2021 Graduation Awards and Honors

NYU GPH salutes outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who have distinguished themselves through academic excellence, scholarship, leadership, and service. Degree recipients from September, January, and May are considered for the following awards and honors.

NYU All-University Student Awards and Honors 

Commencement Video Representative | This honor will be given to one student from each NYU school. This student will be included in the student tribute video that will be played during the virtual Commencement ceremony. 

 

Oscar San Roman Orozco | Born in Queretaro, Mexico; Oscar received his Medical Doctor degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro. There, he was President of the Student Council and the Students Federation. During his time there, he saw the relevance of PH Interventions and how important it is to innovate and be part of them. Oscar began to get involved with NGOs like the Newborn Foundation and implemented the BORN Project in Mexico. With this perspective, he decided to focus on Global Health and enrolled in the Advanced Certificate in PH Disaster Science. He co-coordinated the Applied Global Public Health Initiative; they built satellite labs at NYU-AD and Queretaro, a Climate Change Task Force, and an International Summit on Climate Change and PH.

His commitment to making a change is a value that was reinforced at the School of GPH which gave him a perspective of how different cultures respond to their health-related most pressing issues and how to tackle them through inter-sectoral approaches

 


 

Commencement Profile Representative | This honor will be given to one student from each NYU school. This student will be profiled in the NYU Commencement magazine, for their  remarkable accomplishments during their time at NYU. 

Dalhia Gouba | Dalhia Gouba was born in Burkina Faso, West Africa. She was raised in different countries and cultures. She grew up in diversity and learned the power of inclusion since her early childhood. She received her first bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Casablanca, Morocco and her second bachelor’s in Biology from St Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. She is concentrating in Public Health Policy at NYU GPH.

Dalhia worked as a Community Engagement Coordinator under the Justice, Health Equity and Safety portfolio at the Office of the New York City Public Advocate. For a year and a half, she worked closely with several grassroots organizations and further developed her passion for advocacy against inequities. As the covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020 she signed up to become a NYC contact tracer and placed over 1000 calls to support the community and help stop the spread of the virus. Increasingly eager to serve hard hit populations, she joined the Executive Administration team at NYC Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst, the epicenter of the epicenter, as the Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. Concerned by the low vaccination rate in the community, she drafted an initiative to recruit and organize a team of culturally competent NYU students in order to address vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccine uptake in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona, Queens. She received full support from the CEO and the team is ready to start outreach.

 


 

Class Representative | This honor will be given to one student from each NYU school. This student will symbolically receive the diploma during the NYU Commencement on behalf of the Graduating class

 

Inés María Del Giudice | Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Inés received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from the Universidad del Salvador. She completed a three-year residency in nutrition in the public health system of Buenos Aires. During her time working in the public system, she saw firsthand how social determinants of health can have the largest impact in people’s outcomes and recovery. These experiences inspired her to pursue a career in public health. Concentrating in public health nutrition, Inés has conducted research for the Socio-Economic Evaluation of Dietary Decisions Program and the Public Health Policy Research Lab; served as a course assistant and is the Co-President of the student-led club, Nutrition without Borders.

Inés hopes to continue her career in research to help inform and design food policies and programs to improve access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food that help reduce disparities and address non-communicable diseases. She is deeply grateful to her family, friends, professors, and classmates for their support and mentorship.

 


 

Banner Bearer | This honor will be given to one student from each NYU school. This student will be carrying their school’s bannear which leads their dean and class representative in the school procession of NYU Commencement. 

Mary V. Holiman | Mary Holiman received her bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from Johnson C. Smith University where she was a peer tutor and mentor. Fueled by her own experiences and upbringing, she has done research on the correlation between early childhood experiences and juvenile delinquency in Black youth in hopes of taking a more holistic and public health approach to mass incarceration.

Mary is interested in the intersection between the arts, the media, and public health and even takes dance classes to indulge her passion. She aspires to start her own organization that provides free mental health counseling and creative arts therapy to at-risk youth and make it more accessible to disadvantaged communities. Mary has a passion for social justice and hopes this reflects in her work. Although she currently does not have any post-graduation plans, she wants to be a college professor one day and obtain a PhD.

 

GPH Student Awards and Honors 

Student Speaker | Students will be selected to deliver the student address at the GPH graduation ceremony. The student speaker is someone who represents the undergraduate or graduate student body. The speaker reflects the spirit of the graduating class with an exceptional commitment to public health and has demonstrated great potential for future contributions in the development of the field of public health.

Graduate Student Speaker 

Akshitha Dondapati (she/her/hers) | Akshitha Dondapati received her bachelor's in Anthropology and Public Health from NYU in 2019. During her time as an undergraduate, she pursued clinical research to better understand socioeconomic determinants of health as they relate to homelessness and emergency room utilization. This, in addition to her experience as an EMT, exposed her to the direct impact that access to healthcare could have on vulnerable populations. Frustrated by the current system, Akshitha pursued an MPH with the hopes of gaining the tools to one day develop sustainable and cost-effective policies that will ensure equitable access to healthcare for all.

 At NYU GPH, Akshitha served on the Student Governing Council for four years in various roles including the Financial Officer and Senator. Akshitha was also a Student Orientation Leader and Women in Science Mentor during her bachelor's and master's. Her claim to fame is having an NYU quidditch trading card created after her!

 

Undergraduate Student Speaker 

Marissa Singer Rosenberg | Marissa Singer Rosenberg was born and raised in Miami, FL. She is graduating from NYU this year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Public Health (GPH) and History. She has worked as a Health Educator with Peer Health Exchange, conducted clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital, served as a Resident Assistant, a CAS Cohort President, and a GPH Undergraduate Ambassador. This Summer, Marissa will intern with GHESKIO, conducting research on the healthcare delivery in Haitian clinics. She will also serve on the board of Once a Month Miami, an organization that provides sanitary products to homeless women.

In the Fall, Marissa will attend a Post Baccalaureate Pre-med Program at the University of Miami. She wishes to obtain a MD/MPH degree and to pursue a career in pediatric and fetal medicine. While practicing as a physician, she also hopes to devote her career to creating public health interventions that ensure health equity and access. Marissa is honored to be the undergraduate student speaker at the 2021 GPH Virtual Graduation Ceremony, and is grateful for the continued support of her family, friends, professors, and mentors.

 


 

Service to Community Award | This award recognizes outstanding service and commitment to communities through engagement beyond the requirements of the degree. 

Graduate Student Award Recipients

Cole Swartz (he/him/his) | Born and raised near Annapolis, Maryland, Cole Swartz received a bachelor’s degree in Global Public Health and Chemistry from New York University in 2019. He worked in a neuropharmacology research lab during his time as an undergraduate, which exposed him to a holistic approach to public health. Wanting to build off this experience, he pursued an MPH at NYU, where he discovered a passion for policy and law. In the future Cole hopes to utilize his public health education in the field of law to advocate for population needs, reduce health disparities, and ensure access to health for all.

During his time in the MPH program, Cole has served as GPH’s School Senator and the Chair of the All-University Events Committee, in order to integrate the GPH community into the larger NYU community. Cole is grateful for his time at NYU and is ready to get to work!

Shrushti Shah | Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Shrushti completed her bachelor’s degree in Dental Surgery from Bharati Vidyapeeth Dental College. During her dental internship, she observed a complete lack of awareness among the patients about oral hygiene and realized that the onus to educate and spread awareness rested with the privileged sections of the society. It was with the motto to solve this problem, she decided to pursue her career in Public Health. Being an international student and with an interest in helping and serving the community at NYU, Shrushti co-founded the GPH International Student Society. She also served as a Grad Life Leader at NYU Center for Student Life.

Concentrating in Biostatistics, Shrushti has conducted research in Measurement, Learning and Evaluation Lab, and Tobacco Research Lab. She is passionate about combining her knowledge as a medical professional and experience in biostatistics to create highly efficient health care systems. Shrushti is grateful for the time she spent at GPH with her friends and faculty.

Akshita Mehrotra | Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Akshita Mehrotra received her bachelor’s degree in Dentistry. She has worked as a dentist for various government and private healthcare practices. She also helped her community by promoting healthcare through outreach programs, organizing oral health camps for children, and educating the underprivileged about good hygiene practices. It is during these stints that she found her calling and desire to work in public health. Akshita is now completing her master’s in public health from GPH. Concentrating in Healthcare Management, she wants to combine her medical experience with skills learned at GPH to create effective and efficient patient centric healthcare systems.

During her time at NYU, she worked with NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as a Community Health Resilience Intern strengthening the capacity of a COAD to carry on their work. She focused on strengthening health care and related services to best serve local residents in a time of disaster and build resiliency in their community.  She also volunteered with Hunger Free America to promote health and economic mobility during the peak of the pandemic. Building resilience through leadership and a whole community approach is what drives her passion of serving the community around her.

Akshita co-founded GPH International Student Society at NYU. She started the club for international students, to promote public health and help navigate their journey of becoming the next health leaders of the world. She is of the firm belief that Public Health is about uplifting your entire community with you.

She is grateful for the diverse and vibrant community of faculty, fellow students, and colleagues at NYU GPH, who have supported her through this wonderful experience. She will take these learnings with her as she enters the workforce as a public health professional.  

Daniel Okpare | Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and currently live in New York. Daniel Omonefe Okpare received his bachelor’;s degree in Health Psychology from CUNY Hunter College. This sparked his desire to apply health psychology across prevention, promotion, managing long-term conditions, adapting to and maintaining change. Concentrating on management, Daniel recently completed an internship at the Columbia, International House, Global Wellness and Health Service with a focus in health literacy promotion during the pandemic, and currently works as a COVID-19 Community Engagement Specialist for the New York City Health and Hospitals.

In the very near future, Daniel hopes to play an active role in the healthcare reform of the nation and aim for a fair, equitable and sustainable system that will benefit the general population. He is excited for the journey ahead and looking forward to applying the skills he acquired during his time at GPH.

 

Undergraduate Student Award Recipients

Korie McManus | Korie is receiving a bachelor's degree in GPH/Biology with a concentration in Genetics. Her interest in public health sparked during her various healthcare roles at Mount Sinai, Northwell Health, and NYU Langone. She started research while studying abroad at NYU Sydney, where she conducted a study about parental decisions to vaccinate children against influenza. Currently, she focuses on reducing disparities in smoking addiction with the IDEAS lab.

Outside of school, Korie volunteers as a COVID-19 vaccine administrator and a disability support instructor to create job opportunities for young adults with Autism. She is involved in ResLife as a Resident Assistant and PUMP, the peer undergraduate mentoring program for women in STEM. After graduation, she will pursue an MPH before attending medical school. Korie is eternally grateful for the support of her friends, family, and GPH professors and is excited to continue collaborating with others on her public health journey.

Jessica Liu | Jessica is a first-generation student co-majoring in Biology and Global Public Health; she is currently serving as the Undergraduate President of the NYU School of Global Public Health Student Governing Council.

 In her time so far as Undergraduate President of SGC, Jessica has co-piloted the Mentorship Program which launched in Fall 2020 aimed to foster community and provide support to the MPH graduate student network. In addition, in Spring 2021, Jessica pioneered the creation of the official NYU GPH Slack page for graduate and  undergraduate students to mitigate the disconnection experienced during a completely virtual school year. Through this platform, SGC has been able to become much more connected to the general student body and receive constructive feedback in response to their events and surveys.

Jessica is beyond grateful and is excited to enter her career in dentistry with the skills she’s acquired during her time at GPH.

Jasmine Agyei | The last four years have been a rollercoaster of many firsts. Jasmine Agyei was born and raised in South Bronx, NY to Ghanian parents, where hustling was never a foreign concept to her. She is the first generation, receiving B.S in Applied Psychology and Global Public Health. Her passion for advocacy and wellness is reflected through her actions. In her church, she reintroduced academia in a more palatable way to those discouraged to pursue higher education, by tutoring the youth and making gender-inclusive programming. 

She expanded her sense of community when she studied in Accra, Ghana. At HFFG where she was able to implement health and safety programs for female sex workers. She found the intrinsic desire to promote the autonomy of those in need and often neglected by the system. She advocated for her local and NYU community by running mental health workshops, organizing book drives and hygiene kits for people without homes. Armed with the values of the GPH community, Jasmine enters the world as a trailblazer.

 


 

Public Health Social Justice Award | This award recognizes exceptional contributions to improving the life conditions of vulnerable individuals or communities.  

 

Graduate Student Award Recipient

Arielsela Holdbrook-Smith | Arielsela Holdbrook-Smith is a Master of Public Health graduate student within the Department of Community Health Science and Practice at the School of Global Public Health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Global Health from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to enrolling at NYU, she worked at UC San Diego on domestic and international projects centering linkage to resources for community organizations and gender-based violence intervention. As a Ghanaian-American born and raised in Los Angeles, Arielsela currently focuses her work on eliminating health disparities impacting Afro-diasporic communities globally, as well as exploring the intersection of public health and the arts and multimedia storytelling.

As she celebrates graduation and receiving the graduate GPH Public Health Social Justice Award, Arielsela acknowledges that the work to uplift and liberate oppressed communities continues. She would like to thank her loved ones, mentors, and community for sustaining her throughout this journey

 

Undergraduate Student Award Recipient

Sumaita Mahmood | Born and raised in New York City, Sumaita Mahmood is earning her bachelor's degree in Global Public Health and Chemistry with minors in Genetics and History from New York University. As a first-generation Bangladeshi-American woman, she grew up balancing all sorts of cultures and environments in her corner of Eastern Queens. Listening to neighborhood stories on her stoop and observing how environmental factors led to poor community health sparked her desire to pursue public health as an undergraduate. Whether that be leading volunteering opportunities through UNICEF@NYU or serving as an EMT for her county's local volunteer ambulance corps, she hopes to take on a career that lets her give back to her community because she has learned so much from them. After graduation, Sumaita will be applying to MD/MPH programs in the United States, while continuing to volunteer as an EMT.

 


 

Public Health Research Award | This award is given to students in recognition of excellence in the pursuit of research focused on improving the health of communities around the world.

Graduate Student Award Recipients

Kyle Snyder | Kyle received a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Arizona. Following graduation, he pursued a career in project management in construction. Construction management is where his interest in the built environment and social determinants of health became reignited and inspired him to pursue furthering education in public health. 

During orientation at NYU School of Global Public Health, he met a faculty member researching health behaviors and substance use prevalence in construction worker populations. Kyle was able to join the NYU Urban Epidemiology Lab, where he works on various research projects involving substance use, harm reduction, and substance use stigma. Kyle was a research intern with the NYU Substance Use Research Education and Training program. In the SARET program, he assisted with research on substance use policy and health outcomes.

Katherine Siu | Katherine graduated from NYU with a Master of Science degree in Biostatistics. Her undergraduate education in biochemistry prepared her for the realities of clinical health by providing a blend of academic and practical experience. The previous working experience in a medical laboratory inspired Katherine to pursue public health because many patients she worked with were not aware of the possible risks of health. She believes working for public health helps prevent the occurrence of diseases more effectively.

Katherine’s research interest lies in applying statistical approaches to predict different health related problems. When working in Dr. Shu Xu’s Quantitative Lab, Katherine was involved in multiple projects including using different models to solve the problem of semi-continuous outcome variables with high proportions of zero contained in the dataset, which is common in clinical trial research. Katherine (as a first-author) has presented her work about Two-Part model analysis in the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco annual meeting in February 2021.

Nicholas (Nick) Mirin | Nick Mirin received a bachelor's degree in political science from Davidson College in 2015. He then spent four years working at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, first as a clinical residence counselor and then helping launch the hospital's flagship digital mental health initiative, the Institute for Technology in Psychiatry. Since fall 2019 Nick has been working under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Cook as a member of NYU's Attachment and Health Disparities Lab. In this role he has cultivated expertise in intersectional models of health and a better understanding of the interplay between structural- and individual-level sources of discrimination, mental health, and biomarkers of stress and disease. Following graduation Nick intends to work at the interface of health policy and program management, striving to improve care access and integrate best practices in behavioral health with principles of holistic, community-oriented, and value-based care. Beyond health justice Nick has a passion for basketball and good food, best enjoyed in sequence. 

 

Undergraduate Student Award Recipient

Brianna Clarke | Brianna Clarke is a Brooklyn, NY born and raised and newly 

graduated college student who received a bachelor’s degree in Global Public Health with a concentration in History from New York University. She worked as a student researcher in the GPH’s Attachment and Health Disparities lab for two years and conducted research examining whether social support buffers the association of negative effects of minority stress and preclinical cardiovascular disease.

She is interested in continuing her studies in Public Health and earning her MPH in Epidemiology. She is also intrigued with the study of infectious and chronic diseases and believes in further research that would allow a safer and more organized method of addressing these issues. Furthermore, Brianna has been incredibly grateful for her experience at NYU as well as her contributions to research and hopes to apply what she has learned to the world after graduation.

Jordyn Chandler-Lee | Growing up in Ashburn, Virginia, Jordyn Chandler-Lee decided to pursue her dreams at New York University and is currently finishing her bachelor’s degree in Global Public Health and Sociology. During the COVID19 pandemic, she continued to work at a CBD store which sparked her desire to start research into the world of marijuana. She has been a part of NYU’s Urban Epidemiology Lab since Fall of 2020 and has helped code new marijuana product packaging as well as take part in developing the instrument used to do so.

After graduation, she will continue on to graduate school to receive her Master’s degree in public health in the fall. She is very grateful to her friends, family, professors, and everyone in UEL who has helped her along the way.

 


 

Public Health Practice and Leadership Award | This award is given to students in recognition of scholarship and commitment to the public health community, and who have enormous potential for future contributions to the field of global public health practice.

Graduate Student Award Recipients

Anya Snyder | Anya Snyder received bachelor’s degrees in human physiology and health sciences from the University of Oregon and Portland State University, respectively. Anya was inspired to pursue an MPH due to her exposure to public health through coordinating a Syringe Exchange Program and traveling to rural Kenya to participate in an HIV education and counseling program during undergrad. She is a firm believer in prevention & health equity.

In addition to her coursework at GPH, Anya has been a proud graduate research assistant in the Implementing Sustainable Evidence-based interventions through Engagement (ISEE) Lab. She has co-authored several publications and most recently published a manuscript on the double burden of smoking and cardiopulmonary diseases in people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.

Anya is passionate about HIV research, policy, and practice and intends to continue working in this space upon graduation. She is eternally grateful for the mentorship of her lab director Emmanuel Peprah as well as the wonderfully supportive faculty at GPH.

Undergraduate  Student Award Recipients

Olivia O'Leary | Olivia O’Leary earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Global Public Health, a testament to her interests in racial inequities and public health. Throughout her time at NYU, she stayed dedicated to youth and academics by tutoring and mentoring academically at-risk students. Olivia continued on to work in NYU’s Center for Multicultural Education and Programs while also focusing on gender-based violence with The Empower Lab.

After graduating in January, Olivia became the principal researcher and report writer for a community based organization in her home state of New Jersey which advocated to address police violence with community and public health oriented solutions. Olivia is thankful to her time at GPH which opened her eyes to the ways public health affects all facets of life, and is thrilled to be working at a Bronx charter school to further her commitment to academic excellence for New York City’s most academically vulnerable students. 

 


 

Faculty of the Year Award | The graduating class of 2021 are asked to nominate a GPH Faculty Member who they feel provides exceptional instruction and care to their students.

Dr. Robyn Gershon | Dr. Gershon is an interdisciplinary occupational and environmental health and safety researcher with extensive experience in the areas of disaster preparedness, healthcare safety, and risk assessment and management in high-risk work occupations. She earned her doctorate in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health, where she was on faculty for several years. Subsequently, Dr. Gershon was a Professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, with a joint appointment in the School of Nursing.

At the Mailman School, she also served as the Associate Dean for Research and was the Director of the Mentoring Program. Her most recent faculty appointment prior to joining NYU GPH was Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She was also an Adjunct Professor in the UCSF School of Nursing, as well as at UC Berkeley where she taught public health disaster courses.

Dr. Gershon and her team conducted numerous groundbreaking studies to develop and test new metrics of preparedness. Importantly, Dr. Gershon’s work has influenced the adoption of safe work practices and regulatory control measures, such as national needlestick prevention guidelines and high-rise building fire safety laws. Her numerous research studies encompass a wide range of topics, including, (to name a few): bloodborne pathogen exposure; hospital safety climate; psychosocial work stress in law enforcement; “ability and willingness” of essential workforce employees to report to duty during natural and man-made disasters; preparedness of responders for terrorist incidents; emergency high–rise building evacuation- (including the World Trade Center Evacuation Study); emergency preparedness of the elderly and disabled; mass fatality management infrastructure in the US; adherence to emergency public health measures among the general public;  hearing loss risk in subway ridership; and noise exposure in urban populations.

Dr. Gershon recently completed a four-year, longitudinal intervention NIH-funded study on motivation and persistence in pursuing STEM research careers among underrepresented doctoral students. (the BRIDGE Project). 

As a committed advocate for junior faculty and graduate students, Dr. Gershon will play an active role in research mentorship and advisement