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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.
120 Episodes
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Jeff Benjamin has been Billboard's K-Pop Columnist since 2013 and a leading authority and expert on international-pop music in the American media for years. The 2012 New York University graduate has written about K-pop for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, GQ, ABC News, MTV, Forbes, NPR, Apple Music, and more. A double major in music and journalism from the College of Arts and Science, his expertise in international music trends has led him to commentator roles on CNN, Good Morning America, E! News, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, BBC and other major international outlets. In 2019, he joined the KBS World variety show 'We K-Pop,' reaching more than 100 million viewers in 120 countries weekly with his segments filmed in his home of New York City, leading ArirangTV to declare him "just as famous as any other K-pop star among K-pop fans." The New York Times has called Jeff "the leading American authority on K-pop,” while CNN said he is "the perfect person to talk about K-pop."
Daniel Spector is a theater teacher, director, and acting coach.  He is a Distinguished Teacher Tisch, where is also director of The Classical Studio.  He is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and is an alumnus of the Broadway Theatre Project. He has served as a consultant to PBS on matters Shakespearean, moderated Artist Talks at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, led workshops and spoken at numerous conferences around the world, and produced many readings of new plays. A frequent collaborator in the classroom, he has taught with Alec Baldwin, Louis Scheeder, and Tim Carroll. Lynne Haney is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Law and Society program. She also serves as Faculty Director of Curricular Innovation and Diversity in CAS. She has been at NYU for 22 years, coming here straight out of graduate school at UC Berkeley. She teaches courses in Research Methods, Sex and Gender, and Law/Punishment--and has directed the Presidential Scholars Prague group for over 14 years. Her research has taken her into the welfare and prison systems in both the United States and Eastern Europe. She has published four books and co-edited three book collections. She is currently finishing a new book on the intersection of mass incarceration and child support enforcement--and how it shapes men’s lives as fathers. Jim Calder is the Head of Movement at Tisch Graduate Acting Department, winner of the David Payne Carter Excellence in Teaching Award - Tisch School of the Arts. Artistic Director of La Pietra Summer Theatre Festival – Florence, Italy, Directed works in New York City at Lincoln Center Institute, Pearl Theatre, Classic Stage Company, with workshop presentations at The Public, New York Theater Workshop and HERE. Jim has been a movement consultant on Pericles at Berkeley Rep, (Director Mark Wing-Davey), Passion Play by Sarah Ruhl (Director Mark Wing-Davey) and Therese Raquin staring Keira Knightley, (director Evan Cabnet) on Broadway. Jim has performed at The Old Globe, P.S. 122, and through out Europe with Treato De La Grappe. He was the lead actor and creative consultant in PBS’s Noddy & Friends TV. Jim trained at Ecole Jacques and performed under the direction of Jacques LeCoq in numerous TV specials in France. Joan Harmon is a visual artist and art professor at CUNY.
Paolo Laraño grew up in The Bay Area before moving East to attend New York University, where he studied English and Music. He served as an RA at Hayden Hall from 2008-2010. He was also heavily involved in leading retreats and groups through NYU’s Catholic Center and was involved in Middle C, a music-focused community service group. After graduating in 2010, he eventually found his way to the mental health field, all while fulfilling a childhood dream of making ice cream professionally. He sadly had to say goodbye to this dream job when he moved back to California to pursue a graduate degree at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California, eventually earning a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2018. He has cherished the opportunity to provide clinical services to students at every level,  political refugees, adults of all ages, families, individuals in the criminal justice system, and more. His dissertation, entitled “Exploring The Onset and Progression of Body Dissatisfaction in Male Athletes From Adolescence to Young Adulthood” highlights some of his clinical interests, which also include multicultural issues,  acculturation difficulties, decolonization work, family issues, social anxiety, and motivation. He currently works as a Staff Psychologist and Outreach Coordinator at The University of Washington Tacoma. When he’s not working, you can catch him running, eating/cooking, dancing while washing dishes, and spending time with his wife, Courtney (a fellow Hayden RA!), their son, Cai, and their dog, Winnie.
Originally from Buffalo, NY, Lindsay earned her baccalaureate degree from the University at Buffalo in 2003, double majoring in Psychology and Communication. As an undergrad, she worked on campus in the Office of New Student Programs and served as an RA in the University Residence Halls. Lindsay moved to NYC in 2004 to pursue a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at NYU, during which time she had the opportunity to serve as an RA in the 26th Street Residence Hall (2005/2006) and work in the Office of Admissions at the NYU College of Dentistry (2004-2006). These experiences served as a catalyst for Lindsay to pursue a professional career in recruitment, admissions, and student services. Upon graduating with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration in 2006, Lindsay accepted a position as Scholarship and Recruitment Officer, and was eventually promoted to Assistant Director for Admissions and Student Affairs, at the NYU College of Nursing. As Assistant Director, Lindsay advised applicants on admission requirements, contributed to the development of strategic marketing plans, predicted enrollment trends, advised incoming students, and planned and implemented New Student Orientation. In 2012, after nearly eight years in NYC, Lindsay accepted a position as Associate Director of Admissions at the University at Buffalo School of Law. In January 2017, she was promoted to Vice Dean for Admissions. She is responsible for the management and oversight of the Office of Admissions, all of its programs, operations and staff. Lindsay lives on Buffalo’s West Side with her husband, Brent. She enjoys running (she ran the NYC Marathon in 2011), traveling, reading, gardening, and true crime. Lindsay was a Division I cheerleader during her undergraduate years and a member of the Liberty Torch Patrol (New York Liberty-WNBA) from 2007 – 2011.
Dimitri Joseph Moise is an actor, award-winning editor, and national HIV spokesperson. He is currently featured in a national HIV awareness broadcast campaign titled “Keep Being You,” also featured in GQ magazine. Dimitri has also been featured in HIV Plus magazine, Them magazine, Thought Catalog, PAPER magazine, Teen Vogue, and on Good Morning America. Instagram: @dimitrimoiseofficial
Originally from New Jersey, Casey Farin received a Bachelor of Science in neural science at New York University in 2010, where she was pre-health and also completed a minor in Jewish history and civilizations. She was an RA at Greenwich Hotel from 2008 to 2010. She went on to complete her MD at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 2014. She completed her internal medicine internship, neurology residency, and clinical fellowship in multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology at Duke University. She now practices general adult neurology with a subspecialty in multiple sclerosis in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her fiancé and their pets.
Janet (Yu) Barik was a RA at Carlyle from 2006-2008. She was one of the first to work with FFIR Anthony Reynolds for exploration halls: Food and Culture. Janet graduated with a major in Communications from the Steinhardt School. She has worked on prominent media companies and is now helping Walmart build their advertising business within their Walmart Media Group division.
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.
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