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Student Bios

Nabeel Ansari | Applied Mathematics & Music

My major seeks to cover in-depth an intersection that I consider integral to my future career and interests. I combine multiple fields including engineering mathematics, physics, computer science, music theory and performance, and music technology. My end-game is to create engaging, memorable soundtracks for narrative works, specifically in video games, and to push forward technological advances in the music industry. Since February 2014, I’ve worked at the Philadelphia Game Lab doing software and audio development. Projects I’ve worked on include Sonic, the open source 3D audio framework for video games, and Third Eye, the virtual reality bio-feedback meditation game.

Christa Blumenthal | Food Studies & Entrepreneurship

I aim to apply an interdisciplinary approach to the study of our food system, from agricultural production, to retailing, to consumption, to address the ever-pressing problems of food justice, environmental degradation, and ill health that comprise our relationship with food. By studying the food system holistically through a lens of social entrepreneurship, I hope to find sustainable solutions through business as well as communication and policy measures. Our methods of producing food, our health, and the health of our environment are interconnected; food studies and entrepreneurship intends to explore these links and, in doing so, develop outcomes for a well-nourished world.

Hannah Boettger |  

Collin Cavote | Biomimicry

In order to better understand the way nature inherently creates balanced systems, I am exploring a multi-faceted approach to science and design. By looking at the natural world through a designer’s eye, the goal is to mimic the stable and self-healing systems that occur without intention. I believe that humanity will solve many of its current problems by looking to nature for solutions. Currently, I’m looking to launch a product designed to remove toxic compounds from air.

Madeline Demas | Digital Storytelling

In the age of technology, there are now countless ways to tell a single story. Because of this, I’m building a major that encompasses the traditional idea and method of storytelling, in both the business and creative worlds, and how these stories can come into fruition by utilizing new and upcoming media and technology. To do this, I’m studying different aspects of the humanities and balancing that out with various studies in digital media. 

LeeAnn Ellison |  

Emma Fowler | Paleontology and Digital Reconstructionr

Paleontology and Digital Reconstruction is the study of extinct life and use of 3D digital space to enhance the methods of paleontological research. Paleontology builds on two main disciplines: geology, to interpret the context of fossils in Earth’s history; and biology, to understand the anatomy of extinct organisms and how they lived and functioned. Digital reconstruction involves 3D scanning fossilized bones and using various methods drawing from biomechanical engineering to reach conclusions about the mechanical functionality of extinct organisms.

Nora Goldberg | Major

After graduating from a democratic alternative school, where I spent the last two years of high school, the Custom-Designed Major Program proved to be wonderful for my myriad of interests and my non-traditional approach to education. By combining Environmental Policy, Economics, Public Health and Storytelling I am addressing the triple bottom line. I equate environmental policy to the environment portion, economics as the growth and development segment, and public health as the social part of the triple bottom line. Storytelling is found at the intersection of the three rings that make the triple bottom line, as storytelling is what bonds it all (and us all) together. Ultimately I am interested in Urban/City Planning.  I also chose to include storytelling as part of my major because I am interested in helping those living in urban populations to tell their stories about their health and their environment.  Additionally, having an in depth understanding of communities’ needs, wants, and aspirations is a critical part of inclusive, comprehensive planning.  The storytelling portion of my major was in large part inspired by radio programming such as The Moth, This American Life and the local community initiative, First Person Arts.  In addition to planning I am concurrently interested in academia, specifically academic advising—which essentially is planning in a different context.

Laura Hill | Chemical and Pharmaceutical Patent Pre-Law

I am developing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering/Pre-Law through the Custom Designed Major Program. Specifically, I am focusing on the Chemical and Pharmaceutical side of Engineering, and I am incorporating International studies in order to broaden my potential opportunities. I am on a path designed to fully prepare me for the Patent Bar exam, following my graduation at Drexel. In general, I am striving toward a future working in a renowned law firm in the Intellectual Property Law sector, working specifically with pharmaceutical companies. My ideal future, however, would be to begin as a personal patent agent for a pharmaceutical company or large law firm, gain experience and a good relationship with said company/firm, and then attend law school to obtain a higher position within the same company/firm.  

Kevin Jablonowski | Cryptomedia

Cryptomedia is the intersection of cryptography-the making and breaking of codes-with the arts, particularly music. Modern cryptography is largely based on converting messages into numbers, then systematically altering those numbers in order to protect the message. Similarly, the arts contain an intrinsic yet subtle mathematical structure, from the geometry of graphic arts to the intervals and frequencies of music. Furthermore, much modern music is produced with the aid of technology such as MIDI controllers, sequencers, and mixing software, all of which use numerical data to represent musical sound. Cryptomedia is the application of artistic media to modern cryptography, using art as vehicle to not only obscure, but completely hide messages.

Alyssa Klein | Biological Design

My major incorporates artistic design (varying from digital art to product design) and general biology.  I have always had a dual interest in science and art and I want my future career to encompass both fields.  I am stepping away from my previous interest in computer graphics imagery because I want my final creations to be actual products that can be used to enhance people’s lives and better the world instead of just an image on a screen.  Product design has gradually become a greater influence to my major because prototyping and 3D printing are areas I am highly interested in.  Aside from artistic skill, these fields require expertise in 3D software as well as material and environmental science.  Sustainability is also a concentration of my major; I want my designs to be eco-friendly as well as marketable. My knowledge of biology will highly influence my work since nature is the best role model.

Amanda Kraft | Neuroscience

Before I began applying to colleges, I was told repeatedly that it was a terrible idea to specify in neuroscience as an undergraduate. Although I heeded the warnings, I knew my passions revolved around the brain, so I formed a new plan: I would take two opposing perspectives relating to the brain, study both, and connect them back to the brain independently from my classes. Thus, I came to Drexel University to double major in Chemistry and Psychology–Chemistry would provide an internally-based and scientific explanation of brain functioning, while psychology would provide an externally influenced and individualized basis for brain functioning.  I quickly realized, however, that it was implausible to graduate on time with that particular dual major when also completing the pre-medical requirements. Fortunately, I discovered and became a part of the Custom-Designed Major Program which allows more room for gaining perspectives in the field of neuroscience. Hopefully my choice of curriculum, along with Neuroscience Association of Drexel University – a student organization beginning the process of recognition in July 2013 – will provide a foundation for Drexel to establish an Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience.

Emily Levine | Music Philanthropy and Youth Culture

Dawn McDougall | Meanings of Urban Sustainability

With cities rapidly trending upward as desirable places to live, parallel to the increasing urgency of environmental concerns, critical inquiries about the nature of sustainability in the urban context are continually gaining relevance. Scholars must examine definitions of sustainability from a multiplicity of perspectives as well as the interplay among them. 

Using progressive theoretical frameworks of Sustainable Urban Design and Development integrated with social science methods of inquiry, this major explores how city-dwellers perceive their place in the urban context and subsequently how they negotiate their physical environment with larger social constructs to create meaning in the built-environment.

Jeana Mobley | Design Theory

Through the combination of applied design and art and design history and theory, I hope to bridge the gap between the concept and practice of design. Drawing from fields such as Graphic Design, Art History, Philosophy, and Entertainment and Arts Management, I study the relationship between art, design and society. Design Theory has allowed me to pursue work in the museum, graphics, and art management fields to experience design from multiple perspectives.

Tristan Pantano | Computer Science and Music Technology

Nearing the end of high school, I was conflicted as to which of my passions I wished to pursue. Through robotics competitions and personal endeavors, I had developed a love for the world of programming. However, the strong role listening to music had played in my life lead me to crave being involved in the creative process of it. As such, I originally entered Drexel as a Music Industry major. When I learned of the custom major program, I was overjoyed- I could now combine my passions for technology and music into a unified plan of study. My major overviews music from the perspectives of both composers and studio engineers, and additionally encompasses classes in programming and digital signal processing that are necessary for the implementation of music software. No matter what career the skillset I’m building here leads to, I hope to have a lifelong involvement in the worlds of music and technology.

Sarah Robinson | Human Instrinsics

I am interested in studying individuals in the context of their communities. My goal is to gain an understanding of how and why one identifies with a specific group and how both the individual and the community can mutually benefit from their relationship. I view my undergraduate experience as being holistic, therefore my time in class and in outside activities all add to my collective experience at Drexel. I take classes in areas including but not limited too communications, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and digital media. In addition to creating my major I plan to apply to add a Certificate in Creativity and a minor in Interdisciplinary Smart Initiates. Outside of class I am heavily involved in activities that contribute to my educational goals. I am a proud member of Greek Life and Student Ambassadors as well as a peer helpline. After college I hope to find a career path that allows me to help organizations live their values daily through taking action as a group and by working with individuals that believe in their mission. One avenue in which I may achieve that after graduation is continuing to work with Student Life in high education. 

Mik Schulte | Corporate Policy and Environmental Risk Management

I love the private sector.  My program is a tailored combination of how the private sector manages risk and crafts policies towards controlling their environmental impacts.  This endeavor is centered around the belief that the private sector should function as its own best regulator, and that environmental protection can emerge as a function of risk management and protecting a company’s bottom line.  I am particularly interested in impacts on water supply and availability. My present research focuses on developing a risk management model as a tool for municipalities to address recent harmful algae blooms (HABs) affecting municipal water supplies.

Sammy Slutsky |Humanistic Biopsychology

I entered Drexel with a strong desire to pursue a pre-dental track, but I did not simply want to major in Biology.  Given my career aspirations, I would like to not only learn the necessary hard-core science that I will need, but I would also like to be able to communicate with patients and make them feel at ease in a dental chair.  I came to Drexel with the desire to take many courses in Biology, Psychology, and Spanish.  However, I soon found out that in order to graduate in a reasonable time frame, a triple major would not be possible.  I am grateful that I found out about and the Custom-Designed Major Program.  My Custom-Designed Major, Humanistic Biopsychhology, will allow me to integrate Biology, Psychology, and Spanish into one cohesive whole.  By the time I receive my diploma, I will have the skills I will need to interact with all different types of patients and understand where they are coming from, no matter what the situation.

Adam Starr | Science, Technology, and Society

I am interested in the impact of science and technology on society with a concentration on the interaction between humans and prosthetics. The short list of areas of study includes, sociology, history, anthropology and biology. Yet, I’m open to integrating more disciplines into my course of studies. I was inspired to develop my particular curriculum for two reasons. The first reason is because of the uniformed reliance of science and technology by humans and the ways we deal with its’ abundance. Secondly, I’m interested in how people with prosthetics cope with a world that was not built with them in mind. I don’t have a future plan for my major concretely set in stone yet, and will see where the classes take me.

Nicole Vecere | Entrepreneurship and Interaction Design

Entrepreneurship and Interaction Design draws heavily from entrepreneurship, digital media, visual studies, and human-computer interaction. The main purpose of this major is to integrate the various areas of study that are crucial to understanding interactive media, using entrepreneurship to elevate this combination of fields by providing a platform through which innovative concepts can be realized and spread. Through this combination of disciplines, I hope to develop the skills necessary to solve problems in areas like sustainability, education, and medicine using interactive technology and entrepreneurship.

Jameela Wahlgren | Gamification & User Experience

Through this program I'm interested in exploring the intersection of psychology and art. I want to quantify how aesthetics govern our preferences, and to study games and interfaces that people genuinely enjoy interacting with. The goal of these explorations would be to design interactive technologies that encourage socially beneficial behavior, tolerance and compassion.

Micah Watanabe | Educational Media

I’m drawing from the fields of education and digital media, as well as psychology and creative writing to study the effects of television and film on education: specifically for children from 8 to 12. I hope to enter the digital media industry to create quality programming for youth.

CSDN Alumni

Taylor Bush | Creative Writing

The goal has always been to create an educational conglomerate of traditional writing courses, expansive literature classes and a component focused on "the human condition" (i.e. psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.). I designed my major around the idea of using academia to inform my worldview and, by extension, elevate my writing. While classes and learning are of great importance to me, reading and writing themselves are top priorities. Thus, I try to leave room to foster these tools alongside classes and such. My plan for the major is to keep creating top-notch art that is beautiful and dangerous.

Tommy Czerpak | Film Production and Music

My major combines the areas of film, business, and music into one major that focuses on film production and creating music. I also take general business courses, such as Entrepreneurship and Accounting, to help me better understand the business of film. Knowing the business along side the production will give me a better understanding of the industry as a whole. Since I hope to direct and score movies some day, this major is the perfect way to combine all of the areas I need to learn in a structured and concise way.

Kathryn Gardner | Architectural Conservation
and Sustainable Living

Architectural Conservation and Sustainable Living comprises the theory and application of conservation ideology in the built environment. I integrate historic preservation, sustainability goals, holistic environmental theory, and social construction into the conceptual redesign and planning processes of spaces. The Custom-Designed Major provided a mentor to help me patch up my career plan, the freedom to explore what I want, and the resources to help me get there.

Chelsea Knittel | Sustainable Materials and Design

My major is based on the belief that interdisciplinary collaboration is key for successful efforts towards a more sustainable future. Key elements of my curriculum include design; both fashion and product, sustainability, and environmental science, chemistry and a bit of materials sciences. In order for my designs to be successful in leaving little environmental foot print, it is crucial to have an understanding of the materials used and their impacts, as well as how economic and social factors influence environmental efforts. Sustainability is not only about the environment, as most assume, but just as much about people and their quality of life. Driven by the desire to help solve our problems of over-consumption, not add to them, I designed my curriculum to prepare myself best I can with an arsenal of knowledge that will allow me to make choices that are beneficial to our world in my future designs.

Kyla Lafond | Disability Studies

Kevin Matthews | Global Fashion Industry

With this program I am able to look outside the traditional scope of fashion education and learn how the apparel industry is affected by global issues, including those social, political, and economic. This type of wide-reaching, self-driven education is vital in understanding and solving the problems that apparel companies face today when making decisions.