Award Recipients and Flag Bearers
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2016 Convocation Award Recipients and Flag Bearers

Meet the 2016 award recipients and flag bearers from our graduate and undergraduate programs.

Academic Excellence Award in Graphic Communications Management and Technology: Alexander Suleymanov

Alex Suleymanov, a first-generation college student with a passion for media and the arts, is the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award for the MA in Graphic Communications Management and Technology (GCMT). He earned a BS in Graphic Design from Queens College, CUNY, where he also served as a student mentor. Wanting to further his education, he enrolled in the MA in graphic communications management and technology at NYUSPS. During his studies, he has maintained a 4.0 GPA, while attending the program part time, juggling evening classes and working full time in the NYU Office for Development and Alumni Relations. In addition to his education and work responsibilities, Suleymanov served as a student ambassador for the Division of Programs in Business, collaborating with fellow student ambassadors to develop creative ways to engage current and prospective students, as well as to offer suggestions on how to make the NYUSPS experience more memorable. His ultimate goal is to become a creative director at a major company.

Flag Bearer: Elizabeth J. Addis

Throughout her time in the MA in graphic communications management and technology at NYUSPS, GCMT flag bearer Elizabeth Addis used the skills and the knowledge she gained from a focus in management to advance her career in the technical industry. While pursuing her degree, she worked full time and often nights/weekends at Major League Baseball Advanced Media to build a team within the organization that could sustain the ever-demanding growth of the industry. She was promoted twice—first to manager for a team of 10-15 people, and later to a vice president position, leading a team of over 65 people. Addis was a Prism Scholarship recipient in 2013 and in 2014. She earned a BA in communications from the City University of New York (CUNY).

Leadership and Service Excellence Award: Annie M. Badavas

Originally from Topsfield, Massachusetts, Annie Badavas is the recipient of the GCMT Leadership and Service Excellence Award. She has worked in the branding, communications, and technology industries for almost a decade. Badavas dedicated her early career to collaborating with start-up companies on tactical communication strategies through media and marketing avenues. Over the last few years, she has owned and managed her own communications consultancy. While working towards her MA in graphic communications management and technology from NYUSPS, she consulted with over two dozen companies. In addition to her studies, Badavas was involved in the student community and served as the president of the Graphic Communications Management Association during the 2015-16 academic year. She earned a BA in design and management from The New School Parsons School of Design.

Academic Award for Excellence in Advanced Digital Applications: Sarat Kollimarla

Sarat Kollimarla has demonstrated remarkable leadership and academic ability during his time at NYUSPS, thus making him the ideal recipient of the Academic Award for Excellence in Advanced Digital Applications. As the instructional designer for the NYU Decision Support Group, Kollimarla has produced several training videos for NYUiLearn. He was a Hackathon finalist at Shutterstock, where he developed an HTML newsletter builder for the sales team. He also worked as a lead designer/animator for the National Kidney Foundation diabetes campaign, which played an important role in educating many patients and individuals at risk regarding chronic kidney disease. He has been consistently supportive of his classmates and peers—both inside and outside the classroom. His studies have primarily focused on virtual reality and motion graphics. Kollimarla earned a BS in mathematics, statistics, and computer science from Osmania University in India.

Flag Bearer: Young Jun Park

A native of Korea, Young Jun Park is the flag bearer for the MS in Advanced Digital Applications during the Graduate Convocation ceremony. He had a diverse professional background in fields such as mechanical engineering, painting, and computer art prior to enrolling at NYUSPS, where he has completed his degree with honors and distinction. He worked professionally as a 3D artist in New York City in a variety of companies including Manic, Pure, Semerad, and Psyop. His goal during his master’s degree studies at NYUSPS was to learn to effectively and realistically combine live action footage with computer-generated graphics. His thesis project, “Soda Wars,” allowed him to utilize these and other techniques to their fullest. Park earned a BFA in computer art from the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Previously, he studied painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Flag Bearer: Hyojin Jina (Jina Choyi) Yi

Hyojin Jina (Jina Choyi) Yi is the flag bearer at the NYUSPS Graduate Convocation ceremony, representing the graduates of the MS in construction management. As the president of the Construction Management Group within the Real Estate Institute Student Association (REISA), she played a very active role. Previously, she worked as a project manager of business development at Seong Jin Electric, as a construction project manager at Eoson Construction, and as owner of S&J Project Management. Yi earned a BA in political science and government from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

The Heyman Center Award for Excellence and Achievement and Flag Bearer: Samuel Ching McGrath

Samuel Ching McGrath is the recipient of the George H. Heyman, Jr. Program Award for Excellence and Achievement and will also serve as the Program’s flag bearer. He has distinguished himself in the classroom, combining his studies with full-time work as a senior development associate for the NYU Division of Libraries. McGrath has consistently held one of the highest GPAs in the master’s program and, despite his demanding schedule, has been among the most serious and dedicated students in the Heyman Program. Prior to enrolling in NYUSPS, he served as an individual giving manager with the Food Bank for New York City, for which he successfully helped raise more than $6 million to fight hunger in the New York metropolitan area. In addition, he formerly held positions with W.P. Carey and with the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University. His capstone research project focused on advocacy and the philanthropic sector, and the ways in which the influence of nonprofit organizations and coalitions impact public policy.

Center for Global Affairs Excellence and Achievement Award:

Rosalie A. Fransen

Rosalie A. Fransen is being recognized with the Excellence and Achievement Award for outstanding academic performance during her time at CGA. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, she took full advantage of the opportunities available in her program of study. Through the Workshop in Applied Peacebuilding, Mediation Skills for Global Affairs she spent three months in Sri Lanka as a graduate consultant for Search for Common Ground. Here, she contributed her expertise to projects that promoted women’s political participation, ethnic and religious reconciliation, and local governance. She later returned to Sri Lanka to conduct field research for her master’s thesis, examining the role of international NGOs in the national reconciliation process. Fransen served as the vice president of CGA's Gender Working Group. She also was awarded a fellowship with the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security, for which she produced policy analysis that monitored the UN Security Council’s commitment to gender issues. In addition, she interned at the UN Population Fund, for which she provided research and technical support for evaluations involving the organization’s census data and gender-based violence initiatives. Her writing has been featured on

Bryan Hickel

Bryan Hickel is being acknowledged with the Excellence and Achievement Award for his scholarship in the MS in global affairs. With a concentration in environment/energy policy, his research centered on evaluating political risk with a specific focus on the economics and geopolitics of energy. In addition to his outstanding academic record, Hickel also was actively involved in student life as a copresident of CGA’s Energy Policy International Club. Prior to his studies at NYUSPS, Hickel worked in the entertainment and finance industries and earned an MBA from Georgetown University. In his current work, he specializes in global investing, developing portfolios that are reflective of the financial, economic, and political forces that converge to influence the capital markets.

NYU Commencement Banner Bearer: Jordan Zolan

Jordan Zolan is this year’s NYUSPS banner bearer at the NYU Commencement ceremony. During his time at NYUSPS, he studied energy and the environment in the MS in global affairs. Zolan has been deeply involved in the student government, in roles ranging from All-University Games chair and co-administrative vice president of the NYUSPS Graduate Student Council in the 2014-2015 academic year to president of the Graduate Student Council during the 2015-2016 academic year. Zolan also is a student ambassador for the Center for Global Affairs (CGA), and was one of 10 students who were chosen to be a part of the inaugural Dean’s Scholars Program. This year has been truly invaluable for Zolan, who had the opportunity to visit the Bolivian rainforests, intern at the Canadian Consulate of New York, and attain a highly coveted internship within the US Department of State. After graduation Zolan plans to continue his work involving client relations/management and project management around the world.

Center for Global Affairs Excellence and Achievement Award:

Inga Helgudottir Ingulfsen

A native of Oslo, Norway, Inga Helgudottir Ingulfsen is a recipient of the CGA Excellence and Achievement Award. Her concentration was in peacebuilding with a focus on gender analysis. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, she served as the president of CGA’s Gender Working Group and played a key role in initiating critical discussions around gender while also providing professional development opportunities for fellow students. Taking full advantage of the academic and professional options available to her at CGA, she worked as a graduate student consultant for the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) regional hub in Jordan. Here, she supported livelihood and resilience programming for Syrian refugees and host communities. As an intern for UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, she conducted a comprehensive mapping of the UN’s Women’s programmes on women, peace, and security, and presented her findings to a network of nine UN entities and representatives from five donor countries. Her research on gender and anti-immigrant sentiment has been featured on and has earned her an invitation to speak at a conference organized by the global feminist alliance, RESURJ.

Maria-Cristina Fiamma Smith

Maria-Cristina Fiamma Smith is receiving the Excellence and Achievement Award for her stellar academic record while holding down a full-time job. She enrolled in the MS in global affairs as a part-time student in the spring of 2014 while working as a senior underwriter at the global insurance company, American International Group (AIG). Her thesis, which entailed an investment proposal for international insurance companies seeking to invest in Southeast Asia’s emerging markets, ultimately led to her selection by AIG’s executive leadership to become a team member who works alongside senior management on the company’s multinational growth strategy. Since completing her coursework at CGA, she has transferred to AIG’s Boston office to focus on growing the company’s multinational portfolio in this high-potential market. She earned her undergraduate degree in comparative literature from Princeton University.

Flag Bearer: Dieter A. Lehmann

Dieter A. Lehmann has actively represented the CGA student body as the current president of the Student Association for Global Affairs (SAGA), making him the natural choice to serve as a flag bearer at the NYUSPS Graduate Convocation. While working toward the MS in global affairs with a concentration in international relations/global futures, he has served as an editor for Perspectives on Global Issues (PGI), the program’s student-run publication. He also has remained involved with Model United Nations at NYU and in New York City. Prior to enrolling at NYUSPS, Lehmann earned a BA in political science and Spanish from the University of Arizona.

Flag Bearer: Ashini Mehta

Ashini Mehta, the flag bearer for the MS in hospitality industry studies, was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She earned a BS in nutritional sciences from Boston University and has worked with nutrition and food services departments at hospitals across Boston. This experience kindled her love for hospitality and factored in her decision to pursue the MS in hospitality industry studies at the NYUSPS Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. During her time at NYUSPS, she worked on projects with the Africa Travel Association, The Marlton Hotel, and Greenview Consulting for Travel Portland. She excelled as the president of the Graduate Hospitality and Tourism Society, which organized numerous professional events for students. She also was an active member of the events committee for the School’s Spirit Week. Mehta has held revenue management internships with Highgate Hotels and Regatta Travel Solutions. Her ambition is to eventually start her own revenue management company.

Jonathan Tisch Academic Achievement Award and NYU Commencement Graduate Class Representative: Chi (Toby) Zhang

Toby Zhang, an international student from China, is the recipient of the prestigious Jonathan Tisch Academic Achievement Award and is the NYU Commencement Graduate Class Representative. He earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management from Purdue University. After working for Keller Williams Realty, he decided to pursue a master’s degree at the NYUSPS Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. Zhang dedicated his time at NYUSPS to achieving academic success and to actively partaking in extracurricular activities. He held multiple student leadership roles, including community service chair of the Graduate Student Council, vice president of the International Club, and social media chair of the Hospitality and Tourism Society. Zhang was one of 10 students who were chosen to be a part of the inaugural Dean’s Scholars Program. He also was awarded the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference Sponsor Scholarship from the Tisch Center. He gained professional experience through internships at Highgate Hotels and Triptease. Zhang hopes to further his career in a consulting or management firm, focusing on hotel asset management or mergers and acquisitions.

Student Leadership Award: Zachary Tranter

Zachary Tranter is the recipient of the Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism Student Leadership Award. He has been deeply influenced by his education and his involvement in NYUSPS, successfully balancing academics and extracurricular activities to earn his degree with a 3.9 GPA. During his time at NYUSPS, he served as the events committee chair for the School’s Graduate Student Council, and was part of the team responsible for planning several student events, including the inaugural NYUSPS Spirit Week, which earned accolades from the School community. In addition, Tranter spoke to incoming students at orientation events, sharing his experiences and knowledge from the program. He also served as a graduate representative on the search committee for the associate dean of the NYUSPS Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. The highlight of his Tisch Center involvement was delivering a speech in 2015 to NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference attendees on behalf of an elite group of scholarship winners, him being one. His awards and honors include the Stephen Brener Memorial Scholarship, the President’s Service Award, and an honorable mention at the STR Hotel Data Market Study Competition. Tranter earned a BS in event management from the University of Central Florida, Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Since 2015, he has been working as a project coordinator at Grass Roots Meetings and Events.

Academic Excellence Award in Human Resource Management and Development and Leadership and Service Excellence Award in Human Resource Management and Development: Prachi Khanna

Prachi Khanna is an international student from India with an undergraduate degree in economics from Delhi University and over six years of experience with Aon Hewitt, a global HR consulting firm. She is the recipient of two prestigious awards from her department. With a stellar 4.0 GPA at NYUSPS, she has received the highest level of appreciation from faculty members who have recognized her for her class participation, insights, and level of engagement. In addition to her perfect academic record, she has served as the president of the NYUSPS chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and also as a student ambassador for the School’s Division of Programs in Business during the 2015-16 academic year. Her experience and extensive networking have helped her to secure an internship at Hay Group, a global consulting organization. Post graduation, she aspires to build her career as a human capital consultant.

Flag Bearer: Katelyn Rose Nudo-Drozd

Flag bearer Katelyn Nudo-Drozd began her graduate program of study at NYUSPS while working full time as a college relations recruiter with Pearson. Earning her degree at NYUSPS propelled her career in the workplace to new heights. She held HR roles of increasing responsibility at Pearson, including managing a multimillion-dollar global human resources budget, supporting a company-wide organizational redesign and restructuring effort, managing the employee transition for the Financial Times divestiture, creating portfolio reports for the leadership team, and recruiting over 450 employees into the Pearson organization. She recently joined entertainment giant Warner Music Group as its director of talent acquisition. Nudo-Drozd is passionate about employment branding, diversity and inclusion, talent management and development, internal employee mobilization, and using data to help executives make the best decisions for their business. She earned the MS in human resources management and development with a concentration in global talent management and an impressive 3.85 GPA.

Academic Excellence Award in Integrated Marketing: Tracy J. Commander

Tracy J. Commander is the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award in Integrated Marketing. After earning her BS in hospitality management from the University of Central Florida, she worked in the marketing and hospitality industries for top companies including Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Expedia for nearly five years. Deciding to pursue her passion for brand marketing, she enrolled in the MS in integrated marketing at NYUSPS, and has excelled in her studies, earning a 4.0 GPA. A team leader on many school projects, she was consistently acknowledged for her outstanding work by her professors. While earning her graduate degree at NYUSPS, Commander secured an internship at a prominent media start-up. Currently, she is working in a brand marketing role at NBCUniversal Media..

Flag Bearer: Christopher Heng Oudavanh

Originally from Minnesota, flag bearer Christopher Heng Oudavanh moved to New York City eight years ago to pursue a career in brand management. He spent five years at L’Oreal USA as a marketing manager for Garnier USA. Prior to enrolling in NYUSPS as a full-time student in the MS in integrated marketing, he transitioned to a role at—then start-up—Uber NYC in brand marketing. To hone his digital marketing skills, he chose this area as his concentration. During his studies, Oudavanh took advantage of internship opportunities, working at a luxury beauty start-up, Artis Brush, while earning the highest marks in the MS in integrated marketing. Most recently, he joined a Brooklyn-based agency, mllnnl, which focuses on media strategy and influencer marketing.

Leadership and Service Excellence Award in Integrated Marketing: Vassilis Kouvas

After spending more than two years gaining professional experience in digital marketing and e-commerce in Greece, Vassilis Kouvas, a recipient of the Leadership and Service Excellence Award in Integrated Marketing, took the next step in his professional career by moving to the US to pursue education and work. He relocated to New York City in 2014 and enrolled in the MS in integrated marketing with a focus on digital marketing and analytics, earning the highest marks in all of his classes. At NYUSPS he was elected to serve as the secretary of the Integrated Marketing Association (IMA) and helped to plan the IMA Marketing Summit. During his graduate studies at NYUSPS, Kouvas also enrolled in classes within the NYU Stern School of Business MBA program and served as a research assistant in Stern’s marketing department for the academic year 2015-2016. In the summer of 2015, Kouvas interned at PetFlow, one of the leading retailers of specialty pet food and supplies.

Academic Excellence Award in Management and Systems: David J. Mobley

David J. Mobley is recognized with the Academic Excellence Award in Management and Systems. He has been a member of the NYU community for over seven years, serving as an IT engineer and client services team leader for both the NYU Stern School of Business and the NYU Student Health Center. He has juggled these demanding professional duties while earning three NYUSPS graduate certificates—network administration, windows systems administration, and information systems security—and more recently, an MS in management and systems with a concentration in strategy and leadership. Mobley excelled academically and will graduate with a 3.975 cumulative GPA. He has served as a team leader for many class projects, has participated in the inaugural NYUSPS Finish Line 5K, and has volunteered for numerous NYUSPS events. He earned a BA in computer information systems from Bentley University and was elected as both the vice president and music director for WBTY, the Bentley University radio station. Upon graduation, he is planning to take the certification exam to become a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), specializing in the healthcare sector.

Convocation Banner Bearer: Samarth Bharat Bedakihale

An international student from India, Samarth Bharat Bedakihale, the Graduate Convocation banner bearer, is a stand out for his excellent academic record, student leadership, and active involvement in the NYUSPS community. With a GPA of 3.89, he was one of 10 students who were selected as members of the Dean's Scholars Program for 2015-2016. He served as vice president of the Management and Systems Student Association (MASSA), for which he coordinated several career and networking events in collaboration with the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development at NYUSPS and for other student clubs. He also served as a student ambassador for the Division of Programs in Business. In addition, Bedakihale participated in the All-University Games for two years, representing NYUSPS on the table tennis and foosball teams, finishing as runners-up in this year's table-tennis competition, and winning third prize overall. During the University’s 11th Annual MLK Week in February 2016, he worked alongside construction crews to rebuild homes damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Utilizing the resources of the Wasserman Center, Bedakihale has secured a position at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as a cybersecurity consultant.

Leadership and Service Excellence Award in Management and Systems: Sumit Gupta

Sumit Gupta is being recognized with the Leadership and Service Excellence Award in Management and Systems. While earning the MS in management and systems at NYUSPS, Gupta maintained an impressive academic record with a 3.96 GPA. At the same time, he was actively involved in the NYU community, serving as a member of the NYU Student Senators Council, as chair of business partnerships for LiveWellNYU, and as a member of the Student Advisory Board of the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development. He also represented NYUSPS at the All-University Games in 2015. He is a cofounder and chair of the NYU Fintech Society, an interschool student group that focuses on promoting the awareness and growth of tech startups in the financial services industry. Gupta received the 2015 NYU President’s Service Award as well as recognition for All University Leadership Excellence by the Black Student Union, and was spotlighted by the Social Impact Council at the NYU Stern School of Business. He also has volunteered for causes in the healthcare and education sectors, and has served as a mentor to underprivileged high school students through two social-change programs. For the past year, he has worked as a consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Prior to his studies at NYUSPS, Gupta earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science with distinction from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in India.

Flag Bearer: Jasvir Dhamrhat

Flag bearer Jasvir Dhamrhat, known to friends and colleagues as Jay, enrolled in the MS in management and systems to hone his skills in this area of expertise, while taking full advantage of all of the services and extracurricular activities the School had to offer. As a member of the NYU Graduate Affairs Committee, he helped to organize the second and third installments of the group’s interschool Torch Series. He then went on to serve in several leadership roles—as interim vice president of the 2014-2015 NYUSPS Graduate Student Council and as an alternate senator in the University Senate. His involvement continued with the 2015-2016 NYUSPS Graduate Student Council, this time in the role of community service chair. Before stepping down to take care of the newest addition to his family, he organized the Student Council’s participation in New York Cares Day Fall event, during which volunteers cleaned and beautified New York City public schools.

Flag Bearer: Tiffany Drummond

Originally from Wilmington, NC, Tiffany Drummond, the flag bearer for the MS in professional writing, earned a BA in management and society from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While pursuing her graduate degree in professional writing at NYUSPS, she has worked full time with the NYU School of Medicine as a senior regulatory specialist for NYU Langone's Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office and was promoted to research program manager for the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery. In her current role she oversees research administration and compliance, including the Face Transplant Program. Surgeons in this program recently performed the most extensive face transplant to date and the first in New York State. In her spare time she enjoys blogging about clinical research and science news, a passion she intends to pursue as a career. Currently a member of the American Medical Writers Association, Drummond plans to become a certified medical writer and pursue a freelance science/medical writing career. She has created The Regulatory Blog on Facebook, which explores the FDA's code of federal regulations and shares select clinical trial news.

Academic Excellence Award in Public Relations and Corporate Communication and Flag Bearer: Caroline L. Kinsey

Caroline Kinsey is the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. She also is the flag bearer for the program. A corporate attorney who represents companies in the areas of fashion, music, intellectual property, and entertainment law, she regularly publishes nationally and internationally and has taught second- and third-year law students in corporate, academic, and clinical settings. As an NYUSPS student, she maintained a 4.0 GPA, was one of 10 students chosen to be a part of the inaugural Dean’s Scholars Program, and represented the NYUSPS Division of Programs in Business as a student ambassador. After graduating, Kinsey hopes to combine her background in corporate law with her newly acquired public relations knowledge to serve as a talent agent for members of the entertainment industry. She aspires to share her passion for intellectual property, higher education, and public relations by joining NYUSPS as an adjunct faculty member. She earned a JD from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and an LLM from the Michigan State University College of Law.

Leadership and Service Excellence Award: Erica R. Viegas

Prior to her studies at NYUSPS, Erica Viegas, the recipient of the Leadership and Service Excellence Award, already had a decade of fundraising and communications experience. After earning a bachelor’s of commerce from the University of Alberta, she went to work for the University for seven years in a variety of roles. She raised approximately $25 million for medical research, wrote key speeches for university presidents, and contributed thought leadership pieces to The Globe and Mail. From 2013-2015 she was a “global shaper” for the World Economic Forum. She was one of 56 young people who were selected from a pool of 450 applicants to participate in their Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China. While maintaining a 3.92 GPA at NYUSPS, she participated as a full-time graduate intern at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), where she created social content for former President Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and Sir Richard Branson in advance of the CGI 2015 Annual Meeting. Viegas also was involved at NYUSPS, serving as a student ambassador for the School’s Division of Programs in Business. She pitched her capstone project to YouTube, appearing in a science video series at its studios, and also presented her capstone findings during a meeting at Google. This summer she has been invited to speak at the Government of Alberta’s Young Activist Conference. Currently, she is the development manager at the World Economic Forum, helping to build a $20 million endowment fund for young global leaders.

Center for Publishing Award for Excellence in Book Publishing: Erinn M. Cain

Erinn M. Cain is being recognized with the Award for Excellence in Book Publishing. While pursuing the MS in publishing: digital and print media, Cain worked at Grove Atlantic, an independent literary publisher, in its subsidiary rights and editorial departments. In addition, during the Spring 2015 semester, she interned at Macmillan Publishers in the children’s and young adult division of Tor Books. In February 2016, she was named a corecipient of the Oscar Dystel Fellowship, a highly prestigious award, which recognizes students whose academic and career paths demonstrate a commitment to the book publishing industry. While at NYUSPS, she has contributed articles to NYU Pub Posts, the Center for Publishing’s official blog. Cain graduated cum laude from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a BA in English and in media and society.

Center for Publishing Award for Excellence in Magazine and Digital Publishing: Pamela Majumdar

Pamela Majumdar is the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Magazine and Digital Publishing. She enrolled in the MS in publishing: digital and print media after completing a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Old Dominion University in Virginia. She quickly transitioned to magazine media, working in the international department at InStyle magazine. Her academic record and professional accomplishments earned her the William Randolph Hearst Endowment for Magazine Media Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding talent and commitment in magazine media. During her time in the graduate program, Majumdar represented NYUSPS at the 2013 FIPP World Congress in Rome, Italy. Now self-employed as a digital and social media consultant, she has provided her skills and expertise to the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, SANDOW, and Socially Delivered.

Center for Publishing Convocation Ceremony Flag Bearer: Hallie Tibbetts

Hallie Tibbets is representing the NYUSPS Center for Publishing as flag bearer during the Graduate Convocation ceremony. Tibbetts graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Southern California. She attended the Denver Publishing Institute before enrolling in the MS in publishing: digital and print media in Fall 2014. Tibbetts has interned at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Scholastic. She is the cofounder of Narrate Conferences, a nonprofit organization that produces events for readers, writers, professionals, and academics. Tibbetts was selected to represent the graduate publishing program at the London Book Fair in Spring 2016. She was the recipient of the Oscar Dystel Scholarship, which is awarded annually to students who have shown a strong commitment to a career in book publishing as demonstrated through course work, internships, and professional experience.

Flag Bearer: Dongfang Jia

Dongfang Jia carries the flag at the 2016 Graduate Convocation and represents the graduates of the MS in real estate. Jia, a native of China, has been very active through the Schack Institute’s study away trips, in particular helping to organize and plan activities during the group’s trip to Shanghai. He has been acknowledged by faculty for his engagement and his strong desire to learn.

Schack Student Service Award: Karishma D. Raheja

Karishma D. Raheja is the recipient of the NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate Student Service Award. After earning a bachelor of commerce from Stella Maris College in India, Raheja worked as an analyst for Goldman Sachs for two years. She then enrolled in NYUSPS to pursue a graduate degree in real estate. During her time in the NYUSPS Schack Institute, she has served as the president of the Real Estate Institute Student Association (REISA), and has been a member of the School’s Graduate Student Council, striving to foster greater involvement of the student body in club and industry events. She also has been involved in many of the study away tours. A strong believer in hard work, she has done exceptionally well in her studies and in Fall 2015, was awarded the Association of Real Estate Women (AREW) Merle Gross-Ginsburg Scholarship Award. During her studies, she interned at CityVest, an online real estate marketplace, and at JLL, a commercial real estate company.

Flag Bearer: Denham Apperley

Denham Apperley is the flag bearer for the MS in real estate development. Apperley, a native of South Africa, maintained an excellent GPA throughout his studies and served as cochair of the Global Real Estate Group of REISA, the student association for the Schack Institute. He received the Douglas Elliman Scholarship this spring, and won both the AREW Merle Gross-Ginsburg Award and the Michael F.X. Waters Writing Scholarship in the fall of 2015. While at NYUSPS, he worked as a development associate intern at Lenza Construction and Consulting. Apperley earned a bachelor of business science in economics with law, as well as a post-graduate LLB from the University of Cape Town.

Allie Sherman Sports Business Leadership Award: Nicholas R. Scott

Originally from Newcastle, England, Nick Scott, the recipient of the Allie Sherman Sports Business Leadership Award, moved to New York in 2009 to earn his undergraduate degree in Hispanic studies from Columbia University. As a four-year starter and captain of the varsity soccer team, his passion for sports led him to enroll in the MS in sports management at the NYUSPS Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. While at NYUSPS, he developed a deep understanding of the sports business industry. He was recognized for his academic achievement and service by being selected as one of 10 students chosen to be a part of the inaugural Dean’s Scholars Program. Scott has completed internships in the US offices of the European soccer teams AS Roma and FC Bayern Munich, as well as at the New York Cosmos, which furthered his interest in the US soccer landscape. After graduation he plans to continue working in the soccer industry either in New York City or in Europe.

Flag Bearer: Tianyu Zheng

Originally from China, Tianyu Zheng, the flag bearer for the Tisch Institute for Sports, Management, Media, and Business, earned his first master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Lehigh University before enrolling in the MS in sports business at the NYUSPS Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business. Prior to attending Lehigh, he was a soccer student-athlete at Central South University in China, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering. His experience as an athlete inspired him to pursue a career in the sports industry. While at NYUSPS, he maintained a 3.88 GPA. Among the honors and awards he has received are the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference Patron Scholarship, the NYU Wasserman Internship Grant, and the IMG Intercollegiate Athletic Forum Conference Scholarship. Zheng has interned at a variety of sports organizations including LeTV Sports in China, the New York Cosmos, the Shanghai Shenxin Football Club, and the Chinese Football Association. He currently works at the New York City Football Club.

Flag Bearer: Mariela Valverde

Before pursuing the MS in tourism management at NYUSPS, Mariela Valverde, the flag bearer for this degree, completed her BA in international relations, MA in political science, and MPA at Syracuse University. Her passion for the tourism sector led her to consider a career change and, upon graduation, her ambitions are to work in the areas of tourism development, product development, and destination analysis. She participated in the Tisch Center’s summer intensive class in Prague and wrote an impressive paper exploring the cultural significance of marionettes in Czech culture and public consciousness, particularly during the time of the Nazi occupancy. She also completed a research project that examined the potential for rural tourism development in Ghana. Valverde embodies the values of the Tisch Center, such as intellectual curiosity, focused enquiry, and ethical leadership. She looks forward to being a proud ambassador for the program and for NYUSPS.

Ricelle "Bunny" Grossinger Hospitality Award: Julia M. Burna

Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Julia Burna is the recipient of the Ricelle “Bunny” Grossinger Hospitality Award. She was raised in Lakeland, Florida. Burna earned an undergraduate degree in theater at Florida State University, graduating summa cum laude. Since then she has gained more than 10 years of experience in the cultural affairs, special events, and customer service industries. During her time at the Tisch Center, she completed internships with the New York Mets and Major League Baseball, where she met her fiancé, David. In addition to two scholarships, she also was awarded a PEO Program for Continuing Education Grant, the Business Travel Hall of Fame Scholarship, and the PGAV Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Tourism Management. She looks forward to continuing her career in the New York City metropolitan area and to contributing to NYUSPS as an active alumna.

Academic Excellence Award: Alexandra Coman Zotic

Alexandra Coman Zotic is the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award in translation for her outstanding academic performance and her immense enthusiasm for the translation profession. Prior to enrolling in the MS in translation at NYUSPS, Zotic graduated magna cum laude with a joint degree in international business from the University of València in Spain and the University of Hertfordshire in England. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA in the program, she also has found time to become involved in the translation community. She is an active member of the New York Circle of Translators, and in 2015 she attended the American Translators Association 56th Annual Conference in Miami, Florida. Over the last two years, Zotic has cultivated a small clientele of translation agencies, allowing her to work as a freelancer translating Romanian and Spanish documents as she gains invaluable experience. Her long-term goal is to launch her own boutique translation company.

Flag Bearer: Nanxi Fan

Nanxi Fan has been chosen as the flag bearer of the MS in translation program in recognition of her excellent academic performance in the field of Chinese/English translation. A native of China, she earned a BA in translation from the Sichuan International Studies University and interned with several major news agencies in Chongqing, China. During her graduate studies at NYUSPS, Fan interned with The New York Times and the United Nations. Actively engaged in the field of English-Chinese media in New York City, Fan completed an impressive capstone thesis on translation for journalism. Upon graduation, she plans to work as a crosscultural communication specialist.

Undergraduate Class Representative: Justin Lee Gray—BS in Digital Communications and Media

Justin Lee Gray, the undergraduate class representative, epitomizes the adult student learning experience that is an integral part of the NYUSPS Paul McGhee Undergraduate Division. He began his studies at NYUSPS in the spring of 2012, after having attended a community college in rural Mississippi much earlier in his life. He secured a management position with Starbucks, which enabled him to move to New York City, but eventually landed a job in what he describes as his first passion—live comedy. Gray took full advantage of this experience—watching, learning, and asking lots of questions about the business of live comedy production. This led to his becoming the director of marketing operations at Comix, a comedy club. He currently is a business and marketing consultant in retail and live entertainment. He also developed an app for simplifying the art of planning dinner parties, which he introduced at the NYU Entrepreneurs Festival. Gray, who also is a McGhee Scholar, earned a GPA of 3.898 and achieved Dean's List honors every semester.

Flag Bearers:

Eduardo Paolo Minguzzi—BS in Digital Communications and Media

Eduardo Paolo Minguzzi, the flag bearer for the BS in digital communications and media, has been an enthusiastic presence in the classroom and in student life at NYUSPS, winning numerous honors. He has been on the Dean's List and has been honored as a Stenbeck Scholar and as a McGhee Scholar. He also is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society. Minguzzi served as the vice president of the School's Media Club, and often volunteered his services to photograph and videotape department events. His professional experience includes serving as a business strategist for various companies, including Gotham Ventures, Necessary Media, and Smogbots.

Beatrice Victoria Nordling—BA in Social Sciences

Beatrice Victoria Nordling is the flag bearer for the BA in social sciences. Her experiences growing up in Sweden and traveling throughout Central and South America shaped her interest in economics, international relations, and social justice, drawing her to complete her undergraduate studies through the Paul McGhee Undergraduate Division of NYUSPS. She has a passion for learning and continually challenges herself in and out of the classroom. Along with her full-time class schedule, she also undertook internship opportunities at Open Society Foundations, UNICEF, and Reboot; participated in athletics; and honed her musical skills through elective course work. She has been commended for her strong writing skills and her thoughtful contributions in the classroom. As a McGhee Scholars award recipient for two consecutive years, Nordling is truly an exceptional student.

Yaridis M. Rimolo—AA in Liberal Arts

Yaridis M. Rimolo is the flag bearer for the AA in liberal arts. She completed her associate's degree while working in the NYU Office of the Bursar. Rimolo initially began her studies in the NYUSPS Paul McGhee Undergraduate Division in Fall 2006, but decided to take a break after the Fall 2007 semester. She applied for readmission in Spring 2013 and has made steady progress—earning a commendable GPA. She is proud to be completing her associate's degree in liberal arts in preparation for continuing her studies to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Herbert C. Jaffa Award: Adelyn E. Castro—BA in Social Sciences

A community builder at NYUSPS, Adelyn Castro, the recipient of the Hebert C. Jaffa Award, has been active in leading the School’s History Club for the past two years. Her activities have focused on advocating for the rights and visibility of minorities. Among the many events she has organized was visiting the New-York Historical Society for guided tours of the Chinese Americans: Inclusion-Exclusion and Superheroes in Gotham exhibits. During these tours, she brought together students with diverse interests and students from other schools including NYU Steinhardt. She also helped to promote awareness of a series of exhibits about the Young Lords, a grassroots Puerto Rican organization fighting for social justice for Latinos. In the face of health and financial issues, she has excelled in her studies, while gaining the admiration of the faculty. In her written work she has discussed the image of women and has employed the use of material objects to explore Dominican identity. A consultant at the NYC Department of Education, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Latin American studies.

Wallace Gobetz Memorial Award and Convocation Banner Bearer: Ben Piemont—BA in Social Sciences

Ben Piemont is a Wallace Gobetz Memorial Award recipient and the Undergraduate Convocation banner bearer. He enrolled in the NYUSPS Paul McGhee Undergraduate Division in the fall of 2014 as a full-time student and maintained a 4.0 GPA while working as an emergency medical technician in New Jersey. He served as treasurer of the School’s Psychology Club, for which he planned and organized student club events, including a film night, career forum, lectures, and roundtable discussions. Hoping to pursue a career in medicine, Piemont took classes in developmental psychology and adult development and aging, during which he conducted hands-on research. One of his research projects focused on the use of psychotropic medications for young children diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder, and the other was a longitudinal study of interactions between infants with craniofacial anomalies and their mothers. He has been described by one of his professors as an excellent team player, exceptionally bright, and one of the most talented undergraduates in all their 18 years of teaching at NYUSPS. Upon graduating, Piemont will continue his studies in the post-baccalaureate premedical program at the University of Vermont.

Wallace Gobetz Memorial Award:

Roberto Magana Enriquez—BA in Social Sciences

Roberto Magana Enriquez is a Wallace Gobetz Memorial Award recipient. He has completed the bachelor’s degree in leadership and management studies with a concentration in international business and global management. Prior to enrolling in the Paul McGhee Undergraduate Division, he studied business administration and held managerial positions in government and a variety of companies in his native country of Mexico as well as in the United States. With his extensive professional background and eloquence, his contributions in the classroom were invaluable and insightful. Enriquez demonstrated dedication and academic excellence throughout his studies at NYUSPS, placing on the Dean’s List every term and graduating with summa cum laude honors. Since earning his degree, he has dedicated his efforts to expanding business opportunities for a New York City-based plastic surgery company, and is currently undergoing the application process to attend a graduate program with a focus on financial economics.

Hanna E. Lindgren—AA in Liberal Arts

Originally from Sweden, Hanna Lindgren is a Wallace Gobetz Memorial Award recipient. Her ambitious spirit and enthusiasm for travel led her to pursue an associate's degree at NYUSPS. After graduating from secondary school in her native country, she journeyed throughout North America, Central America, and Asia, and began her professional career, working for a family-owned business and learning the intricacies of organizational management. She developed a strong interest in this area, and completed a diploma in business management from IHM Business School in Sweden prior to applying to the Paul McGhee Undergraduate Division. Lindgren is dedicated and driven. She enjoys seeking new opportunities for personal growth. After graduation, her plans are to remain in the US to seek career opportunities in this country.

Flag Bearer: Tatiana Ting

Tatiana Ting is the flag bearer for the BS in hotel and tourism management and is graduating with a concentration in tourism development, a sub-concentration in marketing and revenue management, and a minor in politics. During her time at NYUSPS, she has not only excelled academically, she also has actively contributed to numerous school events, including serving as a student panelist for NYU Welcome Week as well as a student ambassador and a peer mentor, providing freshman students with guidance. As the events committee chair of the NYUSPS Undergraduate Student Council, Ting has taken part in planning and organizing school-wide events. She also participated in study away programs in Shanghai and in Prague. Her time at NYUSPS also included internships at the Singapore Tourism Board, MGM Resorts International, and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

Jonathan Tisch Academic Achievement Award: Stephanie Totoritis

Stephanie Totoritis, recipient of the prestigious Jonathan Tisch Academic Achievement Award, grew up in San Diego, California, where she attended The Bishop's School. Starting at an early age, she had the opportunity to travel with her family on business trips to over 20 different countries. These experiences helped develop her passion for food, culture, and art. Her first job at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar Resort in 2011 ultimately led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in hotel and tourism management at NYUSPS. Over the past four years she has interned at Qualcomm, CPS Events at The Plaza, the Waldorf Astoria New York, Kate Edmonds Events, and Vox Media. Her most memorable experiences at NYUSPS include studying abroad in Paris and traveling to Cuba with the Tisch Center Scholars program. She aspires to remain in New York City to pursue a career in the events industry.

Ricelle "Bunny" Grossinger Hospitality Award: Noah Labowe

During his studies at the Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, Noah Labowe, who is being acknowledged with the Ricelle "Bunny" Grossinger Hospitality Award, has made great contributions to campus life in a variety of roles. At NYUSPS, he served as a student ambassador for the Tisch Center’s First-Year Cohort Program and represented the undergraduate population on the search committee for the associate dean of the Tisch Center. His passion for student leadership is best illustrated by his involvement with the University in roles such as being a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, an admissions ambassador at the NYU Office of Undergraduate Admissions, a cochair of the Student Activities Board Governance Committee, and, most notably, president of the Inter-Residence Hall Council (IRHC), representing the on-campus housing community of more than 11,000 students. Labowe's commitment to these roles has been recognized with an NYU President’s Service Award and an IRHC's Silver Pin Award. In addition, he has interned in hospitality sales for the Waldorf Astoria New York, in marketing for Legends, and in tourism for the Speaker of the California State Assembly. He currently works as a pastry chef at Miette Culinary Studio.

Allie Sherman Sports Business Leadership Award Recipient and Undergraduate Convocation Student Speaker: Drew H. Washington

Flag Bearer: Valeria Gavidia

While pursuing a bachelor's degree in sports management at NYUSPS, flag bearer Valeria Gavidia has worked as an events staff member for the NYU Athletics Department and as a transfer ambassador for the NYU Student Resource Center. These experiences afforded her the opportunity to combine her passion for sports and people. In addition to her studies, Gavidia completed marketing internships at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and at Chelsea Piers. She was on the Dean's List throughout her time at NYUSPS and was selected as a Tisch Institute Scholar, which enabled her to travel to Rio de Janeiro to conduct research on the social and economic impact of the World Cup and the Olympics on Brazil. After graduating in January, Gavidia started her career in sports management as an account trainee at Octagon, one of the top sports and entertainment marketing agencies in the world.