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Stony Brook Announces Fourth Annual 40 Under Forty Honorees

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They’ve made headlines, from a rare and difficult surgery to separate conjoined twins to successful initiatives to stop gang violence and organized crime. They’ve made great works of art, from critically acclaimed television series to photography that preserves the ancestral history and contemporary culture of Native Americans. They’ve made an impact, as educators creating transformative opportunities for students and as the founders of innovative startups and visionary nonprofits.

Students emerge from Stony Brook University with the momentum to make a real difference in the world, and Stony Brook is proud to honor 40 of its most accomplished graduates at its Fourth Annual 40 Under Forty Ceremony.

“The remarkable success of this year’s honorees is a powerful testament to the limitless possibilities that a degree from Stony Brook unlocks,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “I look forward to celebrating the achievements of this year’s 40 Under Forty, and to watching their careers continue to blossom in the years ahead.”

This year’s 40 Under Forty list includes 12 Long Islanders, as well as recipients from across the country. Among this year’s honorees are:

  • Dr. Rani Nasser ’05, Neurosurgeon at University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. Dr. Nasser was part of the surgical team that successfully separated conjoined twins in October 2016 at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, performing a rare procedure that has only been conducted 59 times.
  • Ilfenesh Hadera ’07, an actress who starred alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Stephanie Holden in 2017’s Baywatch. Hadera, who has also appeared as Deb Kawi on the acclaimed Showtime series Billions, is set to star as FBI Agent Kay Daniels on ABC’s Deception in 2018.
  • Justina Geraci ’02, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Violent and Organized Crime Unit, for the Southern District of New York. Geraci received the “True American Hero Award” from federal law enforcement for her work as lead prosecutor for the FBI’s “Operation Blood Money,” which dismantled the violent operations of the Bloods street gang in one city.
  • Jeremy Dennis ’13, an artist, and photographer, and a recipient of the Dreamstarter Grant from Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Selections from Dennis’ work were recently acquired by the New York State Museum as part of the Contemporary Native American Art Collection.
  • Perumal Gandhi ’14, co-founder of Perfect Day Foods. Perfect Day has raised $4 million from investors and has been featured on for its mission to create “A world of delicious, animal-free dairy products.”
  • Lauren Stiles ’00, co-founder and President of Dysautonomia International, a nonprofit that funds research, physician education, public awareness and patient empowerment programs to benefit millions of individuals around the world living with autonomic nervous system disorders. Stiles has worked with researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Calgary to develop the first international research registry for individuals living with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a common autonomic nervous system disorder.

This year’s 40 Under Forty will be honored on January 9, 2018, at Tribeca Rooftop. For more information, visit

— Elliot Olshansky

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