Monday, October 31, 2011

HeightsYearbooks Digitized at Jeffrey S. Gould Welcome Center--Available Now


All alumni are welcome to visit the Jeffrey S. Gould Welcome Center where digital versions of the University Heights yearbooks are now available for viewing on the computers in the lobby. The yearbooks span in time from the first Heights yearbook in the late 1800's to 1973. These digitized yearbooks are completely searchable, allowing one to look up specific class photos and/or information from these years.

The Jeffrey S. Gould Welcome Center, located at 50 West 4th Street is open 9 to 5 PM, Monday through Friday and from 10 to 4 PM on Saturday. They are closed on major holidays.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alumni Featured in 2011 Entrepreneur’s Festival

The 2011 NYU Entrepreneur’s Festival will take place on November 11th and 12th. We are proud to say that at least ten of the entrepreneurs invited to participate in the festival are Arts and Science Alumni.

They are:

Don Katz (WSC, ’74)—Audible
Ari Goldberg (CAS, ’04)—StyleCaster
Steven Isaacman (GSAS, ’09)—Nanometics
Sachin Kamdar (CAS, ’06)—Parsley
Katie Kapler (CAS, ’07/GSAS, ’08)—CourseHorse
Guari Manglik (CAS, ’10)—SpotOn
Andrew Montalenti (CAS, ’06)—Parsley
Ken Perlin (Courant, ’84, ’86)—Tactonic Technologies
Dan Porter (GSAS, ’95)—OMGPOP
Jonathan Teller (WSC, ’92)—eos Products

If you're available on the weekend of 11/11, be sure to check out the festival! For more information and to register for the event, visit

Monday, October 24, 2011

Part III: Finding Employment as an Expatriate

For the last section of our three-part discussion with recent Arts and Science Alumni, we spoke to Yu-Chen Chen, a 27-year-old GSAS Political Science graduate. Yu-Chen is originally from Taiwan and currently lives in NYC.

Upon graduating from GSAS in 2008, Yu-Chen felt pressured—not only due to the economy, but also because her job search was on a time-limit. As a foreign student without a green card, Yu-Chen only had one year to find a company willing to sponsor her working visa. “I needed to find a company willing to tell the government why they wanted to hire me instead of another American citizen, and explain why I am so special that I deserve a job.”


Pressured by American immigration policies, Yu-Chen buckled down and developed a strategic, purposeful job-search strategy. At first, Yu-Chen remembers that she would spend anywhere from 7-8 hours per day applying for jobs: “so much time…and you think you would get something in return. And you do—frustration! My mind was initially just ‘job, job, job.’ Wake up, go straight to the computer, and apply for jobs. It wasn’t good at all.”

After a few days, Yu-Chen realized this technique wasn’t working. So she decided to change her strategy. “I limited myself to applying for jobs only one hour per day. I did not want to waste time. Instead, I did a lot of reading and I prepared for interviews. I recorded myself, listened to the recording, talked to myself, and anticipated questions. Since English is not my first language, I tried to frame my words to make them more appealing.

…Since I knew the type of job I was applying for [marketing research and analysis], I made a cover letter template and modified it based on whichever position I applied for. I was able to quickly send out 10-15 applications per day, and I created a spread sheet to track the companies I was interested in and had applied to.”

In addition to time management, Yu-Chen also told us that networking was an essential strategy for her job search. Specifically, networking through LinkedIn and NYU networking groups proved to be very helpful. We asked Yu-Chen how LinkedIn could best be utilized in this situation: “Join lots of professional groups,” she said, “and keep updating your profile. Recruiters notice that. Also, post questions. There are many experts and gurus on LinkedIn that will notice your questions, respond to you and become a connection.”

Yu-Chen now works as a Research Manager in Customer Loyalty for GFK Custom Research North America, the fourth-largest market research company in the world.

“Why did they choose you?” we asked.

“They needed someone who was technically savvy. I noticed that a lot of new hires in social and political science were not very technical. Most recent grads knew a lot about theory but not how to apply that theory or incorporate it into technical research tools. I provided a working example proving my technical abilities.”

Yu-Chen’s advice is simple: “Make the best use of your time. Don’t spend the whole day applying for jobs. Use your time to improve yourself and to demonstrate that you are so amazing that people will want to hire you. If you spend eight hours applying for jobs, they don’t care. They only care if you are a strong candidate. They won’t know how many jobs you’ve applied for—they only know what you are capable of.”

A special thank you to Yu-Chen Chen, Nora Strecker and Alexander Pogrebinsky for their time and participation.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Advice for Recent Grads, Part II: Beyond the USA

Nora Strecker is a 25 year-old, 2010 Arts and Science graduate. She attended NYU for both her BA and MA in economics. Ms. Strecker currently works as a research assistant at the Swiss Federal Institute, and lives outside of Zurich, Switzerland.

We had an opportunity to talk to Ms. Strecker about her experiences at CAS/GSAS, what ultimately led her to search outside the box (aka the US) for work, and how she went about the international job search. She has some very interesting and encouraging advice (applicable also if you wish to stay in the US), so we encourage all recent grads to continue reading!

Upon graduation, Ms. Strecker was worried. “There was a joke in the Econ MA program that we weren’t getting an MA in economics, but rather in economic crisis.” She had begun graduate coursework in 2008, so at that time, the economy was looking especially bleak.

“I had friends who graduated in 2009,” says Strecker, “who were still looking for work by 2010 graduation. Or who were working jobs they were wildly overqualified for and just needed to get by.”


After witnessing others struggle to find employment since 2008, when she graduated in 2010, Strecker decided to investigate other options. “I decided to look elsewhere. I didn’t want to set out for a different city in the US, as all of the US was facing a similar battle with the deluge of recent graduates (from the years 2008, 2009, 2010 all looking to find something)… I moved in with my brother in Switzerland… to a place where I had never been as a working adult.”

Although Ms. Strecker had lived in Switzerland until the age of fourteen, she had never experienced the country as an independent, with “real-life” responsibilities.

“Switzerland’s economy was strong at the time, and as it is the land of banks and money, I thought, it would be a great place for me and my economics MA from a prestigious university in the US. So I moved to Switzerland in August of 2010. Immediately after arriving, I had a job interview at the university. It was a research assistant job… Well, they would end up taking someone who had two masters’ degrees. That was blow number one, I was very disappointed, I never thought that I could be rejected with my awesome degree.

So my job hunt ensued. I would apply for jobs, wait for responses. Mainly negative. My economics degree wasn’t what they were looking for. They wanted someone with a business degree, and although economics might be on the list of ‘qualified candidates should come from the field of [blank],’ their definition and NYU’s definition of economics was very different. I had already perfected my CV, so after my brother had helped me ‘Swiss-ify’ my cover letter, I sent out multiple applications…

In the three months I was actively looking for a job, I got invited to five job interviews, of the 30 job applications I had sent out.”

Ms. Strecker found that going abroad imposed some similar challenges as many of our recent grads are facing here in the US. Applying for jobs and writing cover letters requires you to devote a lot of time and energy to the process, and it can be frustrating if you’re seeing no return on that investment. It is important to reflect on what you could do differently to promote yourself to potential employers. “I had people look over my resume and cover letter,” says Strecker. “It helped to just have people read it and tell me whether my wording was too complicated or how it made me sound. Confident is good, arrogant is bad. Finding that line is hard, so I needed help. Besides, it’s hard to praise yourself without praising yourself.”

Ms. Strecker stressed the need to “get help when you need it.” Having others look over your materials, especially if they are well-acquainted with your chosen profession, can be paramount to you impressing an employer and landing that job.


Lastly, we asked Strecker what advice she had for fellow NYU alumni who are struggling to find work in this harsh economic climate:

“I had so many days when I just had crying fits, regretting my decision, thinking I had been so stupid to give up on the US, but friends and family continued to encourage me with new ideas and gave me a chance to bawl on their shoulders. So get help… Either through NYU, friends, family, your network, friends of family. I had recommendation letters ready to go from my former bosses and professors just in case a job came up that required it.

Ask questions in the interview. I failed in the first interview once he asked ‘have you got any questions for us,’ and I answered ‘not really.’ Big mistake. Research them, prepare bullet points. Even having that list on the table looks good. Plus you’ll feel prepared and ready.

Confidence is good, keep that, but don’t think that you should get that 80k/90k/100k job just because you spent that much on your education. That piece of paper you got in the mail doesn’t have much heft, [it wont] knock anyone out... but YOU can. You learned a lot. So show them that…

And lastly, consider taking the oddball stuff. You never know what’ll happen. Even if you end up in the land of cheese and chocolate, you might always come back to the US or even go somewhere entirely different. The world’s not that big anymore.

What’s NYU’s motto? Perstare et praestare. To persevere and excel. NYU couldn’t have chosen anything more fitting for these economic times.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Advice for Recent Grads

Life as a recent grad isn’t as easy as it used to be—although NYU offers world-class support to our alumni, we realize that, in this harsh economic climate, finding your first post-graduate position is easier said than done. In fact, according to job placement firm Adecco in CNNMoney, “[this year] about 60% of recent graduates have not been able to find a full-time job in their chosen profession.”

We recognize the difficulty our recent grads may be experiencing in the job market— despite all of their remarkable accomplishments while earning their degree at NYU. So we decided to publish a blog-post addressing the issue. Last week, you might have noticed our Facebook posts and Twitter tweets asking to speak with you about your post-grad experiences searching for a job. Well, we spoke to several individuals, and we would like to take this opportunity to highlight the stories and advice of three exceptional graduates who chose the road less traveled and took different approaches to the job search. Over the next few days, we will be posting a three-part blog entry that will offer advice and encouragement to our recent alums:

Part I: Entrepreneurship
Part II: Beyond the USA
Part III: Finding Employment as an Expatriate

Part I: Entrepreneurship

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Alexander Pogrebinsky is a 28 year-old 2011 graduate of the Russian and Slavic Studies Masters program at the Graduate School of Arts and Science. He is COO at Pogrebinsky Group Inc., whose first venture (a high-end restaurant in Long Island City) will be opening in mid-November.

While studying at NYU, Pogrebinsky was thankful to be part of an atmosphere that encourages critical thinking—an academic environment that he states, “resulted in disciplined and highly competitive graduates.” While it is true that NYU graduates are certainly distinguished among grads of many other American universities, the job market can still prove to be an unforgiving and frustrating place. And with a little guts, some connections and a good attitude, you might want to consider spending your downtime planning a new venture.

At graduation, Mr. Progrebinsky felt proud of his fellow graduates and his University, and he was inspired by President Bill Clinton’s commencement speech. But upon graduating, his mind was already made up—he had chosen to go in his own direction: “Long before my graduation, I was thinking about which way I will go. I considered several options, both in the private sector and in government… I came to the conclusion that at this point, regardless of how risky it is to start your own business, it was more of a risk not to start my business.”

Networking: for anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur, networking is critical. Of course, networking is also imperative throughout any typical job searching process, but the strategy for generating useful contacts can be quite different for an entrepreneur. Maintenance of strong relationships will help you to strengthen your new business and provides more opportunities for collaboration. Progrebinsky reflects on this process: “Creating your own business involves much more research, time and critical and analytical thinking. You are often networking with a broad spectrum of professionals for a variety of very different reasons—which you may not need to do while looking for your first job. [When you network] you look at your business as a child that needs to grow, be protected and be successful.”

Lastly, we asked Mr. Progrebinsky what single piece of advice he would give to a recent NYU graduate who is struggling to find work or start her or his own business in this harsh economic climate. He replied, “Keep an open mind and be open to all business opportunities, not always necessarily in your specific field. There are many unknown and unexpected paths to our professional goals, we cannot expect that each path will be the same for everybody. The main thing I would say is be open, persistent, and do not be afraid to take calculated risks. We don’t always know which path will lead us to our success.”

Progrebinsky Group Inc’s first venture will be “BEAR,” a high-end restaurant and bar in the developing neighborhood of Long Island City. Be sure to check it out when it opens next month, in mid-November 2011. But in the meantime, visit their website:

BEAR | 12-14 31st Avenue | Long Island City, NY 11106 | phone:917-396-4939


Monday, October 17, 2011

NYU astrophysicists find evidence of black holes destroying stars

Arts and Science’s Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, teamed with John Hopkins University and Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, has completed a study that clearly illustrates a phenomenon long-sought by astrophysicists.

The research, reported in the latest issue of the Astrophysical Journal, calculated that a star will occasionally pass by a massive black hole—far enough to escape being captured by the black hole, but close enough that the black hole’s extreme force tears the star apart. Although part of the star is absorbed into the black hole, most of it continues in a chaotic orbit, producing intense radiation that could last months.

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To read about the study in more detail, click this link.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Timely. Innovative. Global.

Our Biology Department recently received a $3.6 Million Grant—and here’s what they're doing with it!

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Rice—it’s a food staple for over half of the world’s population, but how is it being affected by global climate change? The Arts and Science Biology Department was recently given a $3.6 million dollar grant by the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Project to find an answer. With the grant, researchers will use an approach that combines Genomics and Systems Biology to determine how rice reacts to current environmental changes.

Since rice plays such a vital role in the diets of so many across the globe, the plant’s ability to adapt to changes in the environment is critical. Through this four-year study, FAS researchers hope to provide data necessary for developing crops that will thrive in the midst of our world’s changing climate.

Click here to read about the study in more detail.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stop by the Hidary Exhibit at the Wasserman Center...

…and while you’re at it, check out all the programs they have to offer NYU Alumni!

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Murray Hidary (WSC ’93) is a NYC-born, modern-day Renaissance man! He is a photographer/ musician/ entrepreneur/ philanthropist with a photographic exhibition in the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development. Through nostalgic imagery of our typical childhood dreams, the body of work “[encourages] the viewer to ask whether their dream, their passion is becoming a reality or fading away with time.”

In addition to photography, Hidary is an accomplished composer and entrepreneur, with fifteen years of experience starting his own companies in the Information Technology sector. Visit Hidary’s bio, which tells more about his entrepreneurial and philanthropic ventures!

While you’re at the Wasserman Center, make sure to ask about the many programs and events they have to benefit NYU Alumni! (E.g. career counseling, workshops, the mentoring program and job-shadowing.) For more information visit their website.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Professor Sargent wins the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics!

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FAS Professor of Economics, Thomas Sargent, has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics, along with Princeton University’s Christopher Sims. Sargent is widely renowned for influencing and revolutionizing the economic strategies of successful capitalist economies over the past two decades. Specifically, he is recognized for coordinating monetary and fiscal policy, stabilizing inflation and fighting unemployment.

According to the Nobel Committee, Sargent has “shown how structural macroeconomics can be used to analyze permanent changes in economic policy. This method can be applied to study macroeconomic relationships when households and firms adjust their expectations concurrently with economic developments. Sargent has examined, for instance, the post-World War II era, when many countries initially tended to implement a high-inflation policy, but eventually introduced systematic changes in economic policy and reverted to a lower inflation rate.”

At NYU, Sargent plays a major role in developing the macroeconomics graduate program, and he teaches at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. We are proud to declare that Sargent is the 24th Nobel Prize winner from the NYU faculty and alumni community!

Follow the link below for more information from NYU’s Press Release announcing the news!

NYU's Sargent Wins 2011 Nobel Prize in Economics

Monday, October 3, 2011

Talking with Ari Goldberg (CAS '04): CEO of StyleCaster

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Ari Goldberg is an entrepreneur known for his accomplishments in marketing, branding, business development and new product development. His portfolio includes high-profile brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Wrigley’s and Microsoft, and he has served as VP of Strategy and Business Development for LeBron James and LRMR Marketing and as Director of Business Development for Steve Stoute at Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging.

Goldberg launched StyleCaster ( in 2007, which was later recognized by AOL as, “one of the Five best start-ups of 2009,” and by Advertising Age as, “the Amazon of fashion sites.” StyleCaster aims to, “bring Style to the people” by providing a centralized platform where styles can be shared, discussed and even purchased.

In the Q and A below, Goldberg discusses his experiences at NYU and how they have influenced his professional success and the founding of StyleCaster!

CAS Alumni: What did you major in at NYU?

Ari Goldberg: I have undergraduate degrees in both economics and political science, my master’s degree in sports business from NYU.

CAS: What are some of your best memories from your college years? Favorite hangout spots around campus?

A: My favorite memories are of lunch, dinner and late-night meals at the Corner Bistro, with my best friend who became my first business partner. What I loved about NYU was that you were more of a New Yorker than a regular college kid. We didn't go to New York University, we went to the University of New York, that's what makes NYU so special. I was able to start my first company that focused on strategic marketing and events, The Insight Agency, at the age of 19. A lot of my favorite memories are nights out at NYC hotspots with friends, celebrities in the types of environments you can only find in New York.

CAS: For those who don’t know, can you talk a bit about StyleCaster, and how the idea came about?

A: StyleCaster originated over dinner and drinks with a good friend prior to an event we were hosting with my first company. Since day one, our mission has been to bring “Style to the People.” During that initial conversation, we started talking about a tool that would answer two basic questions: What’s the weather like, and what do I wear? That initial thinking led us to the concept of Content, Community and Commerce in the style space, 4 years later here we are.

CAS: Have you always been interested in fashion?

A: My earliest memories of my grandmother are sitting in the shoe department at Saks and being brought milk and cookies. Maybe it’s genetic. Though I’ve never been a ‘fashionista,’ I’ve come to have great respect for the industry. The minute you realize that for a fashionista, it’s art, not work, is when you can truly understand this space. Also, as a marketer, the dynamic between the consumer and brand in the style space is unparalleled.

CAS: Do you have a favorite designer?

A: Porter Grey. Also an NYU alum and my inspiration for starting StyleCaster.
As for me personally, I’m a simple guy from Cleveland Ohio. I shop at J. Crew, Uniqlo, Surface to Air, and Topshop.

CAS: Can you explain what a tear sheet is?

A: Didn't I just say I’m not a fashionista? I’m not sure I’m the right one to ask about this, but a tear sheet is an image designers and stylists literally tear out and reference as inspiration. I even use tear sheets in my own closet at home. I have a good friend and business partner who taught me the art of the tear sheet. He’s one of the more logical people I know. He said just find pictures of looks you like, tear them out, and match the look for the day.

CAS: Thoughts about the Nike MAGS? Will you be getting a pair?

A: When I was in Kindergarten I skipped a week of school to watch Back To The Future on VHS. My parents still have it. I think Back To The Future, hands down, is the greatest movie of all time. I have a few calls into Nike to try and get a pair.

CAS: While we’re on the subject, if you could travel back to a certain time period, which period (based on fashion of the times) would you want to visit?

A: I like periods like the Edwardian or Inter-War eras when men dressed in tailored, three-piece suits. Annabelle Tolman once told me that men's fashion is all about details, so a good outfit for a man always has details, intricacies and thought to them. I think these periods were a time when men focused on those details.

CAS: NYC Fashion Week recently ended, what were some of the highlights for you?

A: I love seeing the young designers who I’ve known since their inception showing at such a high-level, its awe-inspiring.
StyleCaster’s parties are also up there. At our Unofficial Official NYFW Party, we were able to bring the worlds of technology and fashion together, packing a room with New York’s top entrepreneurs. When Dennis Crowley (CAS '04) tweets about how packed the party is you know something is working.

CAS: For readers who are thinking to themselves, "I'd like to become fashionable" What would your advice be? Is there something one can do to take the first step to becoming a fashionable person?

A: Don’t become “fashionable.” Work on your style instead. Anyone with enough money can become fashionable by walking into Barney’s and buying everything on the mannequin. Real style is if you go to a vintage store first, pick up a piece or two there, grab a t-shirt from American Apparel and then go to Barney’s and put it all together, that’s style.

To find out more about StyleCaster, visit