2023 Graduation Awards and Honors

NYU GPH salutes the outstanding graduates who have distinguished themselves through academic excellence, scholarship, leadership and service! These individuals received an impressive array of awards and honors, presented either by GPH at its graduation or by NYU at its all-University Commencement.

NYU All-University Awards and Honors 
Class Representative | This honor was 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


Omobolanle Marian Ayo | Omobolanle Marian Ayo will represent GPH’s Class of 2023 at this week’s NYU Commencement ceremony, receiving her degree on behalf of all GPH graduates. She previously earned a medical degree from the University of Ghana and practiced as a physician in her home country, Nigeria. She was inspired to pursue an MPH with a concentration in Global Health to augment disease prevention efforts in vulnerable, low- and middle-income countries. At GPH Omobolanle conducted research in the Applied Global Public Health Initiative Lab, served as a teaching assistant, and was a student orientation leader. She also volunteered with the Adolescent and Youth Program of UNFPA Somalia. As a research assistant with the Motivate Research Lab at NYU Langone, she was involved in a study to assess a food response training intervention among ethnically diverse patients with obesity. Omobolanle is grateful to God, family, friends and the NYU community for all of their support.



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


Natalie E. Pinder | Natalie Pinder proudly carries the GPH banner today and later this week at the all-University Commencement exercises. She moved to the U.S. from Australia in 2017 to play collegiate field hockey and pursue her undergraduate degree at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. She had developed an interest in how the environment can influence the development of brain cancer, and worked as a nursing assistant at Lancaster General Hospital. Both experiences solidified her desire to earn an MPH with a concentration in Epidemiology, and she will go on to pursue her MD in the fall. Natalie conducts ongoing research among Vietnamese cancer patients and caregivers; she’s even part of a team developing a mobile app to deliver psychological support. Outside of school, she loves to travel and is slowly but surely visiting each state in the U.S. (14 so far). Natalie gives an enormous thank you to her parents for their support of her moving to the other side of the world.


GPH Awards and Honors 
Student Speaker | 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.


Nada Hamade | At the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, where Nada Hamade earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental health in 2021, she developed a keen interest in exploring the health disparities faced by vulnerable communities. She wanted to understand how to use advanced analytics on data, from sources such as telehealth medicine software, to promote the well-being of individuals. In the course of her studies Nada became a research intern at NYU Langone Health, working on projects that offer e-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for people living with HIV/AIDS. Her passion also inspired her to co-found the Public Health and Medicine Society at GPH; its goal is to advance an understanding of the intersection between public health and clinical medicine, to provide community service, and to raise awareness of the health inequities faced by marginalized communities around the world. Throughout her journey at NYU, Nada has been grateful for the unwavering support of her mentors, friends and family.



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

Felicity Welch | Focusing on reproductive justice programming and policy reforms, Felicity Welch graduates from NYU with a dual MPH/MSW degree. She began her service work in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina and saw the impact that grassroots- and community-led organizing could have on people’s lives. Her dedication to service led her to East Africa, working with women’s groups focused on community healing in the face of domestic and community violence, and building systems of support for women living with HIV. Upon her return to the U.S. Felicity served with AmeriCorps VISTA to develop youth programming on safety in dating relationships. She currently serves as a women’s health coordinator in Brooklyn, building community and identifying strategies to maintain health in the face of structural barriers. Felicity’s goals are to support the safety and empowerment of all birthing and parenting people, and to reduce structural barriers within reproductive health care.

Undergraduate Student Award Recipients

Shanelle Bhajan | While attending public schools in New Jersey, Shanelle Bhajan was exposed at a young age to health disparities within her community, leading her to pursue a bachelor’s degree on a pre-med track, with a co-major in Global Public Health and Biology. She takes great pride in improving the social determinants of health and working with underprivileged and underrepresented communities. When the pandemic emerged during her freshman year, she began a fundraising initiative for donating necessities to her community, and started an annual toy drive for underprivileged children. Shanelle has also worked at Columbia University conducting research on hypertension and marijuana usage. She is a member of the 2023 class of Women in Science, and an advocate for organ donation and improving the quality of care for patients. Shanelle is wholeheartedly grateful for her experience at NYU, and beyond thankful for her family, friends and GPH faculty for their support throughout her journey.



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


Graduate Student Award Recipient

Chrysolite Mongoly | Born and raised in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, Chrysolite Mongoly received her Bachelor's in Medicine and Bachelor's in Surgery from the Chalmeda Anand Rao Institute of Medical Sciences in India, and worked as a medical doctor at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad. She believes public health is an essential component of medicine that focuses on disease prevention, health promotion and the well-being of communities around the world. Chrysolite`s research focuses on emergency preparedness, natural language processing and machine learning in public health. She has volunteered her time to work with various organizations, including the NYC Administration for Children's Services as a juvenile justice volunteer at the Horizon Juvenile Detention Center in the Bronx, and at NYC Health + Hospitals as an emergency medicine/pediatric volunteer. Chrysolite is eternally grateful to her mother for her unwavering dedication and commitment, for being a role model, and for teaching her the importance of kindness, empathy and perseverance. She is also grateful to the entire NYU community for its support.

Undergraduate Student Award Recipient

Lolayemi Olulola Charles | Lolayemi Charles earned her bachelor’s degree with a co-major in Global Public Health and Sociology, which allowed her to explore the relationship between social issues and health outcomes in underrepresented communities. She was the associate director of research at GPH’s Empower Lab, studying the intersection between gender-based violence and health. She also worked for the Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention program at NYC Health + Hospitals, advocating for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. In her studies Lolayemi learned the importance of empowerment and patient-centered work; her honors thesis investigated perceptions of health, safety and risk among Black and Afro-Latina people in NYC during the prenatal and postpartum period. After graduation, Lolayemi will move to Thailand to continue her work in gender-based violence and health as a Luce Scholar. She gives gratitude to God for His grace and to her family, especially her mom, for her unconditional love and support.



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

Samantha Harris | In 2019 Samantha Harris received a bachelor of science in health communications from the University of Wisconsin–Madison as a student-athlete on its varsity women's rowing team. After graduating she conducted clinical research, focusing on nutrition and health outcomes. With a knack for science and a love for food and cooking, Samantha decided on a career in dietetics and chose NYU to pursue an MPH in Public Health Nutrition. After she worked with a wide variety of patients and found much nutrition advice to be standardized regardless of the patient, Samantha focused on cultural competency nutrition research. She contributed to a project that studies the South Asian diet in the U.S., for which she created validated South Asian diet assessments. Samantha was also a research assistant on an NIH-funded study, and she served as a course assistant throughout her time at GPH. After graduation Samantha will complete her dietetic internship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Undergraduate Student Award Recipient

Yeats Lai | Born and raised in Sichuan, China, Yifan (Yeats) Lai came to NYU to pursue his bachelor’s degree, co-majoring in Global Public Health and Anthropology, and minoring in Mathematics. Passionate about improving healthcare access, particularly for racial and sexual minorities, he has conducted research analyzing illicit drug use patterns and examining medical mistrust within LGBTQ+ populations. During the course of his studies, Yifan worked as a student researcher on substance use analyses in the GPH Urban Epidemiology Lab. At the New York Blood Center, he conducted behavioral analysis on sexual minorities’ awareness and willingness to participate in HIV vaccine trials. Yifan has also served as an NYU Presidential Intern, helping to establish a university-wide research center. He was one of the inaugural cohort of Undergraduate Ambassadors at GPH, and a Community Health Ambassador at NYU Shanghai. As he graduates from NYU, Yifan appreciates all the support from the GPH community and the resources it has offered him.



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.


Undergraduate  Student Award Recipients

Kaylee Lamarche | As an undergraduate at NYU Gallatin, Kaylee Lamarche developed a concentration in studying Plagues, Epidemics and Disease, with a minor in Bioethics. After graduating, she chose GPH to advance her public health practice at the intersection of the social sciences and epidemiology. In addition to her coursework, Kaylee conducted research with the Advances in Respiratory Equity (AIRE) Lab, and she was supported by a Program to Accelerate Training in Health Equity (PATHE) fellowship. As a Ferguson RISE Fellow at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she worked on an epidemiology team to increase surveillance capacity for neglected tropical diseases in Puerto Rico. Born and raised in the Bronx, Kaylee finds strength and inspiration in the resilience of her community. She is deeply grateful for the unwavering support of her family, friends and mentors. Y le agradece a todas las mujeres de su familia que dieron partes de sí mismas para que ella pudiera florecer. 



➪ Chief Marshal | This honor recognizes an individual's outstanding contributions to both the school and the field of public health.


Ann Marie Beddoe, MD, MPH | A 2014 alumna of NYU GPH, Dr. Beddoe is a gynecologic oncologist whose global health work spans several low- and middle- income countries. She has focused much of her research on health disparities and making reproductive and cancer care accessible. Dr. Beddoe first visited Liberia in 2008 and has worked extensively since then to improve cancer awareness and reproductive health workforce capacity. As a founding member of the National Cancer Committee in Liberia, she was instrumental in developing the country’s first National Cancer Policy. Dr. Beddoe also co-founded The Women Global Cancer Initiative, a non-profit whose mission is to improve cancer care for women globally. It has funded multiple cervical cancer screening projects in Liberia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and established a scholarship to support training in women’s cancer care. A graduate of SUNY Downstate Medical School, where she also did her residency and fellowship training, Dr. Beddoe currently heads the Division of Global Women’s Health at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She is also an active speaker at church-based communities, where she advocates for routine cancer screening and early intervention.



➪ Excellence in Public Health Faculty Award | The GPH faculty were asked to nominate a GPH Faculty Member who they feel is dedicated to teaching excellence and providing an impactful learning environment.


David Abramson, MPH, PhD | Dr. Abramson is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at GPH. His work examines the population health consequences of disasters, the communication strategies that foster resilience, and the complex systems required for long-term recovery. He leads the Program on Population Impact, Recovery, and Resilience (PiR2) which applies social science and public health theory and methods to improving the health and well-being of communities and populations affected by, or at-risk of, complex hazards and disasters. In addition, Dr. Abramson serves on two National Academies of Medicine panels, the Standing Committee on Medical and Public Health Research During Large-Scale Emergency Events, and the Committee on Evidence-Based Practices for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response. Prior to joining NYU’s faculty, Dr. Abramson was the Deputy Director at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute.



Faculty of the Year Award | The graduating class of 2022 were asked to nominate a GPH Faculty Member who they feel provides exceptional instruction and care to their students.


Mari Armstrong-Hough, PhD, MPH | Dr. Armstrong-Hough is an Assistant Professor at GPH, with appointments in both the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Epidemiology. She is a medical sociologist and epidemiologist of respiratory disease, conducting global health research to examine the epidemiologic interfaces among tuberculosis, HIV and non-communicable diseases. Her work develops and evaluates interventions to increase early case-finding, status awareness and linkage to care in high-burden settings such as Uganda and South Africa. Dr. Armstrong-Hough’s U.S.-based research examines racial and ethnic disparities in the survival of respiratory failure, and seeks to develop interventions ensuring that all patients with respiratory failure receive evidence-based care. Before coming to NYU, Dr. Armstrong-Hough was an associate research scientist in epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, and she has taught previously at Davidson College, Meiji University in Tokyo, and Duke University. She has also conducted fieldwork in the U.S., Japan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Nepal, and was a recipient of the Robert E. Leet and Clara Guthrie Patterson Trust Mentored Research Award in Clinical, Health Services and Policy Research