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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.
108 Episodes
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Morgan Jay is a first-generation American performer based out of Los Angeles.  Originally from New Jersey, he started his career in NYC where he attended the Tisch School of the Arts (2005-2009).  With over six years of stand up and five years of musical comedy, Morgan has managed to create a unique performance that touches comedy and music fans alike with his melodic tunes derived from his love for classic RnB and Bossanova.  Most recently he finished as a semi-finalist on NBC’s Bring the funny but has performed at numerous comedy festivals including the SF Sketchfest, Laughing Skull Comedy Fest and was a finalist at the 2019 Big Sky Comedy Fest and 2018 Boston Comedy Festival. Morgan has taken home first prize at the 2012 Westside Comedy Showdown, 2018 Ventura Comedy Festival and 2019 Antelope Valley Comedy Festival.  Morgan also won 1st Prize for best comedy/novelty song in the International Songwriting Competition which received over 16,000 submissions.
Mr. Matt Mazur is the executive director of AutismFriendlyShows.com and Turtle Dance Music. He loves to help kids of all abilities come out  of their shells. He has performed engaging music programs and concerts for thousands of children and families throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. He recently performed for Delaware’s Secretary of Education, Dr. Susan Bunting, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney and all 33 public libraries throughout the State of Delaware. He and his companies regularly perform at New York Public Library, Queens Public Library, Bergen Performing Arts Center and several major autism centers throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Mr. Matt has trained thousands of teachers, librarians, regional theater administrators and daycare  center  owners  on techniques  for  effective  autism-friendly programming. Mr. Matt received his Bachelor's of Fine Arts from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He received his graduate degrees in Developmental Models of Autism Intervention from the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health and his Master's Degree in Theater Studies focusing on Theater for Young Audiences at Montclair State University.
For the 2020 Spring Development Day for RAs, we invited 48 Alumni RAs to share their "where am I now" and how the role helped me in gaining skills for my next steps in life.  Listen to this special episode that captures the life of our great alums!  Enjoy.  Thanks to our special reporter, Sam O'Donnell, who serves as a student social media intern for Residence Life and Housing Services.
Jake Arky is the Program Manager for The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company  and an artist in residence for The Geffen Playhouse after serving as the Associate Director of Education-Playwriting for TheatreWorks | Silicon Valley. Theatrically trained at the University of Utah’s Youtheatre Conservatory, Jake began writing and producing original plays before completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts in dramatic writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is the author of the plays Brothers of Emery, The Green Flash, The Birthday Girl, Little Perfections, and Erasers. Short stories include Video Tape Sleepover, The Green Flash, and #deathies, all published by SSWA Press. Jake is a 2014 National Playwriting Conference finalist with The O’Neill Center, as well as a New American Voices Award recipient at Landing Theatre Company and the Great Plains Theatre Conference. Jake has worked with The Cherry Lane Theatre, The La Jolla Playhouse, The Playwrights Project of San Diego, ’06 Ensemble, Dragon Theater, The 68 Cent Crew (NYC), PianoFight, and Cat & Owl Theatre. Film work includes production assistant credits on the films Everything Is Illuminated (2005), Sunshine Cleaning (2007), and the Academy Award-winning Little Miss Sunshine (2005). His original comedic television series, Open (2017) and Amateurs (2018), have been developed by CineStory. Jake co-founded So Say We All: a non-profits arts production and education organization specializing in the literary and storytelling arts. He regularly performs stories on stage with The Moth, RISK!, Fireside Storytelling, Busting Out, and the Oakland Story Slam.
Ryan Aguirre is a Director of Publicity and Awards at STARZ. Previously, he served as a Publicist at CBS Television Studios, where he worked on the publicity campaigns for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” “Hawaii Five-0,” and “Magnum P.I.,” as well as AMC, where he oversaw the awards campaigns for the final seasons of “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men.” He has also run four marathons (with more to come) and can recite all the Best Picture winners in order. He currently lives in West Hollywood, CA.
Ashley Nickelsen is a tried & true former Res Lifer graduating NYU in 2010 after serving as a Resident Assistant in Third Avenue North for two years. She went on to pursue her Master's degree in Higher Education at Rutgers University where she was a Graduate Residence Hall Director of an all first-year hall. After two years in NJ, Ashley moved to the University of Delaware to oversee an all upperclass apartment complex and then back to her home: New York University as the Residence Hall Director of Founders Hall, followed by The Residential College at Goddard and Broome. Ashley Nickelsen is now the Director of Sales & Marketing at Further Food. Further Food is a women-owned & operated whole food supplement company that creates expert-approved supplements made from real food ingredients. Starting at a young age, Ashley battled with severe IBS-C and had always been overweight. After losing over 50 lbs., becoming a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and discovering the power of real food to foster a healthy lifestyle, Ashley slowly started the journey to heal her IBS-C naturally. Ashley fell in love with the mission of Further Food, and joined the founding team.
Ashima Talwar graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2013 with a concentration in the Origins of Power and Privilege. She served as an RA at Weinstein Hall and the President of the Gallatin Student Council during her junior and senior years. Upon graduation, Ashima returned home to the DC-metropolitan area to work for then-U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen. She then attended the George Washington University Law School, during which she interned for U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Robert Okun of the D.C. Superior Court, and a law firm. After graduating in 2018, Ashima served as the Corporation Counsel Honors Fellow at the New York City Law Department. She has since relocated to Chicago  with her husband (who she met at NYU!) and is now practicing in the private sector at Sperling and Slater, a boutique complex commercial litigation firm. Ashima continues to be active in local politics and public interest work, serving on the Associate Board of Growing Home, a Chicago-based non-profit.
Jesse Yu graduated from New York University in 2016 with a B.S. in Finance and Global Business, as well as a minor in Public Policy and Management. He currently works in Corporate Development at a fintech startup called Trumid. Prior to that, Jesse worked in biz dev at a SaaS startup called Tessian, and was an investment banker at J.P. Morgan out of college.
Professor Garg received a B.S. in Chemistry from New York University where he did undergraduate research with Professor Marc Walters. During his undergraduate years, he spent several months in Strasbourg, France while conducting research with Professor Mir Wais Hosseini at Université Louis Pasteur as a NSF REU Fellow. Garg obtained his Ph.D. in 2005 from the California Institute of Technology under the direction of Professor Brian Stoltz. He then joined Professor Larry Overman’s research laboratory at the University of California, Irvine as an NIH Postdoctoral Scholar. Garg joined the faculty at UCLA in 2007. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012, and then to Full Professor in 2013.  In 2018, Garg was appointed as the inaugural holder of the Kenneth N. Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Garg has served as Vice Chair for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (2012-2016) and currently serves as the Department Chair (2019-present).  He also serves as Faculty-in-Residence in the UCLA undergraduate community.  In the broader community, Garg is a popular speaker and consultant for teaching, scientific, and legal matters. Neil has received numerous awards for teaching, scholarship and research.  Last year he was honored by NYU with a Distinguished Alumnus Award.   Here is that NYU video honoring Neil by NYU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ax0lzYqUOr8 And here is a link to the organic coloring book that Neil and his daughters co-authored: https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Coloring-Book-Neil-Garg/dp/0692860541
In this special edition of the podcast, celebrating the 100th episode, we hear from nine former RAs who attended the Fall 2019 RA Alumni Reception at Lipton Hall. Interviewed by the RA Council President, Sophia Shi, these Alumni reminisce their time at the University, the skills they learned, the hardships they faced, and the lessons they took with them into their lives beyond NYU. Enjoy!
Phillip Klugman graduated from the NYU's College of Arts and Science in May 2011, with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Web Applications and Design. He served as an RA at Third Noth as well as on the RA Council during his Junior and Senior year from 2009 to 2011, in addition to serving as the RA Council President from 2010 to 2011. During his time at NYU, Phillip played club lacrosse and served as the Captain of the NYU Men's Lacrosse Team in 2011. After graduating from NYU, Phillip moved to San Francisco to work for TriplePoint Public Relations, a firm that specializes in video game and technology clients. He joined a startup that spun out of TriplePoint, Bolo Software, where he was the #2 employee and worked as a Product and Customer Success Manager. After his time at Bolo Software, Phillip started as an Account Manager at Motionloft, a Mark Cuban company that made computer vision based sensors for automated vehicle and pedestrian counting. Phillip currently works as an Enterprise Customer Success Manager at Scoop Technologies, where he partners with employers across the country to help make the commute a meaningful part of their employee's lives.
Libby Carlson graduated from NYU in 2010 with a Bachelors of Music. Libby pursued a professional music career throughout college and after graduating until Fall of 2011, when she moved home to Connecticut to pursue a career in politics and government. She started as a Bill Clerk for the Connecticut State Senate and successfully ran a State Representative campaign in 2012. After this success, she served as a press secretary for the Connecticut House Democrats, overseeing the communications and new media of 11 State Representatives. In 2014, she worked as the Communications Manager for U.S. Congressman Jim Himes’s campaign. After that successful campaign, she worked as a senior adviser and Communications Director for the City of Stamford and Mayor David Martin. Libby left that position in Fall of 2018 for a brief stint in San Antonio, Texas as the Deputy Field Director for Congressional candidate Gina Ortiz Jones. In January 2019, Libby moved to DC to become Communications Director for freshman Congresswoman Kim Schrier. In Libby's spare time, she is a volunteer firefighter and enjoys working out and reading books.
Amanda Moffa is a Marketing Manager on the CODE Creative Partnerships team at NBCUniversal.  She is extremely proud of her career path to-date, including her first job at CBS Interactive, and the 5 years she spent with WWE.  With each new opportunity came a new learning experience and meaningful friendships along the way. Amanda received her bachelor’s degree from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at NYU (Class of ’11). She strongly believes that her classroom experiences, internships and interactions with professors and fellow students at NYU played an important role in laying the foundation for her success thus far. As someone who likes to keep busy, Amanda attributes her extracurricular involvement at NYU, including the RA position, participating as an active member of the Alternative Spring Breaks Advisory Board, Peer Health Educators, and the Diving team was key in making her the multi-tasker she is today.
Angelo Landriscina, MD is a dermatology resident, award-winning scientific researcher, medical writer and blogger.  He graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and is currently completing his residency in Dermatology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he is Chief Resident.    He is also the author of the  blog www.dermangelo.com (@dermangelo on all social media) where he writes about skincare and common dermatologic issues for the public.  He takes pride in helping all kinds of people achieve their healthiest, most beautiful skin and is having a lot of fun doing it! While at NYU, Angelo studied in the College of Arts and Sciences with a major in Spanish and Latin American Literature and Culture with a minor in Chemistry.  He commuted from the Bronx before moving on campus as an RA. 
Megan Loh is 35 years old and currently living in San Diego, California.  Her husband, Seth, and she has been married for six years and they have two boys together.  Silas is three years old and Mason is one.  Megan grew up in Connecticut with her older sister and parents.  She graduated from Steinhardt School in 2006, where she studied Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She was also an RA in Goddard.  After teaching first grade at PS 11 for five years, she moved to San Diego and taught fifth grade for eight years.  She is now a K-8 Assistant Principal at a public school in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.  When she is not working,  she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and reading!
Erik Justin (“EJ”) Gaines is the Co-Executive Director of Motown Gospel, and Vice President of Marketing at Capitol Christian Music Group, a division of Capitol Records/Universal Music Group. A former entertainment lawyer and artist manager with 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, EJ Gaines has guided the careers of GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artists, producers and songwriters, as well as producers and talent in film and television. EJ Gaines is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and the Gospel Music Association, as well as a member of the Leadership Music Class of 2015, where he currently serves on the Board of Directors. EJ is the Secretary of the Board of the Gospel Music Association and a Trustee of the Gospel Music Trust Fund, as well as a board member of Speaker Louder Ministries. He resides in Franklin, TN with his wife, recording artist Janice Gaines, and their two sons.
Jordan Woods-Robinson graduated from Tisch School of the Arts.  He performed in seven Main stage shows as a student.  He was in the cast of the first NYU "Reality Show" where he sang, danced and played the guitar.  He is best known for fours seasons on The Walking Dead (2015-2018), Homeland (2018), Nashville (2017), and as a member of the prestigious Blue Man Group for over a decade! Jordan's chameleon-like performances have led to roles opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell, Clare Danes, Donald Sutherland, Andrew Lincoln, Connie Britton, Octavia Spencer, and more.  
John Sanchez is a lifelong Bronx resident and currently the District Manager for Bronx Community Board 6, which includes the neighborhoods of Belmont, East Tremont, and West Farms in the Central Bronx. He is responsible for resolving community concerns with city government, advocating for budget requests to elected officials and city agencies, and planning community events. In his first year, he successfully advocated to bring a Youth Court to The Bronx and worked with the Department of Small Business Services to receive more than $200,000 in grants for storefront facade improvements on East Tremont Ave. He has also sponsored and organized free financial literacy workshops, youth sports programming, a college scholarship competition, and an annual Holiday toy giveaway for children living in shelters. John previously served as New York City Advocacy Manager for the Northeast Charter Schools Network helping advocate for increased charter school funding and also served in the New York State Assembly as Deputy Chief of Staff for a Bronx Assembly member where he was responsible for managing the district office, resolving constituent issues, and community outreach . John serves on the nonprofit boards of Housing Rights Initiative, Legacy College Prep Charter School, and Immaculate Conception School. John is a graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business.
John D Carrion, originally from Chicago, holds two degrees from NYU: a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Science (2006) and a Master of Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (2007). From 2004-2006, John was an RA at Hayden (now Lipton) Hall.  For his work as an RA, he received the NYU President's Service Award in 2005 and the RA of the Year Award in 2006. He was also a Martin Luther King, Jr serving as class representative during his entire college career.  Finally, he served as University Orientation Leader, Assistant Coordinator for Undergraduate Orientation, and as Class Marshal at the Baccalaureate Ceremony in the College of Arts and Science. After NYU, John worked at St. John's University first as Residence Director, then as Assistant Director of the Ozanam Scholars Program, and finally as Associate Director of the Paris Campus.  In 2010, he relocated to London and worked at two different UK charities - the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Marie Curie Cancer Care - as a project manager.  In 2014, he returned to NYU in a newly created role as Assistant Director for Global Housing Administration where he oversees the housing administration for NYU's study away sites.  Additionally, he works with NYU's external partners to generate revenue for the university and contribute to NYU's affordability efforts. Additionally, at NYU, John serves as President of the NYU Alumni Club in London.  Since 2014, John has revitalized the club to quadruple the number of events, involve NYU's global faculty, and host New Student Send-Offs in London and in Mumbai. Most recently, he created, chaired, and hosted the inaugural NYU Alumni Conference in Europe in November 2019 which hosted over 200 alumni and guests. Outside of NYU, in 2013 John was elected the youngest Chairman and Chief Executive of the London Gay Men's Chorus. Overseeing 10 staff and 80 volunteers, he led the Chorus to its 25th anniversary celebrations, to campaign for equal marriage at the Houses of Parliament, and facilitated a 100% growth in membership.  In 2014, he was invited to the 10 Downing Street celebration to meet Prime Minister David Cameron after the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was given Royal Ascent.
Michelle is a graduate of the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service with a BA in both broadcast journalism and religious studies and an MPA in international policy.  She returned to media and co-founded BellyFire Productions after working for several years in global education and the nonprofit sector and traveling extensively in the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.  BellyFire Productions creates video content that illuminates compelling, powerful stories to ignite action and generate awareness. During the year, she and her team collaborate with mission-focused partners using video and photography to advance their work. Michelle also produces, shoots, and edits documentary content for outlets such as CNN Digital and NBC Digital.  Her year spans NYC/South Asia/the US Midwest and several regions in between depending on where work, family, and nature-seeking takes her.
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