2023 Cohort

Anthony Cruz  


Anthony is a junior at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, majoring in Education Studies and minoring in History. He was born and raised in Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. Anthony identifies as a queer, Latinx, first-generation, and low-income college student. His experience at NYU has cultivated a deep appreciation for education and the positive impact it can have on marginalized students.

Anthony is passionate about leading student-centered advocacy work. He holds various leadership roles across NYU, including President of the Steinhardt Undergraduate Student Government and Vice-Chair of the NYU Student Government Assembly. He is also a member of Young Democratic Socialists of America, the NYU Reads Selection Committee, the NYU Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee, and Kiwanis International.

In his spare time, Anthony loves to read, travel on the subway, and volunteer with mutual aid groups across New York City..

Anthony is working in the Wasserman Center for Career Development.

Karen de la Cruz


Karen is a junior at the College of Arts and Science, majoring in Global Public Health and Sociology. She was raised in Manhattan, New York, and is a first-generation college student. Karen is passionate about public health and providing equal quality educational opportunities to students of low income.

Karen is a member of NYU’s Academic Achievement Program and the College of Arts & Science’s Proud to be First. She is also a proud recipient of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Karen is currently a volunteer mentor and tutor for middle/high school students with NYU and Publicolor, a youth development program.

Karen enjoys spending her free time with her family and eight dogs. She also enjoys watching movies and k-dramas, cooking, and traveling. In the future, she hopes to continue her education with graduate studies at NYU.

Karen is working in the Office of Campus Safety.

Eugene Hu


Eugene is a junior at the College of Arts & Sciences, studying Cinema Studies, Linguistics, and Creative Writing. He is an international student, born and raised in Shanghai, China.

As a child, Eugene enjoyed learning English through visual storytelling, and he wants to share that joy with other children learning a second language. He has worked as a volunteer Mandarin and Spanish teacher for elementary school students. He hopes to continue teaching through the NYU Teaches program. Eugene is currently the Secretary of the NYU Comic Book League. During his time at NYU, he has also written for the Washington Square News’ subsidiary magazine, Under the Arch, and participated in the Voice Acting Alliance.

In his free time, Eugene enjoys performing magic and creating voice impressions and fandub content for his YouTube channel.

Eugene works at the Office of Student Success.

Nassima Kaojkaji


Nassima is a junior at the Tandon School of Engineering, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and is a first-generation college student.

Nassima developed a passion for higher education learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) while working in Tandon’s Engineering department and as an undergraduate teaching assistant at the MakerSpace. She leads a team at the 3D Printed Biomedical Devices Vertically Integrated Projects at the NYU Langone Rusk Rehabilitation Center, where her team creates prototypes of assistive devices, such as the MakerBrace, an assistive device for children who suffer from cerebral palsy.

During her free time, Nassima enjoys 3D printing, rollerblading, and reading.

Nassima is working in the Office of Information Technology.

Yifan (Yeats) Lai


Yeats is a junior at the College of Arts & Science, majoring in Global Public Health and Anthropology. He is an international student born and raised in Szechuan, China. While at NYU, Yeats has become passionate about public health and promoting educational opportunities.

As a research assistant intern at the NYU Urban Epidemiology Lab, Yeats conducts quantitative analysis on illicit drug use. He also works closely with his professors on people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and their comorbidities. Outside of academics, Yeats has worked as an undergraduate ambassador at the School of Global Public Health and a Community Health Ambassador.

In his free time, Yeats enjoys listening to pop music and R&B, exploring new restaurants and trying out new recipes, and traveling with his family and friends.

Yeats is working at the NYU School of Law.