• New Science Building To Open in July

    May, 16, 2011

    The highly-anticipated Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (PISB) is now in the final stages of development and is slated to open its doors in July 2011. Located at the intersection of 33rd and Chestnut Streets, this impressive landmark will serve students in biology courses, as well as organic chemistry and biomedical engineering labs. The building will offer much-needed lab space and will feature a four-story biowall in the atrium, which is the first of its kind in a US university. The facility will also be the first Silver LEED-certified building by the U.S. Green Building Council on Drexel’s campus.

    The history of the biology department mirrors the quick rise of the PISB. In the past decade, the number of incoming biology majors has more than quadrupled, from 50 in 2001 to 261 in 2010. Unfortunately, the current campus offerings haven’t always met the needs of the proliferating science community. Biology majors almost unanimously agree more lab space and better resources are needed at Drexel. The PISB addresses students’ concerns head on and will offer eight teaching labs on the first two floors—that’s double the amount of space they currently have.

    Neeraj Sebastian, a senior Biology major and member of the TriBeta Biological Honor Society, says that even though he will graduate before the building open, he still supports the initiative behind it.

    “The PISB will reflect the needs of 21st century science,” Sebastian said. “It will make the Bio program so much more exciting because it brings both the students and faculty under one roof and will create a much stronger sense of community…The labs are designed in such a way that there will be more interaction among students and faculty and this will make students more aware of the research being conducted by the faculty, as well as make them more informed about their major.”

    The biology department has also introduced a new curriculum to streamline and improve the Drexel experience for biology majors.

    According to Dr. Aleister Saunders, associate head of biology, the new curriculum “addresses the fact that biology is a very broad field…and that different individuals have their own interests. It also gives students more free credits, which makes pursuing a minor easier.”

    Sean Miller, a junior biology major, sees the PISB as a way to enhance research experiences at Drexel: “I am excited about biology research these days because the rate of technological advancement has led to novel scientific discoveries and the development of fields such as genomics and proteomics,” he said.

    “These fields will continue to enhance our understanding of the world around us at the molecular level [and will] open up more opportunities for research and career paths for future scientists.”

    Saunders explained the ways in which the most buzzed about aspect of the building, the biowall, will provide a boon for research.

    “Even though it hasn't been built yet, certain aspects of the biowall have already become an active research project with undergraduate involvement,” Saunders said. “Drs. [Jacob] Russell, [Shivanthi] Anandan and [Michael] Waring are leading this initial project, but there is an enormous potential for further interdisciplinary research” he said.

    Students and professors have already begun to incorporate the biowall into the biology curriculum: “The botanical and microbiological aspects of the biowall will become parts of a number of biology courses. The engineering aspects will become part of architectural engineering courses, [namely] Indoor Comfort Analysis and Indoor Air Quality,” said Saunders.

    The biowall is only one of the PISB’s many unique features, which can be named by donating in honor of an alumnus/a, professor or family member. Faculty research labs, lounges, the auditorium and study areas can all be named as well. A more comprehensive list of naming opportunities can be found on the Office of Institutional Advancement website.


  • Famous Authors, Actors and More at the 2011 Week of Writing

    May, 16, 2011

    The sixth annual Week of Writing (WoW) will kick off on May 23, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. in Behrakis Grand Hall. This year boasts some exciting special guests, including comic book writer John Arcudi, best known for his work on The Mask; Tom Brennan, Drexel alumnus and editor at Marvel Comics; travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy; and H.G. Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights. As always, the series will also include readings by faculty and students, as well as panels, writing workshops, the Story Slam and a bookfair.

    2011 Week of Writing Banner

    Panel discussions will center on a range of topics, from “The Future of the Graphic Novel” and “Sketch Comedy Writing,” to “The Art of Advertising” and “The Young Adult Novel.” On Thursday, May 26 at 12:30pm, the “Making History” panel will feature Bissinger, among others. Bissinger is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and the author of three highly-acclaimed nonfiction books, including Friday Night Lights and A Prayer for the City, the critically-acclaimed account of former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell’s first term. Bissinger and his fellow panelists will discuss the challenges involved in manipulating historical events and characters in their writing, including the issue of achieving realistic atmosphere and (in some cases) dialogue, and the problems involved in recreating the past with limited or contradictory resources.

    Also on May 26, four accomplished writers will discuss travel writing, including their own work and what it means to be a travel writer in the 21st century. Andrew McCarthy will be among the panelists. McCarthy is a two-time Lowell Thomas Award winner and a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler. His travel writing has appeared in Travel+Leisure, Men's Journal, National Geographic Adventure, and The Atlantic, among others. Before travel writing, McCarthy was best known for his starring roles in such films as “Pretty in Pink,” “St. Elmo's Fire,” and “Weekend at Bernie's.”

    Reading marathons throughout the week will feature the student winners of the Drexel Publishing Group writing contests, as well as the work of faculty from across the University.

    “This year,” noted Kathleen Volk Miller, organizer of WoW and co-director of the Drexel Publishing Group, “our investment is university-wide and not just something the English department is doing. We’ve integrated other departments and colleges into our process from the very early planning stages, and will have representation from Pennoni, Westphal, and various CoAS departments.”

    Painted Bride Quarterly, an international literary publication housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, will also host the third annual Bookfair for Literacy in the Great Court of the Main Building on Wednesday, May 25. The Bookfair will feature both regional and national literary publications, including the American Poetry Review, Philadelphia Stories, The Literary Review, and comic book publisher Ringtail Café Productions, as well as a used book sale. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to Philadelphia Reads, a literacy non-profit, while the remaining books will be given to Books through Bars, an organization that distributes educational materials to prisoners. The entire Drexel community is invited to donate their used books: drop-boxes are located on the first floors of the Creese Student Center and MacAlister Hall. This event, in particular, harnesses efforts to acknowledge that the written word has never been more important, and that the role of the book continues to be crucial.

    The week will culminate in one of WoW’s historically most popular events, the Story Slam. Part Whose Line is It Anyway? and part Henry Rollins, the event is a glimpse into the monthly Story Slams hosted by Painted Bride, of which Volk Miller is editor in chief. Often humorous by nature, the Slam introduces students to the spontaneous side of writing—encouraging them to re-imagine literature, and to write it.

    Said Volk Miller, “I would hope that WoW would be one of the things that really does set us apart from other schools; we have a spectrum of events and fantastic guests—every panel is put together with so much thought. To be given that opportunity right on your own campus, to have these really unique, one-of-a-kind events, is very lucky.”

    Locations for WoW events vary, though most will be hosted in the Mandell Theater Lobby, accessible via Chestnut Street entrances. Please check the event schedule for individual event details.

    This event is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of English and Philosophy, and in part by Magnificent Minds, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design and the Pennoni Honors College.


  • CoAS Students, Faculty Win Awards

    May, 14, 2011

    As the 2010-11 school year comes to a close, students and faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences continue to receive prestigious honors, ranging from Fulbright Scholarships to the Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, to awards from Drexel's own Steinbright Career Development Center.


  • CoAS Students Host Spring Formal

    May, 13, 2011

    On June 3, 2011, students from across the College of Arts and Sciences will host “Party to Extinction: A Meteoric Spring Formal Event” from 7:00pm to 11:00pm at the Academy of Natural Sciences. The event will take place in the impressive Dinosaur Hall, which features 15 full-size dinosaur skeleton mounts, including a 7.5 ton T. Rex.


  • Jack The Ripper Through a Wider Lens

    May, 12, 2011

    Enigmatic and haunting, Jack the Ripper is perhaps the most infamous serial killer in history. So many popular books and movies have speculated on his origins and historical implications. So much has been written, yet so little is known.


  • CoAS Students and Faculty Receive Fulbright Scholarships

    May, 10, 2011

    Three Drexel College of Arts and Sciences students and one CoAS faculty member received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship for study and research abroad in 2011-12. The recipients are:

    Caitlin Costello, '10 BA International Areas Studies, will be spending a year in Senegal conducting research on domestic rice production in one of the most food-import-dependent countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Karen Sullam, '13 PhD Environmental Science, received a Fulbright to Switzerland to conduct research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, one of the world’s leading aquatic ecology research institutes.

    Daniel Tedesco, '11 BA International Areas Studies, will study the Chinese government's Student Village Officials (SVOs) program, a youth leadership program which places recent graduates into rural villages as assistants to local officials.

    Dr. Joel Oestreich, associate professor and director of the International Area Studies program, will conduct research in India on “Human Rights and Development in the Indian Context."

    For more information please visit or email the Drexel Fellowships Office at!


  • 2011 Week of Writing

    May, 6, 2011

    Drexel's annual Week of Writing will kick off on Monday, May 23rd at 10am in Behrakis Grand Hall. Highlights of this week-long event include panel discussions on The Future of the Graphic Novel; The Art of Advertising and Sketch Comedy Writing. Renowned writers and editors like Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, and Andrew McCarthy, travel writer and actor, will also share their expertise. The Week of Writing grows exponentially each year, and always includes a Bookfair for Literacy, readings by faculty and students, panels, a Story Slam, and hopefully, new perspectives. This year, colleges across the University collaborated to host fifteen separate events. Check out the latest schedule at the Drexel Publishing Group website.


  • Symposium on Crimes in Virtual Worlds and Online Gaming Worlds

    May, 4, 2011

    The popularity of virtual communities (e.g. Second Life and Habbo) and online video games (e.g. World of War Craft and EverQuest) have created new opportunities for criminals and a subsequent need to familiarize law enforcement and security professionals with these technologies so that they may investigate and prevent related crimes. The connection of the economies in these virtual and gaming worlds to real-world currencies has exposed users to theft and fraud. Network security weaknesses in these online environments have exposed private user data, leaving users vulnerable to identity related crimes. Children playing in these interactive worlds without the watchful eyes of parents have, subsequently, been exposed to adults looking to exploit them for sexual purposes.

    Drexel University and Drakontas LLC cordially invite you to a Symposium on Crimes in Virtual Worlds & Online Gaming Worlds to be held at the Cira Centre, 2929 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    Presentations will address the following topics:

    • Fraud in virtual worlds and online video game worlds
    • Child sexual exploitation in virtual worlds and online video game worlds
    • Use of virtual worlds and online video game worlds by terrorists, criminal gangs, and organized crime groups
    • Video game console forensics
    • Public and private sector partnerships in fighting crime in virtual worlds and online video game worlds

    The Symposium will feature welcoming remarks from James H. Burch (invited), Acting Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice, and a lunch presentation by Seth Williams, District Attorney of Philadelphia.

    The Symposium is free. It is open to criminal justice professionals from all levels of government, researchers, security and tech industry professionals, public policy analysts, and Internet safety advocates. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

    For additional information about the Symposium and to register, visit If you have any questions, please contact us at (215) 887-5570 or via email at

    The Symposium is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.