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Graduate College Shines a Light on Outstanding Student Achievements

June 01 2017

Members of Drexel's Black Graduate Student Union

The Drexel University Graduate College took the opportunity May 31 to reflect on the many achievements of its students, faculty and staff during Graduate Student Day, honoring the people and projects that have helped the academic community flourish over the past year.

At a ceremony in the Mitchell Auditorium, the University’s outstanding master’s and doctoral students took the spotlight with the presentations of this year’s Graduate College and Graduate Student Association awards.

“This day is meant to celebrate the successes of graduate students and the people who made these successes possible,” said Valerie Tutwiler, PhD, vice president of student life for the GSA.

Tutwiler received a first-time award created by the GSA to honor outgoing Graduate College Dean James Herbert, PhD, who is set to take over as president of the University of New England. She was presented with the inaugural James Herbert Outstanding Leadership award for her guidance of the GSA.

For his part, Herbert noted the strengthened relationship between the GSA board and the Graduate College administration during his tenure as a point of pride. The Emerging Graduate Scholars Conference, which came out of that relationship, was an especially good example, he said. As he prepares to depart — and as Elisabeth Van Bockstaele, PhD, prepares to take over as the Graduate College’s interim leader — Herbert said he had a great run at Drexel and doesn’t expect the University’s advances to slow.

“I feel very passionately about graduate studies at Drexel,” said Herbert. “I’m very confident that they will continue. The best days for graduate studies at Drexel and for graduate students at Drexel lie ahead of us.”

Jerry John Nutor, president of the GSA, told the graduate students in the room he was “proud of the wonderful work you’ve done in the classroom, in the research lab, and in our community.” He also encouraged them to use everything they have learned at Drexel to help solve the complicated problems facing the world at the moment.

Nutor and Tutwiler took a moment to recognize Herbert’s contributions to the Graduate College, presenting him with his own plaque thanking him for all he has done while at Drexel.

“Every meeting I had with you gave me a deeper understanding of leadership and what a leader is,” said Nutor.

The Graduate College awards included college-level award winners, as well as honorable mention winners and overall University winners.

Leona Donaldson, PhD, School of Education, won the University’s Outstanding Civic Engagement award. Kerry Hamilton, PhD, College of Engineering, won for Outstanding Dissertation. Nazanin Andalibi, PhD, College of Computing & Informatics, and Nathan Tessera Ersumo, MS, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, both won for Outstanding Promise. Amanda NeMoyer, JD, PhD, Kline School of Law and College of Arts and Sciences, won for Research Excellence. And Mohammad Nozari, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, won for Teaching Assistant Excellence.

The complete awards, including the GSA’s honors for outstanding faculty and staff and for student organizations, are available on the Graduate College’s website, and photos from the event are available on the Graduate College's Facebook page.