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Meet the NYU Steinhardt Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board

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Alumni and Families Weekend 2022 NYU Steinhardt Luncheon, left to right: Sergio Pardo López, Caity Moseman Wadler, Shoba Gayathri Nahappan, Dr. Tarika Barrett, Danielle Butin, Chris Mosier, Xavier "X" Jernigan, Jack H. Knott, Michelle Van-Ess Grant, Parker Lynch, Gunjan Banerji. Board members not able to attend: Mickela Mallozzi and Talia Bender Small. ©Slezak: NYU Photo Bureau.

Dear NYU Steinhardt Alumni, Friends, Faculty, Staff, Parents and Students,

In June 2022, we established the NYU Steinhardt Dean's Alumni Advisory Board. Originally we began with 12 members and as of September 2023, four new alumni joined for a total of 16.

This Board offers guidance and input to help fulfill our vision of being the leading school in the world devoted to a holistic understanding of, and commitment to, human development across the lifespan. These 16 alumni serve as ambassadors to connect us more broadly with our global alumni community, to reach out to those networks, and support our academic ambitions.

The Advisory Board serves as a sounding board and incubator of ideas on a variety of topics, including but not limited to: nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation among our alumni; informing our academic content; advising on matters pertaining to student life and recruitment; and promoting philanthropic support. Our goal is to link these areas of focus to work currently underway at NYU Steinhardt and to create new opportunities in underserved areas, as well. 

Our Alumni Advisory Board is a work in progress, as we meet and discuss how best to build on the talents, strengths, and contributions of its members and our overall NYU Steinhardt community.    

I look forward to sharing news of our work with you in the coming months and years. Please check back for periodic updates.

Jack H. Knott
Gale and Ira Drukier Dean

Professional headshot of Gunjan Banerji

Gunjan Banerji

Gunjan Banerji writes about markets and investing for The Wall Street Journal. She is also a CNBC contributor and frequently appears on national television to discuss her reporting. Her articles and videos have covered the biggest stories in financial markets of the past decade, spanning stocks, bonds and derivatives. Recently, Ms. Banerji led WSJ’s coverage of the mania in GameStop Corp. shares. She holds a dual-degree in Economics and Media Culture and Communication from New York University and earned a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Ms. Banerji is also a dancer, practicing Classical Indian Dance in her spare time.

Professional headshot of Tarika Barrett

Dr. Tarika Barrett

Dr. Tarika Barrett is the CEO of Girls Who Code, an international non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology that has served 500,000 students to date. Tarika started her career as an educator and has spent two decades building educational pathways for young people at organizations like iMentor, the New York City Department of Education, New Visions for Public Schools, and New York University’s Center for Research on Teaching and Learning. A graduate of Brooklyn College, Tarika has an M.A. in Deaf Education from Columbia Teachers College and a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from New York University. Tarika has served on the boards of CSforALL, Eskolta, McGraw Hill, and AT&T’s Accelerator Advisory Board. She was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, New York University’s Steinhardt Alumni Advisory Council, the New Visions for Public Schools Board of Directors, and recently joined the Eniac Ventures network. Tarika is the recipient of the New York University’s Steinhardt School Dorothy Height Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, the New York City Bar Association Huntington Bank’s Her Hero Lifetime Achievement Award, and was named one of Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York in 2021. 

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Chris Mosier

Chris Mosier is a transgender athlete and activist. In 2016, he earned a spot on Team USA’s sprint duathlon team, becoming the first known out transgender man to represent the United States at a men's international sporting event. In 2020, he became the first transgender athlete to qualify for Olympic trials in the gender in which they identify. He is the founder of, a leading source of information for trans inclusion in sports at all levels of play. Chris has served as a mentor to athletes around the world, ranging from youth to professional players, and is a consultant and speaker on inclusion and leadership.

Photo of Shoba Gayathri in a city street

Shoba Gayathri Nahappan

Shoba has a wealth of experience across the fields of the arts/design, education, and administration. Shoba is the Director of Special Projects for Ink Arts, a Singaporean-based art studio, and CEO of Emerse Digital Cultures, a multidisciplinary technology studio. She formerly owned an art gallery in Singapore and has worked in the arts with both non-profit and for-profit organisations as well as in academia. She draws on her experiences in arts from having lived in parts of South-East Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States. Shoba has a BA with a double major in Anthropology and Visual Culture and Honours Degree in Anthropology from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and an MA in Visual Arts Administration from NYU Steinhardt. She is currently taking a particular interest in how the intersections of education, arts, health, and entertainment can be a catalyst for life-long learning. In addition to the NYU Steinhardt Dean's Alumni Advisory Board, Shoba was part of NYU’s Next-Gen Cohort. Shoba is based in London, UK. 

Photo of Xavier Jernigan speaking into microphone in front of a group of people

Xavier "X" Jernigan

Xavier "X" Jernigan is a Spotify executive and Spotify’s host. A Founding Member of The Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council, X works to bring Hip Hop focused programming to our nation’s performing arts center. Xavier serves on Burberry’s Cultural Advisory Council advising Burberry on culture strategy. He’s worked across Def Jam, Epic, Motown, Republic Records, and Bad Boy launching the careers of Future, Logic, and Amy Winehouse. X is a proud MBA graduate of FAMU and Steinhardt grad (M.A.; Music Business) where he gave the Valedictory address. X is also a Deacon at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.

professional headshot of Danielle Butin

Danielle Butin

Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR is the founder and CEO of the Afya Foundation, a medical supply recovery organization with a mission to improve healthcare delivery in underserved communities globally. Founded in 2008, Afya reroutes surplus medical supplies that are regularly discarded. Butin has a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from New York University and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University, where she is an adjunct faculty member. She was the Director of Health Services for the East Region of Senior and Retiree Services for United Health Care, and the Manager of the Health Promotion and Wellness Department at Oxford Health Plans. 

Headshot of Sergio Pedro Lopez

Sergio Pardo López

Sergio Pardo López is an arts administrator, curator, and architect based in New York City. During his 15 years of experience, he has developed a career in art administration, creative placemaking and public art, through a multidisciplinary perspective, implementing cultural policies and initiatives that use culture as a tool for social engagement, civic pride, and economic development. Sergio is currently Director of the Percent for Art Program at the New York Department of Cultural Affairs. Sergio Pardo is a guest lecturer at various universities and educational centers including Cornell University, Christie’s Education, New York University, and TED in Spanish. His work has been featured in the New York Times, The Art Newspaper, The Guardian, and El País. Bachelor and Master of Architecture, Polytechnic University of Madrid (ETSAM); Rafael del Pino Foundation Scholar, Illinois Institute of Technology; MA Visual Artis Administration and Fulbright Scholar, New York University; Ph.D. Candidate, Polytechnic University of Madrid.

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Talia Bender Small

Talia Bender Small is the President of The Female Quotient (The FQ), The Female Quotient is an equality services company that provides thought leadership platforms for women and develops solutions for organizations committed to closing the gender gap in the workplace. Named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and Women We Admire's Top 50 Women Leaders of Los Angeles, Talia leads the development of innovative national and global programs and campaigns, as well as thought-leadership initiatives for C-suite executives to solve equality gaps. Talia has been a cornerstone of The FQ since its inception, overseeing a multi-talented team and client partnerships from Fortune 500 companies. Her work continues to be instrumental to building the first and largest community of female leaders at conferences and events around the world – including The World Economic Forum in Davos, and Equality Partnerships with major tentpole events like Cannes Lions, Advertising Week, CES and NBA All-Star. Talia is passionate about increasing visibility, leadership, and entrepreneurship opportunities for women. She was named a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeeper, has been integral in developing the ANA #SeeHer initiative to accurately portray women and girls in media, and has served as an Adweek Executive Mentor. Talia graduated from New York University with an undergraduate degree in Media, Culture and Communication.

Professional headshot of Michelle Van-Ess Grant

Michelle Van-Ess Grant

Michelle Van-Ess Grant serves as the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Hofstra University. As the Assistant Vice President & Dean of Students, she is responsible for the staff, programs, services, facilities, and resources of several units within the Division of Student Affairs, serving all undergraduate and graduate students at the University. In addition, she is responsible for assessment and critical incident management for the Division of Student Affairs. Van-Ess Grant received her Bachelor's degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Metropolitan Campus; her Master's degree from New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Michelle is currently a doctoral student at Northeastern University. NYU named Van-Ess Grant the 2013 recipient of the Michael Parkes Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award. In addition, in 2015, Michelle was the inaugural recipient of the Doris Michiko Ching Award for Excellence as a Student Affairs Professional and the NASPA Region II Mid-Level Student Affairs Professional Award. That same year, Michelle was also awarded the NASPAAfrican American Knowledge Community (AAKC) "NIA" Award for Mid-Level Professionals. In 2021, Van-Ess Grant was awarded the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Professional Service. Michelle has been an active member of NASPA, Region II, and the Advisory Board for over ten years, holding various positions on the board. Michelle is also an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Omega Mu Zeta Chapter.

Photo of Parker Lynch wearing a cap

Parker Lynch

Parker Lynch (MA '13), is a graduate of the Department of Teaching and Learning's dual masters program in childhood education and special education. In 2007 he gave up a career in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in Detroit to teach kindergarten at Wells International School in Bangkok, Thailand, where he discovered the strategy of gamification in education, which shaped his future teaching endeavors. Parker is the co-founder and executive director of Born and Raised in Detroit Foundation and CEO of HedgeHog Health where he is revolutionizing education technology and wellness for families with children diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD.

Professional headshot of Mickela Mallozzi

Mickela Mallozzi

Mickela Mallozzi is the four-time Emmy® Award-winning Host and Executive Producer of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi, a travel series highlighting the diversity of dance which airs on PBS stations nationwide and on Amazon Prime globally.  A professional dancer and trained musician, Mickela decided to start a journey around the world, taking her camera with her to follow dance in the lives of everyday people wherever she went.  From re-discovering her family’s heritage in Southern Italy to dancing tango on the main stage in Buenos Aires, the series covers Mickela’s adventures as she experiences the world, one dance at a time.  She has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, Dance Magazine, Forbes, AFAR Media, and more, and she has performed on various television shows including Sesame Street and The Doctor Oz Show.

Photo of Caity Moseman Wadler outdoors

Caity Moseman Wadler

Caity is the Executive Director of Heritage Radio Network, a nonprofit food podcast media organization. Caity holds an M.A. in Food Studies from New York University and a B.A. in Molecular Biology/ Biochemistry from Middlebury College, and has been recognized as a Julia Child Foundation Food Writing Fellow and one of the New York City Food Policy Center 40 Under 40. Prior to her graduate studies, Caity worked in antibody engineering at Adimab, a New Hampshire-based biotech startup. Outside the kitchen, find her gardening, knitting, fly-fishing, or kite-skiing with her husband, kid, and silver lab.

Clare Overmann

Clare Overmann

Clare Overmann is the Head of Higher Education Initiatives at the Institute of International Education (IIE). In this role, she oversees many of IIE’s signature programs and external-facing initiatives, such as the IIENetwork Membership, the IIE Centennial Fellowship, the IIE American Passport Program, and the Global Engineering Education Exchange consortium. She directs IIE’s Center for International Partnerships and its flagship International Academic Partnership Program and is the inaugural Executive Director of the National Academy for International Education. Clare is a regular international education speaker and trainer, and is the editor of several IIE publications, including the bi-annual IIENetworker Magazine and Global Perspectives on Strategic International Partnerships: A Guide to Building Sustainable Academic Linkages. She holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MA in International Education from NYU Steinhardt.

Headshot of Julie Case, in a blue shirt.

Dr. Julie Case

Julie Case is an Assistant Professor in the Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Department at Hofstra University. Dr. Case holds a PhD in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from New York University (2019) and an MA in Speech-Language Pathology from New York University (2007), in addition to an MA in Spanish Language and Hispanic Literature and Cultures from Central Connecticut State University (2004) and a BA in Spanish with a concentration in Elementary Education from Villanova University (2001). Dr. Case is an ASHA certified bilingual speech language pathologist with specialization in speech sound disorders and expertise in Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). She is the director of the Case Speech Production Laboratory which studies the clinical management of CAS, in addition to speech motor development and language abilities in children with CAS and other speech sound disorders. Dr. Case’s work has been published across several peer-reviewed journals and presented at numerous international conferences on related clinical and academic topics.

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Donna Cantrell

After witnessing the scope of healthcare disparities both personally and in her four-decade career as a physical therapist, Donna Cantrell PT, DPT is now dedicated to highlighting and promoting inclusive health practices, particularly for those living with intellectual disabilities (ID). As Special Olympics Clinical Director for FUNfitness Long Island, Dr. Cantrell provides free health screenings to athletes with ID both nationally and globally at Special Olympics World Games events. This screening data then informs health policy, funding and research for those with ID. As an Autism Speaks Advocacy Ambassador, she is engaged in meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to further legislation to designate those living with ID as a medically underserved population. More recently, Donna has served as an Autism Research Program Reviewer for the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Donna is a twenty-year Trustee at Variety Child Learning Center on Long Island, a school for children with developmental delays. Her son also attended NYU Steinhardt, during which time she served as co-chair of the NYU Parents' Committee.        

Headshot of Samantha Pratt Asante smiling

Samantha Pratt Asante

Since January 2023, Samantha has served as President of LaunchX, the leading entrepreneurship organization for high school students. Prior to that time, she had served as Director of Programs at the organization. She possesses over ten years of experience in education and more than 5 years as a leader in the entrepreneurial space.  A first-generation college graduate and first-generation entrepreneur, Samantha holds a BS in Applied Psychology from New York University and a Master's degree in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She began her career as a Teach for America Corps member and went on to found KlickEngage, an education technology startup that focused on ensuring every child feels psychologically safe and supported in every environment. Samantha has dedicated her career to eliminating social and educational inequity and believes that coalition building, leadership development, and an equity-driven mindset are critical to informing lasting change. For her work, she was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list at age 26 and has been a two-time TFA Social Innovation Awardee, a Camelback Venture Fellow, a Kravis Lab Moonshot Fellow, an NPR "How I Built This" Fellow, a Harvard Launch Lab X member, and an AT&T Aspire Fellow.

Let's Connect

We welcome alums' thoughts and look forward to meeting you!

Email the Dean's Advisory Board