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2017 Speakers

U.S. Department of Education 

     "Education is the foundation upon which we build our future." The United States Department of Education can be said as one of the most important departments of our country. It establishes the country's policies on education and sets the tone of education going forward.

     At the United States Department of Education, our students learned about the importance of education and engaged in critical thinking and educational discourse with leaders in this field. What is the future trajectory of education in the United States? How can we be proactive and empower ourselves? These among many other vital questions were addressed in our fruitful meeting with members of the U.S. Department of Education. 

Mayor Bollwage

       Now in his twenty-fifth year as Mayor of Elizabeth, a diverse city of more than 125,000 and the fourth largest city in New Jersey, J. Christian Bollwage has created a more efficient city government while sparking $800 million in economic redevelopment which will see the city into the 21st century.

      This year, Mayor Bollwage announced his vision of the future of Elizabeth, which included “Go-Green” initiatives, collegiate corridor concept, remodeling of Midtown train station, and expansion of economic development, recreation, housing and transportation. The Mayor also unveiled a foreclosure assistance program, a Healthy Elizabeth initiative, and new camera surveillance network, and much more.

Professor Rosa Pietanza

        With over 24 years of experience in New York City Public Schools as a teacher of Italian and French, and an assistant principal of Foreign Languages and ESL, and then founding principal of University Neighborhood HS, Rosa Pietanza has impacted the lives of thousands of students and educators for the better. Her role in their growth is unparalleled.              Throughout her career, she has served as a mentor to many new principals, administrators, and teachers. Pietanza is the coordinator of partnership schools for NYU Steinhardt, where her responsibilities include strengthening relationships with partner schools, exploring opportunities for collaboration, and connecting students' coursework with their field experience.

The New York Times

Assemblyman Abbate

      Since his election in 1986, Mr. Abbate has served as a full-time Legislator. In Albany, Mr. Abbate has grown to become an influential member of the Assembly. He is currently the Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Employees, a position he was elevated to in 2002 after serving as Chairman of the Committee on Real Property Taxation and the Committee on Cities, and much more.

      As a legislator, Mr. Abbate has sponsored numerous bills that have been signed into law. These laws cover a wide range of issues from consumer affairs to civil service issues to real property tax reforms. His outstanding work in the community has brought him honors from the Council of Jewish Organizations and the Coalition of Italian American Associations.

"All the News That's Fit to Print"

The New York Times has long been regarded within the industry as a national newspaper of record. Founded in 1851, The New York Times has been one of the leading news outlets in the world and won over 122 Pulitzer Prizes (more than any other newspaper). From politics to breaking news to the arts, the NYT stands in the forefront of news coverage. Our students had the wonderful opportunity to visit and learn about the history of the NYT, it's role in society and even engage in a discourse of the future of printed news versus technnology. 

2015 Speakers

Jie Zhang

     Jie Zhang, the principal of one of the nation’s top high schools - Stuyvesant High School, spoke to our scholarship students on education in the public school system and her experiences.

      As an immigrant from China who came to America to pursue her Master’s degree in Mathematics while working to pay for tuition. Zhiang later became the first Asian principal of one of the most competitive high schools in the country, Principal Zhang imparted some wise advice to our students - to work hard and follow your passion. Sometimes it'll be very tough, but if you push yourself, you will be rewarded in the end.

John Sexton

    Professor Moss Roberts

      NYU President John Sexton spoke to our scholarship students and shared his life experiences and philosophy on education. Under his leadership, NYU has become a Global Network University with three degree-granting campuses – New York, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. 

      John’s passion for teaching really inspired the students. They felt his energy and enthusiasm. He not only shared with the students his experience in the educational field but also gave them a valuable lesson on life – on the importance of family and on our duty to this planet. One student even asked John about his views on examinations.

      Professor Moss Roberts, a leading expert in East Asian Studies, is here to speak to our students on his viewpoints and insight on the Chinese classics and U.S.-China relations. Professor Roberts' complete and in depth translation of the famed Chinese classical novel: The Romance of the Three Kingdoms brought this classic to the Western world and made an immense impact in the East Asian Studies field.

     His research and understanding are profound. The students interaction was smooth as Professor Robert spoke English and Chinese. The students left the classroom with a new grasp on Chinese classic history and US-China relations.

2014 Speakers

Steve Nelson

      The Head of School of the Calhoun School, come and speak to these students on "Progressive Education." The students were fascinated about this concept and the idea that not everything revolves around testing and hours upon hours of homework.

      Students were eager to stand up and ask Steve questions about his career and views on Education. At the end of the presentation, the students presented Steve with a traditional hand-painted Chinese fan.

Tyra Liebmann

       Tyra Liebmann, Founding Dean of NYU Shanghai, come and speak to these students about her experience in the educational field and NYU's philosophy on cross cultural exchange and community. Her knowledge and experience with both the American higher education system and the Chinese education system provided fresh insight on education to the students.

Domenic Recchia


      As part of a special election, the students got to participate in Domenic Recchia's campaign for Congress. Benjamin Bills, a campaign aide, spoke to the students on the importance of reaching out to voters and getting them out to vote. Students had the chance to practice reaching out to voters, and then went out in groups to voter houses in order to keep them informed about the Congressional race. At the end, the students visited the campaign headquarters and learned more about how elections work in the US. 

2013 Speakers

Lemuel Brewster

Lem discussed the importance of communication in the workplace. Students were also given some thought on how to avoid conflict, and how it can be handled if any conflict comes up. Lemuel Brewster is Director and Head of Public Relations for Thomson Reuters, Investors. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Mr. Brewster was a Vice President of Press and Media Relations at Deutsche Bank. Earlier in his career, Mr. Brewster served as a TIAA-CREF Media Relations Specialist generating media coverage in the retirement and insurance lines of business. Mr. Brewster earned an M.A. degree in Public Communication (Public Relations) from Fordham University and a B.A. in Business Communication/Marketing from Baruch College (CUNY). 

Dodge Landesman

Dodge began his career at a very young age,18, when he ran for city council. Landesman's focus was to raise awareness for issues that tend to be overlooked at, like special education. Our students got a taste of what it's like to get involved in politics at a young age. Landesman served as the Vice President of Marriage Equality New York and serves on several political boards that raise issues he deeply cares about. Landesman reminded students that keep trying if something doesn't get fixed, as with persistence issues will gain attention from others and eventually get fixed. 

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