Faculty

John Sexton, SMSP Principal Instructor, Odds

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John Sexton, President Emeritus of New York University, is a SMSP Principal Instructor. He teaches “The U.S. Supreme Court’s Treatment of the Relationship Between Church and State". Before becoming New York University’s President, President Emeritus Sexton was a professor at NYU Law School. He was named the Law School’s Dean in 1988 and became the University’s President in 2001, a position he held through 2015. President Emeritus Sexton has a B.A. in History (1963) from Fordham College, a M.A. in Comparative Religion (1965), a Ph.D. in History of American Religion (1978) Fordham University, and a J.D. (1979) from Harvard Law School where he graduated magna cum laude. Before coming to NYU, President Emeritus Sexton served as Law Clerk to Chief Justice Warren Burger of the United States Supreme Court (1980-1981), and to Judges David Bazelon and Harold Leventhal of the United States Court of Appeals (1979-1980). For ten years (1983-1993), he served as Special Master Supervising Pretrial Proceedings in the Love Canal Litigation. From 1966 to 1975, he was a Professor of Religion at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, where he was Department Chair from 1970 to 1975. President Sexton is passionate about teaching; indeed, he may be the only university president who taught a full faculty schedule during his tenure as president.

James Traub, SMSP Principal Instructor, Evens

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James Traub is a journalist and scholar specializing in international affairs. He is a columnist and contributor to the website foreignpolicy.com. He worked as a staff writer for The New Yorker from 1993 to 1998 and as a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine from 1998 to 2011. He has also written extensively about national politics, urban affairs, and education. Among his recent books are The Freedom Agenda, on the American policy of democracy promotion, and The Best Intentions, on the UN under Kofi Annan. His new book: John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit, was published in March by Basic Books. He teaches classes on American foreign policy and terrorism at NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus, as well as a class on the political essay at NYU’s main campus in New York. He is a fellow of the Center on International Cooperation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Diane C. Yu, Executive Director & SMSP Principal Instructor, Leadership and Public Speaking and Public Presentations

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Diane C. ​Yu is​ ​​the Counselor to Leadership at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Executive Director of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs at NYUAD, which currently consist of the NYUAD ​Summer Academy - a college preparatory program for Emirati high school students - and the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program (SMSP) for top UAE university students. She teaches leadership classes at NYU New York and in the Summer Academy and SMSP, and public speaking classes for SMSP and NYU Shanghai. Previously she was the Deputy President of New York University, ​Managing Counsel at a Fortune 500 company, State Bar of California General Counsel (for whom she won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court), a White House Fellow, and a California Superior Court Commissioner. She attended Oberlin College (B.A.) and U.C. Berkeley School of Law (J.D.). She sits on ​a number of ​boards​, including​ Oberlin College, American Management Association, ​Oregon Shakespeare Festival, ​and the Association of Governing Boards. She served as the White House Fellows Association President and chaired the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Women in the Profession and the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. Among her numerous awards are Ten Outstanding Young Women of America, Women’s Leadership Award from the Asian American Bar Association of New York, and an honorary doctorate from City University of New York.

Laurie Behringer, Senior Director & SMSP Principal Instructor, Critical Thinking and Persuasive Writing

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Laurie Behringer is the Senior Director for both the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program and the NYUAD Summer Academy. She has been with the Summer Academy since 2012 serving as a Critical Thinking and Writing Principal Instructor and has also tutored Summer Academy and SMSP alumni attending NYU New York for undergraduate and graduate studies. Previous to the Senior Director position, Dr. Behringer was Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher and Postsecondary Education and Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU. Laurie attended Loyola College in Maryland for her B.A. in English and Philosophy, NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science for an M.A. in English and American Literature, and NYU's Steinhardt for her Ph.D. in Higher Education for which she conducted a study of college-level developmental writing.

Katy Bartelma, SMSP Instructor, Odds

Katy Bartelma is an Instructor for the course on the relationship between church and state taught by John Sexton. She is also a Critical Thinking and Writing Instructor for the NYU Abu Dhabi Summer Academy. Katy previously served as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and prior to that, completed clerkships for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Federal Claims. She received her law degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and her AB in History from Harvard University.

Rachel Jamison, SMSP Instructor, Odds

Rachel comes to NYUAD from Peking University School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen, China, where she spent two years as a law instructor for courses on legal research and writing as well as human rights and humanitarian law. Prior to that, she worked for human rights NGOs in Washington D.C., Sierra Leone, and Uganda. She holds a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in history from the University of Minnesota.

Peter Vining, SMSP Instructor, Evens

Peter joined SMSP as an Assistant Instructor for US Foreign Policy. He is currently a PhD student in New York University’s Department of Politics and a National Science Foundation GRFP Fellow. Prior to this he completed his MA at Duke University in Political Science and BS/BA in Security and Risk Analysis and International Politics at The Pennsylvania State University.

Melissa Friesen, Manager of Academic and Administrative Services & Instructor, Leadership and Public Speaking and Public Presentations

Melissa Friesen, Manager of Academic and Administrative Services, joined the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program (SMSP) and NYUAD Summer Academy in fall 2014 through her role as Special Research and Teaching Assistant to the Programs' Executive Director. This is her third academic year working with the SMSP program as an administrator and as an Instructor for the Leadership and Public Speaking courses. Melissa holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, which is located in Vancouver, Canada.

Jonathan Marsh, Academic Fellow & Instructor, Critical Thinking and Persuasive Writing

As a member of the first team of employees on the NYUAD campus, Jonathan has served the student community in a variety of academic and residential life roles: Graduate Resident Assistant, Senior Global Academic Fellow, Academic Resource Center tutor, teaching assistant, and English proficiency assessment consultant for Admissions' Candidate Weekend process. Now, as a member of the NYUAD Community Programs' team, he works with the New York-based office staff to support alumni programming and academics at NYU-NY, serves as Instructor in the SMSP Critical Thinking and Persuasive Writing course, supports Executive Director Diane Yu in her NYU Shanghai Public Speaking in a Leadership Role course, and assists Summer Academy students with English and Critical Thinking and Writing coursework as an Academic Fellow. Jonathan earned his bachelor's degree in film from NYU and his master's in mental health counseling from NYU Steinhardt.

Fatima Al Hammadi, Academic Fellow & Instructor, Leadership and Public Speaking and Public Presentations

Fatima Al Hammadi worked as a Research Assistant in the Division of Social Sciences at NYUAD. She previously worked as a program coordinator for the SMSP & the Summer Academy program at NYUAD. Fatima is also an Alumna of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Scholars Program Class of 2013-2014. She holds a bachelor's degree in Integrated Strategic Communication from Zayed University. Fatima recently completed a summer program at University of Cambridge where she enrolled in courses related to economics and public policy.