Photo of Karen Ortman with the You Matter! logo.

Associate Vice President, Campus Safety Operations NYU-NY, Karen Ortman hosts the You Matter! podcast.

Hosted by Karen Ortman, Associate Vice President, Campus Safety Operations NYU-NY

The You Matter! podcast was developed in 2019 by the Department of Public Safety to inform the NYU community about resources that are available to victims of violence, assault or other criminal behaviors, both on and off campus, and to give first-hand experiences of victims and those in the community who assist them. To contact the You Matter! team, email us at You can also call Public Safety's Victims Services Unit at 212.998.2222.

Season 4

6.11.21 - Episode 69: Kathy Kleiner Rubin, Ted Bundy Survivor

In our season finale, Karen speaks with Kathy Kleiner Rubin who was a student at Florida State University and a member of the Chi Omega Sorority. She was living in the sorority house in 1978 when serial killer Ted Bundy broke into the house, murdered two of Kathy’s sorority sisters and attempted to kill Kathy and her roommate Karen. Kathy and Karen survived Bundy’s brutal attack, and Kathy is here to share her story.

6.4.21 - Episode 68: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Author of The Body Keeps the Score- Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma

In this episode, Karen speaks with Bessel van der Kolk, MD, a clinician, researcher, and teacher best known for his work with post-traumatic stress; he is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Body Keeps the Score. Dr. van der Kolk has been active in the field of mental health since the 1970s and currently serves as medical director at the Trauma Center in Boston.

5.28.21 - Episode 67: Transgender Female, Sara, and her Mom Katie

Katie is a returning guest from Season 2 who shared her story as the mother of transgender daughter Sara. Katie returns with Sara so that Sara can share her story in the hopes that it could help another young transgender person going through similar difficulties.

5.21.21 - Episode 66: Cancer Survivor Michelle and her husband, Brian

Both attorneys, guests Michelle and Brian speak with Karen about Michelle's cancer diagnosis in 2015. They recount their journey from cancer discovery to diagnosis and recovery, and how cancer has impacted their lives, both professionally and personally.

5.14.21 - Episode 65: Lauri Loewenberg, Dream Expert

In this episode, Karen explores the science and meaning behind dreams with certified dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg. A dream expert to the stars, Lauri is also an author, syndicated columnist, popular radio personality, and member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

5.7.21 - Episode 64: Dr. Robert Ackerman, Co-Founder of Adult Children of Alcoholics, Author of Perfect Daughters: Adult Daughters of Alcoholics

In this episode, Karen speaks with Dr. Robert J. Ackerman, Professor Emeritus from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, an author, and the previous Director of the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute. He is the co-founder of the National Association for Children of Addiction and the previous Editor of Counselor: The Magazine for Addiction and Behavioral Health Professionals, and currently the Chair of the Advisory Board. Dr. Ackerman talks about his bestselling book, Perfect Daughters: Adult Daughters of Alcoholics, a pivotal book in the Adult Children of Alcoholics movement.

4.30.21 - Episode 63: Dr. Russell Surasky, Managing Opioid Addiction

In this episode, Karen speaks with Dr. Russell Surasky, a leading opioid addiction specialist and currently the only board certified physician in both neurology and addictions treatment in the United States, about managing opioid addiction.

4.23.21 - Episode 62: Detective Alicia Bergondo, Human Trafficking Investigations

Alicia Bergondo is a detective with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office located in Trenton, NJ, assigned to the Human Trafficking Unit. In this episode, Detective Bergondo discusses human trafficking investigations and how her Unit serves the citizens of Mercer County, NJ.

4.16.21 - Episode 61:Theresa Flores, Human Trafficking Survivor and Advocate, Founder of the SOAP Project

In this episode, Karen speaks with Theresa Flores, a survivor and author who travels the United States to share her story of being trafficked and used as a sex slave as a teenager, all while living under her parents roof in an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit, Michigan.

4.9.21 - Episode 60: Kristen and Shawn Connor, Rett Syndrome Awareness

Kristen and Shawn are the parents of Brynn who is now 9-years-old; as a toddler, Brynn was diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder that disrupts a child’s communication, coordination, muscle control, and growth over time. The condition most often affects young girls, although it can affect boys as well. Kristen and Shawn share their daughter's story to bring awareness to Rett Syndrome, for which there is currently no known cure.

4.2.21 - Episode 59: Erin Runnion, Mother of 5-year-old Murder Victim Samantha

In this episode, Karen speaks with Erin Runnion, mother of 5-year-old murder victim Samantha. After the arrest of the offender, the subsequent trial and conviction, Erin and her partner founded The Joyful Child Foundation, a national organization that works to help prevent the sexual abuse and abduction of children by educating children, their parents and the community.

3.26.21 - Episode 58: Kit Gruelle, Domestic Violence Survivor and Advocate

Kit Gruelle is a domestic violence survivor and a 30-year advocate for battered women and their children. Kit is the subject of the HBO movie Private Violence, an intimate and compelling documentary on domestic violence.

3.19.21 - Episode 57: Grace Strobel, Down Syndrome Advocate, Speaker and Model

In this episode, Grace Strobel, a passionate Down Syndrome advocate and model whose mission is to change society's view and perception of people with disabilities, speaks with Karen about her program, the Grace Effect, and her drive to help others. Grace's parents, Linda and Jeff join the conversation.

3.12.21 - Episode 56: Paula Stone Williams, Prominent Evangelical Pastor and Transgender Woman

Paula Stone Williams was Paul Williams for 60 years, the married father of three and a prominent evangelical pastor. Paul came out to his family as transgender and soon after, became Paula. Paula talks about her transition and personal experience as a woman.

3.5.21 - Episode 55: Sean Escobar, Sexual Abuse Survivor

Sean Escobar was sexually abused as a child by someone who was the pillar of his community; the offender was a respected figure in the Mormon Church and a founder of the Sundance Film Festival. Sean was silent about the abuse from 1993 until 2019, when he came forward after confronting his abuser.

2.26.21 - Episode 54: Maeve DuVally, Managing Director of Communications, Goldman Sachs

In this episode, Maeve DuVally, Managing Director of Communications at Goldman Sachs, shares her story as a transgender female, the evolution of which occurred while working at the financial services giant, Goldman Sachs.

2.19.21 - Episode 53: Karen Nercessian, NYU Associate Vice Provost for Strategy and Chief of Staff to the Provost

In this episode, NYU Associate Vice Provost for Strategy and Chief of Staff to the Provost Karen Nercessian discusses her personal journey from cancer discovery, to diagnosis and recovery, and how this journey has impacted her life both professionally and personally.

2.12.21 - Episode 52: Billy Bean, Vice President of Social Responsibility and Inclusion and Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Major League Baseball

Billy Bean played Major League Baseball from 1987 to 1995 as an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres. During this time, Billy was living life as a closeted gay man. In this episode, Billy shares his story that is well documented in his memoir, Going the Other Way, and discusses his role as Major League Baseball’s first Ambassador for Inclusion. Bean is now the Vice President of Social Responsibility and Inclusion and Special Assistant to the Commissioner.

2.5.21 - Episode 51: Tyler and Laura Perino, Hazing Survivor

Tyler Perino, the survivor of college hazing rituals while a student at Miami University in Ohio, and his mother Laura, talk with Karen about Tyler's experience in an effort to educate others regarding the dangers of hazing and to stop hazing on college campuses.

1.29.21 - Episode 50: Fountain Walker, Vice President Global Campus Safety, NYU

Fountain Walker, Vice President of Global Campus Safety at New York University's Department of Public Safety discusses his role in the Department with Karen and shares his vision and insight regarding safety here in New York City and on campus.

Season 3

12.11.20 - Episode 49: Cindy Liccardo and Lew Korngut, Megan's Law

On this episode of You Matter!, Cindy Liccardo, former senior Mercer County assistant prosecutor and chief of the Megan's Law unit, and Lew Korngut, former Mercer County assistant prosecutor and chief of the homicide task force, speak with Karen about the origins of Megan's Law.

12.4.20 - Episode 48: Dr. Greg McDonald, Pathology of Drug Abuse

In this episode, Dr. Greg McDonald returns to the You Matter! podcast to speak about the pathology of drug abuse. Dr. McDonald is the Chief Deputy coroner from Montgomery County, Pa., and the Dean of the School of Health Sciences, and the chair of the department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

11.27.20 - Episode 47: Juan Acosta, LGBTQ+ and Mental Health Activist

In this episode, Karen speaks with Juan Acosta, a young activist who has dedicated his life to fighting on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly as it pertains to the LGBTQ+ rights and its intersection with mental health, shares his story and speaks about his book, published together with Lady Gaga.

11.20.20 - Episode 46: Monique Riley, CEO of Freedom Youth and Human Trafficking Survivor

On this episode of You Matter!, Monique Riley, a sex trafficking survivor and the founder and CEO of Freedom Youth, New York City in the Bronx, shares information about her organization that helps victims and survivors of trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault.

11.13.20 - Episode 45: Shelby, Recovering Pill and Alcohol Addict

In this episode, Shelby, a recovering pill and alcohol addicted person, who after seven years of addiction is now sober, will share her journey through addiction, sobriety, and professional success as a social worker for special needs kids.

11.6.20 - Episode 44: Katie Hood, One Love Foundation

Katie Hood, CEO, speaks about her organization, One Love Foundation, the nation’s leading educator of young people on the topic of healthy and unhealthy relationships, as both a primary prevention strategy for relationship abuse and as an investment in the relationship health of the next generation.

10.30.20 - Episode 43: Ava Liv and Mark Mabry

In this episode of You Matter!, father-daughter singing duo Mark and Ava Mabry perform their original song Eating Alone, and discuss sexual exploitation, harassment, and victimization.

10.23.20 - Episode 42: Mandy Bass, Home Invasion Survivor

Mandy Bass, survivor of a home invasion that almost killed her, shares her journey of recovery that resulted in Mandy forgiving her attacker.

10.16.20 - Episode 41: Tim Hesler, Financial Health and Wellness

In this episode of You Matter!, Tim Hesler, a certified treasury professional and assistant treasurer, global banking, cash management and treasury operations for New York University, speaks with Karen about financial health and safety.

10.9.20 - Episode 40: Sergeant Joe Paglione, Special Victims Unit

Sergeant Joe Paglione, supervisor of the Special Victims Unit in the Mercer County, New Jersey, Prosecutor's Office, speaks about his unit and how it serves both adults and children in Mercer County.

10.2.20 - Episode 39: Jane Reynolds, Forensic Nurse Examiner

Jane Reynolds, a forensic nurse examiner and Coordinator of the Sexual Assault Response Team in Mercer County, New Jersey, speaks about the treatment and care of sexual assault victims.

9.25.20 - Episode 38: Jim and Evelyn Piazza, Hazing on College Campuses

In this episode, Jim and Evelyn Piazza tell the story of their son, Tim, and speak about their mission to stop hazing on college campuses.

9.18.20 - Episode 37: Gabrielle, Dating Violence and Sexual Assault Survivor

In this episode, Gabrielle, a dating violence and sexual assault survivor, shares her story with Karen.

9.11.20 - Episode 36: Quentin Vennie, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Wellness Expert

Karen speaks with author, motivational speaker and wellness expert Quentin Vennie about his bestselling memoir, Strong In The Broken Places and his work  featured in the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Entrepreneur, Fox News, MindBodyGreen, and others. 

9.4.20 - Episode 35: Jodee Blanco, Author and Survivor Turned Activist

Karen speaks with Jodee Blanco, author, bullying survivor turned activist and NYU graduate, about her New York Times' Bestseller, Please Stop Laughing at Me, and her in-school program, It's Not Just Joking Around.

8.28.20 - Episode 34: Eric LeGrand

Karen opens Season 3 of You Matter! with former Rutgers football player, Eric LeGrand. After suffering a severe spinal cord injury in 2010, Eric became a motivational speaker and source of inspiration and hope for many. Eric speaks about his love of football, his injury and perseverance, and his foundation, Team LeGrand.

Season 2

5.15.20 - Episode 33: Heba Nassef Gore, Esq.: The Clery Act, Timely Warnings, and Accreditation

NYU Assistant Vice President, Professional Standards Heba Nassef Gore, Esq. visits with Karen to speak about the Clery Act, Timely Warnings, and Accreditation, and how they enhance the safety of the NYU community. Please note, this episode was recorded remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

5.8.20 - Episode 32: The Polygraph, with Retired New Jersey State Police Lieutenant Thomas Paret

Retired New Jersey State Police Lieutenant Thomas Paret, formerly of the state police's polygraph unit, explains to Karen what a polygraph is, its purpose, and what it measures. Please note, this episode was recorded remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

5.1.20 - Episode 31: NYU Community Response and Investigations Units

Sergeant First Class Brian Doss from the Community Response Unit and Sergeants Gizelle Sanchez and Dan Gitter from the Investigations Unit visit with Karen and Sabah to explain the services they provide and how their teams enhance the safety of the NYU community.

4.24.20 - Episode 30: 'Katie', on Parenting a Transgender Child

'Katie' stops by to speak with Karen and Sabah about parenting her transgender daughter Sarah, who was designated a male at birth.

4.17.20 - Episode 29: Gaslighting with Maisie Breit, NYC Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence and Karen Wang, NYU Presidential Scholar

Maisie Breit from the NYC Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence returns to the You Matter! podcast to meet with Karen and NYU Presidential Scholar Karen Wang to discuss gaslighting: how to understand the signs, and the resources available in New York City that can help those affected.

4.10.20 - Episode 28: Cherie Aimée, near death survivor and heart transplant recipient

Near-death survivor, heart transplant recipient, and Ambassador to Columbia University and New York Presbyterian Hospital Cherie Aimée shares her story about crossing into another realm after going into cardiac arrest.

4.3.20 - Episode 27: Author and Thought Leader Leslie Morgan Steiner on Domestic Violence and Why Women Stay

Author, consultant, and thought leader Leslie Morgan Steiner discusses Women's Leadership, Overcoming Adversity and Surviving Violence Against Women speaks with Karen and Sabah about domestic violence and why women stay in those relationships.

3.27.20 - Episode 26: Dr. Denise Paone and Angela Jeffers, The Relay Program, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Dr. Denise Paone and Angela Jeffers from New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene speak about The Relay Program, a non-fatal opioid overdose response service for the New York City community.

3.20.20 - Episode 25: Sergeant Martindale and Police Officer Ayala, NYPD LGBTQ Outreach Unit

Sergeant Michelle Martindale and Police Officer Aaron Ayala speak about the New York City Police Department's LGBTQ Outreach Unit and how they work to foster community throughout New York City's five boroughs.

3.13.20 - Episode 24: Talia Markowitz, MPH - Human Rights Clinic at HealthRight International

Talia Markowitz, MPH, from the Human Rights Clinic at HealthRight International speaks about her organization's mission to empower marginalized communities to live healthy lives and the services it provides.

3.6.20 - Episode 23: Dr. Gregory McDonald, Forensic Pathologist

Dr. Gregory McDonald, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and the chair of the Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and chief deputy coroner for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, speaks about his experience, career trajectory, and passion for forensic pathology.

2.28.20 - Episode 22: Pat Schissel and Dena Gassner, The Asperger/Autism Network

Pat Schissel, New York Director at The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE), and Dena Gassner, PhD candidate at Adelphi University, Adjunct Faculty at Towson University and advisory board member for AANE speak about the services the Network provides to help build meaningful, connected lives.

2.21.20 - Episode 21: The Motherhood Center of New York

Catherine Birndorf, MD, and Paige Bellenbaum, LMSW, detail the services provided by their organization, The Motherhood Center of New York, a treatment center for pregnant and new mothers experiencing mood and anxiety disorders.

2.14.20 - Episode 20: Ashton Colby

Transgender Male Advocate Ashton Colby speaks about challenging transgender stereotypes and his passion for changing the manner in which the media tells transgender stories.

2.7.20 - Episode 19: Special Agent Susan A. Gibson, DEA

Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson from the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration speaks with Karen and Oatile about her role in narcotics investigations, upholding the federal Controlled Substances Act, and controlling the distribution of pharmaceuticals.

1.31.20 - Episode 18: Netizens - Cynthia Lowen and Nicole Fidler

Cynthia Lowen, Director and Producer of the 2018 documentary film Netizens, and Nicole Fidler, Esq. from Sanctuary for Families, speak about the documentary and the laws that govern online harassment and cyber sexual exploitation.

1.24.20 - Episode 17: Marlon Lynch, NYU Senior Vice President Campus Services and Safety

NYU Senior Vice President, Campus Services and Safety Marlon Lynch visits with Karen and Sabah to detail the story of his career trajectory, offer advice to students, and answer questions relating to public safety practices at NYU.

Season 1

12.6.19 - Episode 16: Alan Ross, The Samaritans of New York

Executive Director Alan Ross speaks with Karen and Mary about The Samaritans of New York and the services the organization provides as the only community-based organization in the NYC-Metropolitan area solely devoted to preventing suicide and helping people in crisis.

11.29.19 - Episode 15: Travel Safety at NYU

The NYU Department of Public Safety's Sean Hackett and Irene Cedano stop by to speak with Karen and Sabah about safety while traveling, including the university's enterprise travel system NYU Traveler, and what additional resources NYU community members abroad can access for assistance.

11.22.19 - Episode 14: NYC Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence

Tracey Downing and Maisie Breit from the NYC Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence visit with Karen and Sabah to explain the programs, training and education that the office provides to the New York City community.

11.15.19 - Episode 13: Bethany Godsoe, NYU Wasserman Center

Bethany Godsoe from the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development stops by the You Matter! studio to speak with Karen and Sabah about the Wasserman Center's services and how it can help in cases of job fraud and other career services challenges.

11.8.19 - Episode 12: Christopher Bromson, Crime Victims Treatment Center

This week on You Matter!, Christopher Bromson from the Crime Victims Treatment Center (CVTC) speaks with Karen and Sabah about CVTC's programs and how community members can access their services.

11.1.19 - Episode 11: Safe Horizon

This week on the You Matter! podcast, Wanda Lucibello and Saheli Kothari visit with Karen and Sabah to speak about Safe Horizon, its Crime Victim Assistance Program, and the resources it provides to the community.

10.25.19 - Episode 10: Bre Lasley, Fight Like Girls

Bre Lasley, founder of Fight Like Girls, visits the studio to speak about her survival of attempted murder, and how her experience led her to start an organization to empower women.

10.17.19 - Episode 09: Retired FBI Special Agent Barbara Daly

Retired FBI Special Agent Barbara Daly visits with Karen and Sabah to detail the elements of a stalking crime, advice on how to get help, and to tell the story of one of her more notable cases.

10.11.19 - Episode 08: Jennifer DeCarli and NYC Family Justice Centers

Jennifer DeCarli, Assistant Commissioner for NYC Family Justice Centers and Outreach at the Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence and colleagues Tracey Downing and Maisie Breit meet with Karen and Sabah to detail the NYC Family Justice Centers' free and confidential assistance for victims and survivors of domestic and gender-based violence, which can include sexual violence, human trafficking, stalking, and intimate partner violence.

10.4.19 - Episode 07: Nathaly and Jessica Morak, Sanctuary for Families

Nathaly, Cyber Sexual Exploitation Abuse Survivor, and Jessica Morak, attorney and advocate at Sanctuary for Families stop by the You Matter! studio to tell Nathaly's story and provide insight on the resources available at Sanctuary for Families, New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence.

9.27.19 - Episode 06: NYU Behavioral Intervention Team

Fountain L. Walker, Associate Vice President, Public Safety NYU - New York, and Thomas Ellett, Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs / Associate Vice Provost for University Programs, visit with Karen and Sabah to discuss NYU's Behavioral Intervention Team and the safety resources it provides to the University community.

9.20.19 - Episode 05: The NYU Immigrant Defense Initiative

Frances Davila, Staff Attorney at NYU's Immigrant Defense Initiative meets with Karen and Sabah to explain the program and how it can help NYU community members.

9.13.19 - Episode 04: LGBTQ+ Resources at NYU

Monroe France, NYU's Associate Vice President for Global Engagement and Inclusive Leadership, and Chris Woods, Director of NYU's LGBTQ+ Center, share LGBTQ+ resources and information available to the NYU community with Karen and Sabah.

9.6.19 - Episode 03: The Safe NYU App

Sean Hackett and William Karnadi from NYU Public Safety join Karen and Sabah for an in-depth discussion on the Safe NYU app and the resources it provides to the NYU community.

8.30.19 - Episode 02: Kate Baier

Kate Baier, NYU's Executive Director in NYU's Office of Residential Life and Student Housing drops by to detail the resources available to residential and commuter students.

8.23.19 - Episode 01: Carla

In the inaugural You Matter! podcast, Karen and Sabah speak with Carla, a NYU alumna and domestic violence survivor, as she shares her journey and the resources that assisted her, both on and off campus.


You Matter! Team

Karen Ortman, Creator and Host, Associate Vice President, Campus Safety Operations NYU-NY, NYU Public Safety
Matt Shelosky, Communications and Project Manager, NYU Public Safety, Steinhardt MA '13
Nichole Dingee Allinson, Administrative Project Coordinator, NYU Public Safety

Special Thanks

Sabah Fatima, Co-host, Seasons 1 and 2, School of Global Public Health MPH '20
Oatile Ramsey,
Co-host, Season 2, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Masters Student
Kyle Feehan,
Producer and Recording Engineer, Seasons 1 and 2, Steinhardt MA '20
Sophie Ewh,
Recording Engineer, Seasons 1 and 2 Tisch School of the Arts BA '20
Podcast Introduction Voices: Journey Brown-Saintel, Camryn Pillay, Elliott Diner, Olivia Roberts, Emilia Michalowska, Roberto Pineda Sanchez, Rachel Johns, Daniel Kreizberg, Leona Stewart, Sabah Fatima
Bruce Shackelford, NYU Tisch School of the Arts
Shonna Keogan and Jason Hollander, NYU Public Affairs
Anjali Chavan
, Graphic Designer, Tisch School of the Arts BA '21