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CoAS Accomplishments in Brief

February 03, 2020

We are pleased to recognize the recent grants, publications, presentations, awards and honors of the members of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Awards and Honors

Sofi Courtney, BS environmental science ’20, and Sumita Gangwani, BS environmental studies and sustainability and MS science, technology and society ’21, attended the United National Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain.

Rebecca Crochiere, PhD student in psychology, was awarded a Society of Behavioral Medicine Student Meritorious Abstract award and an overall Citation Abstract award for the project “Harnessing Senor Technology and Machine Learning to Predict Dietary Lapses in a Weight Loss Program,” which she will present at the next SBM conference. She also received the Teck-Kah Lim Graduate Student Domestic Travel Subsidy Award for her project “Integrating Sensor Technology and Machine Learning to Target Dietary Lapses.”

Meghan Butryn, PhD, associate professor of psychology, was awarded a Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) citation award for the project “The Acceptability and Efficacy of Sharing Digital Self-Monitoring Data with Weight Loss Coaches to Enhance Adherence,” which she will present at the next SBM conference.

Six College of Arts and Sciences students and alumni are semi-finalists for Fulbright awards: Isa Betancourt, MS communication 19, to Indonesia; and global studies majors Nicole Bedoya ’19, to Brazil; Tara Densmore ’20, to Taiwan; Nicole Kalitsi ’20, to South Korea; Marissa Olson 20, to Spain; and Reva Swiedler ’20, to Mexico.

John Medaglia, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, was selected as a faculty fellow to attend the Summer Seminars in Neuroscience and Philosophy sponsored by Duke University and the John Templeton Foundation. The two-week series culminates with collaborative working groups pitching proposals for projects to be funded at the intersection of contemporary neuroscience and philosophy.

Steven Kleinman, adjunct instructor of English, won the national 2019 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry book contest, which includes a $2K award and publication of his debut book, “Life Cycle of a Bear,” by Anhinga Press.

Civic Engagement

Steve Dolph, PhD, assistant teaching professor of Spanish, launched an intensive Community-Based Learning course on “Disaster and Resilience in Puerto Rico.” During the weeklong course, students examined critical resource infrastructure on the island of Puerto Rico and completed a workshop with Plenitud, a nonprofit permaculture demonstration farm dedicated to sustainability and the arts.

Gwen Ottinger, PhD, associate professor of politics and of science, technology and society, taught a course, “Methods of Policy Analysis,” in which students studied options for policy intervention concerning the defunct of the bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia. The class spoke with local groups like the Clean Air Council and Philadelphia THRIVE before presenting a policy proposal, an event which was open to the public.

Writers Room launched a partnership with The Study Hotels with its new Writer-in-Residence program, which provides emerging and established writers dedicated time and space to nurture their creativity and advance their work. Up to three residencies will be offered each year, and writers of all forms are encouraged to apply.


John Medaglia, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, received two grants in collaboration with Roy Hamilton, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania: The first is a three-year, $175K subcontract from a Department of Defense grant on a project studying treatment responses to transcranial direct current stimulation in primary progressive aphasia (language loss resulting from dementia). The second is a five-year, $328K subcontract on an R01 from the National Institutes of Health on a project studying characterizing brain network reorganization during high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation to the frontal lobe of the brain in primary progressive aphasia.

In the Media

Bryan Sacks, adjunct professor of philosophy, was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer story “You Can Ask Philosophers Anything at a Philly Pop-Up Booth — at Suburban Station” following his participation in a pop-up philosophy booth.

Scott Stein, teaching professor of English, launched Write Now Philly, an online literary magazine devoted to the local literary community. Part of the Drexel Publishing Group, the publication is run and staffed by Drexel University faculty and students from an array of programs and majors in the College.


John Medaglia, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, gave the keynote lecture titled “The Public's Role in The Politics and Practice of Cognitive Enhancement,” at the Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience retreat hosted by the Center for Neuroscience & Society of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mimi Sheller, PhD, professor of sociology and director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy, gave the keynote address for the Regional Climate Justice Symposium held at the Centre for Reparation Research, University of the West Indies, in Kingston, Jamaica, which leads the implementation of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) reparatory justice program.

Saniya Soni, BS psychology ’21, presented her research titled “Asian American Undergraduates and Depression: Examining Learned Helplessness and Parental Emotional Support of Depression” at Harvard University’s National Collegiate Research Conference. Fewer than 230 applicants across the country and world were accepted to present.


Norma Bouchard, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and distinguished professor of global studies and modern languages, co-authored a translated edition of “Mussolini’s Camps: Civilian Internment in Fascist Italy (1940-1943” by Carlo Spartaco Capogreco, published by Routledge.

Evangelia Chrysikou, PhD, associate professor of psychology, and Wessel Van Dam, PhD, psychology postdoctoral fellow, published “Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Over Prefrontal Cortex in Depression Modulates Cortical Excitability in Emotion Regulation Regions As Measured By Concurrent Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: An Exploratory Study” in the journal Biological Psychiatry: CCNI.

Kelly Joyce, PhD, professor of sociology and of science, technology and society, and Mel Jeske, MS in science, technology and society ’15, published “Using Autoimmune Strategically: Diagnostic Lumping, Splitting, and the Experience of Illness,” in Elsevier, and “Revisiting the Sick Role: Performing Regimes of Patienthood in the 21st Century,” in Sociological Viewpoints.

Marilyn G. Piety, PhD, professor of philosophy, published the paper, “Meeting the Spiritual Needs of Contemporary Society: The Promise of Liberal Theology,” in the book “Liberal Theologie heute – Liberal Theology Today,” published by Mohr Siebeck.

Christina Perella, BS environmental science ’18, co-authored “Understanding the Spread and Impact of Exotic Geckos in the Greater Caribbean Region,” published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation. She started working on the paper as a student in her senior seminar class led by Richard McCourt, and currently works as a curatorial assistant in the frozen tissue lab at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.