Among the more than 18,000 graduates in the Class of 2021, we highlight exceptional students from each of our schools and colleges. The profiles below were published in May 2021.

Meet Our Student Speaker

Portrait of Diya Radhakrishna, Student Speaker.

Diya Radhakrishna

Liberal Studies

As a Global Liberal Studies major concentrating in politics, rights, and development and a double minor in German and Psychology, Diya Radhakrishna embarked upon a challenging course load right from the start. During her time at NYU, Diya has been on the Dean’s Honors List multiple times, participated in the highly selective Dean’s Circle honors seminar, and completed her senior thesis titled, “‘A Place Marked by Difference’: Divisions, Reunifications, and Identities in the Punjabi and Vietnamese Diasporas,” a topic she chose to focus on because of her personal background, study abroad experience, and academic interests. “I’m from India, a country that experienced the largest mass migration in human history as a result of partition,” she says. “I also spent a year studying away in Berlin, Germany—another place whose present communities speak to divided pasts in the most fascinating ways. My thesis looks at the Punjabi and Vietnamese diasporas, in Canada and Germany respectively, as heterogeneous, diverse communities originating from home countries with histories of separation. Identity is incredibly multifaceted. When we talk about topics like integration or living in multicultural societies, it’s crucial to consider diasporas and migrant communities beyond monolithic depictions.”

I’ll take this quest for multiple narratives with me beyond NYU. It’s something I will apply not only in my professional and academic life but also in my personal relationships in order to practice inclusivity and contribute to making society more equitable.

Featured Class of 2021 Graduates

Graduates' names are listed below in alphabetical order by school.

Schools A–R

Schools R–Z

Portrait of Adler Guerrero Zuniga.

Adler Guerrero Zúñiga

College of Arts and Science

As a young boy in Peru, Adler Guerrero Zúñiga was fascinated by fish. “It’s how I fell in love with science,” he says. “In the Andes Mountains, there were these ponds with a bunch of fish in them, and I’d always wonder, ‘Why is this fish colorful? Why is this one not?’ When I came to Long Island, I started mating betta fish to sell them as a side hustle, and I eventually turned it into a biology project for my high school.” If it weren’t for those fish, Adler says, “I’d probably be doing something completely different.” At NYU, Adler majored in Honors Biology and Chemistry on the prehealth track, which allowed him to study topics like cancer biology, molecular biology, and developmental biology. He was a member of the Placantonakis Lab at NYU Langone Health (led by Dr. Dimitris Placantonakis), where he conducted research on brain cancer, and he was awarded the Amgen Scholars Program summer research fellowship in 2020. Adler also served as a University Learning Center tutor, the president of the Minority Association for Pre-Med and Science Students, and a mentor to local high school students.

Portrait of Emilie Grodman.

Emilie Grodman

College of Dentistry

After volunteering for an organization called Health Care for the Homeless in New Orleans, Emilie Grodman decided to pursue dentistry. “That’s what really solidified it for me,” she says. “Health Care for the Homeless provides free dental care to the homeless and people undergoing rehabilitation. I saw patients who had been through so much come in with maybe a handful of teeth. They couldn’t eat. They couldn’t speak. They couldn’t smile. They couldn’t get jobs. And then we could deliver full upper and lower dentures and change their lives in three appointments.” Ultimately, Emilie chose NYU because of their outreach programs and research opportunities. “There were these really amazing opportunities to build your own research project,” she says, “and research was just so accessible. I started my research as an incoming dental student with no prior experience, and that’s really where my love for research began.” In addition to her traditional dental courses, Emilie took various honors courses like Honors in Oral Pathology and Honors in Oral Maxillofacial Surgery. Outside of the classroom, Emilie participated in the Student Leadership Track and presented her research at several symposiums like the Hinman Student Research Symposium in Memphis, Tennessee, and the American Association for Dental Research General Session in Vancouver, Canada. Upon graduation, Emilie will work as a noncategorical first-year oral surgery resident at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Portrait of Kaylee LaMarche.

Kaylee LaMarche

Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Kaylee Lamarche chose the Gallatin School of Individualized Study because she wanted to keep pursuing both of her passions: dance and science. “Gallatin allowed me to create this grand master work of all my interests across the board,” says Kaylee. “I took a lot of my dance classes through the Tisch School of the Arts and then other classes in anthropology, philosophy, and biology, plus interdisciplinary courses, through Gallatin.” Kaylee’s coursework culminated in an individualized concentration called plagues, epidemics, and disease. She focused her studies on the concept of contagiousness and how it can impact both identity formation and social structures over time. During the summer of 2019, Kaylee received the NYU Gallatin/Africa House Bergman Summer Fellowship Award, which allowed her to study contagiousness and infectious disease at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She’ll pursue a Master of Public Health in the fall.

Portrait of Stefan Bucher.

Stefan Bucher

Graduate School of Arts and Science

After completing a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at ETH Zürich and his second master’s at the London School of Economics, Stefan Bucher moved to the United States to pursue a PhD in Economics. “I chose NYU for my PhD because it has one of the world’s best economics departments,” he says. “Plus, the faculty is really world-class.” Besides working on his dissertation, Stefan joined the NYU Chorale ensemble and later sang with The Cecilia Chorus of New York, where he got the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall. After graduation, Stefan will continue his academic research as a postdoc with Professor Peter Dayan at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Portrait of Allyson Alfonso.

Allyson Alfonso

Grossman School of Medicine

From a young age, Allyson Alfonso knew she wanted to be a doctor. “The understanding that there was some kind of profession out there I could truly work hard toward and then help people in the end led me to pursue medical school,” she says. During her time at NYU, Allyson trained in various health-care settings, including Veterans Affairs, NYU Langone Health, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue. She volunteered (and continues to volunteer) at a nonprofit called myFace—which sparked her interest in plastic surgery—and conducted research on concepts like wound healing and transplantation. Outside of the classroom, Allyson participated in Student Council, the Violet Society Program peer mentorship, and intramural sports including the All-University Games and the Violet Society Olympics. After graduation, she will continue her education at NYU for her residency in plastic surgery and complete a Master of Health Professions Education degree.

Portrait of Thomas Khadoo.

Thomas Khadoo

Leonard N. Stern School of Business

When it came time for college, Thomas Khadoo knew he’d most likely stay close to home. “I was born and raised in Queens, so I kind of always envisioned myself staying in New York to live and learn,” he says. At NYU, Thomas majored in Business with concentrations in finance and entrepreneurship. As a Business major, Thomas took a breadth of classes to explore his interests. “I wanted to be well-rounded, so I took a lot of social science, creative writing, and social impact classes. Focusing in finance gave me all the hard skills I needed, while concentrating in entrepreneurship kind of balanced that out with soft skills.” Beyond the classroom, Thomas served as the president of the NYU Stern Undergraduate College Street Team, supported underrepresented students as a member of the Supporting Excellence and Advocating Diversity (SEAD) initiative, participated as a mentor for the Academic Achievement Program, and was a member of the Stern Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He also spent ample time working as a digital communications intern for the school. After graduation, Thomas plans to work in public service for a year before attaining his master’s degree in Public Policy.

Portrait of Tamara Moctezuma.

Tamara Moctezuma

Liberal Studies

Tamara Moctezuma chose NYU after attending an admissions event in Houston, Texas. “They were talking about all of the global opportunities and studying abroad, and that really spoke to the college experience I wanted to have,” she says. “I remember thinking that it’d be a great opportunity to travel and live in different places and have a built-in support network while you do so.” Ultimately, Tamara majored in Global Liberal Studies with a concentration in politics, rights, and development. After her first two years at NYU, she delved deeper into her major, taking more specialized courses like International Diplomacy and Human Rights Law. Tamara’s coursework culminated with her thesis on the Inter-American System for the protection of human rights. She also completed three different internships during her time at NYU. Tamara is graduating as the valedictorian of her school, and she will go on to complete a master’s in Human Rights and Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Portrait of Gabrielle Branche.

Gabrielle (Gabi) Branche

NYU Abu Dhabi

Before Gabrielle Branche attended Candidate Weekend, she wasn’t sure if NYU Abu Dhabi was the right place for her. But once she got to campus, she fell in love. “I just thought it was such a unique community,” she says. “There were so many international students, and it seemed like an interesting way of going through classes and learning.” Throughout her college career, Gabi studied at all three NYU campuses. She began her first year at NYU Abu Dhabi and then went to NYU Shanghai to study dance and interactive media. In the fall semester of her junior year, she returned to Abu Dhabi and then traveled to New York City to complete her dance concentration. “From the beginning, I knew I wanted to study dance. I could either spend one semester in New York City taking only dance courses, or I could split it up between Shanghai and New York City. Once I switched my major from Biology to Interactive Media, I realized that I could get the best of both worlds at Shanghai because it’s known for its interactive media arts program.” As an Interactive Media major, Gabi took classes in web development, virtual reality, and bio-art. For her Capstone Project, she weaved together her interests in physical computing and dance. Aside from her studies, Gabi contributed to the First Year Dialogue program, served as copresident of the Dance Society, and was a founding member of the Caribbean Students Association.

Portrait of Xinze Li.

Xinze Li

NYU Shanghai

Born in the Gansu province of China, Xinze Li chose to attend NYU Shanghai because of his love for his home country. “The inclusive community at NYU Shanghai satisfied my expectations of a university,” he says. “Plus, I was trying not to live too far from home.” At NYU Shanghai, Xinze majored in Global China Studies, which required him to take courses in Chinese history as well as other courses from a social science and philosophy perspective. In addition to his schoolwork, Xinze participated in the Dean’s Service Scholars program where he had the opportunity to explore different regions of China. He also served as the vice secretary of the Youth League and taught NYU students in New York City how to take classes via Zoom during the pandemic. After graduation, Xinze hopes to work at NYU Shanghai so he can share his own experiences with incoming students.

Portrait of Bria Mathis.

Bría Mathis

Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

When Bría Mathis started her search for graduate programs, she knew that she wanted to stay local. She also knew she wanted a program that felt contemporary. “I wanted to be able to study a wide array of things,” she says, “and Wagner offered a lot of amazing courses that covered just about everything. What also attracted me was the fact that you’d be taught by practitioners working in the field. So there was that connectivity to the New York City landscape as well.” Ultimately, Bría pursued a master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in management and leadership, which she chose because of her prior experience working for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. “I worked with really high-level professionals there, and I realized how important being a good leader is,” she says. “Being able to set a vision and getting people to follow are huge parts of how the work gets done, but not enough study and intentionality is put into them.” Outside of the classroom, Bría served as the chair of the Wagner City Government Network and worked as a project assistant for the Office of Student and Alumni Engagement.

Portrait of Hannah Moses.

Hannah Moses

Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Since high school, Hannah Moses always thought she’d end up in the medical field working as a surgeon or a bioengineer who made prosthetics. When she started touring colleges, though, Hannah switched her focus to nursing. “While I was touring schools, a few of them mentioned their nursing programs,” she says, “so I researched the most accredited nursing schools around New Jersey because I didn’t want to be far from my family. I also knew I wanted to be in a city. So that narrowed down my choices,” she says. “NYU became the perfect fit for me. It allowed me to pursue a minor and study abroad while still getting a degree in nursing.” As a traditional Nursing major, Hannah took courses like Microbiology, Introduction to Modern Chemistry, and Nutrition and Health and completed her clinical requirements in different health-care settings like Mount Sinai, NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, and NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn. Outside of her coursework, Hannah served as the president of the Undergraduate Student Nursing Organization (UNSO) and as a resident assistant in Founders Hall. After graduation, she hopes to work as a registered nurse for NYU Langone Health or another hospital in Manhattan.

Portrait of Dalhia Gouba.

Dalhia Gouba

School of Global Public Health

Before attending NYU, Dalhia Gouba earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and then a bachelor’s degree in Biology on the premed track. But after she became a mother, Dalhia started to rethink her career path. “As I grew up, I started to think deeper about the meaning of life and how I could make a change in other people’s lives,” she says. “I think that public health is one of the most impactful professions you can have. Saving lives is great, but if doctors or medical providers don’t have the right policies in place or the right support from the government in place, there’s only so much they can do. So that’s why I decided to get my Master of Public Health.” When searching for a graduate school, Dalhia had two key qualities in mind: diversity and inclusion. “Everywhere I’ve been besides my country, I’ve been a minority,” she says. “So it was very important for me to go to a place where it’s not just about diversity but also inclusion. I looked at the faculty, the student body, the alumni—NYU is different. You really see every continent represented. To be my authentic self—that’s what I was looking for.” During her time at NYU, Dalhia worked as the community engagement coordinator at the Office of the New York City Public Advocate. She also served as a COVID-19 contract tracer. She now works as the special assistant to the CEO at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.

Portrait of Jes Tenaglia.

Jes Tenaglia

School of Law

For Jesica Tenaglia, the dream of becoming a lawyer happened when she got DACA and started interning at organizations that fight for immigrant rights. “It was powerful to work with the community that I saw myself reflected in,” she says. After finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley, Jesica served as an immigration paralegal for three years at a nonprofit in Oakland, California. That’s when she started applying to law schools. Ultimately, Jesica chose NYU for three reasons. First, most of her family lived on the East Coast. Second, NYU offered a lot of funding opportunities for students interested in public service. Finally, she received the full-tuition Latinx Rights Scholarship. At NYU Law, Jesica focused her coursework on immigrant rights and the injustices within the criminal legal system. She participated in the Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC), served as the copresident of the Latinx Law Students Association (LaLSA), and completed internships with the Bronx Defenders and the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. After graduation, Jesica will continue her work at the Bronx Defenders as a staff attorney with their Immigration Defense Practice.

Portrait of Jake Drucker.

Jake Drucker

School of Professional Studies

From ages 15 to 19, Jake Drucker played as a junior professional hockey player in New England and Canada. College was the furthest thing from his mind. But as hockey became more stressful, Jake looked for ways to clear his head. “I started taking online college courses and that’s when I realized that I was actually really good at school,” he says. From there, Jake set his sights on college. After NYU recruited him for the hockey team, Jake initially applied to the College of Arts and Science where he was rejected due to a lack of credits. Despite the rejection, Jake wasn’t deterred. “I really wanted to come here,” he says. “I knew this was the spot for me, so I did some research and found that the School of Professional Studies (SPS) had a bachelor’s program. But I needed 60 credits to start, and I only had 33. So from mid-June to August, I took nine online classes at my community college.” After a whirlwind application process, Jake ultimately ended up at SPS as a Social Sciences major with a concentration in organizational behavior and change. His coursework included classes like International Human Resource Management, Managing Diversity in the Global Workplace, and International Trade and Investment. Aside from his studies, Jake served as an orientation leader, a student senator, and the vice president of the Student Association for Applied Studies (SAAS). After graduation, he’ll pursue a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

Portrait of Sonia Cornejo.

Sonia Cornejo

Silver School of Social Work

While Sonia Cornejo completed her master’s degree in Social Work, she worked as a full-time student, a full-time employee, and a full-time parent. “It’s a 16-month program,” she says, “so my schedule was very much packed.” When comparing graduate programs, Sonia ultimately selected the NYU Silver School of Social Work because of its course offerings. She also enjoyed the vibe she got from her campus visit. “Dr. Aminda Heckman suggested I attend a class for nonmatriculated students, so that’s what I did,” she says. “I loved the environment, and I really enjoyed the professor. I think all of that contributed to my decision to join the program.” Within her master’s program, Sonia took traditional social work courses like Human Behavior in the Social Environment along with mini-electives like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Immigrant Families: Stressors. Outside of her coursework, Sonia completed two internships. After graduation, she will continue her work as a clinician at Saint Basil Academy in Garrison, New York, where she’ll work with children in need and single mothers using therapeutic interventions as well as vocational and employment support.

Portrait of Shanteria Carr

Shanteria Carr

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Dr. Shanteria Carr currently works as an occupational therapist for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). She chose to pursue her clinical doctorate in Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt because of the program’s flexibility. “The program allows practicing practitioners to work full time while managing courses,” says Shanteria. “I was able to select specialization courses based on my clinical area of pediatrics practice and leadership, which allowed me to develop my skills as a clinician further.” Although her courses were online, they were streamed live in real time, which meant she could still foster relationships with professors and engage with other doctoral candidates. In addition to her schoolwork, Shanteria conducted research that ultimately led to the development of educational resources for parents. After graduation, Shanteria plans to transition to providing early intervention services through community-based programs as an occupational therapist in Newark, New Jersey. She will also start a career in academics to continue her research on the eradication of health disparities within the health-care profession.

Portrait of Adriana Pink.

Adriana Pink

Tandon School of Engineering

Apart from her passion for engineering, Adriana Pink chose Tandon because of the diversity in the student population and NYU’s core values. “There are so many students who have so much creativity and are so talented,” she says. “I wanted to be engaged in that surrounding and use NYU’s cross-functional aspects to help me flourish into the best engineer I could be.” As a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major, Adriana took a rigorous course load of classes on topics like polymers, heat transport, and thermodynamics. Outside of her coursework, Adriana participated in NYU’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP), served as the president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and interned for Walt Disney Imagineering in 2020. After graduation, Adriana will work as an associate offering manager for IBM in New York City.

Portrait of Zahra Budhwani.

Zahra Budhwani

Tisch School of the Arts

Zahra Budhwani chose Tisch because she liked its combined focus on the arts and academics. This meant that she could earn her degree in Drama while also completing a minor in Global and Urban Education Studies. Upon acceptance, Zahra was placed into the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, where she took courses in acting, directing, playwriting, and design. She performed as an actor in various productions, served as an assistant director, and even devised her own show called The Mother Cycle. In addition to her coursework, Zahra spent a semester abroad in China at NYU Shanghai and completed various internships, two of which she’ll continue after graduation.