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NYU Steinhardt Announces 2021-2022 Dean’s Scholars-in-Residence


Kaya Henderson, Danielle Nierenberg, and Julie Tolentino bring expertise in education, food systems, and performance art as NYU Steinhardt’s 2021-2022 Dean’s Scholars-in-Residence.

Three thumbnail images of Kaya Henderson, Danielle Nierenberg, and Julie Tolentino

NYU Steinhardt's Scholars-in-Residence for the 2021-2022 academic year: Kaya Henderson, Danielle Nierenberg, and Julie Tolentino.

NYU Steinhardt has announced three Scholars-in-Residence for the 2021-2022 academic year: Kaya Henderson, CEO of Reconstruction and the former chancellor of DC public schools; Danielle Nierenberg, co-founder of the nonprofit Food Tank; and visual and performance artist Julie Tolentino. Henderson, Nierenberg, and Tolentino will join Steinhardt’s departments of administration, leadership, and technology; nutrition and food studies, and art and art professions, respectively.

“The scholarly and cultural impact of Kaya's, Danielle's, and Julie’s work seamlessly aligns with NYU Steinhardt’s commitment to advancing the education, health, and well-being of people and communities by furthering knowledge, creativity, and innovation,” said Jack H. Knott, Dean of NYU Steinhardt. “We will benefit not only from their expertise as individuals, but also from the unique interdisciplinary opportunities that will arise through their collaborative efforts."

Launched in 2018, NYU Steinhardt's Dean’s Scholar-in-Residence program welcomes distinguished academics, artists, advocates, and other thought-leaders to the NYU Steinhardt community to share their expertise; mentor students and faculty; highlight the School’s academics, research, and community impact; and support efforts to advance equity, belonging, and innovation.

In their roles, Henderson, Nierenberg, and Tolentino will conduct master classes, workshops, and participate in a public event each semester.

Image of woman with grey jacket, red shirt, and beaded necklace.

Kaya Henderson

Henderson is the co-founder and CEO of Reconstruction, a technology company that offers a K-12 curriculum that highlights the history and contributions of Black people in myriad subjects that include geography, mathematics, and cooking. She is also the co-host of Pod Save the People, a podcast focused on activism, culture, politics and social justice. 

During her time as the chancellor of DC public schools from 2010-2016, Henderson’s district saw a number of improvements, including an increase in graduation rates, and the largest growth of any urban district on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) over multiple years.

Image of woman wearing sleeveless black shirt.

Danielle Nierenberg

Nierenberg, an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues, has traveled to more than 70 countries across the world for her on-the-ground research on global agriculture and interventions to address hunger and poverty. Her nonprofit, Food Tank, is focused on advancing environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty. Food Tank has held domestic and international summits convening hundreds of experts for forums on pressing issues around food systems.

Nierenberg has been cited in more than 20,000 major print and broadcast outlets worldwide and received the Julia Child Award in 2020 for the global impact of her work.

Portrait of Julie Tolentino, with large black glasses wearing black shirt

Julie Tolentino

Tolentino (she/they interchangeably) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work draws from a variety of visual, archival, and movement strategies. Her performance installation works include SKY REMAINS THE SAMERaised By WolvesREPEATER, and SLIPPING INTO DARKNESS – Day & Night. In 2008, Tolentino built and developed Feral House Studio in the Mojave Desert where she hosts one-to-one artist and writing residencies.

Tolentino has served as a visiting assistant professor in UCLA’s first cross-school performance-making class, "Opening to the Radical Body," and has been a guest artist and lecturer at BARD Curatorial, NYU Performance Studies, Cal Arts, and The New School. They received a 2020 Queer Art Sustained Achievement Award and a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Art in Performance grant.

NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions also announced Rosanne Cash as the 2021-2022 Americana artist-in-residence earlier this semester, the first artist residency developed in partnership with the Americana Music Association Foundation. Cash—one of the most revered artists in the Americana music genre with four Grammy awards and an additional 11 nominations to her name—will present, curate, and moderate a variety of lectures, discussions, workshops, performances, and classroom visits throughout the 2021-22 academic year, including a three-day Lyric Workshop in which a handful of NYU Steinhardt songwriting students will develop and workshop their original material with Cash’s guidance.

Related Programs

Educational Leadership

Prepare for leadership positions in education and policy at the community, school, district, state, and national levels.

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Food Studies

The Food Studies program explores the cultural, historical, and sociological aspects of food and food systems.

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Studio Art

Our Studio Art program is at the forefront of contemporary art practice, with MFA and BFA degrees and two undergraduate minor concentrations in the field of visual arts.

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