2024 Special Recognition Awards

The Binghamton University Alumni Association presented its 2024 Special Recognition Awards May 1, at the Yale Club in Manhattan. The following alumni were honored for their career achievements, social impact and volunteer service to the University.

Lisa Abbott, MBA '93
Glenn G. Bartle Distinguished Alumni Award
The Bartle Award recognizes and honors graduates who have rendered outstanding voluntary service to the Binghamton University community, while also serving their communities, their careers and their country.

Lisa Abbott, MBA '93
Lisa Abbott

Abbott is the executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, a comprehensive, pediatric teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School with more than 13,000 employees and a leader in pediatric care, research and innovation. She is a transformational leader responsible for all facets of human capital strategy and human resources operations for the enterprise and is charged with creating a world-class human resources organization.    

Prior to taking this role in 2023, Abbott was the senior vice president of human resources and community affairs at Lifespan Corporation, an academic health system affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the largest employer in the state of Rhode Island. With her transformative leadership approach, she created synergy across the system by centralizing service delivery, focusing on superior customer service and keeping the patient at the center of the change agenda.

Abbott has served in progressively responsible leadership positions in both the private and public sectors in which she was responsible for developing, leading and implementing progressive human resources strategies and change initiatives. Her unrelenting focus on quality, efficiency and service combined with a genuine concern and commitment for all who work with her are attributes that have been hallmarks of her career and her success.

Abbott holds an MBA from Binghamton University with a concentration in international business and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the State University of New York at Cortland. She has the Senior Professional in Human Resources credential and is a graduate of The University of Michigan Ross School of Business Executive Human Resources Program. She has served on the boards of the American Heart Association — chairing Go Red for Women in 2019 and 2020 — the Non-Violence Institute, and the Binghamton University Alumni Association, where she served in multiple roles on the executive committee, including board president.


Peter Altabef '80
Peter Altabef
Peter Altabef '80
Alumni Achievement Award Co-recipient
This award honors a highly distinguished alumnus or alumna who, over the course of a decade or more, has exemplified outstanding, significant professional achievement.

Altabef has served as chair of the board of Unisys Corporation since April 2018 and as CEO of Unisys since January 2015. He also served as president of the company from 2015 to 2020 and from December 2021 to May 2022. Before joining Unisys, he served as president and CEO of MICROS Systems, Inc., president and CEO of Perot Systems Corporation, and president of Dell Services, Dell's information technology services and business process solutions unit.

Altabef is a member of the board of directors of NiSource Inc. and a member of the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, where he has served as co-chair of its Cybersecurity Moonshot subcommittee. He is also a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development (CED) for The Conference Board, where he serves as co-chair of the CED’s Technology and Innovation Committee.

Altabef has served as senior advisor to 2M Companies, Inc. and as a director of MICROS Systems, Inc., Perot Systems Corporation and Belo Corp.

His professional activities have included membership on the board of directors of EastWest Institute, the Americas International Advisory Council of the International Business Leaders Forum, The University of Chicago Law School Council, and the advisory board of the Institute for Law and Technology of the Center for American and International Law. He is a recipient of the Federal Computer Week Eagle Award for Industry and the American India Foundation Award.

His community service activities have included membership on the board of governors of the Dallas Symphony Association, the associates' board of Children's Medical Center Dallas, the board of advisors of Dallas Children's Theater, the Technology Committee of the Highland Park Independent School Board, the advisory board of the Dallas Museum of Natural History and co-chairman of the American Heart Association Heart Walk Dallas. He is a recipient of the Texas Appleseed Good Apple Award.

Altabef is a graduate of The University of Chicago Law School and has a bachelor's degree in economics from Binghamton University. At Binghamton, Altabef earned the Bank of New York Award for being the leading graduating student majoring in economics. He began his career as a law clerk to the Honorable Patrick E. Higginbotham at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Altabef was subsequently an attorney in New York and Dallas prior to joining Perot Systems Corporation. In 2021, he delivered the 33rd Abraham J. Briloff Lecture at Binghamton University, discussing the ethics of biometrics.


Daniel Herschlag '82
Daniel Herschlag
Daniel Herschlag '82
Alumni Achievement Award Co-recipient

Herschlag, professor in the biochemistry department at Stanford University School of Medicine, obtained his PhD at Brandeis University with W.P. Jencks, studying fundamental aspects of phosophoryl transfer reactions and carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Colorado in Boulder with Tom Cech, dissecting the biochemical mechanisms of ribozyme catalysis. Herschlag’s lab studies biology through the lens of chemistry, physics and evolution, and has made seminal contributions including the RNA chaperone hypothesis; the evolutionary and mechanistic concept of catalytic promiscuity; pioneering functional genomic studies of RNA binding proteins that revealed their roles in global regulation of gene expression; quantitative high-throughput studies of RNA folding, RNA-protein interactions, and enzyme catalysis that bring biochemistry into the genomic era; and, currently, pioneering ensemble-function studies of RNA and proteins.

Herschlag's awards include election to the National Academy of Sciences (2018) and American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2023); Founder’s Award (2020, Biophysical Society); Stein and Moore Award (2022, Protein Society); William Rose Award (2010, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology); and the Pfizer Award (1997, American Chemical Society). Herschlag served as senior associate dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs (2011-15), has won numerous mentoring awards and has a remarkable record of mentoring diverse trainees who have flourished in academic research and in a broad range of leadership positions.


Barry Nelson '74, MS '75
Barry Nelson

Barry Nelson '74, MS '75 
Edward Weisband Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service or Contribution to Public Affairs
The Weisband Award recognizes one alumnus or alumna each year whose life, work, career and contributions exemplify the highest standards of service and deepest dedication to the sustenance of the common good.

Nelson was in the first graduating class of the School of Management then received a master’s degree in accounting from Binghamton. During his first week at Newing College, he joined a game of tag football between Delaware and Broome halls. Friends he made on the field and in Tau Alpha Epsilon (TAU) fraternity have remained close for 53 years and counting.

After graduating from Binghamton, Nelson became a CPA then decided to pursue a career in law. He received his JD and LLM in taxation from the University of Miami School of Law, where he also served as an adjunct lecturer teaching classes in accounting and tax law for approximately 30 years in both the Miami Herbert Business School and the law school’s LLM program.  

Nelson practices law with partner, Jennifer Ocular, and his daughter, Cassandra, in the areas of tax, estate planning, family succession planning, asset protection and probate. He is the author of Estate Planning and Asset Protection in Florida: A Plan to Survive Unexpected Financial Threats. In 2021, Nelson received the Distinguished Planner Award presented by the Estate Planning Council of Greater Miami. He is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and has been named in Chambers USA High Net Worth Guide as a Tier 1 leading estate planning attorney in Florida since the inaugural edition in 2016. He has been listed in Best Lawyers in America® since 1995 and is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney. He was named by Best Lawyers in America® as the 2015 Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year” in Miami.

Nelson and his wife, Judith, whom he met in law school, have four children. Judi was a judge of compensation claims for 14 years and now is a private mediator and arbitrator. Their youngest child, Jesse, was diagnosed with autism when he was about 3 years old. After searching in vain for an appropriate program for Jesse, Barry and Judi’s desperation became inspiration and, with the help of a volunteer board and generous donations, they founded The Victory Center for Children with Autism in 1999. The school’s mission is to provide children with autism and related disabilities a full-day, year-round, intensive, science-based program with a student-teacher ratio of 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1, depending on need. Autism affects families of every race, religion and economic background, so Victory is a non-denominational program, dedicated to serving them all equally. 

When Victory opened, there were three students with three teachers, and the program was in a dilapidated building at the North Miami Beach Jewish Community Center. As word spread, more families enrolled until the space became too limiting. A capital campaign raised funds for a state-of-the-art facility serving nearly 40 students. The school has also served as a training center for educators to study the science-based and data-driven methods, improve their skills, and move on to leadership positions in other educational institutions and therapy centers.

When COVID hit in 2020, Victory pivoted to virtual classes, an especially challenging experience for children with autism. Victory also suffered a severe financial setback because many families were experiencing job losses and could not pay tuition. Nelson reached out to businesspeople he had met over the years including Binghamton friends from 1971. One of them was Martin Dvorkin ’75, a former Xerox vice president, who became a very active board member and helped Victory get through the COVID challenge and regain financial stability.  Dvorkin is co-chair of Victory along with Nelson. Other Binghamton friends and TAU brothers also stepped up to help from COVID protection desk partitions donated by Joseph Bartner ’75 to generous financial assistance from Kenneth Munnelly ’75 and his wife, Jean Marie Woodard, and many others.

Jesse, who started it all with the severity of his needs, is now almost 30 years old. Victory has grown along with him and offers an adult program that focuses on life skills for greater independence and community work experiences. 


These awards recognize 10 outstanding alumni who earned their Binghamton University degrees within the last 10 years.


Gamji Rabiu Abu-Ba'are, MA '17, PhD '19
Gamji Rabiu Abu-Ba'are
Gamji Rabiu Abu-Ba'are, MA '17, PhD '19, is an assistant professor of nursing and public health at the University of Rochester Medical Center; the inaugural H. J. Kitzman Endowed Fellow in Global Health Research at the School of Nursing; and the principal investigator for the Behavioral, Sexual and Global Health Lab that operates in the United States, West Africa and Western Europe. He completed his master's in geography and PhD in community and public affairs at Binghamton University and two postdoctoral fellowships at UAlbany School of Social Welfare and Yale University School of Public Health. 

Abu-Ba’are’s research involves the use of implementation science and community participatory approaches within the larger context of the health stigma and discrimination framework to 1) assess HIV risk, intersectional stigma and place-based factors that promote or hinder access to HIV and sexual health services for HIV key populations and 2) develop or adapt interventions to increase testing, PreP use, linkage to care and other factors identified in the assessment phase. This process ultimately results in interventions that alter social and behavioral factors to improve access to HIV prevention and care among key populations at individual, community and healthcare facilities levels.  

Within a year as an assistant professor, Abu-Ba’are launched his research agenda with two National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grants. The NIH-Fogarty Center awarded his first R01 grant to adapt many men, many voices HIV prevention intervention to improve HIV self-testing among young sexual minority men in Ghana. His second R01 grant, awarded by the NIH-National Institute of Nursing Research, aims to increase testing, PrEP and ART uptake using an HIV-status-neutral approach among young men and healthcare facilities in Ghanaian slums.

Through his lab and research, Abu-Ba’are empowers young adults (including mentoring Binghamton University students and alumni) and people from disadvantaged communities throughout his sites. In Italy, he launched the Refugee Initiative for Enhancing Sexual Health (RIfESH) project to address sexual and mental health issues among African refugees. He has published more than 35 articles; with those under review, the total is 45. All these achievements were accomplished within the past three years of his career as an HIV scientist.


Michelle Bernshteyn '14
Michelle Bernshteyn
Michelle Bernshteyn '14 is a gastroenterology and hepatology fellow at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa. During her time at Binghamton University, she was president of the largest pre-medical fraternity on campus, devoting her time to mentoring aspiring pre-medical students and giving back to the community. She continued her mentorship as a graduate advisor of the Syracuse University chapter. 

After graduating from Binghamton University, Bernshteyn completed medical school and internal medicine residency training at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. She then served as a chief resident in quality and patient safety at the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Hospital. Throughout this time, Bernshteyn was selected as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and Gold Humanism Honor Society, was honored as a Town of Hempstead Hometown Hero, and was awarded the Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award two years in a row. She has presented various research projects, quality improvement projects and case reports at national medical meetings and has published these in multiple renowned medical journals. Bernshteyn serves as a fellow board member of the Pennsylvania Society of Gastroenterology and will be graduating from her fellowship in June 2025. She plans to pursue a career in general gastroenterology. Her passion lies in gastrointestinal cancer prevention; she organized a fundraiser for colorectal cancer awareness and was also interviewed on the local news regarding gastric cancer for Gastric Cancer Awareness Month. She enjoys spending time with her parents, George and Martha, who live on Long Island and she is to be married in August to Andrew Hammoud '12, an internal medicine hospitalist at United Health Services Wilson Hospital in Johnson City. 


Mohammad Bishawi '15
Mohammad Bishawi
Mohammad Bishawi '15 is a senior manager in the financial services risk management consulting practice at Ernst & Young (EY), a top-4 accounting firm. Bishawi was a philosophy, politics and law, history, and accounting major at Binghamton University and holds Certified Public Accountant designation in New York and North Carolina. While at Binghamton, he held various leadership positions, including being a resident assistant and staff member at the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. He has continued his dedication to supporting and helping others through mentoring students and young professionals through work (EY College MAP) and being involved in his local community, including the local Muslim Community Center of Charlotte, N.C., where he promotes interfaith events, diversity and religious understanding. Bishawi has continued to give back to Binghamton University through recruiting efforts, received various recognitions at work and in the business space, and has been actively involved in volunteering and leadership positions in his community.


Abigail Goldberg '22
Abigail Goldberg
Abigail Goldberg '22 was the lead teaching assistant for Research Methods (PSYC 344) during her final year at Binghamton. She took on significant roles in various mental health initiatives during this time, playing a crucial part in launching a nonprofit startup and volunteering as a crisis counselor. 

Since earning her degree in integrative neuroscience from Binghamton, Goldberg has built a career at the intersection of mental health, public health and health policy. Notably, she managed a grant-funded state opioid response project, focusing on harm reduction and the expansion of peer support services for individuals with substance use disorders throughout the Hudson Valley of New York state. She also served as a project manager with a social services nonprofit, contributing to the establishment of an outpatient substance use disorder clinic in Brooklyn. These experiences have fueled her passion for addressing health disparities and advocating for health equity from a systems perspective through policy. For her, public health work is social justice work. 

Goldberg manages special projects in the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Services, where she supports the Career Skills Academy, a first-of-its-kind initiative to advance the development and diversity of public health professionals. Additionally, she supports the Harlem Strong project at The Center for Innovation in Mental Health, which aims to address syndemic risks related to mental health, social factors, institutional racism and COVID-19 through community collaboration and mental health integration in Harlem. She is a Master of Public Health student at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and will soon embark on a doctoral program. When not working or studying, she enjoys cooking, traveling and discovering the hidden gems of coffee shops in New York, where she lives with her partner and their two cats.


Justin Hayet '15, MPA '16
Justin Hayet
Justin Hayet ’15, MPA ’16, is chief operating officer (COO) of BZ Media. From the hottest talent in digital media, to the biggest Hollywood partnerships, to leading philanthropic capital, BZ Media brings together resources to shape how massive mainstream audiences, in Gen Z and beyond, engage with Israel and the Jewish people. As COO, Hayet oversees the operations, finances, media strategy and day-to-day management of the organization.

In March 2023, he was named to the prestigious Forbes Israel “30 Under 30” list made of Israelis under the age of 30 who have made “significant contributions to society in a variety of fields from high-tech, science, media, military, culture and sport.” In covering this achievement, The Jerusalem Post wrote that Hayet “has an extensive Rolodex of influence in Israel and the United States. He is known for his unique charm, honesty and tachles mindset.”

Prior to this position, Hayet served as senior project manager at one of the Jewish world’s leading foundations. Before that, he served for three years as senior advisor to the Israeli ambassador at the United Nations; he led operations and strategy for Ambassador Danny Danon, who held one of Israel’s most challenging and important diplomatic posts. Hayet received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Binghamton University and his master’s degree in public administration from Binghamton University, focusing on nonprofit leadership and management. Hayet lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.


George Lourentzatos '12, MS '15
George Lourentzatos
George Lourentzatos '12, MS '15, a seasoned healthcare strategist, leverages his expertise in operational excellence and cost reduction to drive positive change at Union Health Center as chief of strategy and operations. He focuses on optimizing processes and patient experience, ensuring smooth patient flow, high satisfaction and maximum efficiency. Additionally, he leads the development and implementation of impactful clinical programs and products, specifically designed to decrease the total cost of care for labor union members while maintaining, or even improving, the quality of care provided. Data-driven decision making is central to his approach, ensuring strategic direction, resource allocation and program effectiveness.

Prior to joining Union Health Center, Lourentzatos honed his skills at IBM, Montefiore, Northwell and Mount Sinai. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial and systems engineering from Binghamton University's Watson College, crediting his success in outpatient practice transformation, clinical strategy, process improvement and program development to the exceptional education and mentorship he received there.

Beyond his current role, Lourentzatos fosters future leaders through his involvement with Binghamton University. He offers internship opportunities, mentors students through the Mentor Match program, participates in NYC CONNECT initiatives, contributes to the Alumni Association's Metro New York Chapter, and guides current members of the professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau. 

Lourentzatos was the BOLD 10 Under 10 recipient deemed to have made the strongest impact through his endeavors and was awarded the Lois B. DeFleur Distinguished Young Alumni Award.


Rose Olsen, MPA '20
Rose Olsen
Rose Olsen, MPA '20 is director of talent and education for the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. Through that role, she is the executive director of the Chamber's 501(c)(3) affiliate organization, The Greater Binghamton Education Outreach Program (GBEOP) which serves both K-12 and adult leadership development. As director, she is an active participant on the School to Careers Board of Directors, Broome-Tioga Stem Hub, Broome County Youth Council, The Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and directs the Broome Leadership Institute Alumni Association Board of Directors to stay up to date and active in regional workforce pipeline initiatives.

She is proud to spearhead SPARK, an interactive career exploration event for eighth graders in Broome, Tioga and Delaware counties that serves more than 2,000 students and 20 school districts annually. She also manages the Broome Leadership Institute, and is the Southern Tier's Junior Achievement liasion. Olsen thrives in running GBEOP and working with the chamber because she can build and sustain relationships that help impact individual careers, grow businesses and support community development. She recently completed a national fellowship program through ACCE for Economic Mobility in November 2023. Outside of her job, she supports the community by serving on the board for RISE, the local domestic violence shelter, and is active on the community advisory board for Binghamton University's Master of Public Health program. She enjoys going on hikes with her husband and two dogs, and is an avid reader.


Gabriel Osei '21
Gabriel Osei
Gabriel Osei '21, an Educational Opportunity Program alumnus, earned his degree in mechanical engineering. At Binghamton, he was a prominent figure within the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Over five years, he served in various capacities, ascending to vice president after holding roles such as membership chair and pre-collegiate initiative chair. Osei's impact extended beyond the University as he established the NSBE Junior PCI chapter at Johnson City’s high and middle schools, promoting STEM awareness and engagement among minority and economically disadvantaged students.

His leadership was instrumental in increasing NSBE membership at Binghamton University chapter by 45%. Additionally, he co-founded the BU Breakers, a breakdancing club that provided a platform for students to express themselves through dance.

Osei's entrepreneurial spirit led him to play a pivotal role in the early stages of Valhalla Prosthetics, a start-up/nonprofit he helped pioneer. As a lead mechanical engineer, he spearheaded the development of 3D-printed affordable prosthetic extremities tailored for veterans and diabetic patients. He is a mechanical design engineer at Belden Inc., and a fellow in Venture For America, an entrepreneurship fellowship that aligns with his mission of supporting and promoting financial literacy and freedom through entrepreneurship. Beyond his professional pursuits, Gabriel finds joy in training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a member of Toastmasters. 


Michael Snow '14
Michael Snow
Michael Snow '14 is the corporation counsel honors fellow at the New York City Law Department. He graduated from Binghamton University summa cum laude with degrees in philosophy and English. On campus, Snow served as an opinions editor and columnist for Pipe Dream, vice president of Chabad, tutor in the Writing Center, and panelist on WHRW 90.5 FM. He is also a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Following his graduation from Binghamton, Snow served as a Fulbright Scholar in Berlin, Germany. He then held a variety of public service positions including with the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee before being appointed to join the New York state Governor’s office.

In his current role, Snow helps formulate legal policy and defend the interests of the city and its inhabitants. Michael is active in his local Jewish community and the Chabad of Binghamton alumni network. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Elena Weissmann, and their daughter, Orah.


Joshua Yamuder '17
Joshua Yamuder
Joshua Yamuder ’17 is a New York-based entrepreneur, digital advertising technology expert and board member for a Binghamton University almuni professional development organization. Yamuder’s experience in digital advertising started at Omnicom and GroupM, two large advertising agencies, where he consulted with advertisers to plan their digital advertising campaigns. After a few years, he shifted publisher-side, to pursue a leadership role at Triton Digital, an iHeartMedia company, developing monetization strategies for podcasters. 

Throughout his career, Yamuder has always given back to the Binghamton University community through his leadership role on the board of The Binghamton Marketing Collective. He has also made time for his passion project montageguru.com, a video editing service he has owned and operated since 2013. At MontageGuru, he assembles custom video montages from home movies and photos for families in Westchester County, N.Y. He currently resides in White Plains with his girlfriend, Rachel, whom he met in class at Binghamton.