John Sexton, NYU President Emeritus


John Sexton, the fifteenth President of New York University, and also Dean Emeritus of the NYU Law School and Benjamin Butler Professor of Law, having served as Dean for 14 years. He joined the Law School faculty in 1981, was named the School's Dean in 1988, and was designated the University's President in 2001.

President Sexton received a B.A. in History (1963) from Fordham College; an M.A. in Comparative Religion (1965); a Ph.D. in History of American Religion (1978) Fordham University; and a J.D. magna cum laude (1979) from Harvard Law School. He is an author of the nation's leading casebook on Civil Procedure. He also is the author of Redefining the Supreme Court's Role: A Theory of Managing the Federal Court System (a treatment of the Supreme Court's case selection process) in addition to several other books, numerous chapters, articles, and Supreme Court briefs.

He holds honorary degrees from Fordham University, Saint Francis College, Saint John's University, Saint Joseph's College, University of Rochester and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The student editors of NYU's Annual Survey of American Law dedicated their Volume 60 in his honor. He was named by Emory University "Outstanding High School Debate Coach of the Last 50 Years" for work he did from 1960 to 1975. He has been honored at the Harvard Law Review Annual Banquet, and has been named "Alumnus of the Year" both at Fordham and at his high school, Brooklyn Prep. In July 2008, he was named a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, the national order of the Legion of Honor of France.

Before coming to NYU, President 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 teaches at least a full faculty schedule. In academic year 2010-2011, he is teaching four full courses.

James Traub, Journalist/Author

James Traub

James Traub is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, where he has been covering international affairs for the last decade. He also writes a weekly column for the website foreignpolicy.com. His two most recent books are The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power and The Freedom Agenda: Why America Must Spread Democracy (Just Not The Way George Bush Did).

Diane C. Yu, Counselor to Leadership at NYUAD


Diane C. Yu is the Executive Director of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program and the NYUAD Summer Academy for high school students. She has taught a popular freshman honors seminar in the NYU College of Arts and Science for seven years. Previously she was the Managing Counsel at Monsanto Company, the General Counsel for the State Bar of California, a White House Fellow appointed by the President, a California judicial officer, and in private law practice. Her B.A. is from Oberlin College and her law degree is from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a frequent speaker and author and has an honorary doctorate from the City University of New York.

Laurie Behringer, Senior Director


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 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 has strong content knowledge related to academic preparation for and admissions to undergraduate and graduate school and an interest in curriculum development and assessment. Dr. Behringer 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.

Jonathan Marsh

Jonathan is thrilled to add SMSP Assistant Instructor to the many hats he has worn since he joined NYU Abu Dhabi’s team in 2010, when he completed his undergraduate career at New York University. In addition to his roles as SMSP Assistant Instructor, he is currently pursuing a degree in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Jonathan’s past roles at NYU Abu Dhabi include Graduate Resident Assistant, Academic Coach, Campus Life Coordinator, and Senior Global Academic Fellow. He has served as an undergraduate and graduate student leader across the campuses as a Resident Assistant, an Undergraduate Orientation Leader, and a Learning Center Tutor. Jonathan is looking forward to working with the SMSP team and Scholars to make this a challenging and rewarding year.

Katy Bartelma

Katy returns as an Assistant Instructor for the academic course “The U.S. Supreme Court’s Treatment of the Relationship Between Church and State.” She also serves as an assistant instructor for a similar course at NYUAD and as a Critical Thinking and Writing instructor for the NYUAD Summer Academy. Before moving to the United Arab Emirates in 2014, Katy 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

Melissa Friesen

Melissa Friesen, Manager of Academic and Administrative Services, joined the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholars Program and NYUAD Summer Academic this year through her role as Special Research and Teaching Assistant to the Deputy President. She is also a Teaching Fellow for the University Leadership Honors Course, which operates during the spring semester in New York City. Concurrently, Melissa is completing her Masters of Public Administration at the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She is excited to contribute to the development of young students. Melissa holds a B.A. in Psychology from Simon Fraser University.

Peter Vining

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.