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Meet the NYU Steinhardt Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board

Group photo of Dean's Alumni Advisory Board

Alumni and Parents 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,

I am delighted to announce the establishment of the NYU Steinhardt Dean's Alumni Advisory Board.

This Board will offer 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 12 alumni will 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 will serve 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 will be 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. 

Headshot of Chris Mosier

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. She formerly owned an art gallery in Singapore and has worked in the arts for non-profit and for-profit organisations in addition to also working within academia. Shoba is currently the Director of Special Projects for Ink Arts, a Singaporean based art studio, whilst living in London. She draws her experiences from having a background in Contemporary Anthropology and Visual art and having lived in parts of South East Asia, Australia, Europe, United States and the United Kingdom. This has led her to explore how the intersections of teaching, learning and entertainment can be a catalyst for life-long learning; an approach now more pertinent in a world where the disruption of a pandemic has dramatically accelerated the commonplace use of disembodied technologies out of necessity. Shoba looks to re-contextualise and find value between the real and the virtual where technologies like real time game engines, VR/AR, the proliferation of digital assets, blockchain technology and evolving content delivery platforms are starting to have a greater impact on our physical world in ways previously unimagined. In addition to NYU Steinhardt Dean's Alumni Advisory Board, Shoba is also part of NYU’s Next-Gen Cohort.

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.

Headshot of Talia Bender

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.

Let's Connect

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

Email the Dean's Advisory Board