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Alumni Advisory Board Reflects on a Successful Year


In the 18 months since its inception, the NYU Steinhardt Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board is celebrating many successes on individual, School, and global levels.

Originally established in June 2022, the 16-member Alumni Advisory Board offers guidance and input to help fulfill NYU Steinhardt’s vision of being the leading school in the world devoted to a holistic understanding of, and commitment to, human development across the lifespan.

“Our vision for this Board was to tap into the immense talents of our alumni community to help redefine the way they can give back to Steinardt,” says Jack H. Knott, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean. “I am very appreciative and amazed at the time and dedication they are committing individually and collectively to this important effort.” 

Each member of the Alumni Advisory Board brings their own distinctive talents, strengths, and creativities to bear in helping lead NYU Steinhardt to a successful future. Over the summer, many Board members celebrated impressive achievements that continue to demonstrate their leadership and impact in their fields, such as:

  • Gunjan Banerji, the lead writer for The Wall Street Journal's live markets coverage, created and launched a new live lecture series at WSJ featuring talks around trading and bond markets with noted speakers.
  • Tarika Barrett, Chair of the Board, attended the “Girls Leading Change” celebration at the White House on the International Day of the Girl.
  • Talia Bender Small’s equality services company, The Female Quotient, collaborated with NYU Los Angeles to produce “The New Now” symposium, which brought together film industry professionals to discuss the future of filmed content with the effects of tech, societal, and market forces.
  • Danielle Butin launched her book called Wild Hope Now, a collection of stories about the work of her medical supply recovery organization, the Afya Foundation
  • Dr. Donna Cantrell, DPT, worked at the Special Olympics (SO) World Games Berlin, providing free health assessments to nearly 6,000 athletes.
  • Dr. Julie Case gave multiple clinical workshops and presentations about Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), including a three-day course in Chile attended by clinicians from across Latin America. 
  • Shoba Gayathri Nahappan became CEO of Emerse Digital Cultures, a multidisciplinary technology studio supporting artists.
  • Xavier “X” Jernigan’s voice served as the model for Spotify’s new AI-powered DJ, which was named one of the 200 Best Inventions of 2023 by TIME.
  • Parker Lynch’s company, Hedgehog Health, debuted the Hoglet, the world’s first computer mouse specifically for learning-challenged kids, at the annual NYC Toy Fair. 
  • Mickela Mallozzi’s travel series, Bare Feet, began its sixth season on PBS; she is in conversation with the NYC Department of Education to use episodes of the show in curricula for dance teachers in NYC. 
  • Caity Moseman Wadler was inducted into Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic organization of women leaders in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries.
  • Chris Mosier, the first trans athlete to make the men’s Team USA, became a US State Department Sports Envoy and continued speaking tours to address inclusivity, particularly around transgender youth’s access to medical and legal rights. 
  • Clare Overmann is expanding outreach of international programs in her role at the Institute of International Education (IIE).
  • Sergio Pardo López committed to working with Manifesta, a European pan-regional contemporary cultural biennale, in Barcelona in 2024.
  • Samantha Pratt-Asante, president of LaunchX, an entrepreneurship program for high school students, grew enrollment numbers by 36 percent in their first summer back in person post-COVID.
  • Michelle Van-Ess Grant, the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Hofstra University, participated in a career luncheon for students in the Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology (ALT) with Michael Funk, program director of higher and postsecondary education and clinical associate professor.

Giving Back through the Gateway Project

In addition to their personal accomplishments, this past spring the Alumni Advisory Board began an initiative called the Gateway Project, which charges each of the 16 members to create a pathway to give back to their areas of interest at Steinhardt. 

The Alumni Advisory Board with Jack H. Knott. They are holding NYU Steinhardt pennants

The Alumni Advisory Board with Dean Jack H. Knott at the 2023 Alumni and Families Weekend.

Gateway Project events range in scope from mentoring students, teaching master classes, and connecting with faculty around topics in their respective fields. Alumni Advisory Board members have also engaged in guest lectures and presentations at NYU locations around the world and created opportunities for alumni to network and augment their professional and personal affiliations to the School.

“The Gateway Project is exciting because in such a short amount of time, these alumni volunteers are making a big impact,” says Eva Klimas, senior director of alumni relations at NYU Steinhardt. “They are also raising the profiles of their respective programs and departments through their industry connections and helping students and faculty throughout the School.”

As the Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board embarks on a new year together, members look forward to continuing to serve as ambassadors to Steinhardt’s global alumni community and supporting the school’s academic ambitions.