Among the 18,000 graduates in the Class of 2020, we highlight an exceptional graduate from each of our schools and colleges.

Meet Our Student Speaker

Portrait of Amy Dong, Student Speaker from Leonard N. Stern School of Busines

Amy Dong

Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Before graduating from the Stern School of Business in 2020 with a BS in Business and co-concentrations in business economics and sustainable business, Amy Dong made the most of her time at NYU. She was active on campus as a senior adviser for the Stern Inter-Club Council, a Teach For America campus campaign coordinator, and a senior editor for The Call for Corporate Action: NYU Stern Student Voices, to name a few. She studied away at NYU Prague and, through Stern’s International Business Exchange Program, the National University of Singapore, traveling to five continents and 29 countries over the span of two years. “After a near-death experience in 2017, I left NYU for a semester to recover my health and, more importantly, my sense of self. When I returned, I promised myself I’d see as much of the world as possible, and I leapt at every opportunity,” Amy shares. She also sharpened her professional trajectory through numerous internships, one of which led to her first full-time position in economic development with Dalberg Global Development Advisors. But economic development is only part of all Amy’s done since graduating. She spent most of 2020 writing and publishing her debut book, Twenty-One Years Young: Essays, in which, according to the New York Times, her honesty is a “refreshing and, at times, gut-wrenching” reminder to “young adults that life is beautiful, no matter how messy growing up can be.” Amy then moved to Taiwan to teach middle school English as a Fulbright Scholar, an experience that “changed my life in more ways than one,” she says. Upon her return to the United States, Amy rejoined Dalberg and also founded The LIFE Project, where she is a life coach for young adults in the hopes of helping them “find their purpose as early in life as possible.” Though many of Amy’s experiences at NYU and over the last two years have been unexpected, she shares, they all brought her to a place where she can “return to New York City again feeling like I know what I want to do with my life, for the rest of my life.”

Featured Class of 2020 Graduates

The profiles below were published in May 2020. Graduates' names are listed below in alphabetical order by school.

Schools A–R

Schools R–Z

Portrait of Charlotte Kahan

Charlotte Kahan

College of Arts and Science

Charlotte Kahan, from Ridgewood, NJ, is not only a born teacher, volunteering to tutor incarcerated students on Rikers Island as well as her peers as part of the NYU Expository Writing Program, she is also a gifted academic. Charlotte, a Public Policy major on a prelaw track, was invited in her junior year to join NYU’s Phi Beta Kappa Society. She is a Presidential Honors Scholar; a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship; a recipient of a Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund grant for her research project, “JFK and Obama: Rhetorical Similarities in Foreign Policy”; a member of the NYU Public Policy Student Board; and a student member of the Faculty of Arts and Science Committee on Student Discipline. Postgraduation, Charlotte will teach in the New York City public school system as a member of the 2020 Teach For America Corps.

Portrait of Rebecca Renelus.

Rebecca Renelus

College of Dentistry

For Rebecca Renelus, the importance of good oral health cannot be overstated, especially in relation to underrepresented minorities. Throughout her time at NYU, Rebecca has participated in a global outreach trip to remote rural communities in Cambodia and has volunteered for Saturday Academy, a student-run organization that exposes minority and low-income high school students to the field of dentistry as a viable career option. In addition, Rebecca was selected as one of only 10 rising seniors to participate in the summer 2019 Brooklyn Pilot Program, which offered her the chance to gain hands-on experience treating patients alongside faculty members and other dental professionals. Once Rebecca graduates with her DDS degree, she will do her residency in pediatric dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco.

Portrait of Gabrielle Buchanan.

Gabrielle Buchanan

Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Brooklynite Gabrielle Buchanan came to NYU thinking she wanted to follow a pre-med track. However, her trajectory changed dramatically when she took a Gallatin course called Race and Criminal Law and decided to concentrate on the study of race, power, and the law as viewed through the lens of storytelling. In pursuit of her concentration, she worked at the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU School of Law, where she learned about varying aspects of criminal justice, and landed an internship at the Legal Aid Society, still ongoing, where she investigates wrongful convictions. After she leaves NYU, Gabrielle will attend law school, where she will focus on public interest law.

Portrait of Yining Nie.

Yining Nie

Graduate School of Arts and Science

Growing up in Windsor, Ontario, Yining Nie was exposed to French language instruction early on. However, she didn’t enjoy speaking and reading French as much as she did the logical aspects of the language. Yining also excelled in the sciences and was interested in human behavior, so studying linguistics became a way for her to combine her fascination with the beauty and complexity of language with the joy of scientific discovery. Yining was a member of the Executive Committee of the Linguistic Society of America and was the recipient of the society’s Bernard and Julia Bloch Memorial Fellowship as well as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship. After earning her PhD in Linguistics, Yining is applying for postdoctoral research positions in Europe.

Portrait of Samuel Dubin.

Samuel Dubin

Grossman School of Medicine

In addition to the rigorous demands of med school, Sam Dubin, a medical doctoral candidate from Cincinnati, Ohio, has taken on the responsibilities of an active student leader. During the 2019–2020 academic year, he was reappointed the Medical Student Section representative of the AMA LGBTQ Advisory Committee, a group within the American Medical Association addressing issues that impact LGBTQ+ medical students, residents, fellows, physicians, and patients. Sam also serves on the board of directors of the GLMA, a national organization dedicated to ensuring health equity for LGBTQ+ individuals and equality for LGBTQ+ health-care workers. In July, Sam begins his intern year as part of a three-year internal medicine residency.

Portrait of Brandon Katz

Brandon Katz

Leonard N. Stern School of Business

At Stern, Brandon Katz, a JD/MBA born and raised in New York City, cofounded the NYU Stern CannaBusiness club, NYU’s first student organization dedicated exclusively to the cannabis industry. He also helped launch two NYU-accredited courses on the industry. Brandon served on Student Government as vice president of dual degree students and was a member of the Entrepreneurship & Startup Association, Stern Racquet Club, and Stern Chats. After graduation, Brandon plans to enter the cannabis industry to influence legal development in the private sector, and later pivot into government, where he will work more directly on policy. 

Portrait of Rebecca Brett

Rebecca Brett

Liberal Studies

The stars aligned for Rebecca Brett when she heard about NYU’s Global Liberal Studies program. Growing up in a small town in Florida, Rebecca, a double major in Global Liberal Studies and Social and Cultural Analysis and a Psychology minor, longed to see the world. Accordingly, she spent her first year at NYU Florence and her junior year at NYU London. She is NYU’s first student to win the George J. Mitchell Scholarship, a yearlong postgraduate award sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance that rewards academic excellence, leadership qualities, and commitment to community and public service. Rebecca will use her award to study Global Women’s Studies: Gender, Globalization, and Rights at the National University of Ireland in Galway. Following that, she hopes to attend law school.

Portrait of Abdulla Alhashmi.

Abdulla Alhashmi

NYU Abu Dhabi

Born and raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Abdulla Alhashmi came to NYU Abu Dhabi with the goal of developing the insight and skills to help his country progress into a knowledge-based economy and a desire to ponder the universe’s biggest questions. This combination of interests led him to double-major in Economics and Philosophy. Abdulla was a member of the Sufara’a student ambassadors program, organizing and hosting events to foster community dialogue on topics such as diversity in higher education and environmental initiatives in the UAE. He also volunteered with the Boys’ Education Network (BEN) at NYU Abu Dhabi, facilitating workshops on leadership, community-building, and empathy with local secondary school students. Abdulla interned with Dubai Exports, the UAE’s National Program for Advanced Skills, and the UAE Education and Human Resources Council (EHRC) during his college career. For his commitment and hard work, Abdulla was selected as a 2020 UAE Rhodes Scholar.

Portrait of Haitian Ma.

Haitian Ma

NYU Shanghai

Haitian Ma from Kunshan, China, dislikes the conventional. The Humanities major chose NYU Shanghai because of its unconventional model of education, which allowed her to pursue not only her interest in humanities but her interests across a range of disciplines, including translation, history, gender studies, and media and technology, areas she has explored through NYU in New York City as well as in Amsterdam. Haitian is a Rhodes China 2020 finalist and has received the Clarendon Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where she will study Humanities at the graduate level.

Portrait of Gretha Suarez.

Gretha Suarez

Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Born in Los Palos, a rural town in Cuba that was named for the stick fence that the first train passengers saw as they whizzed by in their speeding locomotives, it seems fitting that Gretha Suarez would develop an interest in transportation and urban planning. At age 10, Gretha migrated with her family to Miami, Florida. After college, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to research safety and accessibility of Mumbai’s public bus system in an underprivileged minority neighborhood. Upon her return to the United States, Gretha worked for Partnerships for Parks, a private-public partnership of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and City Parks Foundation, as an outreach coordinator in Queens. However, she felt that with a degree in urban planning from NYU Wagner, she could have even more impact in the realm of public transportation. After interning with the New York City Department of Transportation in 2019, Gretha landed a full-time job with the agency, where she currently works in the Queens Borough Commissioner’s Office as a Borough Planner.

Portrait of Brittany Taam.

Brittany Taam

Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Giving back to the community and connecting with people has been a common theme throughout Brittany Taam’s life. Born and raised in Cupertino, California, Brittany, a Nursing major with a Global Public Health minor, decided on NYU Meyers for college because she wanted to live and learn from distinguished faculty in cutting-edge facilities in one of the most exciting cities in the world. She was awarded the McClure Scholarship and the Harriet Heilbrunn Nursing Scholarship through NYU Meyers, has been named a University Scholar, and is graduating cum laude. Brittany served as the president of the Undergraduate Nursing Student Organization (UNSO) at Meyers, was an Admissions Ambassador, a Welcome Week Captain, a member of NYU Dancers/Choreographers Alliance, a member of the NYU Dance Team, and was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Postgraduation, Brittany will work as a licensed registered nurse among the pediatric population.

Portrait of Michael Clark.

Michael Clark

School of Global Public Health

By the time he graduates with his master’s in Public Health, Michael Clark will have lived enough for two or three lifetimes. He’s been a combat medic in the US Army Reserves, a user interface developer for IBM, an HIV prevention educator, and a personal fitness trainer. He has been to Abu Dhabi with NYU’s Global and Environmental Public Health Program and took part in a global epidemic communication strategies course in partnership with UNICEF. He was one of 10 Gallatin Global Human Rights Fellows chosen to go to Kenya, where he completed an independent study project on LGBTQI health, and he was part of a small group of his classmates to lead an assistance program for students immediately following the switch to remote instruction following the COVID-19 outbreak. Upon graduation, Michael will join the Center for LGBT Health Research and begin a doctoral degree in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.

Portrait of Maria Kim.

Maria Kim

School of Law

Maria Kim chose NYU Law because of its reputation and location. But what she found when she got here surprised her: a tight-knit community that quickly became central to her experience. Not only did Maria excel in her studies, she also volunteered to support her classmates by becoming a community adviser (CA). When Maria wasn’t mentoring others, she was editing articles for the Journal of Law and Business, working as a teaching assistant to Professor Arthur Miller, acting as an events officer for the Christian Legal Fellowship, and serving on the committees for Law Women and the Residence Services’ Students Association. After graduation, Maria will join the firm Clifford Chance, where she hopes to work in mergers and acquisitions.

Portrait of Sena Pottackal.

Sena Pottackal

School of Professional Studies

From an early age, Sena Pottackal felt it was her responsibility to use her skills to help others. This calling was foremost in her mind when she chose the School of Professional Studies (SPS) for her graduate studies. Challenged and motivated by her blindness, Sena, a Public Relations and Corporate Communication major, wanted to learn how to use PR to help create and expand opportunities for people with disabilities. At NYU, she served as a student senator at-large for students with disabilities; contributed to the Provost’s Disabilities, Inclusion, and Accessibility Working Group; completed the Social Sector Leadership Diversity Fellowship; and joined the SPS Community Service Committee. In 2019, Sena earned a New York Women in Communications scholarship and landed coveted internships at Weber Shandwick and NBCUniversal. After graduation, Sena plans to pursue an MBA at the Stern School of Business.

Portrait of Jaime Baumann.

Jaime Baumann

Silver School of Social Work

Jaime Baumann, from Greenwood Lake, NY, is an engaged and enthusiastic student leader at NYU Silver’s Rockland County campus. Since beginning her Master of Social Work degree in January 2019, she has demonstrated academic excellence, was inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society, and received the $5,000 Simon Fund Scholarship. Jaime has been steadfast in her commitment to making her commuter campus a home away from home for its students. In her role as a Student Leadership Council member, she helped first-year students transition into the Master of Social Work program and went above and beyond to cultivate a welcoming community where Rockland students feel connected to and supported by the rest of their NYU peers.

Portrait of Ethelyn Geschwind

Ethelyn Geschwind

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

For Ethelyn Geschwind, earning an MA in Education is a dream deferred. She says her high school teachers dissuaded her from pursuing a career as a math teacher, so she got a degree in chemical engineering. Later, she earned an MBA from the Stern School of Business and worked in the corporate world. When she decided to retire, Ethelyn found her desire to teach intact, so she enrolled in Steinhardt’s Teacher Residency program, which allowed her to work full time in the classroom while earning her degree and teacher certification online within one year. Upon graduation, Ethelyn plans to work as a math teacher in a high-need school in New York City.

Portrait of Daniela Blanco.

Daniela Blanco

Tandon School of Engineering

After earning her bachelor’s degree at Universidad Simón Bolívar in her native Venezuela, Daniela Blanco came to NYU to pursue her PhD in Chemical Engineering. While working in the research group of Professor Miguel Modestino, she focused her PhD research on electrochemistry, clean energy, and sustainable chemical manufacturing. Daniela is a cofounder of Sunthetics, a start-up working to make the chemical industry more sustainable through artificial intelligence–based, electrically driven manufacturing processes. Sunthetics previously participated in the NYU Leslie eLab’s J-Term Startup Sprint and won both NYU Stern’s $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge and Tandon’s InnoVention Competition. The venture also took home first prize in the technology track at the University Startup World Cup in 2018. Daniela has been individually recognized as the Brightest AI/CI Mind in 2019 by Minds and Tech and the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence as well as the 2019 US Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. She was also recently named a graduate winner of the 2020 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize.

Portrait of Anna Betts.

Anna Betts

Tisch School of the Arts

Anna Betts, who is earning her BFA in Photography and Imaging, hails from Brighton, England. She came to NYU because it afforded her the opportunity to explore topics outside her major, which led her to minor in Political Science. Her growing interest in politics and social justice greatly influenced her senior thesis, Love & Rage: The New Faces of Climate Activism, a photo series profiling young New Yorkers who helped organize the September 2019 climate strike and continue to raise awareness of the climate crisis. Anna’s thesis project was profiled in Teen Vogue, where she also contributes as a photojournalist and writer. Anna has interned at NBCUniversal, interned and freelanced for Marc Jacobs, and worked as a gallery intern at the Guy Hepner art gallery. She was also a recipient of the 2019 Gordon Parks Foundation Scholarship. After graduation Anna hopes to pursue a career as a documentary photographer, focusing on issues of political and social justice.