat is actively involved on campus, serving on Steinhardt’s Student government, writing for the Undergraduate Law Review, serving for Camp Kesem for NYU, and is a part of the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority. Kat is also a lover of sports and anything athletic, staying busy by participating in NYU’s Intercollegiate Figure Skating and Lacrosse club teams. She is the self-proclaimed master of “doing too much” and enjoys staying as busy as possible. In order to fuel her through her long nights at work or the Ed Building 9th floor practice rooms, she has fostered an affinity for bodega coffees and BEGs (on roll, obviously). In her free time, Kat enjoys working on her bullet journal or going on runs by the Hudson. She is so excited to meet the incoming first years in the MPAP program and help them have a great first semester on campus!
Jill Olesen is a rising senior studying Music Technology at NYU Steinhardt. She is originally from Cos Cob, Connecticut but loves New York City for its endless possibilities to create and enjoy music! She plays bass/guitar and will take any opportunity to start a jam session and play some funky tunes. Jill loves NYU Steinhardt for its diverse student body and its abundant opportunities to be creative with people from so many different backgrounds. More specifically, she loves NYU Music Technology for its strong sense of community and its amazing, talented students. She is looking forward to meeting and working with new freshmen in the fall!
Mary Kate Abner is a junior studying Educational Theatre in Steinhardt, as well as Drama and Public Policy. She is from Charlotte, North Carolina, but loves the crazy and artistic nature of NYC. She spends most of her time working on shows or teaching drama to students of all ages in NYC. MK spends a lot of time at NYU working with Shakespeare, musical theatre, and film/tv. She loves NYU for the close family she has found within her major and the unique clubs that have helped NYU become her home. When MK isn’t in rehearsals or class, you can spot her at Peet’s with an iced coffee or at the Strand buying new books. Mary Kate is passionate about politics, podcasts, her cat Daisy, and trying new baked goods from Trader Joe’s. She is beyond excited to meet the new freshmen in Music Ed and Ed Theatre and help them transition comfortably into their time at NYU!
Daniela Torres is a rising sophomore at NYU Steinhardt studying Music Business. Even though she was born and raised in Puerto Rico, she found a new place to call home in New York City. Throughout her high school career, Daniela was jazz choir president, formed part of a theatre company, and even competed with a public speaking team across the island. She plays piano, electric guitar, and ukulele. However, nothing compares to her love of singing. In fact, you could probably find her practicing for her private lesson in one of the education building’s ninth-floor practice rooms. When she’s rehearsing her repertoire, she is likely watching movies in her dorm or reading a young adult book. Her goal for this year is to write her own music and start reading more often. Dani is beyond excited to help the freshman with their own goals in the upcoming fall semester!
Eden Franco is a sophomore studying Vocal Performance with a concentration in Music Theatre. Born and raised on Long Island, she is used to the hustle and bustle of New York City. She transferred to NYU during the COVID-19 pandemic, which made getting involved on campus pretty difficult at first. However, Eden found ways to make her mark on the NYU community, specifically as an active member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. In addition to music, Eden is extremely passionate about travel, soccer, and quality reality television (specifically Dance Moms and RuPaul’s Drag Race). When Eden is not in class or in a 9th floor practice room, you can find her hanging out with her friends, either in Washington Square Park or at Prince Tea House, or exploring NYC in all its glory. In the future, Eden hopes to work professionally in the theatre industry as an actor. She is so excited to meet the incoming MPAP freshmen and help them transition comfortably and confidently into life at NYU!
Lea Särnblad is a rising sophomore in NYU Steinhardt’s Music Business Program. Lea is originally from Stockholm, but grew up in Singapore and now lives in Boston. Lea loves getting involved on campus and is a member of the Music Business Ambassador Board, Program Board, and Zeta Tau Alpha. You can usually find Lea studying at Bobst with an iced chai, learning to play bass in a Steinhardt practice room, or jogging along the Hudson River. Lea loves the NYU family that she has been able to foster during her time on campus and is looking forward to helping the incoming freshman find their place on campus.
Maya Harrison is a sophomore guitar player in the Jazz Studies program in Steinhardt. She is from Davis, California but has long dreamt of being a jazz musician in New York City. Though primarily a jazz guitar player, she also enjoys singing and playing other genres like rock, funk, and pop. She is taking classes in music technology and hopes to explore it in her career. Maya enjoys spending her weekends going for long walks in new neighborhoods, watching live performances, and eating good food. She is excited to meet the incoming freshman and welcome them into the NYU community.
Sofia Sangiorgio is a rising junior in the Music Education program at NYU Steinhardt. She is from Long Island, NY, and has wanted to go to school in NYC ever since she was a child from falling in love with the city through day trips to Manhattan. Sofia is a flute primary, but is also a woodwind doubler on saxophones and clarinet, as well as playing a bit of piano, euphonium, ukulele, guitar, trumpet, and cello. Upon graduating, Sofia aspires to become a high school band teacher as well as a competitive marching band director. This year, Sofia will also be serving as a part of the E-boards for both SMENYU and A Class Act, as well as being a part of the recruitment team for the NYU All-University Concert Band. Prior to the pandemic, Sofia also enjoyed being a part of two of NYU’s Lamplighters productions. Outside of her musical studies, Sofia also enjoys green tea (hot and iced!), belting out Starkid tunes, watching Doctor Who, and reading.
Maya Reilly is a rising senior majoring in Oboe Performance, and double minoring in Global and Urban Education Studies, and Public Policy and Management; she hopes that these fields will help her achieve her dream of working in performing arts administration! Born in Tokyo, Japan but raised mostly in northern New Jersey, it didn’t take long for Maya to fall in love with the vibrant arts scene in New York City. Maya is actively involved in NYU orchestras and ensembles, the Japanese Cultural Association, and NYU Welcome programs, but her favorite spot on campus is the reed-making room on the 10th floor of Steinhardt’s MPAP building! In her free time, you can find Maya obsessively trying to grow her green scallions in jars, mindlessly window shopping around the city, or just scrolling endlessly through Buzzfeed Tasty. She loves hanging out with the incredibly talented and inspiring people from the community she’s found in Steinhardt, and can’t wait to show new students the ins and outs of being a college student in New York!
Grace Spino is a rising Junior majoring in Nutrition and Food Studies with a minor in Journalism. She is a transfer student who came to NYU for the education and experience of living in a big city. She lives right outside of Philadelphia for the majority of the year, but spends her summers, as most Philadelphians do, at the beaches of Southern New Jersey. Grace is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, which is one of the Panhellenic organizations at NYU. Aside from school, she interns at a non-profit in Haverford, PA and has been with them for almost three years now. Through this internship she supports issues such as food insecurity and hunger, criminal justice, and access to education. Some of her favorite things to do in NYC are to try new restaurants, explore the amazing museums, and go on evening runs by the river. She is looking forward to meeting the class of 2025 and (hopefully) living on campus next year!
Abe Konick is a rising senior pursuing a degree in nutrition and food studies. He came to NYC to complete his undergraduate degree after graduating with the Culinary Grand Diplôme at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Abe has lived in multiple different countries in Europe. At the center of all of this is his love of food and community as a way to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together. He believes food is one of the foundations we share despite our diverse backgrounds and perspectives. In an effort to share his knowledge of food, he teaches students how to cook simple and easy recipes on a budget through the Open Kitchen platform with Share Meals. You frequently find him up to something in the Food Lab. He can’t wait to meet the new class of undergraduates and looks forward to getting to know them.
Teaching and Learning
Sydney Lin is a senior majoring in Early Childhood Education/Special Education and Spanish and minoring in Dance. Originally from North Carolina, Sydney found the adjustment to life in New York City daunting, but after finding a community within Steinhardt and the NYU Ballroom Dance Team, she is more than happy to call the city home! Sydney loves to dance, and serves on her ballroom team’s e-board as President. Beyond dance, Sydney also loves exploring NYC on a budget with her dog Teddy. As a returning Peer Mentor, Sydney is excited to use her experience from last year to help first-year students transition into the dynamic culture of NYU and the Teaching & Learning department!
Asata Spears is a senior majoring in Early Childhood Education/Special Education and minoring in Educational Theatre. She was born and raised upstate but has loved her life that she’s started here in the city. At her time at NYU so far she has had the opportunity to study abroad at NYU Accra in Ghana and participate in a Dean’s Global Honors seminar that travelled to NYU Sydney in Australia. On campus, she is on the eboard of the NYU Step Team, Uproar Theatre Corps and the Black Student Union. Asata is passionate about the integration of the arts into general education, mentorship and activism. As a third year peer mentor she looks forward to continuing to help first year students transition into the city, Teaching and Learning and NYU at large!
Jacqueline LeKachman is a junior majoring in English Education and minoring in Creative Writing. She is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and loves the change of living in fast-paced New York City. At NYU, Jacqueline is involved in NYU Chorale, Teaching & Learning Club (TLC), and ElevatED, a club that encourages NYC students to pursue higher education through its mentorship program. She also works as a writing tutor and loves dog-watching in the city. For the past two years, she has been heavily involved with her dorm’s hall council, so feel free to ask her anything res life! Eventually Jacqueline hopes to become a teacher who helps students write as a form of empowerment and self-discovery. As a returning Peer Mentor this year, she is excited to help ease students’ transitions to NYU and help them find the sense of community she has found in the T&L department.
Alex Salom is a senior majoring in English Education. She’s from Miami, Florida but lived internationally for many years in London and Toronto. She settled into the NYU community quickly after joining a sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. Originally, she majored in Childhood/Special Education but, after studying abroad in London, switched to English Education. She’s passionate about language arts but not just English. She speaks Spanish and is currently learning Italian (shoutout to NYU’s amazing Italian Studies Department). As a proud Hispanic woman, she’s also joined NYU’s Women’s Network to connect with diverse and empowering women. She’s researched within Steinhardt for the English Education Department and absolutely loves talking about it! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to talk about mentorship, storytelling, switching majors, class recommendations and getting involved in the community. She’s super excited to meet new students and help them with their transition to NYU.
Rachel Yaffe-Bellany is a rising senior majoring in Early Childhood and Special Education with a triple minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies, Child Development and Social Intervention, and History. Originally from New Jersey, Rachel grew up visiting her grandparents in New York City, where her love of attending the theater was nurtured (in her three years at NYU, she has seen over 120 shows!) On campus, she works as an NYU Admissions Ambassador, leading campus tours of prospective students while wearing a lot of purple. Rachel can typically be found studying on the 7th floor of Kimmel, searching for theater tickets, or exploring the city with her friends. She has had the opportunity to study away in Florence, Italy and to visit Tel Aviv, Israel through the Dean’s Global Honors Seminar. As a new Peer Mentor, Rachel can’t wait to welcome students to the incredible Teaching and Learning community!
Jae Barrett is a rising junior majoring in Early Childhood and Special Education and planning on minoring in Photography her junior year. Jae was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida but was raised in Jamaica by her grandma until she was 6. Then came to New York and has been living in Brooklyn ever since. She started attending NYU her spring semester so during fall she was working and dog walking. As she entered sophomore year she joined a sorority, Delta Gamma and just recently became a Big for one of the new members. Before the pandemic, Jae attended many event clubs such as the book club created by an NYU grad student, the student government club, a research club her freshman year, and starting to crochet again. She is excited to meet you all and be able to communicate with and support incoming NYU students. She hopes that fall is in person so she can start commuting to the campus again along with helping you all have a smooth transition into college during such a difficult time. Feel free to always reach out if needed to talk, advice, or help with certain things and/or navigations on campus.