Hail to the Chiefs

The Presidential Scholars Lunch honored both current Drexel superstars and two outstanding alums.

On January 27, 12 freshmen and sophomore Presidential Scholars met for a luncheon featuring prominent Drexel alumnae Regina Cagle and Alyssa Wilson. Also present were Dean Dave Jones, Provost Mark Greenberg, Rona Buchalter (Director of the Fellowships Office), and Cindy Schaarschmidt (Assistant Director of the Fellowships Office). 

Cagle and Wilson were not Presidential Scholars themselves, but were honored for their accomplishments since leaving Drexel. Regina Cagle, who received a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Engineering in 2008, discussed her time in Ecuador as a Fulbright Scholar where she received her Masters in Sustainable Energy Development. It was here that Cagle realized that achieving her career goals was not only about having a good academic record or taking the right classes, but also about learning new, applicable skills in the workforce. 

Wilson, who received a Bachelors of Science in Physics in 2009, discussed her journey in trying to determine her career goals. She received a Research Masters from Cambridge University as a Gates-Cambridge Scholar, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics at Harvard. During her time at Drexel, she spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what she wanted to do with her life by immersing herself in many different fields of physics. 

Both alumnae said that the most attractive aspect of Drexel was the co-op program, both before and after graduation. Through their experiences independently finding positions, working in a professional environment, and immersing themselves in their field, both were able to get a better understanding of what they wanted to do after graduation. Wilson encouraged students to go beyond of the co-op system to pursue work with companies they are interested in. 

Provost Greenberg, Dean Jones, Buchalter, and Schaarschmidt also took time to inform and encourage students to pursue different fellowships and awards for the sake of their academic and career goals. Wilson herself posited that students shouldn’t be deterred from applying, admitting that although she didn’t receive every scholarship she pursued, she did receive others. After lunch, Greenberg opened the floor to students and asked what recommendations they had for Drexel. Not surprisingly, the most popular suggestions revolved around altering the dining plans. 

All things considered, the lunch was not only a great chance to see the accomplishments of two outstanding alumnae, but also to consider the potential a current Drexel student has. Both the alumnae and faculty stressed the importance of letting people know your skills and strengths, and to engage yourself outside of classroom.