Thursday, December 18, 2014

What Are These Recent Alumnae Up To?

With the winter break fast approaching, we checked in with some recent graduates to see what memories they have of their time at NYU and to hear about their current jobs.

Morgan Haselden (CAS '14)

What did you study while you were at NYU? 

In high school I had an inspirational mentor and decided then that I wanted to pursue psychology. I never wavered in my choice of major at NYU but in my Sophomore year I added child and adolescent mental health studies as a minor.

Name a moment during your time as a student that stands out as being most memorable or something you did while at NYU that you are most proud of.

In my senior year I took an advanced honors seminar. It was a small class and I was able to focus on a project that I will never forget. The project ultimately created a platform that would enable independent studies with students and professors across the GNU.

Where are you currently working and can you name one aspect of your job that you enjoy most?

I work at Columbia Medical Center/The New York State Psychiatric Institute as an assistant researcher doing mental health services and policy research. It is exactly what I want to be doing. I was asked to be part of two projects that focus on services for young adults who have experienced psychosis. Right now, services for young people who have psychosis and schizophrenia is where I would like to focus my research.

Name a book that you read at NYU that you would recommend to others.

Definitely Random Family by Adrian Nicole La Blanc. Everyone should read this book. It was especially important to me as a newcomer to NYC.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

In 10 years I picture myself in a postdoc position researching mental health services to help people who have suffered from mental illness, potentially focusing on psychosis. So I'll need to be working toward a PhD within three!

What is something you learned about NYC that you would share with other students who may be starting to navigate the city?

I've thought about this question a lot - NYU is a complete reflection of NYC. The city is a city of extremes and it's important to think about things that will ground you when you too get extreme. Whether it's friends, family, hobbies, etc. arm yourself with the resources to get you back to your best self.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Just In Time for Black Friday, Lisa Burdige (GSAS '90) Explains How Marketing Changes Our Purchase Decisions

What did you study at NYU? 

I went to NYU to study creative writing and literature. I never wanted to work in advertising. In fact, for most of my twenties I looked at those “agency experience only” jobs with a bit of disdain. I didn't even have a TV until after I was out of grad school! I fell into my first advertising job about 10 years ago. In truth, I went in for the money, but I stayed for the people – they were interesting, creative and a lot smarter than I had expected.

What is your current position? 

My job now is as Creative Director at Rosetta Marketing. My background is as a copywriter and my forte is developing compelling brand content, telling brand stories and honing a brand voice mostly online and including social media. I know that this sounds very marketing and “jargonny” but ironically, my studies at NYU prepared me for a career in advertising in several ways. Here are three pillars of what I learned at NYU that's made me a really good Creative Director.

1) It’s not the story, it's how you tell the story.
2) Have something to say, or no one will listen to you.
3) Do your research.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Join Us This Weekend for NYU Alumni Day!

As we prepare to welcome thousands of NYU alumni back to campus this weekend, we wanted to highlight some of the Arts and Science specific programming taking place on Saturday. Below are descriptions for our programs including the Dean's Luncheons. We look forward to seeing many of you on campus this weekend.

Are you a member of the Classes of 2004, 2009, or 2013? If so, join us on Friday, November 7, when we'll celebrate the ten, five, and one year anniversary classes at Avenue Nightclub! Over drinks and dancing, you’ll meet new friends and reconnect with classmates, all while establishing a lifelong tradition that you will continue to enjoy in years to come. $20 registration includes full open bar, hors d'oeuvres, and many other exciting surprises.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Interview with Bethenny Frankel (WSC '92)

In addition to being a New York Times best-selling author, a natural food chef, a reality TV star, and running her Skinnygirl brand, Bethenny Frankel (WSC '92) is also a mom. She recently released her first children's book, Cookie Meets Peanut and we had a chance to speak with her on the phone about the book and her career path after NYU. Listen to our interview using the player below or click here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Kate Otto (CAS '08, WAG '09): Changing the World with Everyday Ambassador

What did you study at NYU and how did your studies influence the work that you are doing now?

I studied International Relations at NYU CAS, and my studies introduced me to worlds of international development, foreign policy, and strategic decision-making by governments on provision of basic human rights like healthcare. I became quickly fascinated by these topics we discussed in class, and how often I saw these concepts in action during my various semesters and summers abroad, working on international development projects. Eventually, my passion for being a global citizen, combined with my CAS education, led me to work in the global health sector, and inspired me to start my website and write this book, Everyday Ambassador.

Can you tell us about Everyday Ambassador and how you came up with the concept? 

Everyday Ambassador is a network of organizations and individuals who prioritize relationship-building in their service work and global travels. As I was traveling and engaging in a variety of health-focused service projects throughout and after college, I often saw that good intentions would go to waste when people designed interventions "for" others rather than "with" them. In our digital world it's easier than ever before to learn about issues, be inspired, and even connect with and visit communities far away, yet when it comes to problem-solving and sustainable development solutions, it takes much deeper conversations and relationship building in order to foster meaningful social change. I wanted to create a platform that would showcase people who had this healthy, holistic, long-term approach to social change, rooted in building strong relationships over time, and not just fleeting innovations or reactive emotions.

Your book, Everyday Ambassador: Make a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World will be released in 2015. What will the book cover and is there a central idea that you hope readers will think about while reading the book? 

As you read EA, I hope that you think about this key idea: in a world more digitally connected than ever before, we oftentimes become less humanly connected to one another. We become device and social network obsessed, to the point of ostracizing ourselves from the immediate world around us. It is up to you and me to decide how to meaningfully use technology in our lives, so that we grow closer to people who are far away and not end up farther from people already close to us. Also, when we apply tech tools in productive ways, we can end up being part of truly revolutionary social change.

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to reduce their technology dependance and focus on more human connections? 

My key advice is a simple exercise you can try, even today. The challenge is: try giving your undivided attention to every person you encounter in a single day. It sounds simple, but once you begin committing yourself to individual interactions, you realize how often we tend to multitask even with other people (texting while talking, emailing while in class or meeting, ordering coffee while on the phone with someone). Whether your interaction is in-person, on a call, or on a text, I would challenge you to really just do one interaction at one time, no multi-tasking, and see how it enhances your feeling of connectivity to others.

How do you measure the impact of the work your team is doing? 

The goals of Everyday Ambassador have shifted over the past two years we have existed. We originally set out to simply blog about the EA ethos of human connectivity, and began building an audience. We then set goals to establish Partnerships with organizations who exuded EA values in their work, and feature individuals as writers on our site who worked with these organizations, and by the end of this year we'll have about a dozen officially on board. As we look to the year ahead with the publication of the book, our goal will be to engage readers more in offline spaces, by hosting workshops with classrooms, organizations, and businesses who are interested in being 21st century global citizens and employing the EA values in their projects and activities.

How do you use social media to spread your mission and vision and have you found it to be effective? 

Although one of our biggest talking points is the value of digitally detoxing now and then, we also emphasize the beauty of social media connectivity, for learning, growing, and connecting. We have made so many new friends, and identified wonderful Partners and feature stories, through social media channels. And we rely on social media to share our various daily blog series. You can reach us on Twitter at @everydayAMB, on Facebook (, and on Instagram (@everydayambassador)!

How can alumni get involved and become a part of the Everyday Ambassador team? 

I have no doubt that many NYU CAS Alumni are leading organizations, businesses, and initiatives that convey the values of EA--empathy, patience, humility, and focus. I would love to hear from alumni who would like their work featured on EA or would like to write for EA about their experiences in service, travel, and social change, as it relates to forming strong human connections. Please be in touch! [] I would also love to engage Alumni in coordinating events or training workshops with our EA team; we work with groups, classrooms, and organizations to customize our general EA curriculum to their specific needs, and we're always happy to bring on new Partners.


Monday, September 22, 2014

NYU Students Create NYU Events App

With the recent opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab (eLab), we wanted to interview student entrepreneurs who have been working on developing new products. Abhi Ashutosh (CAS '16) and former NYU student, Tanner Nelson are the minds behind the new app, NYU Events.

What are you currently studying at NYU?


I’m currently a Junior at CAS majoring in Computer Science with minors in Business Studies and Math. I am also involved heavily on campus, currently serving as the President of TEDxNYU and on the boards of Tech@NYU and HashtagNYU.

Tanner is taking a year off from NYU, but was studying Biology and Computer Science in CAS. He was involved in several clubs ranging from Tech@NYU to the Biological Society.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jonathan Tropper (GSAS '93) Brings This Is Where I Leave You to the Silver Screen

Jonathan Tropper's (GSAS '93) New York Times bestselling book, This Is Where I Leave You has been adapted for the screen and will be opening in theaters this Friday, September 19th. In addition to writing the novel, Jonathan also wrote the screenplay. We had the opportunity to interview Jonathan about turning the book into a screenplay. Listen to our interview using the player below or click here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

When Butcher Meets Entrepreneur: Happy Valley Meat Co.

Dan Honig (CAS '10, GSAS '11) is a co-founder of Happy Valley Meat Co. (HVMC), a start-up that is striding towards "making sustainable meat sustainable." According to Honig, the meat industry is flawed. The system lacks transparency, and chefs, let alone consumers, rarely know the history of the meat they are serving or eating.

Last week, we had the pleasure of speaking to Honig, who started out as a butcher, and now helps to run HVMC. Read our Q&A with him to learn more about how this start-up is changing the way we eat meat.

What does it mean to "upgrade the food chain?"

Upgrading the food chain can have a multitude of meanings, which is what makes talking about food and where it comes from so difficult. An upgrade can be more food at a lower cost for some or less food at a higher cost for others. The main problem that I want to tackle with Happy Valley Meat Company is the gross misinformation, confusion and lack of understanding that is ubiquitous in today's meat market. Upgrading the food chain through this lens means complete traceability, from birth to slaughter to meal. By maintaining transparent operations, consumers can easily obtain the facts on animal treatment, environmental practices, health concerns and human rights concerns and then use those facts to decide where they stand on important moral issues.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jumping to the Beat with Tim Haft (GSAS '86)

Tim Haft (GSAS '86) created Punk Rope in 2004 and nearly 10 years later, it has become the most popular rope-jumping based fitness class in the world. The first class was taught at NYU and now there are more than 1,000 certified Punk Rope instructors worldwide. We interviewed Tim about his unique and fun workouts and he was kind enough to offer NYU alumni a one-time free guest pass to a class.

How do you describe Punk Rope to people who have never heard of it and how did you come up with the idea? 

I keep experimenting with different descriptions, but the one that resonates the most is that Punk Rope is like “gym class” for adults. Unfortunately, some of us were traumatized by gym class. I also describe it as a mash-up of recess and boot camp. My favorite description was “recess on steroids” but that’s not PC. The idea for Punk Rope took shape in 2003 when I was sidelined after knee surgery. I could no longer play many sports or run long distances so I went back to the gym to check out group exercise classes, a completely new phenomenon for me. And the truth was I didn’t like what I experienced. There was very little social interaction, the movements felt forced, the music was horrendous for the most part, and there was no rope jumping. It didn’t take long before I recognized that I needed to create my own class.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker, Zijian Mu (GSAS '13) Talks About His Film, One Child

Zijian Mu (GSAS '13) recently won a Student Academy Award for his documentary film, One Child, which follows the journey of three families from Beichuan, China (the city that suffered the most from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake), as they try to restore a sense of normalcy and struggle to move past the loss of their children.

What did you study at NYU? Were there any professors who had an impact on you and your interest in documentary filmmaking? 

I went to the News and Documentary program at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and there are four professors who have had a profound influence on my interest in documentary filmmaking:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Stephanie Wu (CAS '09) Examines Roommates in Her New Book, The Roommates: True Tales of Friendship, Rivalry, Romance, and Disturbingly Close Quarters

Photo Credit: Marietta Leung
What did you major in at NYU and how did NYU prepare you for your current job as Senior Associate Editor at Town & Country

I attended NYU knowing that I wanted to study journalism, but wasn’t quite sure what else I wanted to do. NYU’s journalism program requires all students to double major—which felt like a pain then, but I’m certainly grateful for the additional knowledge now. I graduated with degrees in journalism and East Asian studies, and a minor in gender studies. The skills I picked up in the journalism department—especially the honors class, under the watchful eye of then-department chair Brooke Kroeger—coupled with internships at various magazines, is what led to my job at Town & Country post-graduation.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Flamenco Dancer and Scholar, Alice Blumenfeld (CAS '12)

Alice Blumenfeld is an accomplished Flamenco dancer and scholar who has received various awards, including a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Silver Award for excellence in dance as part of the YoungArts program and she was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 2008.  In 2012, Alice was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in dance to further her studies in Sevilla, Spain.

What did you study while you were at NYU and do you have any specific memories that stand out during your time as a student?

I studied comparative literature at NYU. I had some really great professors, particularly my advisor, Lourdes Dávila. When I signed up to take the Spanish literature survey class, I got really lucky that I picked her class. She is not only a great professor who really pushed me to think and supported my research endeavors, but she was also a great professional dancer, so knowing her has really helped me both in my academics and finding my way in the dance world. Another great memory was the trip that the honors students take during spring break of sophomore year. I chose to go to Madrid with Jacques Lezra, the comparative literature department head. It was my first time traveling outside the U.S., and Jacques gave us so many insights into Spanish life and culture since he grew up in Madrid. It was a great first introduction to Spain, and I really felt like I got to know the character of Madrid.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Danny Simmons (WSC '78), Artist and Founder of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation

Danny Simmons (WSC '78) is an accomplished artist, novelist, poet and philanthropist. We had an opportunity to visit Simmons at his home in Brooklyn to talk with him about NYU and the many passion projects he is currently working on. Listen to our interview using the player below or by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Restaurateur Joe Campanale (CAS '06, STEINHARDT '09)

Joe Campanale (CAS '06, STEINHARDT '09) is beverage director and co-owner of dell'anima, L'Artusi, and Anfora in New York's West Village and of L'Apicio in the East Village. Campanale launched his career while still a student at New York University, earning school credit in the kitchen at Union Square Cafe and gaining deep wine knowledge at Italian Wine Merchants, the International Wine Center, and Vinifera Imports. Watch our interview with Joe who talks about his time at NYU, lists some of his favorite NYC wine stores, and tells about his appearance on the Rachael Ray Show opening a bottle of wine with his shoe.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Travel with Kate Thomas (GSAS '10)

Kate Thomas is a 2010 NYU News and Documentary grad who is carving out a career in travel entertainment. She created the blog, and the youtube series of the same name. She is currently the host, producer, shooter and editor of her show that uncovers local life wherever she travels. And in each episode she finds a passionate local to show her their unique perspective on her destination. Some regions covered so far include London, Paris, Southern Spain, Nicaragua, and Tunisia.

Listen to our interview using the player below or click here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Q&A: Recent Alumni from the Class of 2014

Now that the summer is well underway, we reached out to a few recent Arts and Science alumni from the class of 2014 to see what they are up to.

Anna Silman 

What did you study while you were at NYU?
I did a masters in journalism with a focus in magazine writing.

Name a moment during your time as a graduate student that stands out as being most memorable or something you are most proud of. 
For me, the best part of studying at the journalism school was getting to hear so many amazing guest speakers like Tom Wolfe, Jill Abramson, Emily Nussbaum, Chuck Klosterman and David Remnick, among others. I also got to hear Andrew Solomon speak about his newest book, Far From the Tree, which was really exciting because he's one of my favorite writers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Live from New York University, it's Tonight Show Staff Writer Mike Drucker (CAS '06, GSAS '07)

Mike Drucker is a comedian and a staff writer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and is currently nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. Mike visited our office to talk about his days at NYU and what it's like writing comedy for television. Listen to our interview using the player below or by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

NYU Professor and Ramen Historian, George Solt

You'll look at ramen in a whole new light after listening to our interview with Professor George Solt. Solt has researched the history of ramen and published a book called “The Untold History of Ramen: How Political Crisis in Japan Spawned a Global Food Craze." Listen to our interview using the player below or by clicking here.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Mideast Show: Kayvon Afshari (GSAS '12) and Serhan Ayhan (GSAS '13)

The Mideast Show with Kayvon Afshari is the first political satire all about the Middle East. We had a chance to sit down with creator, Kayvon Afshari (GSAS '12)  and head writer, Serhan Ayhan (GSAS '13) to talk with them about the show. Click here to listen or use the player below.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ken Albert's (ARTS '61) Vineyard in Vermont

Ken Albert (ARTS '61) began growing grapes in his back yard and now has a full-time, commercial scale grape growing and winemaking business. Shelburne Vineyard is located in Shelburne, Vermont and has produced award-winning wines such as their Marquette Reserve which recently won Gold- Best Red Wine of Show in the 2013 International Cold Climate Wine Competition. We had a chance to speak with Ken on the phone about his time at NYU and his journey in the wine business. Listen here or using the player below.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Featured Alumna: Mallory Carra (CAS '05)

What’s your journey been like since graduating from NYU? 

Oh my. I graduated in May 2005 - 9 years ago! - from CAS with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in history, as well as three years at the Washington Square News. Two weeks later, I moved to Raleigh North Carolina for an internship at The News and Observer, a newspaper that paid me $500 a week and gave me my own cell phone. Mind you, this was back when newspapers were doing very well. After that, I moved back to NYC (where I'm from) and looked for work, eventually deciding to take a job at a mid-sized newspaper in Tennessee, The Chattanooga Times Free Press. My college friends thought I was nuts to cross the Mason-Dixon (again) and used to joke that it was my study abroad experience, but my three years in Tennessee wound up being the most influential, eye-opening, and inspiring years of my 20s.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Aaron Sherman (CAS '06), Co-Founder and CEO of SevenFifty

SevenFifty was launched in 2012 by Aaron Sherman (CAS '06), Gianfranco Verga (Stern '06), and Neal Parikh as a way to bring together professional wine buyers and sellers online. We had an opportunity to ask Aaron about the company and his time at NYU.

What did you study while you were a student at NYU and was starting your own business something you were considering or did you start off on a different career path? 

I ended up taking a fairly focused set of courses, which was somewhat surprising given that my only goal when I first arrived was to get a broad liberal arts education. I ended up with an Italian major and an "almost" History major, a result of having become singularly focused on a career in the wine industry after graduating. My assumption was that I would eventually own and operate a restaurant in New York, so yes, I've alway considered being in an ownership role, but I couldn't have imagined it taking shape as it has.

Tell us about SevenFifty and how the idea came about? 

I and my two co-founders were all involved in some capacity or another at a local bar in the East Village, and the idea for SevenFifty evolved over a series of months as we complained out loud about why someone hadn't provided a good, modern, online platform for buyers and sellers in the alcohol industry. Gianfranco (also an NYU alum) and I, having worked in wine and spirits for nearly a decade each at that point, had a good sense of what problems and inefficiencies afflicted everyone in the industry. Our third partner, Neal, is a computer scientist and wine/spirits enthusiast, so was able to work with us to design and build a solid technology product.

How has SevenFifty changed the business model that was previously in place between buyer and seller? 

The average person's interaction with the beverage industry is via restaurants, bars, and retail shops, which are usually run very well, at least from the customer's perspective. The professional and wholesale side of things, however, is still very old-fashioned and inefficient. As one example, before SevenFifty, it might take a beverage director at a restaurant a (sometimes long) series of phone calls to even find out whether a given distributor carries a given product, whether it's available for purchase, what its current price is, or what the available volume discounts are. If a product switched distributors, that could result in the product simply being dropped from a restaurant's menu due to it being too much work to track it down again. You couldn't simply check to see what Napa Valley wines were available across the market. And so on. SevenFifty doesn't change the industry's business model, but it makes it all work much more efficiently. All the information above, and much more, is now accessible instantly online, which significantly streamlines the sales process and lets buyers and sellers each devote their time and attention on what they do best – build high quality beverage programs and educate professionals about their portfolio, respectively – instead of wasting a large amount of their time and money finding, sharing, and managing basic information about products in the market.

We have a number of Arts and Science Alumni who are producing wine. What is the process for someone who wants to start using SevenFifty to get their wine out there? 

We encourage any local wineries in NY state to reach out to us and make sure their products are available on the site for members of the trade, either direct from the winery or via their distributor. We understand that small wineries who are focused on making the best wines they can make might not have the time or resources to properly market their products. SevenFifty can help them get their brand out in front of the decision makers in the industry who move the needle on awareness of their brand in the market in a time and cost-sensitive way.

Do you have any other wine-related ideas/products that you are planning on introducing in the future? 

What we've done so far is exciting in part because it suggests many future opportunities to help beverage professionals throughout the industry. We think of SevenFifty as a core platform on which a number of future tools and products can be built.

Can you give us a few of your favorite go-to wines? 

My first true education in wine came while I was studying abroad at NYU's campus in Florence, Italy so I will always have a soft spot for Italian wines. The first "ah-ha" moment I had was with a bottle of Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino from the 2000 vintage – I'd recommend it to anyone fortunate enough to find a bottle on a wine list!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Rob Brunner (GSAS '97), Senior Editor at Fast Company

Rob Brunner is a senior editor at Fast Company. He was previously an editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly and has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York magazine, GQ, The Awl, and Men's Journal, among other publications. He currently teaches at NYU at the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. You can follow him on twitter @iamrobbrunner.

You've interviewed a number of people over the years. Do you have an interview that stands out in your mind as being one that you are most proud of? Did you ever have an interview that didn't go so well?


I’ve been lucky enough to interview a bunch of my musical heroes, whether it was driving around Northern California in Tom Waits’ Chevy Suburban, getting a guitar lesson from Richard Thompson (challenging for him, since I don’t play), or just chatting with Jay Z, Brian Wilson, Patti Smith, Pete Townshend and George Martin (not at the same time, unfortunately). One of my worst (or maybe best?) interview moments was when Jon Bon Jovi almost punched me. I had asked him a couple of semi-humorous (I thought) questions about the band’s then-recent collaborations with Britney Spears producer Max Martin and video director Wayne Isham, who, I lightheartedly pointed out, had just shot an ’N Sync video. Bon Jovi was not amused. “I’m going to beat the cluck out of you,” he said, only he didn’t say “cluck.” “It’s going to be easy,” he added with a scowl. But it turned out okay. After a moment he cooled down and the interview continued.

Tell us about your course at NYU, Reporting the Arts. How would you explain your teaching style?

It’s a broad look at pop-culture journalism with a heavy focus on writing assignments: reviews, Q&As, blog posts, profiles, trend stories, etc. We have a lot of fun (class projects sometimes involve going to the movies and interviewing musicians), but we take entertainment writing seriously and work quite hard. The class emphasizes practical, real-world skills—how to produce the kind of work that magazine and website editors are looking for right now.

What advice do you give to your students who are interested in going into journalism as a career? 

Just dive in: Write as much as possible about all sorts of different things. You can learn a lot from great teachers and editors, but experience is crucial. And read! Magazine profiles, criticism, novels, nonfiction books—it will all improve your writing, especially if you read closely and try to work out how the best stuff is put together. Good writers are usual avid, careful readers.

 Outside of the classroom you are a Senior Editor at Fast Company and What are your responsibilities in this role? 

Fast Company is a really exciting place to work (and not just because we recently won Magazine of the Year at the National Magazine Awards!). It’s a business magazine that focuses on innovation and creativity rather than finance. I edit features, both in the magazine and online, and work on various other parts of the magazine, including packages like the 100 Most Creative People in business. I also do some writing (in the current issue I interview Jerry Seinfeld and The Fault in Our Stars author John Green), and I still cover entertainment as a freelance writer. My work has most recently appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GQ and Rolling Stone.

What are your thoughts on social media? Have you found it to be a useful tool to interact with fans of Fast Company and even some of the people you have interviewed?

I’m a big fan of Twitter, which is a great way to interact with readers and other journalists. It’s also good for promoting your work, of course, but more important, it alerts you to all kinds of great writing that you might have missed otherwise. Anyone who thinks Twitter is dumb isn’t following the right people.

What are your thoughts on the future of magazine publishing? Do you think print magazines are doomed? 

I suspect print magazines will stick around. There’s something about flipping through those shiny pages that you just can’t replace. People love magazines and still read them in big numbers. But certainly there is a shift toward digital, and that isn’t a bad thing. There’s now so much great magazine-style writing out there—both in print and on the web—that it’s hard to keep up. My highly subjective, totally unsubstantiated sense is that people are more excited about longform journalism than they have been for quite some time. Channeling that enthusiasm into a sustainable business is an ongoing challenge, but I’m optimistic.

What are you currently watching? 

The same stuff everyone’s watching: Game of Thrones, Mad Men, The Good Wife. I’m a big fan of Louis C.K.’s Louie, which some people find off-putting because it’s about a comedian and takes the form of a sitcom but isn’t really a comedy. There’s nothing else like it on TV. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with Comedy Central’s iPad app. They’re now producing a ton of truly funny material: Stewart and Colbert, obviously, but also shows like Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele, Broad City and Kroll Show.

What are you reading? 

I recently interviewed Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard for GQ, and I’m quite taken with his six-volume, 3,600-page autobiographical novel, My Struggle. I promise it’s better than that description makes it sound. My office is quite close to the Mysterious Bookshop in Tribeca, and I spend way too much money there on international crime fiction. I’m now working my way through a stack of novels published by Soho Crime (currently one by Dutch writer Janwillem van de Wetering). And I’m excited to dig into The Essential Ellen Willis, a new collection put together by her daughter, Nona Willis Aronowitz. I was a student in Ellen’s Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU, and her work has been a big source of inspiration.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

At The Strand with Brianne Sperber (CAS '11), Marketing Manager

Can you tell us about your job as Marketing Manager at the Strand Book Store? 

I began my career in publishing, first as a literary agent’s assistant at Curtis Brown, LTD. and then took a position at Simon & Schuster, as marketing coordinator in the Adult Trade Group. My role at Strand allows me to connect with readers and booksellers—the people I feel most alike. As Marketing Manager, I manage the store’s direct-to-consumer marketing, which includes weekly email updates and social media feeds, but I also field all press requests, including interviews, promote all of our events to bloggers and the press, and I am actively seeking new partnership opportunities. We have a strong partnership with Club Monaco and Strand has a pop-up shop in the Club Monaco on Fifth Avenue and 21st Street. I’m determined to find a partnership with an equally as recognizable and powerful brand. That all said—no two days are the same. Just recently, I arranged an interview Norwegian journalist who was writing a piece on America’s independent bookstore culture and a few days after that, I gave a tour to a group of 35 Japanese CEOs looking to learn more about American businesses. I never really know what’s going to land on my desk and the constant flux of projects keeps me engaged and excited to come to work every day.

You were active on the Program Board as a student at NYU. How did your experience being on PB prepare you for this position at the Strand? 

Program Board prepared me for real life in more ways than I ever imagined. I learned how to execute every detail of an event and oversee a group of 45+ students and greatly developed my communication skills. In many ways, a student upset about an event selling out is no different from a customer looking for a book. Knowing how to communicate effectively in all medias is something I can only thank Program Board for. Program Board exposed me to a wide range of events structures, and knowing about the range of entertainment possibilities helps me greatly here, as I can use my own experience to help our events team brainstorm new concepts. I learned how to be a manager from all those events in E&L Auditorium and there is not a day where I don’t say, “When I was at Program Board…”

Do you find that social media has been an effective way to market the Strand and its events to the public? 

Totally. Social media allows us to communicate in real time with our customers outside of the store. This winter, we launched a tote design contest and took submissions from all over. Our grand prize winner was a UK based designer and one of the runner-ups lives in Brooklyn. Social media enables a global conversation and helps us connect with our customers who don’t get to come in every day. Social Media can usually help us prepare better for an event, too. If it seems like a lot of people are discussing it on various platforms, we can usually assume we’ll see a spike in volume. If the conversation is quiet, we will just tweet at people (influencers like bloggers or people in a particular field) to push out the event. I definitely think it’s been an effective tool for getting news out about any of our initiatives. I am committed to making our customers feel as though they’re a part of our store and as a result, many of my social media initiatives are designed to invite responses from our followers. For National Poetry Month in April, we invited our followers to share photos of “Spine Poetry,” which are poems created by stacking books on top of each other and using the titles as the poem’s lines. We had a lot of great submissions and I took as much time as I could to respond to them. In May, we’re inviting people to take “shelfies,” which are photos of a personal bookshelf. We’re already getting great responses and it’s a lot of fun to see what our followers have on their bookshelves!

Are there any recent events that you were really excited about and want to share with our readers? 

When I was at NYU, Andrew W.K. emceed a show we hosted, one of the last shows we were able to do at Solar One, a park on the East River. I was so excited when he recently came to the Strand, speaking with Peter Crandall all about his album I GET WET. I never really listened to his music, but Andrew W.K. totally embodies everything I love about music. I was also overjoyed to be at the Strand when Ayelet Waldman was here. I was in the middle of her new novel, LOVE & TREASURE, and was eager to hear about her inspiration. Elissa Schappell, another favorite author of mine, introduced her. It was a total literary love fest—some of the most prominent contemporary authors were in the audience. Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Chabon (Ayelet’s husband), Zadie Smith, and Ben Marcus were in the audience. I bet there were more that I didn’t necessarily recognize as well. It was a total New York City-literati moment. Elissa said that coming to the Strand was like coming to Mecca for an author—and I totally felt that way too. (By the way, LOVE & TREASURE was fantastic and I encourage everyone to read it.)

For those who may be overwhelmed walking into the Strand, do you have a favorite section of the store and one you would recommend everyone visit? 

I am a big fiction reader so I spend a lot of time on our first floor, browsing the new arrivals tables to see what’s come in. That said, the Rare Book Room on our third floor is truly magnificent. It’s filled with some of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen—gorgeous leather-bound collections and sets, first edition copies of modern classics, and some really rare editions, like a copy of James Joyces’ Ulysses that was illustrated by Matisse. I’ve heard customers refer to the room as “the secret room,” but it’s completely open to the public and accessible by the elevator. It does, however, close at 6:15 each day while the rest of the store remains open much later. No visit to the Strand is complete without a trip upstairs. It’s completely magical.

Are there any interesting facts about the history of the Strand that you learned while working there that most surprised you? 

I had no idea just how large the entire operation was! We have a warehouse off-site in Brooklyn and a staff of just about 200 people. Seeing the influx of books and the mass of customers each day, I can definitely see why. I also didn’t know that Strand got its start on Fourth Avenue, on what was then considered “Book Row,” and competed with about forty other bookstores. After losing the lease, store founder Ben Bass moved to Broadway. Of those forty some-odd bookstores, Strand is the only one still in business—and likely because the store moved to such a busy avenue. It’s still a fiercely independent family business and I think that in the age of superstores, that fact was surprising and encouraging to me.

The New York Times recently published an article about using books solely for decor. "The Strand now leads a fast-expanding marketplace of books sold by the yard, and orderable by color, subject or even spine size." Is it true that the Strand has a team of people who will help design a space using books? 

Yes, we do, and they are amazing! Our Books by the Foot and Personal Collections team can pretty much design a library for any home. They can select books to fit a particular size space—hence “by the foot”—and can create highly customized yet totally personal libraries for people. The team also runs our rental program, which furnishes film, television sets, and even retail stores. In a way, I’m glad to see people recognize books as works of art though I definitely hope they take the time to read at least a few of the books we select for them. 8. Is there a common feeling about eReaders amongst staff members at the Strand? Are you concerned about the future of physical books? I am definitely not concerned about the future of physical books. There are a number of statistics that show hardcover sales are growing and that eBook sales are finally leveling out. What we’re seeing now is a change in which eBooks people are reading, as readers and devices are changing much more rapidly than eBooks themselves. Based on the customer flow we have at the Strand, I know reading a physical book is still very important to people—and our customer base is very diverse. For many independent booksellers, they had to find a way either to work with or against eBooks. Our owner is staunchly anti-electronic and you’ll find that our prices not only compete with other physical book retailers—but with electronic retailers. We have an on-going promotion that spotlights the books we carry that are cheaper than the electronic editions and our book carts have thousands of books for $1 or less.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Your Thesis in Three Sentences: Zhiyang Yu (GSAS '14), Sara Storer (GSAS '14), and Emma Mishel (GSAS '14)

Congratulations to all our GSAS graduates who will be walking in the Convocation ceremony at Lincoln Center. To celebrate our incredible graduates, here are a few of the other participants in the recent GSAS Threesis Academic Challenge.

Threesis Second Place Winner: Zhiyang Yu (GSAS '14)

Can you explain your thesis to us in three sentences? 

 My thesis studies factor momentum trading strategies. It studies the correlation of returns between the number of periods you look back and the number of periods you hold stocks. It also studies this correlation for up to 35 factors that would affect stock returns.

How did you prepare for Threesis and what advice would you give to students who are thinking of participating next year? 

 I would say the key to prepare for Threesis is practice, practice and practice. Having audience, friends and families to listen to the speech many many times before the show would definitely help. As a matter of fact, coming from a foreign country where English is not even my native language, I didn't expect to win when I decided to participate in Threesis. My only goal was to practice my public speaking skills. But you never know. So my advice to students thinking of participating is that, definitely try, and try hard. No matter what the result is, you will always gain something from the process.

 If you had unlimited funding to continue your research, how would it change the world? 

 I would certainly leverage the unlimited fund to execute my trading strategies. It wouldn't change the world, but would certainly affect the financial industry to some certain extent. In addition, it would be a very useful result to show case in the academia.

 Threesis Finalist: Sara Storer (GSAS '14)

Can you explain your thesis to us in three sentences?

Dental implants are a popular way to treat many different dental issues while providing a beautiful and functional tooth replacement. My research focused on a very specific type of dental implant, one that is narrower in diameter and made of a different material than most. When applied to the private practice I worked in, these implants worked very well and offered our patient population yet another option for specific cases of tooth loss.

How did you prepare for Threesis and what advice would you give to students who are thinking of participating next year?

 I started by writing a "script" for myself. After I had all of my thoughts down, I read it out loud to myself and timed it to see if I was close to three minutes. This also helped me to see what sounded awkward and where I should elaborate. After the mentoring workshop, I went back and edited my "script" according to all of the suggestions I got. I practiced to myself, friends, family, and roommates until I found the perfect formula of what I wanted to say. Then, it was all about memorizing and getting down the correct intonation. I made flashcards and practiced my speech 2-3 times every day. After that, the rest is history!

 I would advise future participants to really take to heart what the mentors tell you. They know this competition and can help you learn what the judges are looking for. Also, the more prepared you are for that session, the more constructive your feedback will be to the final competition. Other than that, have fun, be yourself, and enjoy the experience!

If you had unlimited funding to continue your research, how would it change the world?

My research could go on to help provide better treatment for many patients who lose their teeth or have gum disease. By learning more about these specific implants, we could figure out what aspects of the implants are positive, what don't work well, and how we could change the implant design to ultimately have great success in a variety of different patients. Learning more about implants and understanding how different designs work can help to increase treatment options for many different patients.

Threesis Finalist: Emma Mishel (GSAS '14) 

Can you explain your thesis to us in three sentences?

For my thesis, I collected original data to conduct the first-ever large-scale audit study that focuses on whether perceived-lesbians are discriminated against when they apply to jobs in the United States. To do this, I conducted a field experiment where a pair of fictitious women’s resumes were sent to over 800 administrative jobs via online job databases across four states, where one resume was randomly assigned experience at an LGBT student organization to signal that the woman was a lesbian, and the other, a control, was assigned experience in another progressive student organization. Results reveal that the perceived-lesbian applicants were discriminated against compared to the straight women applicants, receiving about 30% less callbacks than the straight women.

How did you prepare for Threesis and what advice would you give to students who are thinking of participating next year?

To prepare for Threesis, I first wrote a script. That script ended up being way too technical, and way too long. I learned this in the workshop that all Threesis participants are required to attend, as the judges there gave me helpful feedback and constructive criticism about how to better my speech for the actual competition. After the workshop, I edited my script according to the judge's feedback, and then memorized the new script. I also practiced with friends and family, as well as in front of a mirror, to make sure I was coming across as confident and knowledgeable. I would advise students who are participating in Threesis to practice, practice, practice, and to particularly take into consideration the judges' notes from the workshop -- they are there to help you succeed in this competition.

If you had unlimited funding to continue your research, how would it change the world?

 This research could help change the world as it brings into focus the discriminatory hiring practices that occur in today's workforce.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kaitlin Puccio (LS/CAS '10) Brings Philosophy to Filmmaking

Kaitlin at the screening of “Circles” at
AMC Theatre, WorldFest-Houston
Kaitlin Puccio (LS/CAS ’10) caught the entertainment bug early in her life, but she never limited her pursuits to just one. Since she wrapped her debut short film, Circles, last October, she has been receiving awards and praise for her quadruple role as writer, director, lead actress, and producer. The film, which follows a young woman through the disorienting aftermath of a tragic loss, won awards at Golden Egg Film Festival L.A. and WorldFest-Houston, was named an Official Selection of Hoboken International Film Festival, and has been accepted to Cannes Court Métrage. Puccio took a break from the film festival circuit to explain how her Liberal Studies education, Philosophy degree, and French/Creative Writing double minor led her to the red carpet she walks today.

How did your liberal arts education prepare you for work in film? 

I graduated high school a year early and started commuting a few days a week to New York City to study acting. After a year of training in New York, I enrolled in NYU’s Liberal Studies, where I was exposed to coursework in philosophy that really resonated with me. Ultimately I majored in Philosophy. But I would leave class with so many questions that lacked clear answers. The script for Circles was borne from this; writing it allowed me to explore deep questions about despair from a distance: through the character’s story. Though I didn’t study filmmaking in a formal context, I thought a background in philosophy would allow me to approach filmmaking from a new perspective.

How did you balance the roles of writer, producer, director, and actor in this film? 

I knew it would be a challenge. The hardest part was compartmentalizing each role; I would have to restrain myself from carrying my role as director into a scene that I was filming as actress. But I also knew that being involved in all aspects of the film would allow them to improve on each other.

What has been the most gratifying about completing your first film? 

I am a huge fan of learning, and this has been such a learning experience—between reading stacks of filmmaking books and watching my team work. Even the process of just attending film festivals has taught me a lot. But the small things have been gratifying, too. One evening, during pre-production, I ate a great dinner at La Sirène in SoHo. I sought out the owner to compliment him, spoke with him in French, and ended up getting his permission to film at his restaurant. Because my film was self-funded, this, along with all the filming locations that I secured for no charge, was a huge victory.

What keeps you busy when you’re not promoting Circles

In 2013, I formed Bent Frame, LLC, a production and publishing company, to house all of my creative pursuits and—in the future—other people’s work. But I’ve always been, first and foremost, a writer. Right now, I am writing a feature-length script as well as researching and writing for a financial journalist. I also write gluten-free lifestyle content under a pseudonym, Celia Kaye, and I am currently filming a video series based on my short, philosophical fiction featured on, a website that I created.

Do you have a favorite movie? 

Right now I am a big fan of The Broken Circle Breakdown, an Oscar-nominated Belgian film that I saw at The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

Describe yourself in three words. 

Writer. Director. Producer.

Learn more about Circles:
View the press kit
• Watch the trailer:


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Your Thesis in Three Sentences: Sarah Harris (GSAS '14)

On Saturday, April, 12, 2014 twelve GSAS master's students competed in the 2014 GSAS Threesis Academic Challenge. The Threesis Challenge is an academic competition for GSAS master's students. Students present the work of their thesis or final project (eg. creative project, science experiment or research paper) to a panel of judges in accessible language a non-expert can understand in three minutes or less. Competitors are judged on how well they grasp the subject of their thesis, their ability to discuss the topic to non-experts and presentation skills. Students compete for a grand prize of $1,000 and other prizes while learning to organize ideas and speak about them persuasively in a fun, academic atmosphere. This competition is adopted from the Three Minute Thesis Challenge currently taking place in Australia and New Zealand.

Over the next week we will feature the winners of this year's competition as well as a few of the finalists. First up is First Place & Audience Choice winner Sarah Harris (GSAS '14). We asked Sarah three questions about her Threesis experience.

Can you explain your thesis to us in three sentences?

My thesis looks at changing perceptions of human-machine relationships in Romanticism (1800-1840ish) through the literature of E.T.A. Hoffmann (Germany) and Mary Shelley (UK). A lot of important historical and technological changes were going on at this time - Enlightenment (the period before Romanticism) had fallen in love with machines and used them as a model to understand the world, and Romanticism leads in to the Industrial Revolution where machines begin to really impact people’s lives. The automaton, a self-moving machine built to look human, was a figure that was somewhere between human and machine, and these authors used it to comment on the changing landscape of human-machine relations.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

11 Things You Didn't Know About Scott Lamb

...And His Work At BuzzFeed.

Scott Lamb (GSAS '04) is currently BuzzFeed's VP of international, "which is a needlessly oblique way of saying I'm in charge of opening international offices for the site." Aside from spreading BuzzFeed all over the world, he's also helped launch Disaster Girl, was a Fulbright recipient in Berlin, and Gizmodo called him one of the 25 most viral people on the internet.

We had the opportunity to ask Scott Lamb a few questions about BuzzFeed, their international efforts, and of course, what he'd bring if he were stranded on a deserted island. Without further adieu...


1. What's your role at Buzzfeed and what projects are you currently working on?

I'm currently the VP of international for BuzzFeed, which is a needlessly oblique way of saying I'm in charge of opening international offices for the site. We opened in London last year, in Sydney in January, and I'm currently working on setting up a team and an office in Berlin. I travel a lot trying to understand media markets around the world, and giving talks on what BuzzFeed is and how we do what we do.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

DJ Cassidy (CAS '03) Puts a New Spin on The Greatest Dance Music of All Time

DJ Cassidy grew up DJing and being inspired by some of the greatest pioneers of Hip Hop. Now, he is on a mission to bring back the greatest dance music of all time for a new generation. His debut album, Paradise Royale is due out this spring. We had a chance to speak with DJ Cassidy on the phone during his recent tour with Robin Thicke. Listen to our interview below.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sarah Knapp (CAS '10) Reconnects New Yorkers to Nature

We've heard stories about students who live in Bobst and have interviewed alumni who have used it to write screenplays and books that would eventually become bestsellers and blockbusters. Sarah Knapp (CAS '10) has been working out of Bobst on her start-up, Outdoorfest. For 10 days, Outdoorfest will bring outdoor adventure to NYC's 5 boroughs with kayaking, surfing, biking, trail running, climbing, and more. Read our interview with Sarah.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Everyone Needs a Ticket to Tasty

"Eat, Drink, Explore & Aspire!" That's what Ticket to Tasty is all about. Founded by Justine Frostad (CAS '09), it isn't just a food blog. It's a forum designed for people who love to cook and people who love to eat.

We had the great opportunity to talk with Justine about how Ticket to Tasty began, what she's learned about creating a successful food blog, and how NYU alumni can get started with a blog of their own. And we even got to try one of her recipes!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

From Scratch: Allen Salkin's (GSAS '96) Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Food Network

After three years of research, journalist Allen Salkin has put together a comprehensive history of The Food Network in his book, From Scratch: Inside the Food Network: Big Personalities, High Drama- the Extraordinary Behind-the-Scenes Story. We had an opportunity to sit down and talk with Allen about NYU and his book. Click below to listen to our interview.

Allen Salkin has been a journalist for such publications as New York, The Village Voice, and Details. As a staff reporter for The New York Times, he wrote nearly two hundred features about food, culture, and media--for one of them, the legendary chefs Ferran Adrià and José Andrés cooked him lunch in his apartment. As an investigative reporter for the New York Post, Salkin wrote hundreds of articles--on corrupt judges, emergency room ethics, and troubled cults, among others. He has also produced video interviews with culinary stars for many food websites. Salkin's journalism has taken him to more than forty countries, from the Beijing Olympics to the snorkel wakes of "Doom Tourists" in the Galápagos. He lives in New York City.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Meet the Executive Producer of Mob Wives, the President of WE tv, and More!



The Discussion

This Tuesday, April 1, the College Alumni Association is bringing you "CELEBREALITY: The Rise of Celebrity in the Age of Reality Television." From the Kardashian empire to the cast of Duck Dynasty, reality television has escaped the confines of just being regularly scheduled programming and has become a commanding force pervading every aspect of our daily lives – whether that be in the news, in our conversations, or in retail stores. This panel discussion will bring together NYU alumni and faculty from the television industry to discuss the evolution and prominence of reality television stars in our contemporary culture.

The Panelists

  • Marc Juris, NYU Professor and President of WE tv
  • Jennifer Graziano (CAS '95, Steinhardt '00), creator and Executive Producer of Mob Wives
  • JD Roberto (Tisch '92), Prime time reality TV host known for ABC’s How to Get the Guy and Fox’s American Idol Extra.


The discussion will begin at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, April 1, and will be followed by a reception.


Jurow Hall, Silver Center for Arts & Science (enter at 32 Waverly Pl. or 31 Washington Pl.)

Space is limited and registration is required. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sara Shepard (CAS '99), Author of the Pretty Little Liars Book Series, Talks About Writing and Her NYU Days

Sara Shepard (CAS '99) is the author of the bestselling Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game young adult book series. In addition to her two successful series, Shepard has also published novels for adults,  The Visibles and Everything We Ever Wanted. Visit her website for more information and click below to listen to our interview with her.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meet Burson-Marsteller's U.S. Chief Strategy Officer

Thomas Gensemer (CAS '99) is Burson-Marsteller's Chief Strategy Officer in the U.S. Prior to Burson, Gensemer was a Managing Partner and Chief Executive at Blue State Digital, where he worked on the past three presidential campaigns, and in 2012, managed Obama's billion dollar digital fundraising and social media marketing campaign. The It Gets Better Project is also one of Gensemer's most notable achievements, which gained traction under his management.

You’ve been involved with many different praiseworthy non-profit digital campaigns. Which non-profit campaign was your favorite to be a part of? 

It Gets Better is probably my proudest project, overall. It was so spontaneous, a truly viral thing, and I was fortunate to be working with friends from the very start.

What was it like to manage the digital and social media aspects of a presidential campaign during one of the first presidential races where social media had become a key player? And was anything learned about the use of social media in politics? 

My work in and around the past 3 presidential campaigns ('04, '08, '12) has felt like a continuum, honestly. What started with blogs, Meetups and email-based fundraising with Howard Dean's upstart campaign 10 years ago is what laid the foundation for Obama's billion dollar digital fundraising and advanced social media marketing. Although Facebook and Twitter didn't exist when we started, we used simple websites, early blogs and text messages to recruit and activate supporters in the campaign. It wasn't about the technology, per se, but about the style, tone and transparency of campaigning that was the biggest lesson.

How did social media help or affect Obama's presidential campaign when you were involved? 

Hugely helpful, but not without its challenges. Again, to the continuum of advancements that technology has brought to the campaigns, it has created a lot more work; it requires a lot more planning, and a lot more money to be engaged 24x7 for the 18-24 months that a modern campaign lasts. What started with just a few handful of people ten years ago (these people were often responsible for setting up printers and blackberries too!), is now Obama's digital team of nearly 200 strategists, community managers, videographers and data analysts).

What do you think about the future of social media? Do you think social media management as a profession is here to stay?

As a profession? No, not really, because it's not PART of so many jobs that it's not a profession on its own. Yes, more people who are savvy with social media are desperately needed by campaigns, in agencies, and within corporate marketing departments. So, as students preparing for the job market today, you need to demonstrate it on your resume, on your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, etc. But billing oneself as "social media marketer" maybe somewhat redundant in a few years, I think. You need to be equally strong with a subject matter too. So, understanding the real politics behind key issues, or having a passion for a certain industry matched with social media savvy will be the winning mix.

In your opinion, should brands approach social media as a Public Relations effort or through a marketing department? 

That is the $100 million dollar question for everyone in the agency world today! My view is that, yes, social media is more a PR function given the expectation for two-way engagement on a daily basis. Yes, there are key social media campaigns -- short bursts of activity around a launch, a milestone or event -- and that maybe best managed in conjunction with the marketing and advertising budgets. Often today, communications and public relations budgets are becoming more aligned with overall marketing investments anyways, so the silos maybe gone soon.

What is your favorite brand on social media right now? 

I'm still a huge fan of LinkedIn because of it's clear purpose. I'm not one that likes to share every moment of my life, pictures and such, so I've really not gotten too involved personally in Facebook. I also try to keep up with Twitter.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Peter Egelston (WSC '81), Founder of Smuttynose and Portsmouth Breweries

If there is one person who knows craft beer it is Peter Egelston (WSC '81).  Leaving behind a teaching career in NYC, Peter moved to New England and together with his sister, opened what is now the oldest brewpub in the northeast: the Northhampton Brewery. Peter went on to found the Granite State's first brewpub: the Portsmouth Brewery in 1991, and Smuttynose Brewing Company in 1994. Currently, a new and modern production facility for Smuttynose is underway. The 42,000-square-foot production facility will include on-site brewing and bottling, and a farm house which will be converted into a restaurant for visitors. You can watch the progress of the Brewery construction via this webcam.

Listen to our interview with Peter using the player below or click here.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Q&A with Darin Strauss, Author of Half a Life

Darin Strauss (GSAS '97) is an NYU professor and the author of Half a Life (his most recent book--a memoir about a tragedy he faced in high school) along with the novels More than it Hurts You, Chang and Eng, and The Real McCoy.

Half a Life depicts an accident that Darin Strauss never thought he would talk about. He was driving with friends to the movies when a bicyclist (who turned out to be one of his high school classmates) swerved into his car. Read below for our Q&A, but first watch this short video presentation where Darin talks in more detail about his memoir.


Does teaching at NYU affect your writing—either by way of style or content?

Teaching, in general, informs writing. (I think.) Needing to talk about your aesthetic makes you define your aesthetic; that (understanding what you're about) has to be a good thing, right? Well, probably.

Saul Bellow wrote something to the effect of: "A writer is better served by half-an-idea than by a whole idea." Maybe that's right. Ever teach a kid to throw a football? The next time you throw one yourself, you're self-conscious about it. So, it's a balance. You want to remain loose, and natural, but also to be conscious about the technique of it.

As for NYU, in particular, it's the best place I've ever taught. NYU attracts creative kids. And the graduate students are top-notch. The 3-weeks I spent at NYU Abu Dhabi was eye-opening; I had something like 15 students from 12 countries. The diversity of New York City, come to fruition in the Arabian desert; that was pretty cool..