Sesame Street muppet Grover draws with young children.

Courtesy of Sesame Workshop/Parisa Azadi

Worthy Programming


A new childhood research center hopes to bring the learning of Sesame Street to families displaced by conflict. Led by the International Rescue Committee and Sesame Workshop with a $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the program will educate refugee children from four countries—Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria—through home visits, childcare and education services, and a new Sesame TV program for Syrian refugee families and host communities in the region. “The majority of the Syrian refugee population has access to television and cell phones, so there’s the potential to reach large numbers of them,” says Hirokazu Yoshikawa, globalization and education professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human

Development. Yoshikawa is codirector of Steinhardt’s Global TIES for Children, which is partnering with the initiative to evaluate its implementation and impact; NYU Abu Dhabi is also lending support. While most humanitarian missions focus on food, shelter, and medical care, Yoshikawa notes that many of the 22.5 million refugees counted by the UN Refugee Agency last year may remain displaced for decades. A gap also exists when it comes to research of early childhood education in high-stress contexts. “We have to pay attention to needs beyond survival so that children have the tools to become productive members of society,” he says.
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)

Classic “Operation” skill game board

The Doctor Is On


A lobby might seem like a strange place for physicians to consult with patients. But for the past 10 years, medical staff have been doing just that at the NYU Langone Medical Center at 550 First Avenue. Doctor Radio, a SiriusXM call-in channel (110), produces 50 hours of original programming each week, with shows available live, on demand, or through reruns. Langone visitors and other staffers can look through the studio’s window and see broadcasting as it happens. We selected a few of our favorite shows for this page, but you can find them all at
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)
(Photo by Natalia Ortega)



Checking Out Help


A New York Public Library branch “is a free and public space that anyone and everyone can use,” says Peggy Morton, clinical associate professor of social work and assistant dean for field learning and community partnerships at the Silver School of Social Work. And, as such, it’s the perfect setting for future social workers to gain field experience. Last year, Morton helped place a pair of students, Rachel Remes (SSSW ’19) and Elliot Rosenbaum (SSSW ’19), in two library branches: Mulberry Street and 125th Street, respectively. Twice a week, the students set up information tables and fielded the sorts of questions librarians often don’t have the time or training to handle: Where can a homeless teen go for support? What are some non-opioid pain-management options for a former Marine with an injury? Many patrons struggle with mental illness, drug abuse, disability, or abuse—and seem less inclined to approach traditional social services. “They [may not] go to the library’s weekly workshop on résumés,” Rosenbaum says, “but as they see people asking me questions, they’ll come over.” Morton hopes to expand the effort, with more students in more branches.
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)

Hand-painted illustration of a black woman wearing virtual reality goggles.

Coding Inclusivity


When graduate student Ari Melenciano (TSOA ’18) first entered the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), part of the Tisch School of the Arts, she felt exhilarated by the possibilities but saw few black faces like her own. “Not everyone feels welcome in the tech world,” she explains. So Melenciano made her own welcome mat. With the support of the faculty, she founded and produced Afrotectopia. Melenciano designed the poster (at left) for the two-day festival, which was dedicated to building community among black innovators working in art, design, technology, and activism and held on the fourth floor of 721 Broadway, ITP’s home. “It’s about creating a space to come together and build things,” she says. Featuring live coding sessions, panels such as “Policies, Race + Space,” and performances by the likes of DJ Spooky and the Sing Harlem Choir, the festival raised $5,000 for a scholarship for an incoming black ITP student and invested $10,000 in the people of color community by hiring black-owned vendors and paying honorariums to the speakers. “An insane [number] of connections were made,” Melenciano says. “It was the most moving weekend of my life.”
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)

Rethinking Thoughtful Investing


Making the right investment isn’t only about financial gain—it’s also about being responsible citizens. That’s the thinking behind the new student-operated NYU Impact Investment Fund (NIIF), which is part of a master of public administration specialization at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service called Social Impact, Innovation, and Investment. Students from both Wagner and the Stern School of Business work together under faculty advisers to identify investment opportunities and conduct due diligence. Until now, students have been designing and defining the fund—created with money donated by alumni—and this year it became operational, with teams focusing on five areas: environment, healthcare, aging, education and food systems, and financial inclusion. In addition to learning about social entrepreneurship and impact measurements, the class finds and screens real investment opportunities with the approval of an outside committee, then places the investments. Helping to structure the deals are students at the School of Law. “We’re hoping this resonates with the alumni community, that they will make donations to support NIIF,” says Scott Taitel, clinical professor of public service at Wagner and the specialization’s director. “The money will ultimately be placed to help social enterprises, and then returns can be reinvested in more social enterprises.”
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)
(Illustration by Matt Chase)

Awareness ribbon made of a dollar bill pinned to the lapel of a man’s suit

Giving Victims a Voice


Just 10 people at a time could experience interactive artist Tania El Khoury’s chillingly mesmerizing show Gardens Speak, which exhibited at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Red Theater. Each audience member donned a raincoat, picked a card with the name of a Syrian war victim, and dug at a corresponding grave until they unearthed that person’s photo and heard an audio file with their story. “You’re lying on a bed of dirt with an ear to the ground,” says Bill Bragin, executive artistic director of the school’s Arts Center. “The intimacy of that experience is powerful.” The oral histories, pieced together from memories of family and friends, were presented in both English and Arabic. After hearing the story, attendees were given a notepad to write a message to the deceased, which they then buried in the dirt near each tombstone.
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)
(Photo by Jesse Hunniford)

Audience members in raincoats  dig at a graves of Syrian war victims in the interactive show Gardens Speak

Adult Education


By 2030, one-fifth of the US population will be over 65, and many will be living with at least one chronic disease. Unfortunately, we won’t have the labor force to take care of everyone, and this problem will potentially be much worse for places with fewer social resources, such as the Bronx, which ranks lowest in New York State for health outcomes. Enter the Bronx Health Corps (BHC), trained volunteers who increase health literacy among aging adults. “This is basic health info that they really need but may not get from their providers,” says Christy Jared (MEYERS ’07, ’12), program manager of the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP); BHC is a part of GWEP. Cocreated in 2015 by the Rory Meyers College of Nursing’s Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, BHC has so far educated more than 1,100 seniors on healthy living, asthma, heart health, and Alzheimer’s and related dementia. “People from a particular community tend to understand the culture better than researchers or nurses or academics,” says Tara Cortes (MEYERS ’71, ’76), the institute’s executive director and GWEP’s project director, “and can present [health information] in a more effective way.”
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)

A Scored Goal


When the NYC Football Club decided to broadcast the entire 2018 soccer season throughout the five boroughs, they wanted to deliver more to young fans than just a play-by-play of their hometown team’s contests. The organization joined forces with the city-owned radio station WNYE 91.5 FM, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and the School of Professional Studies (SPS) to create a course that puts at-risk high schoolers on the air—and on a potential new career track. The pilot session kicked off with 12 public school students; each week, the class produces a 10-minute, prerecorded segment for the show Soccer City, which airs Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. The course was designed by Carlos Chirinos, clinical music and global health associate professor and director of the Music and Social Change Lab at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. David Hollander, an SPS clinical associate professor and assistant dean of strategic academic partnerships, coconceived and directed the radio project. It’s a win for all involved—no kicking, bruising, or grass stains required.
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)
(Photo courtesy of NYC Football Club)


An NYC Football Club soccer player kicks in from the corner on their home field in Yankee Stadium, packed with fans.

Due Credit


Since NYU’s Prison Education Program (PEP) launched in 2015, 140 inmates at the men’s medium-security Wallkill Correctional Facility in New York’s Ulster County have taken for-credit classes. What’s different from other college-in-prison programs is the support they receive postrelease. “We work with them on the outside to meet their goals—employment, housing, mental health challenges—but above all to help if they want to continue on [an] educational path” says Nikhil Singh, Arts and Science associate professor of social and cultural analysis and history and PEP’s cofounder and faculty director. Six men who began their studies in prison are currently completing their BAs on campus. PEP started as a joint initiative between the College of Arts and Science and the Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)

FYI logo

The new Global Liberal Studies minor is open to all NYU undergrads. Requirements? The completion of four interdisciplinary courses that explore the cultural, social, political, and economic issues of our increasingly complex world. Students take classes in New York and at NYU’s study-away sites. While a passport is important, curiosity of the world is even more essential.
—Nicole Pezold (GSAS ’04)