2019 Alumni Pioneer Award Winners | Macaulay Honors College

02/10/2020

Student and Alumni News

The Macaulay Pioneer Alumni Award recognizes a graduate who is courageously forging a unique path to success. On Thursday, October 3, 2019, Brian Kateman ’11 (CSI) and Sasha Ahuja ’09 (Hunter) received the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award during the annual Alumni Fall Fête. 

Brian Kateman '11 receives the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award
Brian Kateman ’11 receives the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award

Brian Kateman ’11 (CSI), embodies every aspect of what it means to be a pioneer. In 2014 he founded the Reducetarian Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to ending factory farming in order to mitigate the climate crisis and improve public health. Since then, Brian has organized three Reducetarian Summits across the U.S. with 600+ attendees at each (and has plans to scale this event internationally beginning in 2021), published over 50 op-eds in mainstream outlets like Forbes, Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, Vox, NBC, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, and Fast Company, delivered a TEDxCUNY talk with nearly one million views, fundraised nearly two million dollars, produced a full-feature documentary (set to be released in 2020), published two books, one with Penguin Random House and the other with Hachette Book Group and taught three courses to date at Columbia University.

Sasha Ahuja '09 receives the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award
Sasha Ahuja ’09 receives the 2019 Alumni Pioneer Award

Sasha Ahuja ’09 (Hunter), ​has been a powerful force for women, workers, and communities of color. Since her time at Macaulay, organizing and advocacy went hand-in-hand with academic studies. As a student, she supported organizations and increased the capacity of impacted-individuals to advocate for their needs. Her work spanned supporting drivers of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance; to engaging youth of the Drum Major Institute; to achieving historic legislation addressing the needs of street vendors. Sasha completed her BA in Social Policy and Race Relations at Hunter and went on to codify the skills of social change at Columbia University’s Masters in Social Work. Her post-graduate career spanned Planned Parenthood, to political organizing with the Clinton campaign, to spearheading the Young Women’s Initiative – the first of its kind to center impacts for young women – on behalf of then-Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. When the #MeToo movement gained momentum, she joined Girls for Gender Equity as Chief of Staff to operationalize a vast network of advocates at the forefront of change. Earlier this year, Sasha took on the role of Chair of the New York City Equal Employment Practices Commission.