Your Alumni News for April 2017

Dear Alumni,

I hope this finds you well. It was great to see so many of you at AlumNite, and I want to thank those who attended and supported this year’s event. We welcomed nearly 200 alumni, faculty, staff, donors, and friends for an engaging evening of WAGTalks, award winners, networking, cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and celebration. I’d like to again congratulate our Alumni Impact Awardees, Javier H. Valdés (MUP 2004) and Betsy Fuller (MPA 2009), for the impact they have made and are having in communities around the world. We are continuing to highlight the impactful work our alumni are doing on our website and we’d welcome the opportunity to also share your public service story.

I’d also like to thank the dedicated alumni and students who conceived of and hosted this year’s Black Alumni Conference, as well as the alumni who are activating alumni groups here in NYC and in cities throughout the country.

Lastly, in celebrating the achievements and involvement of you and your fellow alumni, please consider helping us identify future public service leaders who would be a good fit for the Wagner community.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly with thoughts, questions, or updates at any time. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Brian Stern


Brian Stern
Director, Alumni Relations


  • Louis Coletti (MPA 1977), president and CEO of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, was quoted in The Real Deal on the topic of the global market for constructions materials and the implications of the Trump administration’s trade policies on the New York real estate industry.
  • Alina Das (MPA 2005), co-director of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, spoke at a recent panel discussion hosted by the NYU School of Law and the Marron Institute of Urban Management on the topic of sanctuary cities.
  • David Dosamantes (MPA 1982) led a panel discussion titled “Corporate Social Responsibility in an Age of Disruption” that addressed the question of how companies can balance social responsibility with profit motivations.
  • Mona Lipson (MPA 2012) spoke with 95.5PLJ Radio about her work at The Voss Foundation to bring clean water to Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Chapal Mehra (EMPA 2008) wrote a book titled Nine Lives that chronicles the stories of nine female survivors of tuberculosis in India.
  • Ivy Pool (MPA 2006) has been selected by the New Castle Democratic Committee as a candidate to run for Town Board in November’s election in New Castle, NY.
  • Dr. Carlos Restrepo (PhD 2006), Senior Research Scientist at NYU Wagner’s Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems, published a report on public transit and mandatory evacuations along with Professor Rae Zimmerman that was featured in the US Department of Transportation’s monthly e-newsletter.
  • Laura Roberts (MPA 2013), a Program Associate at The Rockefeller Foundation, wrote about the growing practice of “impact hiring” and employer-led workforce development pilot programs for Forbes.
  • Richard Tran (MPA 2014) recently shared his experience at NYU Wagner and the lessons he has taken with him to his new position as the mayor of Milpitas, CA—the youngest mayor in Silicon Valley.
  • Javier H. Valdés (MUP 2004), co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, was quoted in The Washington Post on the topic of immigration and customs enforcement and in The New York Timeson the topic of boycott of businesses that profit from President Trump’s policies, such as private prisons.
  • Maria Vullo (EMPA 2012) was featured in City & State discussing her current role as the Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services.


  • Betsy Fuller (MPA 2009) and Javier H. Valdés (MUP 2004) received Alumni Impact Awards at AlumNite in recognition of their respective professional achievements and impact in public service.
  • Keely Gerhold (MPA 2015) was named as a “Brooklyn 100 Influencer” by Brooklyn magazine in recognition of her work bringing rooftop hop farming to the borough at Tinyfield Roofhop Farm.
  • Andrew Hoan (MUP 2010) and Javier H. Valdés (MUP 2004) were recognized by City & State as part of the New York City Power 100 list, which ranks top political professionals in the New York area.
  • Jodi Kneisel (EMPA 2016) was recognized by the International Nurses Association for her inclusion in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare publication.
  • Shola Olatoye (MPA 2001), Chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), was named one of New York’s “Exceptional Women” at City & State’s annual Above & Beyond Awards Ceremony.


  • Daisy Auger-Domínguez (MPA 1997) was appointed Senior Vice President, Talent Acquisition and Diversity at Viacom.
  • Caitlyn Brazill (MPA 2004) was named Executive Vice President, Development at Per Scholas, a national technology and workforce development nonprofit organization.
  • Marjorie Parker (MPA 2008) was promoted to Executive Director of JobsFirstNYC.
  • Randolph Peers (MPA 2004) was appointed President and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development Corporation, a business membership and economic development organization in Berks County, PA.
  • Paul Verrastro (MPA 1995) was promoted to CEO of the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services, Connecticut’s largest fertility program.
Alumni Events


  • Professor David Elcott recently hosted a training on nonviolent action, “How to Be an Effective Activist,” that drew an audience of more than 400 students and community members.
  • Professor Jacob Faber was featured in a video segment highlighting his work exploring the link between widening inequality and the expansion of check cashing outlets before and during the Great Recession.
  • Professor John Gershman received the 2017 University Distinguished Faculty Award from NYU in recognition of his outstanding teaching and the strong impact he makes in the classroom and beyond on future public service leaders.
  • Dean Sherry Glied was named one of New York’s “Exceptional Women” at City & State’s annual Above & Beyond Award Ceremony. Dean Glied also co-authored an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times on the topic of the proposed Republican healthcare legislation. Dean Glied also authored a report for the National Bureau of Economic Research that found that the launch of the “Pre-K for All” program resulted in improved health outcomes for low-income children.
  • Professor Zhan Guo was featured in The Washington Post about his research on how design changes to subway maps can alter commuting and ridership decisions.
  • Professor Tatiana Homonoff is researching how bag taxes reduce the use of disposable bags. Her study of the recently-imposed tax in Chicago was featured widely in the media, including in Next City.
  • Professor Sarah Kaufman (MUP 2005), Assistant Director for Technology Programming at the NYU Rudin Center, discussed paratransit services and transit accessibility with the hosts of a podcast segment called Uptown Radio. Additionally, a report on subway ridership that she co-authored was featured in AM New York and she was quoted in the same publication sharing information about recent legislation of trip data from ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.
  • Professor Paul Light authored a paper on the “government-industrial complex” and increased government staffing that was highlighted in an article in Government Executive.
  • Professor Jonathan Morduch authored an article in Harvard Business Review on the topic of household income volatility in the United States. The research will also be published in a forthcoming book and presented at an event on May 8.
  • Professor Mitchell Moss, Director of the NYU Rudin Center, authored an op-ed piece in the New York Daily News discussing the importance of the proposed LaGuardia AirTrain.
  • Professor Timothy Naftali, CNN Presidential Historian, was featured in a video segment that examined the parallels between Presidents Nixon and Trump.
  • Professor Victor Rodwin published a study in Public Health with findings about the growth and challenges of the health system in Delhi, India.
  • Former Dean and Professor Ellen Schall was featured in The New York Times highlighting her efforts as the head of NYU’s affordability steering committee and proposed solutions to reduce the college cost burden on students.
  • Professor Sean Thomas-Breitfeld (MPA 2007) authored an article in Nonprofit Quarterly on the topic of “thinking differently” about diversity in nonprofit leadership.
  • NYU Wagner received a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support its work to strengthen the field of social finance through research and other activities.
  • NYU Wagner recently co-hosted a symposium with the Center for an Urban Future, “Driving Innovation: Cities as Models for Urban Policy Change,” that brought together government, foundation, public, and private sector leaders to discuss the role of cities as drivers of innovation.