Convocation Highlights
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2016 Convocation Highlights

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

Convocation is a rich, time-honored tradition at the NYU School of Professional Studies, during which we celebrate the accomplishments of our students. The Convocation ceremonies provide an opportunity for those graduating, their family members, administrators, and faculty members to come together and acknowledge their impressive achievements, and to applaud the hard work and sacrifices they have made to enrich their lives and advance their careers through education.

Browse through our photo and video highlights galleries of the School’s Graduate and Undergraduate Convocation ceremonies as well as of NYU’s Commencement. Below you will find the full bios of the keynote and student class speakers.

Convocation Speakers

Juju Chang

Graduate Speaker: Juju Chang

Juju Chang is an Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News' Nightline. She also reports regularly for Good Morning America and 20/20. Chang's work often involves in-depth personal narratives, from the most extensive face transplant ever attempted on a former firefighter named Pat Hardison, to the multiyear coming of age odyssey of a transgendered teen that won a 2015 Front Page Award.

Chang covers breaking news from Superstorm Sandy to the mass shootings in Newtown, CT. After the shooting at Sandy Hook, she profiled a young family of gun enthusiasts for a special edition of "Guns in America." She's has since explored the issue of kids and guns, and the growing popularity of firearms among women.

Chang has covered global events and issues including the earthquake in Haiti and maternal and infant mortality in Mozambique. Her longer Nightline segments cover topics such as juvenile justice; rape on college campuses; race and policing; and addiction, including a report on the shocking epidemic of newborns detoxing from painkillers.

Chang received one of her two Emmys for team coverage of the California wildfires. She was recognized with one of her two Gracies for a 20/20 story on gender equality in the sciences. Her hour-long primetime reports include the story of murdered 8th grader Larry King, which examined the issues of anti-gay bullying; the impact of foreign adoptions gone wrong; and the struggles of people with Albinism globally, including the plight of Tanzanian albinos.

She’s interviewed artists from Tom Hanks to Celine Dion to Channing Tatum. A former news anchor for Good Morning America, Chang had previously anchored the early morning newscasts World News Now and World News This Morning in 2000. She began her career at ABC News as a desk assistant and eventually became a producer at World News Tonight. From 1996-97, Chang covered the White House, Capitol Hill, and the presidential election for NewsOne, ABC's affiliate service in DC. She also was a reporter for KGO-TV in San Francisco from 1995-96.

Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in California, Chang graduated with honors from Stanford University with a BA in political science and communication. At Stanford, she was awarded the Edwin Cotrell Political Science Prize. Chang is married to Neal Shapiro and has three sons. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a founding board member of the Korean American Community Foundation.

Brandon Stanton

Undergraduate Speaker: Brandon Stanton

With over 15.8 million followers on Facebook and 3.7 million on Instagram, it's no surprise that Brandon Stanton, the photographer and writer behind Humans of New York, has been called an Internet phenomenon. Named on Crain's New York’s 2015 40 Under 40 list, Stanton is one of today's most unique and influential storytellers, whose own story illustrates the power of the Internet, the value of storytelling, and our desire to remain connected with real people in our increasingly technology-driven world.

After graduating with a degree in history, Stanton traded bonds in Chicago until he lost his job, which led him to move to New York. In late 2010, he started the photography blog, Humans of New York, with a goal of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers and plotting the photos on a map. HONY, however, began to take on a much different character. By incorporating short stories with the photographs, Stanton created a powerful force for good that brings millions of people from around the world together to reflect on the remarkable images and tales of everyday people.

In 2013, Stanton’s first book, Humans of New York, catapulted to the top of The New York Times bestseller list, where it stayed for 45 weeks. His new book, HONY: Stories, was released in October 2015 and was number one on the NYT's bestseller list within two weeks.

In early 2015, Stanton’s post of a boy from an underprivileged Brooklyn middle school in a crime-plagued neighborhood led him to initiate an online crowd funding campaign to raise $100,000 to send the students on field trips to Harvard to expand their idea of their potential. HONY's followers raised more than $1 million for Mott Hall Bridges Academy and the inspirational story garnered international media attention and earned Stanton a meeting with President Obama.

Student Convocation Speakers

Beatriz Alegría Carrasco

Graduate Speaker: Beatriz Alegría Carrasco
MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication, Division of Programs in Business

For Beatriz Alegría Carrasco, a native of Spain, attending the NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) was her first introduction to studying at a foreign academic institution. Already a seasoned professional in journalism and communications in Madrid, she was eager to hone her skills in the US and pursue her fascination of promoting good communication through the application of multicultural principles.

Alegría enrolled in NYUSPS to pursue the MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication on a prestigious la Caixa Foundation grant, which she was awarded for her outstanding academic and professional record in her home country. Among her many distinctions, she ranked first in her competitive journalism program at Complutense University of Madrid. On the career front she worked as head of internal communications at BNP Paribas Spain, as a corporate communications consultant at BABEL Sistemas de Información, and as an account executive at LEWIS Communications. In addition she served as a contributing journalist for a variety of publications, including ICON Spain, Cosmopolitan, Tiempo, and Ragazza.

Over the course of her graduate studies, she contributed to research on cross-cultural corporate communication, in one case creating a high-level PR and integrated marketing plan for an American startup. She also built a writing portfolio in English by launching and editing her own bilingual e-zine, New York for Beginners, aimed primarily at the Latino community in the United States.

Alegría has been actively involved in the student community within NYUSPS and across the University. She served as an NYU graduate student ambassador, working on University events that fostered a sense of community and mutual understanding, and as a student leader within the NYUSPS Division of Programs in Business, helping to identify the most pressing issues that students face and facilitating conversations between faculty members and students.

Alegría is particularly grateful for the services she received from the School's International Student Support Center (ISSC). "As English is not my first language, the ISSC has been instrumental to my success here," she asserted. "I've absorbed a lot from the tutoring sessions, especially in terms of understanding American English and culture."

Currently, she is working as a pro bono PR consultant for a Spanish nonprofit organization that helps disadvantaged and sick children. After graduation, Alegría plans to work in the US for a couple of years before heading back to Europe.

Drew Washington

Undergraduate Speaker: Drew H. Washington
BS in Sports Management, Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business

Drew Washington left her hometown of Pasadena, California four years ago, setting out on a new life and learning adventure in New York City. An avid sports enthusiast who played volleyball and ran track in high school, she decided to make her passion a profession by enrolling in the BS in sports management, with a concentration in sports law, at the NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business.

Quickly acclimating to NYUSPS, Washington became deeply engaged in a variety of academic programs in the School and across the University that broadened her horizons. She was selected to participate in the NYU Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program for her record of outstanding academic achievement, leadership, community service, and dedication to furthering the legacy of Dr. King. Through this program she traveled to Puerto Rico and Israel to help address social issues abroad. Consistently earning Dean's List honors, Washington also was named a Tisch Institute Scholar and was given the opportunity to travel to Brazil to study the impact of mega events, such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics, on the country's local economies. She also studied abroad at NYU Madrid for one semester and served as a global ambassador there.

During her time at the Tisch Institute, Washington secured internships at top sports media companies, including HBO, Creative Artists Agency, BMF Media, and the Wasserman Media Group. "I wouldn’t have had access to these opportunities without the help and the prestige of the Tisch Institute and its highly respected professors," she asserted. "I've made connections that I would not have been able to secure elsewhere—my professors were so willing to introduce students to their industry contacts."

In addition to her time in the classroom and at her internships, Washington joined the NYU Women's Varsity Track and Field team in her freshman year, setting numerous school records as a member of the relay team. She also joined NYU's Academic Achievement Program, for which she served as executive committee chair, planning weekly events to help create an inclusive environment for students of color on campus. More recently, she joined the Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, for which she led a voter registration drive that registered more than 100 Harlem community members and chaired a fashion show that raised more than $4,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Alzheimer's Association.

Upon graduation, Washington plans to pursue a law degree with a focus on sports and entertainment law. She will begin her legal education in the fall at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.