Monday, October 7, 2019

Fred Waitzkin (GSAS ’68), Author of “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” the Best-Selling Book that Became a Movie


Fred writingFred Waitzkin has written feature journalism, personal essays and reviews for numerous magazines including Esquire, Forbes, Outside Magazine, New York Magazine, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.

In 1984, Fred published Searching for Bobby Fischer, chronicling three years in his life with his chess prodigy son, Josh Waitzkin. The book became an internationally acclaimed best seller. In 1993 the movie version was released by Paramount and that same year was nominated for an Academy Award.

Fred is now a fiction writer and avid fishing captain. His wife, Bonnie, is an NYU alumna and attended Washington Square College while Fred completed his graduate work in English at GSAS.

Fred Waitzkin: his story continues

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

How Sophie Kennedy (CAS ’19), Co-Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer at SeaStraws, Uses her Passion for Oceans to Drive Environmental Change


Sophie Kennedy in an NYU dining hall
What did you study at NYU?

I transferred to NYU after my first year at the University of Miami where I studied Marine Biology. We are an NYU family - my mother (Daphne Kennedy, Wagner 1994) and aunt (Sarah Goldsmith Harrelson, CAS 2000) are alumni and my brother, Harrison, is currently studying filmmaking at Tisch (Class of ’22). I always wanted to attend NYU. After just minutes on my tour of campus, I knew I wanted to be a part of this passionate community and take advantage of all of the opportunities within the university and the city at large. It was such a gift to be at NYU, I loved every second of it.

I majored in Environmental Studies with minors in Anthropology and Business Studies. All of my classes were amazing. Professor Disotell’s Health & Disease in Human Evolution class made me fall in love with Anthropology and inspired my minor. I love that he allowed me to examine my passion for the environment through an anthropological lens, exploring topics like the impact of evolution on coral restoration or even the links between fisheries science and human health. 

Professor Schlottmann was my advisor in Environmental Studies and helped make everything possible for me, from my environmental internships and studying abroad to graduating a semester early. Even abroad in Florence, Professor Semeghini supported my passion for the environment as I created mood boards with sustainability as the “trend of the future” for Italian designers like Prada. My Environmental Studies Capstone project was one of my favorite to work on as we designed a funding plan using innovative finance mechanisms to support the Bahamas Protected Areas Fund (BPAF) with Professor Tolisano. This class along with Jeffrey Hollender’s Sustainable Business class helped me identify my passion for sustainable business.

Sophie Kennedy: her story continues

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Horror Movie Expert Tony Timpone (WSC ’85) Shares his Journey from NYU Journalism to his Dream Job, as Editor of “Fangoria” Magazine

Tony Timpone is an expert on the horror industry. He was the editor of “Fangoria,” the nation's leading horror magazine for 25 years and continues to act as a consultant. He served as a producer on Bravo’s documentary series “The 100 Scariest Movie Moments” and acted as a consultant, writer and researcher for AMC’s show “Eli Roth’s History of Horror.” He is the co-director of International Programming for the annual Fantasia film festival in Montreal, which, according to Quentin Tarantino, is the “most important and prestigious genre film festival on this continent.” Timpone is also the author of “Men, Makeup and Monsters: Hollywood's Masters of Illusion and FX,” which profiles twelve masters of screen special effects.

What did you study at NYU?

When I was first studying at NYU I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to major in. While I was in high school I had been a freelance writer and it was a dream job of mine to work at a magazine. It wasn’t until my junior year, when I started writing for the two NYU student newspapers, “The Courier” and “Washington Square News,” that I realized that I wanted to major in Journalism.

I was born in NYC, raised in Queens and I was a commuter student at NYU. Most of the friends I made were also commuters. I’d take the subway to West 4th Street, go to classes, then I’d take the train to work.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time at NYU?

When I was a student, there were great lectures in the Loeb Student Center with various guest speakers. I had the chance to meet Gene Roddenberry (creator, writer and producer of “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) when I was working for the newspaper. I spent time getting to know him, before his presentation, which is a favorite memory.

Tony Timpone: his story continues

Monday, June 10, 2019

Chris Woods (CAS ’11), Director of the NYU LGBTQ Student Center, on Stonewall @ 50 and World Pride


Chris Woods (CAS '11)
Chris Woods (CAS '11)
In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, we caught up with Chris Woods (CAS ’11), the Director of the LGBTQ Student Center. He shared his first experiences with NYC Pride and what we can expect from this year’s World Pride festivities.

How did your education at NYU shape what you do now?

I initially studied Pre-Med and Biochemistry, then I double-majored in English and Religious Studies at CAS with a minor in Early Childhood Education at Steinhardt. My studies focused primarily on identity, and I took several courses that were cross-listed through the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis (SCA), on topics such as queer literature and racial migrations.

In my sophomore year, I was a Peer Educator in the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs. In my junior and senior years I worked in the LGBTQ Student Center, which is where I learned about LGBTQ resource centers as a field of work in higher education. After I graduated from NYU, I went to grad school at Ohio State and studied Higher Education and Student Affairs. I did LGBTQ work when I was a grad student and I also worked in residential life.

Chris Woods: his story continues

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary of Global Liberal Studies with Baccalaureate Speaker Nick Grassi (GLS ’12)

This year NYU celebrates 10 years of Global Liberal Studies! We caught up with the co-founder of Finerio, GLS Baccalaureate Speaker Nick Grassi (GLS ’12), to find out about his experience in the Fulbright Binational Internship Program, the inspiration behind Finerio, and what NYU and GLS mean to him.

Nick Grassi

What made you decide to major in Global Liberal Studies?

I originally applied as a journalism major to NYU.  When I was accepted into Liberal Studies, I was pretty surprised and decided to do some soul searching about what it was I really wanted to do going forward.  Fortunately I think LS really gave me the time and experiences I needed to make a better decision.  I started to read a lot my freshman year, not only in my classes but also outside my classes.  I began to notice that my favorite books all had global themes in common.  Among them were The World is Flat, A Legacy of Ashes, and The 4-Hour Work Week, which is a pretty diverse group of books, but all with a global angle. I also came to realize that my upbringing in a Latino neighborhood in New Jersey was actually pretty atypical, and it was something that excited me, and that I wanted to use in my life. Apart from that I really enjoyed the classes I was taking in LS and I felt like I needed a broad, global based education to keep pace with a fast changing labor market.

Nick Grassi: his story continues

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mustfa Manzur (LS ’08, CAS ’11) Alumni Mentor and Sarah Marbach (CAS ’21) Student Mentee on the CAS Mentorship Program

Mustfa Manzur
Mustfa Manzur (LS ’08, CAS ’11)
"Serving as a mentor to students is something I enjoy doing because I know firsthand how important a role mentorship can be in the process of finding and realizing your professional passions." - Mustfa Manzur (LS ’08, CAS ’11)

Why do you serve as an alumni mentor?


When I was at NYU, we didn’t have a formal alumni mentorship program for current students at the time. As luck would have it, just as I was beginning to think about life beyond Washington Square Park, I met a really involved alumnus at a CAS event – Jerry Goldman, Esq. (ARTS ’73). During every conversation since then, Jerry has always made it a priority to discuss my interests and career aspirations. He has a true knack for always asking the right questions and offering the perspective I need to hear. Serving as a mentor to students is something I enjoy doing because I know firsthand how important a role mentorship can be in the process of finding and realizing your professional passions.

Can you tell us about your experience acting as a mentor this semester?

Mentoring Sarah this semester has been great. She approached our conversations with a lot of thoughtful questions, an open mind, and carefully reflected over each of my suggestions. Sarah’s effort to systematically determine what she needs to do in order to make the most of her time at NYU has been admirable and very impressive.

Mustfa Manzur: his story continues

Monday, April 1, 2019

Sabena Gupta (CAS ’13), Director of Brand Strategy and Marketing at The New York Times, Shares How She Found Her Passion


When Sabena Gupta was a student at NYU, she decided to switch her major from dentistry to English literature. She wanted to explore a major that tapped into her creative side. Here she shares with us how that choice led her to her current role at The New York Times, a job both rewarding and fun.

What did you study at NYU?

I came to NYU as part of a seven-year dental program. But half way through my sophomore year, I felt like this wasn’t right. It’s not that I didn’t care to do it; it’s just that I didn’t have the drive to do that for seven years, which led me to think it wasn’t the career for me. That is when I pivoted to English literature. I wanted to study something I was passionate about and I tried to have the confidence that I would figure it out from there.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time at NYU?

I did a Virginia Woolf symposium where we literally read every Virginia Woolf book. The class was a relatively small size, so we discussed it and wrote about it. I loved that. I love Virginia Woolf. I am a huge fan. I actually wrote a book while I was in school, Sunsets in Paradise, and published it a few years after. It is a 1920s kind of tragic romance based on Hemingway and Fitzgerald and that kind of writing. I wrote it and I self-published it. It was a really fun side project for me.

Sabena Gupta: her story continues

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Jason Grant Shela (GSAS ’97) Awarded Prestigious MBE by Queen Elizabeth II

Jason Grant Shela with the NYC Public Middle Schools Boys Soccer Championship Trophy
Jason Grant Shela with the NYC Public Middle Schools Boys Soccer Championship Trophy
By author and journalist Michael Skakun

2018 was the annus mirabilis for a proud NYU graduate and a latter-day Renaissance man of multi-faceted talent. Jason Grant Shela (GSAS ’97) has been awarded the MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the 2019 New Year's Honors List for his services to youth soccer education and work with youth with disabilities. Later this year, he will be inducted at Buckingham Palace in a special investiture ceremony into this most prestigious British order of chivalry, founded in 1917 by King George V. The only Gothamite to be thus honored this year, he also ranks as the first Englishman to have been elected a Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency in Washington D.C. 
Jason Grant Shela: his story continues

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Marie Iida (CAS ’06), Interpreter on “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”

Marie Iida Viewers of the popular Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo will recognize Marie's brilliant and charming interpreter, Marie Iida. She recently took some time out of her busy schedule to share her experiences as an NYU student, how she started working as an interpreter, and the importance of appreciating the people and things in your life.

What did you study at NYU?

I earned a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Cinema Studies and English Literature.

What drew you to start working in translation?

I grew up moving back and forth between the United States and Japan. Both cultures make up my identity, but it can be isolating because you never feel quite at home in either one. I was drawn to work in translation because it turns being “in-between” into an advantage. After graduating from NYU, I returned to Japan for work. My ability to speak and write in English naturally led to roles as an unofficial interpreter and translator, but I did not have formal training back then. Once I finished graduate school at Columbia University back in New York, I started to seriously study interpretation. There were so many amazing interpreters and translators working in the city, and I was fortunate to find mentors who took me under their wing. I have had the honor of interpreting for a wide array of cultural organizations such as MoMA, Japan Society, New York Asian Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, and Cannes Film Festival.

Marie Iida: her story continues