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Senior Symposium


The 7th annual Senior Symposium highlights the diversity of undergraduate scholarship at Gallatin. The event showcases a select group of seniors who present live talks that share ideas at the heart of their academic passions. Developed from individualized majors and colloquium topics, the talks span a range of genres and are meant to teach and to inspire the community.


Ari Holtzman - Discursive Machines

Joe Kozlowski - Playing to Learn

Julia Lee - Art in the Anthropocene

Nick Marroletti - Cultural Narratives through American Images

Archnashree Nellan - New Media and Education Reform

Megan Powers - Beyond Partisan Politics

Jessie Roth - Narrative Healing

The Senior Symposium 2014 talks are now available!

Empty Healing, Mali Bowers
Concentration: Balance: Non-action in Action

Mali Bowers is from Los Angeles and London. Her concentration focuses on tangible applications of the Buddhist concept of sunyata, or emptiness. Ranging from art-making to the human form, the physical and philosophical resonance of "emptiness" inspires her to explore a wide array of disciplines. Her pursuits include sculpture, green design, philosophy, architecture, yoga as architecture of the body, music composition and printmaking, as ways to investigate the fundamentally compassionate principle of sunyata. Her current primary practice is printmaking, as an exploration of emptiness in the creative process. - Mali’s Adviser is Jeanette Tran, Ph.D.

Empty Healing, Natalie Nazarian
Concentration: Compassionate Art, Compassionate Science: An Alternative Approach for the Pre-Medical Student


A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Natalie Nazarian is studying art and science, specifically the implications that intersections between these disciplines might have for the future of medicine. Focusing on modes of practice in the simultaneous studies of studio art, and the physical and natural sciences has allowed her to find both conceptual and practical connections. In this vein, she believes that methods of contemporary visual art practice and criticism can be of valuable use in instigating tangible changes to the current culture of the doctor-patient relationship.

Natalie and Mali began collaborating out of the realization that their concentrations were not only complimentary, but inherently connected. They discovered the opportunity for creative collaboration, and how changing the way we see can ultimately change the way we approach healing. Their individual art practices have led them to the conviction that compassionate art can lead to creative responses in healthcare, rather than pre-packaged cures. - Natalie’s Adviser is Leslie Satin, Ph.D.

Towards a Haunted Community, Rachel Brazie
Concentration: (De)Constructing Community: Identity Narrative, Grief, and Politics

Rachel Brazie’s academic and personal interests center around community. To this end, she participated in NYU's Residential College for her first three years before moving to Brooklyn to live in a co-operative. In Gallatin, she is a member of Americas Scholars. She co-founded a Critical Theory Collective to extend intellectual community beyond the walls of the classroom.

Her Senior Project explores three of Toni Morrison's novels - interrogating the ways in which Morrison negotiates America's racial wounds through the personal traumas of her characters. Rachel argues that Morrison's use of haunting offers a necessary interval between mourning and melancholia, a mode of grieving that acknowledges loss without fully letting the go of the ghost.

Outside of school, Rachel has traveled extensively working on rural and urban organic farms, including a summer stint studying indigenous agricultural practices in Peru. Most recently, she apprenticed at the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm. - Rachel’s Adviser is George Shulman, Ph.D.

We Have the Remote, But Are We Changing the Channel,  Anthony Giambra
Concentration: Visual Media Imperialism

Anthony Giambra studies a combination of film, sociology, and media studies at NYU. During his senior year, he has worked as Assistant Media Producer to Mario Batali, Production Intern for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and currently interns as a Development Intern at MTV News & Docs. For his entire junior year, he studied abroad, first in Prague, then in Buenos Aires. In both cities, he delved further into the golden ages of each nation's cinemas. Noticing a difference in national representation and understanding before and after times of political oppression, he grew interested in the influence of media flows throughout the globe, which helped to add a narrowing lens to his academic focus and to create the platform for his TEDx talk. At the moment, he would love to work in late night television after graduation. - Anthony’s Adviser is Rahul Hamid, M.A 

The (Re)birth of the Double Consciousness, Nicole Johnson
Concentration: Ethics Management & Production in the Arts


Nicole Johnson studies Ethics, Management & Production in the Arts. Nicole is a delegate of the United Nations' International Year of Youth Program. She received the 2012 UN Allykatzz "Leads Linking Youth" award after speaking in the ECOSOC chamber on global partnerships and community. Nicole received a 2013 award for her work in youth education and activism from the NYU Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship.

After relocating to New York from Miami at age 15, Nicole launched a 501c3 non-profit production company production that raises funds and awareness for both domestic and international causes. As founder and creative director of Javanna Productions M.O.V.E. (Motivation Opportunity Vision Entertainment), Nicole encourages humanity and world citizenship through the arts.

Nicole is currently developing a venture to provide underserved students with affordable and accessible higher education. The Vanna membership provides students with practical skills and networking opportunities to prepare them for job interviews in the entertainment industry. www.vannaedmembership.com -Nicole’s Adviser is Kristin Horton, M.F.A.

Science as a Creative Endeavor, Daniel Seara
Concentration: The Human in Science; Mathematics


Science is often heralded as an unequivocal harbinger of objective truth about reality. Its methods come with a guarantee of making progress towards accruing more accurate information about our world. Daniel Seara is working towards understanding the roles that humans have in performing the incontrovertibly human activity we call “science”. Specifically, Daniel studies physics, philosophy and their histories in an attempt to understand the fluid progression that physics has undergone since the 17th century.

Daniel is currently researching liquid crystal colloidal dispersions, studying the colloids’ interactions and self-assembly via optical microscopy at the NYU Center for Soft Matter Research under David J. Pine, PhD. He participated in the NSF funded summer program RiSE at Rutgers University, studying graphene growth on various substrates via pulsed laser deposition as a function of time.

He has been a member of the Physics National Honors Society (ΣΠΣ) and the Society of Physics Students. He will pursue a PhD in physics. -Daniel’s Adviser is Matthew Stanley, Ph.D.

The Local Economy of Fashion, Kerrin Smith
Concentration: The Local Economy of Fashion

Kerrin Smith is the founder of CATiD, a project committed to a shift from passive consumerism to responsible global citizenship in the fashion industry and a brand dedicated to being Cool And Thoughtful in every element of the production and consumption of fashion. Understanding “Cool” as generosity and grace rather than rebellion, CATiD uses journalism, events, aesthetics and garments to work illustrate these principles and to further peace in the fashion industry.

Kerrin is deeply committed to interfaith dialogue and social justice work and has been actively involved with the Of Many Institute, most recently developing resources and curriculum to accompany an upcoming film. She is a member of the Dean’s Honor Society, on the Dean’s List, and recipient of the Transfer Recognition Award. Kerrin is also a coach-practitioner-in-training at United Global Shift, an organization offering strategies for sustainable social change. Learn more about her work at www.CATiD.net. –Kerrin’s Adviser is Marcella Runnell Hall, Ed.D


Senior Symposium 2013

Jane Adams - Pattern Recognition (Video)

Pattern Recognition, Jane Adams
Concentration: Emergence 

The Theory of Emergence attempts to explain how, from the simplicity of particles and voids, emerges the complexity of the world around us. Emergence is the phenomenon by which simple systems governed by simple rules give rise to complex phenomena on a larger scale. Simple systems are able to self-organize into large-scale collective behavior.

In her senior project, What Pattern Recognition Systems Teach Us About Patterns, Adams built a Deep Belief Network (DBN), which is an artificial neural network used in machine learning that mimics the parallel processing of the brain, in order to better understand what is being recognized in pattern recognition.

In preparation for PhD studies in Complexity Theory, Adams will independently commence study of the similarities between efficient designs in natural and artificial systems namely the similarities between leaf vein patterns and housing patterns.

While at NYU, Jane was on the editorial board of the Gallatin Research Journal, and studied Culture, Development, and Globalization in India. Jane earned the Dean’s Award for Graduating Seniors. Adams’ adviser is Jose Perillan, PhD.

Jennie Bernstein - Brazil, Coastal Erosion, Sustainable Development (Video)

Brazil, Coastal Erosion, Sustainable Development, Jennie Bernstein
Concentration: Sustainable Urban Development

Jennie Bernstein’s concentration combines an understanding of economic development with an appreciation for the social and environmental systems at work on our planet.

By seeking to comprehend the social, political, and economic infrastructures at work specifically in cities (particularly in the megacities of the global south), Bernstein hopes to to acquire an insight into how such systems might be adapted to achieve both local and global sustainability with respect to the environment and the economy. Jennie pays particular attention to a classical capitalist conception, where growth in the Gross Domestic Product acts as the principal metric for measuring economic growth/development.

While at NYU Jennie went abroad to Fortaleza, Brazil, to study Social Justice and Sustainable Development. She hopes to work as an environmental educator in Aspen, Colorado for a year prior to persuing in a Masters program in Urban Ecology. She earned the Dean’s Award for Graduating Seniors. Bernstein’s Adviser is Gene Cittadino, PhD.

Melissa Boigon - Islamaphobia (Video)

Islamaphobia, Melissa Boigon
Concentration: Islamophobia: Politics of Representation

Melissa Boignon’s studies attempt to understand the relationship between international political dynamics and prejudices against Muslims in the United States.

Boignon is managing marketing and PR for a new low-cost yoga and movement studio called "U Studios".

While at NYU, Boignon was president of Nadi, the Gallatin Middle Eastern Studies Club, and was a Gallatin Peer Mentor. She has performed in the NYU Women's Choir, NYU Jazz Choir and is a member of DHS.

Melissa studied abroad in Amman, Jordan and will travel to Peru for backpacking and study toward an outdoor leadership certification. Boignon’s adviser is Ali Mirsepassi, PhD.

Anna Duensing - Cultural Artifacts and German History (Video)

Cultural Artifacts and German History, Anna Duensing
Concentration: Narrating History, Memory, and Place. Minor in German

Anna Duensing’s work has focused on comparative and transnational approaches to European and American history in the 19th and 20th centuries, paying particular attention to histories of discrimination and violence against minorities. Within this discourse, she considers the role of culture, media, and public institutions (e.g. monuments, memorial sites, ethnomusicology, oral history archives, and museums) in the construction of historical narrative and in historical education.

Her senior project,Do Right by My Country: Protest Patriotism and National Identity in World War II-Era Blues Music was presented through WNYU 89.1 FM where Duesing has been general manager, producer and host for the blues radio show Shake ‘Em On Down.

Also, while at NYU, Duensing has been Gallatin senior class representative, managing prose editor for the Gallatin Review, editor for the Gallatin Research Journal, co-president of the Gallatin Cinema Society. As well as earning [DHS], Anna earned a Dean’s Award for her summer research project Berlin: Capital of Modernity. She has also earned a Gallatin Student Resource Fund award and a Humanity in Action Summer Fellowship. Anna will be the Gallatin graduation speaker.

After graduation, Duensing will be moving to Germany on a Fulbright grant to teach English and continue her research. Duensing’s adviser is Karen Hornick, PhD.

Nick Glastonbury - Turkey, Kurds, Language (Video)

Turkey, Kurds, Language, Nick Glastonbury
Concentration: Human Rights and Public Memory

After his colloquium in Memory, Trauma, and Belonging in Turkey Glastonbury grounded his studies of the Middle East (and Turkey in particular) at the intersections of human rights law, nationalism studies, anthropology, political science, theories of representation, feminist theory, and queer theory, which has been explored in is senior project, Discourse, Discipline, and the Making of the Kurdish National Subject in Turkey.

While at NYU, Nick has been an Albert Gallatin Scholar, a Gallatin Human Rights Fellow, co-president of the Gallatin Cinema Society, Executive Editor of The Gallatin Research Journal, and associate editor of The Journal of Global Affairs. Non-NYU study abroad took him to Bogaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Through the Fulbright program, Nick hopes to relocate to Turkey to conduct fieldwork and archival research on the intersections of Kurdish and queer political subjectivities while continuing work on several translation projects, including the publication of his translation of the novel Motherland Hotel by Yusuf Atilgan.Nick will be the BA Class Representative at graduation. Glastonbury’s adviser is Hannah Gurman, PhD.

Shara Guarnaccia - Chile Youth Education Movement (Video)

Chile Youth Education Movement, Shara Guarnaccia
Concentration: Sociology of Youth Development - Latin American Studies Minor in Urban Education

Shara Guarnaccia combines youth development and sociology to study education and other institutions that impact youth and how these institutions are shaped by society. She is specifically interested in how society impacts youth development both in the US and in Latin America.

Guarnaccia is particularly intrigued by the disparities in how societies treat people differently based on superficial characteristics, such as race, class, and gender, and how this then impacts their relationship to and success in school and their life trajectory more generally.

While at NYU, Shara was a member of Dancers/Choreographers Alliance, and served as an America Reads tutor. After graduation she plans to have a city year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Guarnaccia was Dean's Listed and studied abroad with SIT in Chile to explore Education and Social Change and through Burlington College studied abroad in Cuba. Guarnaccia’s Adviser is David Moore, PhD.

Daniel LaCosse - Narrative Engineering (Video)

Narrative Engineering, Daniel LaCosse Concentration: Narrative Engineering, minor in Game Design

Narrative Engineering is the aim to standardize the language we use to talk about narrative structure in order to streamline the creative process and optimize the stories we tell.

Daniel LaCosse is working on a film-digital game, hybrid narrative demo, tentatively titled Project Dio in which a film documents a tattoo artist's creative struggle to write and illustrate a graphic novel while the game is in fact an adaptation of the novel that the artist creates.

With plans to submit to festivals, LaCosse is aslo finishing a short biopic about Nikola Tesla called A Bolt, A Bird, which concerns the end of the inventor's life and a pigeon that was particularly dear to him.

While at NYU Daniel worked on and presented in the Gallatin Arts Festival and was a graphic designer/creative director for Gallatone. Abroad studies took him to NYU-Florence. LaCosse’s adviser is Matthew Stanley, PhD.

Jackson Miller - China Migrant Population & Development (Video)

China Migrant Population & Development, Jackson Miller
Concentration: Class Stratification in Modern China

Jackson Miller draws from coursework in international politics, economics, sociology and Mandarin. He looks to examine the role of the state in the production of new forms of social hierarchy, focusing primarily on the recent explosion of the urban labor migrant class in China.

Miller is currently interning at Network 20/20, a nonprofit that seeks to engage rising and established leaders across professions and disciplines in meaningful dialogue on global foreign policy.

While at NYU, Jackson has served as External Vice President of the NYU's chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He is a member of the Americas Scholars, recipient of the 2012 Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights in Shanghai, China, which follows study abroad to the same city. Jackson earned the Dean’s Award for Graduating Seniors. Miller’s Adviser is Ethan Harkness, PhD.

Will Notini - Ireland, Tourism, Language (Video)

Ireland, Tourism, Language, Will Notini
Concentration: Linguistics in Performance

Will’s concentration focuses on the performative and extra-linguistic functions of language drawing on several disciplines: Linguistics, Linguistic Anthropology, and Sociology. Specifically, Notini looks at the interaction between language and society in post-colonial environments.

His senior project, Language Commoditization in Rural Minority Speech Communities analyzes insider-outsider dynamics in tourist destinations through linguistic performance and language ideologies. To illustrate the relationship his paper uses two case studies: the Pennsylvania Dutch speaking populations of Lancaster County, PA and Irish speaking communities in the west of Ireland.

Prior to commencing MA work at University of Chicago in the Fall of 2013, Will plans to travel to Guatemala to research the roles of Mayan languages in the socialization and education of Guatemala City’s children.  While at NYU, Notini was editor-in-chief for the Gallatin Research Journal and studied abroad at NYU-Dublin. Notini’s adviser is Christopher Cartmill, MFA.

Fatoumata Waggeh - Africa Post-Colonial Development

Africa Post-Colonial Development, Fatoumata Waggeh
Concentration: African Political Development and Colonial History; Law

Fatoumata Waggeh’s concentration explores how historical processes and broad structure colonialism and neo-colonialism have manifested in African underdevelopment and its placement on the periphery. The concluding aspect of this concentration, through an analysis of legal frameworks, analyzed the role of the law in empowering and providing justice to historically marginalized communities.

Waggeh’s senior project, Che and Lumumba: 20th Century Socialists juxtaposes the political history of Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Congo through an analysis of the two prime Marxists and revolutionaries of the African Diaspora in the 20th century: Ernesto Che Guevara and Patrice Lumumba. Fatoumata will be Gallatin’s Banner Bearer for graduation and commencement ceremonies. Waggeh’s adviser is Alejandro Velasco, PhD.


Kerrin Smith - TEDxGallatin 2014
Daniel Seara - TEDxGallatin 2014
Rachel Brazie - TEDxGallatin 2014
TEDxGallatin 2014
2012 - Senior Symposium Program
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