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Where R.A. Now?
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Where R.A. Now?

Author: Tom Ellett

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Resident Assistants are the most important peer support for students in college. This podcast is dedicated to finding where the former RAs of New York University have gone since their days assisting students at NYU, and learning about what skills they still utilize from their training as an RA.

Hosted by Tom Ellett, Sr. Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at NYU, and a current RA who aspires to be in the career field of our guest.
84 Episodes
BORN AN HOUR DRIVE OUTSIDE OF DENVER, COLORADO…in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, AJ Smith has taken a ratherunconventional path for an Indie/Pop singer-songwriter.After all, not many can claim to have served as a Young AssociateViolinist to the National Symphony Orchestra while simultaneouslyserving as an Engineer and Infrared Systems Developer for the U.S.Naval Research high school. But Smith's dual passionsfor organic music and technology started early and with a recklessabandon that led him to run away from home at the age of 3 for thesole purpose of listening to piano lessons down the street. Hisparents finally realized that these escapades would only stop onceSmith himself, still only 3-years-old at the time, was allowed tolearn how to play the piano. And shortly after that, despite havinglimited music knowledge, Smith was stealing both of his parents' tapeplayers, figuring out how to effectively multitrack & record earlycompositions (while haphazardly recording over some of his parents'favorite cassette tapes in the process).The trend continued and, never shy about seizing opportunities orfacing challenges, Smith’s diverse passions and healthy obsessions ledhim on a genre-crossing journey. While learning piano and violin inrigorous classical settings, Smith's musical palette continuouslysought new sounds, leading him to serve as the drummer/vocalist in hismiddle school Punk/Screamo band, electric guitarist in a Rock duo, andeven the lead fiddler in the regionally touring Bluegrass/Gospel bandThe Circuit Riders. Oh, and all of this was while he was programmingand selling games to his friends for their calculators.Eventually, Smith would turn down scholarships to some of the topengineering programs in the country in order to pursue the study ofmusic at New York University. With scholarships from the SongwritersHall of Fame and Carole Bayer Sager Foundation, Smith was able topursue a degree in songwriting and it was there where he foundlife-changing mentors in the late Glenn Frey and hit songwriter PhilGaldston, self-released his first EP “Dragons in the Sky”, had a #3hit in Australia with “Summertime”, opened for The Eagles at theBeacon Theatre, performed in the off-Broadway and West End hit Closeto You: Burt Bacharach Reimagined, learned some more instruments (heplays 10 now), and graduated with one of America’s first MastersDegrees in Songwriting.Smith collaborated with GRAMMY-winner producer Scott Jacoby (JohnLegend, Vampire Weekend) for his 2016 single & EP “Brooklyn Nights”,which received airplay on Z100, Eagle 97.7 and DC101 (where DJ MikeJones compared the track to fun.’s “We Are Young”). He’s opened forLindsey Stirling and Emily Kinney, and performed at MilwaukeeSummerfest and Bethlehem MusikFest.Now nearly 2,000 miles away from where his musical journey began,Smith makes his home in a city with a different sort of breathtakingview - New York. And all of his experiences are apparent in his uniquePop sound: an orchestrated blend of acoustic and electronicinstruments, informed by Classical, Rock, Folk, Theatre and more. Hiscontinued wiz-kid love of technology that once had him buildinginfrared sensors for the U.S. Navy now enables him to build out customrigs for his one-man live shows that are a spectacle of showmanship,featuring Smith on a revolving multitude of instruments all at once.Be sure to stay in touch to see Smith's next live show!
Priyanka Chugh is a recent graduate of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in NJ, now currently a General Surgery resident at Boston Medical Center. She has previously received her Masters in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University in 2014. At NYU she was in the College of Arts of Science and graduated in 2013 with a major in Psychology, minors in Chemistry, Public Health and Policy, and Child/Adolescent Mental Health Studies. At NYU she was involved in residence life since her freshman year by joining hall council at Third North, then at Gramercy Green, joining NRHH, and finally becoming a Resident Assistant at Third North for her junior and senior year,
Erica Tachoir is a Brooklyn-based writer/director. She was featured in Tracking Board’s 2018 Young and Hungry List, named to ISA’s 2019 Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch, and selected for the 2019 NYWIFT From Script To Pre-Production Lab. Her screenplay SCATTERING JAKE was a Nicholl semifinalist, Big Break and Page finalist, and a WeScreenplay and Table Read My Screenplay winner. Her short TOO SUNNY FOR SANTA (starring Natalia Dyer from Stranger Things) screened at festivals across the country. With her comedy partner, she co-wrote and starred in the web series LIFE, AFTER, and they were named notable writers at the New York Television Festival for their pilot script, UNFINISHED. A graduate NYU/Tisch Film, Erica also studied at FAMU in Prague, Atlantic Theater Company, and UCB. She is repped by MXN Entertainment in Los Angeles.
Lauren Bosch ’12 SPS (Hotel & Tourism Management) was an RA in Third North. As an RA she had internships at Hotel Indigo, Gansevoort Hotel Group, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Her first full-time position upon graduation was with the Westin Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She worked in Sales and Business Travel & Group Sales. For the past six years, Lauren has five roles with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, all in the Metro DC area. She was promoted to the position of Area Director of Sales & Marketing, which is a remarkable trajectory for someone at this phase of their career.
Brittney Johnson a Tisch alum has had tremendous success in her acting career.  Her Broadway credits include: Wicked (Glinda, certain performances); Sunset Boulevard (Ensemble); Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Ensemble, Shirelle, Little Eva); Les Misérables (Eponine); Motown: The Musical (Swing & replacement).  In Los Angeles: Dreamgirls, at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (Lorell Robinson); Tropicana Las Vegas: Mamma Mia! (Lisa).  Westchester Broadway Theatre: Ragtime (Sarah). Toronto, ON: Les Misérables (Eponine, Ensemble) The Really Useful Group, Ltd, Mirvish Productions.  US National Tour (25th Anniversary): Les Misérables (The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Innovation Studio, Philadelphia, PA, Broward Center for the Performing Arts Au-Rene Theatre, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and 67 other venues). Weathervane Theatre (Whitefield, NH) Ragtime (Ensemble, Sarah's friend), Hair (Tribe), South Pacific, and Bye, Bye Birdie.Awards - 2016, nomination: Ovation Award: Lead Actress in a Musical Dreamgirls - Lorell Robinson.Follow her on Twitter @sunnybrittney 
Pooja Kumar spent a year on "Laff Staff" as an RA in Lafayette Hall, and graduated from Stern in 2008 with a degree in International Business and Accounting. She spent her early professional years working as a CPA until she realized she was way too fun for that life. She moved to Washington, D.C., transitioned into human capital consulting, and spent five years supporting clients in the public sector on strategic change and communications projects. For the last five years, Pooja has been working for Marriott International, currently as a Digital Customer Experience Adviser incorporating consumer insights into the digital strategy for the company.
Leah Gutstadt is a Senior Manager, Digital Content at PwC, where she oversees editorial and content strategy for the firm's internal communications platforms. In a previous role at PwC, Leah supported the Responsible Business Leadership (formerly Corporate Responsibility) team with communications strategy and messaging, with the goal of engaging PwC US’ 50,000+ partners and staff. Leah received a Master's Degree in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and a Bachelor's Degree from New York University. She lives in Ossining, NY with her husband and two sons.
Maya Ardon serves as the Director for Student Affairs in the NYU College of Dentistry Office of Student Affairs & Academic Support Services. Maya received a BA degree in drama studies cum laude from the State University of New York - Purchase College; her involvement in college as a campus leader and student athlete led to her pursuing an MA degree in higher education and student personnel administration from NYU Steinhardt. During her graduate program, Maya worked as a paraprofessional in the NYU Department of Residential Life and Housing Services, first as an RA in the Uptown Hall known as 26th Street and subsequently serving as a Graduate Assistant at 2nd Street. Maya began her professional career at NYU in 2007 as a Program Administrator at the NYU School of Medicine and continued to work in various capacities within the university before arriving to NYU Dentistry at the start of 2014. 
In this special episode leading us into Season 2 of 'Where RA Now?', Senior Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and usual host of the podcast, Tom Ellett, sits down with his Executive Producer, Shehara Ranasinghe, and Executive Director, Duncan Lemieux, to discuss his time hosting the show. 
Listen to the following alums speak about their RA experience: Here are some of those alums interviewed by investigative reporter Nia Harris and Carlyle alums:  Liz Bossov Glen Feinstein John Gonsalves Michelle Jasmine Arlene Lormestoire Stephanie Plachy and ThirdNorth alums: Priyanka Chugh  @HannahCrane Michel Dominguez Beddome Abigail Garcia Adewunmi Ogunfowora Ife Onatunde Alexa Sachs AJ Smith  A really wonderful series of events.  Hope you enjoyed the first season.  Back at you in August 2019!  
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