Thursday, December 19, 2013

A special message...

...from the NYU Arts & Science office of alumni relations. 

Happy Holidays to everyone--see you in the New Year!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Interview with "Mob Wives" Creator and Executive Producer Jennifer Graziano (CAS '95, Steinhardt '00)

VH1's hit reality show, Mob Wives begins its 4th season tonight. We had the opportunity to speak with creator and executive producer, Jennifer Graziano (CAS '95, Steinhardt '00) about her time at NYU and her career path after graduation. For more information and to see extra footage from the show, visit Jennifer can also be found on Twitter (@jenngraziano) and Instagram (JennGraziano). Listen to our interview with Jennifer below.

Listen to this episode

Monday, November 25, 2013

Scott Harrison (CAS '98) Brings Clean Water and Hope to the World

In 2006, Scott Harrison (CAS '98) founded charity:water, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. We had an opportunity to speak with Scott about his time at NYU and hear about the important work he has been doing. Watch the interview below. For more information on Scott and charity:water please visit their website.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vicki Vasilopoulos (WSC '86) Premieres Her Documentary MEN OF THE CLOTH at DOC NYC

MEN OF THE CLOTH is an inspiring portrait of three Italian master tailors who confront the decline of the apprentice system as they navigate their challenging roles in the twilight of their career. The film unravels the mystery of their artistry and reveals how their passionate devotion to their Old World craft is akin to a religion.

Click below to listen to our interview with Director/Producer Vicki Vasilopoulos.

  Listen to this interview

Director/Producer Vicki Vasilopoulos was introduced to the world of master tailors through her many trips to Italy as a men’s fashion editor for DNR (now a part of Women’s Wear Daily), the fashion newsmagazine where she styled and produced photo layouts, reviewed designer runway shows and wrote fashion feature stories.

Vicki was also a contributor to Fashion Wire Daily (an international newswire service) and has had features published in The New York Times, Esquire, Time Out NY and New Jersey Monthly. Vicki has served as a film series programmer for New York Women in Film and Television.  She is also a member of the IFP (the largest organization in the U.S. for independent filmmakers) and ASJA (the American Society of Journalists and Authors).

Vicki is a native of Greece and spent her formative years in New York City. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Glenn. She graduated from NYU with a B.A. in Journalism and has studied at the Paris Fashion Institute and FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology).

MEN OF THE CLOTH is her first film and was first shown as a work-in-progress at the IFP’s Independent Film Week.

For more information on MEN OF THE CLOTH click here. To purchase tickets to see the film at DOC NYC please click here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

CAS Student Ethan Lew Creates Online Marketplace for Colleges

Many of us have used Craigslist to buy and/or sell any number of household items, but a new website by NYU student Ethan Lew called Jigitt brings a similar online marketplace specifically to college campuses. We asked Ethan some questions about his website which has already been rolled out to NYU, Brandeis, Baruch, and UT Austin.  

What are you studying at NYU?

I am currently an econ major in CAS, minoring in web design.
How did you come up with the idea for Jigitt?

I came up with Jigitt, after walking the halls and cafeteria at my old college, Bates college. I transferred here as a sophomore and brought the idea with me. I saw that there was a big demand for a platform where students could buy and sell their used stuff.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Alumna Brynn Shiovitz Dances to Her Own Beat with the Rhythm Project

Photo Credit: Megan Bartula

What memories do you have of your time at NYU? Were there any specific professors who had an influence on you? 

My time at NYU remains one of the most exciting and challenging chapters my life has seen. I remember spending long nights at the local Think Coffee on Mercer street reading and re-reading Merleau-Ponty and Bergson, both to quench my own thirst for abstract knowledge and to impress the brilliant and respected André Lepecki for the following morning’s seminar on phenomenology. Think also became a habitual practice on my way to Karen Shimakawa’s course on Abjection, where my heart suffered from the dual excitement of good coffee and the best-facilitated class discussions my mind has ever known. Equally significant were the long nights I would spend in the Abe Burrows Theatre, rehearsing and reclaiming my painful and positive memories with Paula Murray Cole and Richard Schechner’s Rasaboxes Technique. “Think” thus became an inseparable part of my NYU experience: I was regularly stimulated, challenged, and thirsty.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Linda Perkins (WSC '90) Sends Love Around the World in 37 Bottles

There is something magical about a message in a bottle. A stranger writes a note and sends it off into the world not knowing where it will end up. While it has been the subject of numerous books, films, and songs, Linda Perkins is putting a new twist on it with her project called 37 Vibrations. Listen to our interview with Linda below and be sure to check out her website.

We were left with bottle #30 so be sure to follow its adventures. It has been handed off to Boaz Frankel (TSOA '04) and is on its way to Portland, Oregon.

Listen to this episode
Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Marlo Gertz (CAS '08) Shares Her Grandmom's Secret Recipe with the World

There's something special about a secret family recipe passed down from one generation to the next. Marlos started this way, from a recipe passed from Marlo Gertz's Grandmom to her. Now she has started a business selling these delicious small batch cookies and sharing them with the world. We had a chance to interview Marlo over the phone from her bake shop in San Francisco.

What was your experience like at NYU? Are there any professors who  stand out in your memory? Favorite places to hang out on campus? 

My time at NYU was incredible. Probably the best 4 years of my life. I made amazing friends and learned so much about myself -as per most college experiences- but I did it in the "center of the universe," as my father likes to call New York City.  It was the best place in the world to find yourself in unique and exceptional situations and certainly one of the best in which to study journalism. Betty Ming Liu, a professor of one of my classes called 'A Hard Look at Soft News', will forever be remembered.  The class was closed but she let me in anyway and my beat was 'fine dining'.  NYC was and always will be the perfect place to study food! That course and her encouragement helped to solidify my interest in the culinary arts. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An MTA Senior Director talks to us about his daily subway commute... and the MTA's debt crisis

Instagram by @nycsubway
If you're an NYU alum, then it's very likely that you have used the NYC subway system. The subway is an invaluable and inexpensive way to get from point A to point B. Whether you're going from Brooklyn to the Bronx, or from West 4th to Penn Station, the subway is always an option. Love it or hate it, it's integral to every day life in NYC. And to a certain extent, it's an influence on, and extension of, city culture.

Bill Ciaccio (WSC '77) has been an MTA employee since 1979. Currently, he serves as a senior director in operations and handles about 5 billion dollars of infrastructure projects each year.

Over the past three decades, he followed his passion for mass transit and built a successful career with the MTA. We had the pleasure of speaking with Bill about a lot of different things, including his time at NYU, things we've seen in the NYC subways, and the MTA's current debt crisis.

*In the comments section, feel free to share your opinions. We'd like to hear from you, whether you have thoughts on the MTA's financial issues or just an interesting NYC subway story!*

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bury Me a Lion: An up-and-coming band from NYC

Jarett Gilbert, front; Yuri Soussouv, back right.
And it features two Arts & Science alumni, including the band's founder, Jarett Gilbert (GSAS '11) and bassist Yuri Soussouv (Courant, '11). They're currently working on a new website, but you can find them on Facebook or listen to their music here.

We had the chance to talk a little with Jarett about being in a NYC-based band, this year's VMA's, and Bruce Springsteen!

What is the meaning of the name, "Bury Me a Lion"? 

I was listening to a lot of The Pogues in late 2008, when we were looking for a name. I was struck by the lyrics in 'If I Should Fall From Grace With God' saying "bury me at sea, where no murdered ghost can haunt me." I really liked the symbolism of being "buried at sea". We found that including the lion imagery from one of our earlier names further emphasized that idea of living a proud and honorable life.

How did Bury Me a Lion start, and how did you meet fellow NYU alumnus/band mate Yuri Soussouv?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Talking Dead are coming to NYU

Since our blog readers (i.e. you) are oh-so-special to us, we want to make sure you know about an event we're hosting on Alumni Day this year--before spots fill up.

The Faculty of Arts and Science and Tisch Alumni Relations Offices are teaming up to bring you "The Talking Dead," a panel discussion moderated by Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead). Registration is now open, so register now before spots fill up.

The discussion will tackle the question of why we are obsessed with the undead and whether our obsessions evolve based on society's current issues. We promise our panelists won't bite.

Panel Moderator: Glen Mazzara
The panel will also feature...

Akiva Goldsman, screenwriter (I, Robot, I am Legend, The Da Vinci Code, and A Beautiful Mind)

James Hankins, author (Brothers and Bones, Jack of Spades, and Drawn)

Aaron Sagers, TV personality and journalist ("Paranormal Paparazzi")

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lynn Andriani (GSAS '04), Food Editor at

Food blogs are all the rage today. Whether we are taking photos of our food or sharing recipes, we are a nation obsessed with food. If you've ever visited, you've most likely seen the work of Food Editor, Lynn Andriani (GSAS '04). We had the chance to ask Lynn a few questions and even get her to reveal her favorite "go-to" recipe, fried squash blossoms. 

What memories do you have of your time at NYU? Were there any professors who had an influence on you as a journalist and editor?

Two big ones: the police ride-along I did in Harlem for Writing, Research & Reporting (I got to wear a bullet-proof vest! Which, thankfully, turned out to be unnecessary); and going to Todd Gitlin's Ethics in Journalism class on the morning of September 11--we knew a plane had hit the World Trade Center but we didn't have any details, so he taught class--and then, when it was over, we realized what had happened, and how the world had changed. All of my professors influenced me, but none as much as Ellen Willis. She was such a brilliant journalist, relentlessly curious and always pressing us to dig deeper, find out more, and question everything.

What are your current responsibilities as Food Editor at

I write about food and cooking for, covering everything from birthday cakes to what to cook for dinner when you're on vacation.

How has food blogging changed the way we talk about and interact with food?

I think it's gotten more people interested in food and where it comes from, which is awesome. It has also brought some insane recipes that might not have otherwise seen the light of day into the national consciousness (ahem- bacon explosion).

Do you find there is one food topic that is more popular with your readers than others?

They love breakfast and midnight snacks. They're also really into easy desserts and the fastest dinners on the planet.

I love your twitter background image of various cookbooks. What cookbooks are on your "must-have" list.

Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and at least one book by Lidia Bastianich. For desserts, I think Dorie Greenspan's books are fantastic.

Who are some the people you look up to in the culinary world? 

My mom. She's an amazing home cook and taught me how to make the most delicious meals with the simplest ingredients. Food writers I look up to are Mark Bittman, Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl, Amanda Hesser and Harold McGee.

What is your favorite summer meal? Do you have a go-to recipe that you wouldn't mind sharing?

Fried zucchini flowers; tomato and mozzarella salad; and a pasta with pesto.

To make the zucchini flowers, rinse them well (inside and out), pull off the stamen, and pat dry on paper towels. Make a batter: use about a cup of flour (seasoned with salt & pepper) and a cup of milk, and whisk until it's smooth and slightly thick. Stuff each flower with a spoonful of whatever cheese you like--ricotta is really good, but I used Cowgirl Creamery's "wagon wheel" cheese recently and it was fantastic. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Dip stuffed flowers in batter, let the excess drip off, and fry, about 2 minutes per side, until golden. Sprinkle with sea salt, let cool slightly on paper towels and enjoy.

Can you name a few of your favorite places to eat in NYC.

I love A Voce, Lupa, Esca, Parm and the Bar Room at the Modern. And City Diner on Broadway & 90th St. because they make a great BLT and don't care when my kids (who are 1 and 3) rip up the place mats and make a mess dipping their fries in their matzo ball soup.

What are your thoughts on the current cronut craze?

It sounds great. However, I will never taste one because I am the most impatient person ever. I'm cool with an everything bagel with cream cheese from Tal Bagels, or a pretzel croissant from Birdbath Bakery.

What advice would you give to aspiring food writers?

Write and read and eat and cook A LOT. And don't take it too seriously. It's just food!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's Wedding (Photography) Season

Arts & Science has produced many successful photographers. To name a few, there's Nicole Tung, a photojournalist who was in the Middle East when we spoke to her last year, Charles Dharapak, who snapped a shot of President Obama dropping his cell phone, and the ocean-loving Joe Tepper.

Melani Lust (CAS '95, IFA '99) is a wedding photographer who was recently voted "Best Wedding Photographer" for the fourth consecutive year in Moffly Media's annual Best of the Gold Coast edition. Here's our Q&A with Melani, and a glimpse at some of her amazing work.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Author Profile: Paul Grenert (WSC '90)

Paul Grenert is a tennis player turned author from Montclair, NJ, known for his diverse and eclectic style of writing. Read our short Q&A below, and be sure to check out his books.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chef Edward Lee (CAS '95) Brings Southern Cooking to New Levels

Photo Credit: Dan Dry
Some may know Chef Edward Lee from his appearance on Top Chef: Texas while others may know him from dining at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky. In his debut cookbook, Smoke and Pickles, Chef Lee shares tales about growing up in a Korean immigrant family in Brooklyn and the events that led him to Louisville. While this personal story is written in the book, it is also told through Lee's recipes. Click below to listen to our interview with Chef Lee or download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dan Zevin (WSC '86) Observes Suburbia and Fatherhood Behind the Wheel of His Minivan

Photo: Christopher Barth
Dan Zevin's new book, Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad is a hilarious "coming-of-middle-age tale" about becoming a dad, moving to the suburbs, and discovering how hip and cool a minivan can be. Listen to our interview with Dan below or download this episode (right click and save)

(This podcast may contain strong language)

Bio (For more information visit

Dan Zevin’s latest book is Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad (Scribner, 2012), which has been optioned by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions along with his previous book, The Day I Turned Uncool. A finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, Dan has followed his readers through each phase of life, from post-college coping (Entry-Level Life) to tying the knot (The Nearly-wed Handbook) to developing a disturbing new interest in lawn care and wine tastings (Uncool). And that was all before he had kids. Which leads us back to this minivan situation.

Dan has been a comic commentator for NPR, a humor columnist for The New York Times, and a contributor to print and digital publications including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Maxim, Details, Real Simple, and Parents. He also wrote an original sitcom pilot for CBS and Warner Brothers. His latest project is Star Vehicle, a YouTube talk show he hosts inside his minivan.

Dan lives with his wife, kids, and pet rabbit in the suburbs of New York, where he has become an active member of his local Costco.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Alumna Profile: Jenny Verbitsky of Ogilvy

Jenny Verbitsky (CAS '05) is Research Director at the renowned advertising, marketing, and public relations agency, Ogilvy & Mather. In this alumna profile, Jenny tells us a little bit about her position, and how social media is changing the way research is performed in marketing and advertising.

What led you to a career focusing in social media?

I never planned for a career in social media. In fact, when I graduated NYU in 2005, I had no idea it was a career option. In 2007, I started working at a market research firm where I had the opportunity to trial a social listening tool. After that, I started working on integrating social media into traditional secondary research I was doing at the time. From there, I was given an opportunity to manage the social media research offering at the company.

Working at Ogilvy Public Relations as a Research Director, I’m able to focus on social media analysis and implement various methodologies that help our internal account teams and clients; this includes anything from listening to how people feel a about brands and topics to implementing social media measurement strategies.

In your opinion, what kind of academic focus would best prepare someone to work in social media?

Since I’m focused on the research aspect of social media, I think anyone who is curious and has interest in research has the ability to do well in this field. Further, being able to write well and tell a story with the information you have in front of you is an important skill to have. For myself, my major in Journalism & Mass Communication provided a really good stepping stone.

How has social media changed market research in advertising?

Social media adds another layer of how we can understand consumer behavior. In many instances, social listening can become a first step in the research process. For example, if you are interested in understanding how people feel about a specific topic or brand, looking at conversations on social networks and blogs can offer an unfiltered and unprompted view of consumers’ mindsets. You can then use your social media data to inform more traditional survey research as well as brand strategy and creative.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The best part is that there’s never a dull moment; there is always something new to do and learn about. I get to work with clients and account team from all different industries. One week I may be exploring consumer perceptions of traumatic brain injuries and the next I’m trying to understand how people use their home appliances.

Friday, June 28, 2013

6 Things to Remember When Vacationing With Children: Advice from an Alum

Eileen Gunn (WSC '93) is an expert on traveling with children. Before she became a mother, Eileen and her husband were adventure-seekers. But upon starting a family, exploring the world became a little more complicated. Since then, Eileen has started a website dedicated to helping families travel with children. It's called Families Go!.

Today, Eileen offers some interesting advice about traveling with your children (or future children, for you recent grads with a twinkle in your eye). Enjoy.

Guest-post submitted by Eileen Gunn:

Before my husband and I had our daughter we were fairly adventurous travelers. We kayaked in the Galapagos, went camping in Vietnam, climbed a volcano in Bali in the pitch black to see the sunrise from the top, and drove across Mexico in a VW bug (the old kind). 

Then our daughter came along. We still wanted to travel, knew things had changed and weren’t sure where to begin. So I did what I always did when I needed parenting information: I turned to the Internet.

Most of what I found was clichéd, unhelpful and fairly discouraging. There was too much advice on how to “survive” vacations that revolved entirely around activities only a kid could like, which made me cringe. Surely it was possible to actually enjoy family travel, wasn’t it? Equally unhelpful were the über stylish travel bloggers who bragged about taking their toddlers to 6-course meals at 5-star restaurants. It seemed unrealistic and unkind to force this button-down adult world on our energetic and curious child.

There had to be something in between. Most parents I talked to had similar frustrations, so I started the travel content and information website I needed and called it FamiliesGo!.

In the five years I’ve been traveling with my daughter, and the almost-two years since I launched FamiliesGo! I’ve learned a lot about traveling with a small child. Here are my best tips:

1. Kids are incredibly resilient if you work with their schedule.  Keep (more or less) to their normal nap, meal and bed times and they will be more likely to go with the flow in between. (Getting a local tip on a good playground helps, too.)

2. Kids are kids. Even when you are on vacation babies cry, picky eaters are picky, toddlers need to be watched every second and kids of all ages get tired, bored, hungry, crabby and sulky. Having to be always on can make parents feel like they don’t get a vacation. But I find that if you just accept this reality, work with it and show empathy when the traveling gets tough (plane and car rides are long and boring), then it fades into the background and you do find new ways to relax.

3. Kids can surprise you. In Puerto Rico this winter we took our daughter to the rain forest and went on what we thought would be an easy ten-minute walk to a waterfall. It turned out to be a half-hour of hilly hiking. Our child, who can’t walk three blocks in the city without claiming she’s tired, scampered along, made up stories, sang songs, picked up sticks, and waded right into the shallower pools when we got to the falls. Then she walked back out again without a complaint. Wow!

4. There are lots activities that we enjoy that our daughter does, too. At local farmers markets we admire the local vegetables and artisanal breads while she ogles the fruit and fresh donuts. In Germany we all loved taking gondola rides into the Bavarian alps and exploring King Ludwig’s castles. Art museums often have family tours that engage both kids and parents surprisingly well. Art Treks at the Met in New York are great.

5. Some of the kids activities we most dreaded have turned out to be fun. We went to a ski lodge this winter that had an indoor water park. These rank second only to Chuck E. Cheese on my list of dreaded child entertainment. She was too small for the slides, so we alternated between swimming in an indoor-outdoor hot tub and bobbing around in a wave pool—not a bad way to spend a winter afternoon.

6. Kids get bigger. As our daughter has gotten older she’s gotten less portable and more vocal in her preferences. She no longer falls asleep in the stroller (allowing us to grab an afternoon beer). But can stay up later, sit in a restaurant for a reasonable length of time, go to art museums and amuse herself fairly well on car trips. While she would be happy to go to the beach or to Disney World on every vacation, she gamely throws herself into city, camping and ski vacations, too.

One way or another we’ve managed to enjoy all our family vacations and haven’t had to settle for surviving any of them. I hope you do, too.

Eileen Gunn (WSC ’93) is putting her journalism degree to use as the founder of FamiliesGo!.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Announcing New LinkedIn Groups for Alumni

Out of all Arts & Science Alumni social media platforms, LinkedIn (so far) has grown the quickest. Postings on the discussion boards often include valuable information about:  
  • Career-related seminars
  • Networking events
  • News
  • Detailed info on job openings
And since the groups' membership requests are monitored by Arts & Science Alumni Relations staff, you can be assured that all members are alumni of NYU (which helps to minimize spam). Below you will find links to join the different groups managed by our team. Please join the group(s) that pertains to you.

NYU Global Liberal Studies Alumni (new)
NYU Liberal Studies Alumni (new)
NYU CAS Alumni 

Friday, May 31, 2013

GSAS '90 Alum Creates Educational Opportunities in Egypt

James Ketterer (GSAS '90) is the Country Director in Egypt for an nonprofit organization that improves educational opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. James recently reached out to us with this inspiring guest blog post about his efforts to provide opportunities to Egyptians and Americans studying in Egypt, and how his time at NYU influenced his current work focus. 

I graduated in 1990 from GSAS with a Master’s in Near Eastern Studies. Since then I have worked in government, higher education and international development. I have also lived and worked overseas, especially the Middle East and Africa. I am currently the country director in Egypt for AMIDEAST, an American educational organization focused on international education, training and cultural affairs, with offices across the Middle East.  AMIDEAST/Egypt administers scholarships and exchange programs that send Egyptians to the U.S. for study and professional training; has study abroad programs that bring Americans to Egypt;  teaches English language; offers standardized tests (like SAT and TOEFL); and, carries out cultural programs.  We work closely with the U.S. and Egyptian governments as well as corporate sponsors and international organizations.

The revolutions, regime changes and unrest that began in Tunisia in late 2010 and spread across the region have increased the need for the kind of programs AMIDEAST offers.  The current economic challenges in Egypt, for example, mean more young people are seeking language and professional skills training that will give them an edge in the job market.  And an increasing number of Egyptians come to AMIDEAST for our college advising services through our EducationUSA program via the U.S. State Department.  At the same time, refugees have arrived in Egypt from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Sudan and we are working to provide them with educational opportunities.  

Cultural programming is also important in building bridges between the U.S. and Egypt.  This past month, for example, AMIDEAST/Egypt hosted a jazz quartet from New York – the Arch Stanton Quartet.  The band played at the Cairo International Jazz Festival, the American University in Cairo (AUC) and in Alexandria.  In addition to the performances we also carried out workshops on jazz composition and cultural diplomacy to students at AUC and Egyptian high school students.  And several months ago, Tom Healy, a professor of creative writing at NYU and chair of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, gave a poetry workshop to our students in Cairo.  These programs are a reminder of the power of the arts to create connections and inspire imaginations, even amid the tumult of the current political situation.

My time at NYU prepared me to deal with the many aspects of my work, here in Egypt and in previous jobs.  The interdisciplinary nature of the program in Near Eastern Studies allowed me to take courses in language, history, politics and at the Institute of Fine Arts.  The faculty was excellent and I stay in touch with several of the classmates I studied with in the Kevorkian Center.  One of them, Elwi Captan, lives in my neighborhood in Cairo.  The connections to Washington Square are still an important part of my work and life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

From the Streets to a Canvas: An Alum Talks about the Origins of His Art

Seth Apter (GSAS '85) came to the city in 1983, and it changed his life. In this guest blog post, Seth tells us about how his time at NYU almost three decades ago still influences his art today.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Finding Love Online--Nancy Kelton (WSC '69) Tells Us About It

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Welch
Nancy Kelton (WSC '69) is an essayist, an NYU writing professor, and an in-house "dating expert" for the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), helping to launch their new online dating site. She was recently featured on NBC Nightly News, and is known for her essays, her articles in the New York Times and the Boston Globe, her blog (Love 'n Stuff)--and also for successfully finding love through online dating.

We just got back from a coffee "date" with Nancy at the Starbucks in Fayes where we talked about her experience using online dating and her work for the AARP. Be sure to subscribe to her blog.

Do your students ever ask you for dating advice?

I give it free! I seem to get a lot of single and divorced women in my class actually. And when they start writing about bringing guys home, I can barely be a teacher. I become a Jewish mother. Don’t bring them home right away! I tell them to go slowly. Don’t wonder why they disappear. So yes, I do give dating advice, not that people ask for it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy 182nd Birthday, NYU

182 years ago, on April 18, 1831, NYU was established. To celebrate, let's have some cupcakes.

Alumna Josette Vadala (CAS '06) recently began exploring an alternate career track when she opened her online cupcakery, Cuddles' Cupcake Bar. In honor of NYU's birthday, Josette will send a dozen of Cuddles' Petite Push-Up Pops to one person who subscribes to the blog in the next 24 hours (you have until noon on April 19 to subscribe).

For more about Josette, her cupcake business, and Josette's Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes recipe, read our short Q&A below. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Discussing "Food Porn" with Arts & Science Alumni

Last night we had a great turn out at the alumni panel discussion titled, "Food Porn: Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Bites?" Thank you to all to attended, and a very special thank you to Christophe Hille, Ed Schoenfeld, Carla Contreras, Krishnendu Ray, and our discussion moderator Jessica Bynoe, each of whom contributed towards such an interesting conversation on food, sex and everything in between.

There was a camera floating around; hopefully you were feeling photogenic! (Click on a photo to enlarge.)

Krishnendu Ray, Carla Contreras, Ed Schoenfeld, Christophe Hille
The buffet table

The Tapas Station: Fennel Pesto Grilled Shrimp with Turkish Red Pepper Sauce, Cigelini Mozzarella, Roasted Tomato and Basic Banderilla Skewers, Lamb Pomegranate and Pine Nut Empanaditas with Mint Mojo Dip, and Sundried Beef Wrapped Asparagus Spears with Sherry-Almond Dip

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Be Nice to Your Feet: An Alumna's Solution to Walking in Heels

**Would you like a free pair of CitySlips? Check out our Facebook page for details by 4/5/13 at noon.**

As a student at NYU, Susie Levitt (CAS '10) was always on her way somewhere--walking to class, to an internship, or a night out on the town--all while wearing a pair of high heels. 

Rather than compromising on fashion, Susie did what any entrepreneur would do: invented a solution. 

NYU Arts & Science Alumni Relations: How did you come up with the idea for CitySlips? 

Susie Levitt: Having lived in New York as an NYU student, I was oh-so-familiar with the pain caused by pointy pumps and strappy stilettos. My love/hate relationship with these fashion icons wasn’t helped by the fact that I stand no taller than 5’2” and despite my suffering, I was simply unwilling to (totally) give up on these beloved wardrobe staples. And yet, corporate internships, subway dashes, NYC social scene… all of the above led to too many moments of hobbling, near tears, back to my dorm on 14th street. The front door never seemed to come soon enough. One too many encounters with shoeless socialites and barefooted babes led to the “AH HA” moment and the idea of CitySlips was born.

CitySlips are based on the notion that high heels look great, but kill your feet. They are foldable ballet flats that come in a convenient travel case, making them perfect for commuting, weddings, nightlife, travel, and more. The best part? After making the decision to switch from skyscraper stilettos to more sensible slippers, the CitySlips carrying case unfurls to a full-size tote bag to store those “killer” high heels. After I had the initial idea, I partnered up with a fellow peer and fashionista, Katie Shea (Stern '09). Katie had experience in manufacturing and was the president of Stern’s Entrepreneurial Exchange Group (EEG). Together during our senior year, we wrote a 30-page business plan, filed for a provisional patent application, and enlisted the help of NYU professors and many NYC professionals/mentors.

On June 1, 2009 we officially launched CitySlips and since have been featured in Forbes, New York Daily News, New York Magazine, The View, The Today Show, CNN, Fox & Friends and more. We have sold over 500,000 CitySlips worldwide combined through national retailers such as: ShopNBC, Neiman Marcus, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Macy’s, The Shopping Channel and Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as directly on our website.

What was the journey like in gaining exposure and awareness about CitySlips?

I think we got lucky in the sense that we received great press immediately about our founding story: two college students who decided to start their own business versus taking jobs on Wall Street. Our first feature “Businesses get the Old College Try” in the New York Daily News highlighted Katie and me in the centerfold and spoke about how we started the company. Since then, a lot of our press has focused on us as young entrepreneurs and any advice/tips we would give to college students or recent grads on how to start a business. Initially one of the challenges we faced was generating press for the product in front of women’s lifestyle magazines and morning shows. Since we were on a “shoe-string” budget and didn’t have the funds to hire a PR team, Katie and I (along with a team of interns), researched for the contact information of editors on Cision and constantly were pitching journalists on a website platform called Help a Reporter Out. Also, we found that our retail distribution was one of the best forms of marketing. Several editors and journalists would see CitySlips on the shelves at Bliss Spas or in the Neiman Marcus Christmas book and write about the product. Some of our best press has been from editors who have actually bought and used the product on their own, understand the problem and solution, and write an authentic and genuine recommendation. In addition, we were fortunate that Joy Behar, one of the co-hosts of The View, happened to slip on a pair of CitySlips during an event at The White House and spoke about her comfortable experience on the show!

Have you ever considered going on a show like the Shark Tank?

In the past, yes. They reached out to us actually when we first started the business. At the time, we were not looking for capital because we were using a factor. Factoring is a financing method in which a business owner sells their accounts receivables at a discount to a third-party funding source to raise capital. Since majority of the mass retailers work on net 30 to net 60 terms, factoring is very common in manufacturing businesses, where long receivables are part of the business cycle. For us, we were really able to grow more organically by using a factor and not having to get an investor, like Shark Tank, who would want equity in our company in exchange for cash. We did do some licensing deals, but primarily receivables factoring was the method we employed for financing.

Have you ever seen someone wearing CitySlips?

Yep. I actually see random people in Manhattan wearing CitySlips all the time. Since I am in the footwear business, I can’t help but look down at what shoe styles people are wearing when walking on the street or in the subway. I joke and say that morning rush hour is my daily market research!

What has been the most successful networking strategy for you?

Living and working in Manhattan affords many opportunities to network. I would say that the best connections I’ve made have been through a friend of a friend, or someone who I went to college with. In terms of starting the business, the NYU network has been invaluable. One of my friends and former sorority sisters helped us get featured on CNN and some of the major morning shows. Another former peer works at a promotional products company and helped us launch a private label foldable flats program with DSW for Fashion Night Out in New York. I would definitely say that my NYU network has helped in many ways that I never would have even imagined.