The following NYU students are participating in the 2019-2020 NYU Leadership Fellows Program.
Mariam Abukwaik, School of Global Public Health/Silver School of Social Work
Mariam Abukwaik is a Palestinian-Indian born in New York and raised in New Jersey. She's currently studying Social Work and Global Public Health at New York University. She writes poetry and articles for We Are Not Numbers, an organization that uplifts voices of Gazan youth. She also spends a lot of her time teaching young students mental health and Islam with Islamic Learning Center in NYC. She hopes to study international law after undergraduate college so she can defend political prisoners in Palestine.
Anastasia Cuff, School of Professional Studies
Anastasia is a junior in the School of Professional Studies. She is currently majoring in Organizational Behavior and Change with a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. Anastasia is a transfer student from Adelphi University, formerly studying Biology and Chemistry. She has spent the past two summers in Cambridge, Massachusetts at a cancer research biotechnology lab, working with an incredible team to cure cancer. She’s volunteered in the wilderness of Pennsylvania as a camp counselor for young cancer survivors and patients. Anastasia enjoys painting, surfing and cultivating enriching conversations with thoughtful people. While working for a year at Columbia University’s Teachers College, countless conversations with students and staff opened her eyes to the academic challenges that local primary and secondary students from high-risk schools in the NYC area, are facing. Anastasia seeks to deliver one solution of many, by providing valuable opportunities to these students as they march towards their high school graduation and college enrollment. As a Leadership Fellow, she will bring her experience and optimism to support other attendees and to launch her vision. Her motto in life is “Expect the Unexpected”
Jeffrey Gu, College of Arts and Science
Jeffrey Gu is a second year CAS student double-majoring in Public Policy and Economics. In his home state of Connecticut, he is the Youth Director for the Chinese American Heritage Association, a 501(c) Nonprofit Organization. Jeffrey has also worked on multiple political campaigns, including as a Field Director for a Gubernatorial candidate and as a Field Operator for a State Senator. As a freshman at NYU in London, Jeffrey served as a member on the Diversity Team, acting as a coordinator for Coming Out Day celebrations, and as President of the site’s student government, spearheading ultimately successful efforts to create a food pantry for food insecure students and a mental wellness peer mentoring group called ‘breathing room’ for students to share their disquiet as a collective and destigmatize conversations on mental health. In every task he undertakes, Jeffrey strives to follow the motto of his Episcopalian elementary school, to “make the world a better place and let it begin with me.” In his free time, Jeffrey has been an avid ice hockey player of ten years, culminating in one year of collegiate level defense for the University of College London and three years of ‘Juniors,’ including two for Team Beijing and one in Ontario, Canada. Jeffrey looks forward to bringing his varied experiences to NYU’s Leadership Fellows Program and learn more about how to successfully lead and inspire others to do the same in their respective passions.
Fabiha Khan, College of Arts & Science
Fabiha Khan is currently a sophomore at New York University double-majoring in Political Science and Global Liberal Studies. Raised in Long Island, Fabiha has always had an inclination toward the humanities and political science. For her first two semesters at NYU, she worked with the non-profit organization Let’s Get Ready to provide free SAT prep and college access to high school students. This work geared her toward working with humanitarianism through the lens of political science. In addition, Fabiha also engaged with multiple clubs such as Model U.N. and is currently an editor on the print team for the Journal of Politics and International Affairs. Due to her love for Bengali culture and learning languages, she was also an alternate for the Critical Language Scholarship. Currently, she works as a teacher for Kaplan while pursuing her academics. Fabiha hopes to contribute to the NYU Leadership Fellows community with her dedication to understanding and advocating for the multicultural communities that comprise the heart of New York City.
Bridgette Kontner, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development
Bridgette Kontner is currently a junior at NYU Steinhardt majoring in Music Business with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Producing. Originally from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, she grew up in an extremely diverse family from Caribbean, South Asian, and European descent. Growing up constantly surrounded by nature, a love for the environment came naturally to her, and at age four, another passion was instilled in her as she began playing classical violin. Bridgette explored her interests of music, travel, and experiencing other cultures this past spring semester while studying abroad in Florence, Italy, and has also taken on numerous internship and volunteer opportunities centered around sustainability and the music business. She loves music for its ability to bring people together, and as an outgoing people person there is nothing she enjoys more than interacting with others. As a Leadership Fellow, Bridgette hopes to unite people around the increasingly pressing issues of climate change and sustainability, empowering others to use their voices together.
Caspar Lant, College of Arts and Science
Caspar Lant is a physics major and math/computer science minor in his final year at the College of Arts and Science and Adjunct Instructor for the Advanced Experimental Physics Lab course. He was born and raised in New York City and attended Stuyvesant High School. Caspar takes a hands-on approach to solving engineering problems and learning about the world through fundamental research. He is the leader of the Environmental Sensors Group in the Smart Cities project at the Tandon School of Engineering. With the help of a Green Grant from the NYU Office of Sustainability, he recently installed an air quality monitoring network at NYU Shanghai. Caspar has previously won awards from the German government and the US Department of Energy to conduct research at a synchrotron in Berlin and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, respectively. Caspar is excited by intersections between art and technology and has designed and operated several multimedia light installations at music events in New York and Berlin. As a leadership fellow, Caspar will use his aptitude for design and implementation to breathe new life into NYU’s outdoor spaces by bringing in nature, more inviting seating, and event programming.
Samuel Walker, College of Arts and Science
Samuel Walker is a Junior at New York University’s College of Arts and Science studying Architecture & Urban Design and Environmental Studies. Sam is interested in the intersection between natural and urban environments and hopes to further connect human environments to nature through sustainable and ecologically driven architecture and urban planning. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sam grew up with mountains as a backyard and hopes to shape the world into a place where everyone can grow up alongside nature. Sam is particularly interested in the resiliency of cities to absorb the impacts of a changing climate and has participated in NY’s Waterfront Alliance Scholars’ Flood Resiliency conference and plans on doing pioneering research on phenological trends of NYC trees for his Senior thesis. Sam also co-founded the NYU Chapter of Sunrise, a youth-led climate justice movement and is dedicated to environmental justice. With his interdisciplinary academic background and commitment to environmental justice, Sam hopes to further strengthen the relationship NYU’s environmentalist groups have with the communities of NYC during this program.
Jenny Duo Zheng, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development
Jenny Duo Zheng is a senior double majoring in Media Culture & Communications, and Gender & Sexuality Studies. She serves on the e-board of NYU CEDA Debate Team and Money Talks. She is passionate about speech, accessibility, and social entrepreneurship. She currently works for the NYU Prison Education Program, and is excited to use the Leadership Fellows platform to channel experiences in NGO administration toward international student mental health issues.