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#RouteJ1 Participants Stepping Up to Support the NYC Marathon

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2015 at 3:38 pm.

While everyone in New York at this time of year shares the sweet anticipation of the upcoming Halloween festivities, for more than 50,000 runners from 135 countries it also means gearing up for a different kind of sweet treat: the proud accomplishment of completing the NYC Marathon. Among the 10,000 volunteers helping out at the world’s largest marathon on Sunday, you will find more than 850 of our J-1 participants. Experiencing the American tradition of volunteerism first hand, they will distribute water, cheer on athletes from their home countries, and share their cultures with their fellow volunteers and the runners.

Remarks by Miriam Vadria from Pakistan, J-1 masters degree student at Columbia University

[Interviewer] What are you excited for?

[Miriam] I am extremely excited about being at the New York City Marathon on Sunday, the 1st of November. Hi, I’m Miriam Vadria from Karachi,

Pakistan. I got a J-1 Visa because of a Fulbright Scholarship from Pakistan. And I’m doing a MBA degree here from SIPA at Columbia. I’ll be

volunteering at the New York City Marathon the first of November. I’ll be at fluid mile station 16. And I’ll be handing out water to all the runners

who are going to be doing hard work! And I specifically want to wish Hamna Zubair very good luck who is running for the cause of education in Pakistan.

[upbeat background music]

For example, Miriam Vadria from Pakistan is a J-1 masters degree student at Columbia University. She is excited to cheer on her friend Hamnah Zubair, a Fulbright scholar, who is running the NYC Marathon to support education in Pakistan.


Miriam Vadria, a J-1 student from Pakistan, can’t wait to cheer on the runners

Alin Hou and Pingzhou Tang, both visiting researchers from China, will also be along the course. Alin, who works in the biomedical engineering department, has been exploring the cultural diversity throughout New York City. She likes being able to sample other countries’ foods, including pizza. Pingzhou, a researcher in Columbia University’s environmental sciences department, has been sharing the journey with his elementary school-age son, who goes by Thomas (named after his love of Thomas the Train Engine).


NYC Marathon volunteers Alin Hou (left) and Pingzhou Tang (right) are currently J-1 visiting researchers at Columbia University

Be sure to check out other fun moments and stories shared by our NYC Marathon J-1 volunteers who are using the #RouteJ1 hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

About Rebecca Pasini

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

Rebecca Pasini

Rebecca A. Pasini joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges in July 2023. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister - Counselor, Ms. Pasini has been an American diplomat since 1997.

Ms. Pasini previously served as the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs from 2021-2023. Other Washington assignments have included positions in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Office of Foreign Missions, and as a liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. She has also completed multiple overseas tours, including as Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Islamabad, Pakistan, and as the Consular Chief in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Other tours included Mexico City and Kuwait.

A Maryland native, Ms. Pasini has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University, a master’s degree in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School, National Defense University, and an undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College.