Close up of a table piece with artificial, slate colored branches and small, purple stars. On the top sits a card that remarks, "congrats GRAD!" underneath a clip art graduation cap.

Each year, we recognize the contribution of graduating international student leaders by awarding the International Student Leadership Award to those who display leadership and contribute to the NYU international student community in the US. These students are recognized for having overcome cultural or academic hurdles to lead among their peers.

We also recognize NYU students, regardless of their citizenship, who are contributing their time and efforts to the international student community by awarding the International Student Ally Award. All recipients are nominated by NYU faculty and staff.

International Student Ally Award Winners

The International Student Ally Award is given to any NYU student who has worked to make any NYU campus a hospitable and productive place for students visiting or attending that site. These winners have been nominated by NYU administrators, faculty or staff which exhibits their leadership on-campus.

Alessia Maselli, MA in International Education

Alessia Maselli

  • New International Student Seminar Assistant Teacher
  • Student Leader, Steinhardt Graduate Student Organization and the International Education Student Board
  • Nominated by James Baldwin, Assistant Director at Steinhardt

Although a US citizen, Alessia Maselli deeply understands the international student experience, as she spent much of her life in Italy. At NYU, Alessia’s personal and academic passion for improving this experience translated in her various on-campus leadership roles, as well as her advocacy for on-campus training to include NAFSA J-1 for Beginners.

Harmony Hemmings-Pallay, BS in Applied Psychology

Harmony Hemmings-Pallay

  • OGS Student Engagement Intern
  • Student Success Committee Chair
  • President’s Service Award Recipient
  • Nominated by Melissa Zuroff, Associate Director of Communications at OGS

When it comes to social justice issues, Harmony Hemmings-Pallay is a fierce advocate who uses her voice to speak for others— especially marginalized groups. Her work at OGS was no exception to these efforts. Here, she was key in the growth of the OGS Clubs in Partnership program, an initiative to increase international student engagement through student organizations. Moreover, Harmony strived to increase NYU’s retention and graduation rates as the Chair of the Student Success Committee.

Shashank Rao, BS in Liberal Studies

Shashank Rao

  • President and Public Relations Co-Director, Asian Heritage Month
  • Student Leader, Multifaith Advisory Council
  • Nominated by Jonathon White, Associate Dean of Students in Liberal Studies

With an interest in Asian and Asian American studies, Shashank Rao focused his attention towards establishing cultural bridges between Asia and the US on campus. Shashank brought this vision to fruition in his various on-campus involvements. From leading Asian Heritage Month at NYU, to co-managing the NYC Asian American Student Conference, to writing in NYU publications, Shashank made a remarkable impact on the Asian student experience.

International Student Leadership Award Winners

The International Student Leadership Award recognizes international students in F, J, or any other non-immigrant status who has made a significant contribution to improving campus life for fellow international students attending NYU sites in the US. Often times, these student leaders are strongly involved in the NYU community through extracurricular activities and hold various leadership positions on campus. These winners have been nominated by NYU administrators, faculty or staff.


Deeksha Bhatnagar, MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication

Deeksha Bhatnagar

  • OGS Orientation Leader and Events Coordinator
  • Nominated by Sarah Goetz, International Student Advisor at OGS

Those who know Deeksha Bhatnagar know just what a warm, easy going, and dynamic energy she is. Besides her smiles, Deeksha made a positive impact during her time at OGS, where she was always willing to share her experience as an international student with her peers. At the same time, she worked hard to coordinate the School of Professional Studies (SPS)’s annual Global Village— an event that celebrates cultural diversity at NYU SPS.

Siyu Fei, MS in Translation

Siyu Fei

  • President, Translation Society
  • Nominated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, Academic Director of SPS

Equipped with excellent interpersonal skills and a generous spirit, Siyu Fei brings enthusiasm to all she does. Students and faculty experienced this first-hand through the work she performed as President of the Translations Society. In this position, Siyu actively engaged international and domestic students in student life.

Palak Garg, MS in Integrated Marketing

Palak Garg

  • Wasserman Graduate Student Employee
  • Nominated by Sue McNeilly, Senior Assistant Director at Wasserman

To many, Palak Garg is a natural born leader. At NYU she was an active student who worked tirelessly to help her peers— most notably through her work at Wasserman, where she frequently sought out community building events that provided a cohort of support to international students. Palak has also been recognized for planning and executing the 6th Annual Integrated Marketing Summit bringing in top talent from the marketing and brand management world.

Pragya Gianani, BS in Liberal Studies

Pragya Gianani

  • President, NYU Liberal Studies Law Cooperative
  • Crisis Director, NYU Model United Nations
  • Nominated by Jonathon White, Associate Dean of Students in Liberal Studies
Innovative, thoughtful, and self-possessed in her endeavors, Pragya Gianani is committed to building connections and identifying socially responsible solutions for international communities. Pragya did just that when she launched Peace-Meal— a program that employs refugees based in NYC as chefs who teach cooking classes to NYC residents. This class allows the opportunity to share a home-cooked meal with a refugee, building relations and empathy across otherwise disparate communities.

Yifan (Brian) Li,  BA in Economics

Yifan (Brian) Li

  • International Student Center Coordinator
  • Selected by CAS Dean as the Student Speaker for incoming Class of 2022
  • Nominated by Isabella Villacampa, Associate Director Center for Student Life

Time after time, Brian has gone above and beyond for his fellow international students. As a student leader for the First Year International Student Transition Program, Brian helped to create a curriculum infused with his deep understanding of belonging and his passion to improve the university. That project, alongside his strategic development of the International Student Center, will have a lasting legacy in the international student community.

Feiran Lyu, BS in Liberal Studies

Feiran Lyu

  • Curator, “Harold in China, 1932- 1939: Photographs from the Action Collection”
  • Nominated by Sentienla Threadgill, Assistant Director of Global Academic Engagement

Feiran Lyu is seen as an inspiration for fellow international students. At Villa La Pietra, an estate at NYU Florence that’s considered to be the best preserved art collection of Anglo American in the 20th century, Feiran researched and curated a photo exhibit that shed a light on Chinese culture.

Paula Sevilla Nunez, Master of Urban Planning

Paula Sevilla Nunez

  • Urban Planning Student Association Chair
  • Nominated by Adrienne Smith, Assistant Director of Advisement and Student Services

Following years of student involvement during her undergrad program, Paula Sevilla Nunez continued to be incredibly hard working and passionate as ever in grad school. As the Chair of the Urban Planning Student Association, Paula worked with prospective, incoming and continuing students at events. Besides interacting with students, Paula proved to be a fierce advocate for full-time CPT for international students in their final semester, an issue Wagner seniors have brought forward to the administration.

Mariel Palomino,  MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy

Mariel Palomino

  • Graduate Student Employee, OGS
  • Nominated by Samantha Johnson, Senior International Student Advisor at OGS

At the OGS in Brooklyn, you could see this International Student Leadership award winner always willing to help others with a positive attitude, an attention to detail, and a welcoming presence. Not only did Mariel Palomino spend her time training new student workers there, but also helped organize the orientation sessions. Better yet, outside of the workplace, she was able to develop an impact evaluation of E-learning educational programs in South India and Nepal.

Rudy Richa, MA in Psychology

Rudy Richa

  • President, Psychology Graduate Student Association
  • Will serve as the Student Speaker at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Convocation
  • Nominated by Adrienne Gans (Director of Psychology MA program), Elizabeth Pryzbylinski (Clinical Assistant Director), and Ruvanee Vilhauer (Clinical Associate Professor)

Rudy Richa is regarded as a globally minded student and a valuable mentor to his peers. Handpicked by the former president of the American Psychological Association, Rudy interned at the United Nations. He also developed the InterBuddy program, a mentorship program that connects incoming international students with second year students.

Vaibhav Srinivasan, Masters of Global Public Health

Vaibhav Srinivasan

  • Graduate President, Student Governing Council
  • Nominated by Najimdin Pedro (MPH 2020 Candidate) and Andrea Muraca (Assistant Director of Student Affairs in the College of Global Public Health)

A natural problem-solver, Vaibhav Srinivasan has a great ability to recognize and understand problems and needs, and take action to solve them. This ability led him to help curate the bi-weekly Public Health Connect newsletter, serve as an exceptional president of the Student Governing Council, and speak about the midterm elections’ impact on international students for a segment in the CBS morning show.

Ying Ying (Bonnie) Zheng, BA in Economics

Ying Ying (Bonnie) Zheng

  • Member, NYU Women in Computing (NYU WinC)
  • President, Amnesty International at NYU
  • Nominated by Callen Anthony, Assistant Professor at Stern

When asked to characterize Bonnie Zheng, her nominators described her as a true delight who fosters positive energy among peers. Her activism on campus did not fall short of this description whatsoever. Bonnie resided as president of NYU’s Amnesty International where she advocated against human rights violations around the world. Similarly, in her participation in NYU WinC, she spoke out about gender dynamics within the STEM field.

Outstanding Professional: International Student Support Award Winners

The Outstanding Professional International Student Support Award recognizes any NYU staff, faculty or administrator who has worked tirelessly to support the interests of international students at NYU. These individuals have gone above and beyond their role and have continuously advocated on behalf the interests of international students.

Jamie Baldwin, Assistant Director at Steinhardt

Jamie Baldwin

  • Nominated by Jamie Remmers, Senior Student Advisor at Steinhardt

Striving to make the international student experience a fulfilling one, Jamie Baldwin organized countless diversity and inclusion events on campus. One initiative that she introduced which really stood out is “Intro to NYU and NYC,” a course designed to facilitate international students’ acclimation to the university and the city.

Ida Chavoshan, Post Doctoral Faculty Fellow with Liberal Studies

Ida Chavoshan

  • Nominated by Candace Sumner-Robinson, Assistant Director of Advising and Diversity

Diligent, approachable, and supportive. Faculty fellow Ida Chavoshan increased support services for Liberal Studies students to ensure that they had adequate resources. By the same token, Ida planned the first ever research symposium titled “Finding the Global in Local,” and mentored those students who were preparing to present their research. Ida also made sure to provide support to faculty as well, creating a faculty development workshop on the topic of Inclusive Pedagogy.

Elizabeth Choe, Associate Director of Advising at Stern

Elizabeth Choe

  • Nominated by Saige Martinez, Undergraduate Academic Advisor at Stern

Using her background experience in social work, Elizabeth Choe provides a comforting environment in her student interactions as an advisor. Her work focuses on providing proper support for Stern students taking, or returning from Military leave. Elizabeth ensures that these students are aware of, and are utilizing NYU resources, such as the information sessions that she organizes.

Jamie Remmers, Senior Student Advisor at Steinhardt

Jamie Remmers

  • Nominated by Jamie Baldwin, Assistant Director of Advising at Steinhardt

Jamie Remmers has been and continues to be a warm, funny, incredible ally and supporter of students. Her exemplary character was best seen this past year in her work organizing the New Student Seminar, and developing the annual Out and Abroad event during Ally Week.

Brendan Rose, Academic Advisor at CAS

Brendan Rose

  • Nominated by Fatiah Touray, Assistant Dean of Diversity & International Advising, Director of Academic Achievement Program

Brendan Rose’s unwavering dedication to the international students he advises is hard to go unnoticed. With a love for programming events, Brendan takes a holistic approach in addressing student’s academic, interpersonal, career and wellness aspects. Stemming from this unique foundation are two projects he undertook—  co-founding the CAS International Student Mentor Program, which matches incoming international students with upper class students, and coordinating a 5-hour workshop on advising international students.

Isabella Villacampa, Associate Director of the Center for Student Life

Isabella Villacampa

  • Nominated by Brian Yi (our International Student Award recipient)

After working with Isabella Villacampa, Brian Yi is inspired to pursue a Masters degree in Higher Education. What makes Isabella so inspirational is her hard work ethic and advice to break barriers and not limit oneself. Isabella quite literally broke barriers when she developed the International Student Center, the first physical space for international students at NYU. Her other work with this community includes contributing towards the Internationalizing Washington Square Committee, and coordinating the First Year Transition Program.