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CoAS Accomplishments in Brief

June 10, 2020

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

Congratulations to the College of Arts and Sciences students who received awards from the Graduate College, Honors Day and more!

Awards, Honors and Appointments

Matthew Bressler, PhD candidate in physics, was the nationwide winner of the 2020 Graduate Instrumentation Research Award from the Department of Energy for his project “Construction and Commissioning of a 10 kg Scintillating Argon Bubble Chamber for GeV Dark Matter and Reactor CEνNS.” The award provides a full-year stipend with the possibility of renewal.

Lisa DiMaio, EdD, teaching professor of English, earned an EdD in Policy, Planning, and Administration from West Chester University. Her dissertation was titled “Negotiating Difference: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Writing Center Interactions between Peer Tutors and Multilingual Tutees.”

Vincent Duclos, PhD, assistant professor of global studies and modern languages, was awarded the Antelo Deveraux Award for Young Faculty from Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences. The award is presented to a tenure-track assistant professor in support of his or her research.

Valerie Fox, PhD, teaching professor of English and faculty writing fellow in the University Writing Program, and Lynn Levin, adjunct associate professor of English, were finalists in the Writing/Publishing category of the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards for their book “Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets, Second Edition” (Texture/Blurb, 2019). The book is a college-level craft-of-poetry textbook which is also suitable for community workshops and as a manual for the individual poet.

Leah Mele, MFA student in creative writing, was a finalist for the Southampton Review’s Nonfiction prize for her piece “Letters to Laila.”

Rosie Oakes, PhD, postdoctoral researcher of biodiversity, earth and environmental science, will be joining the International Climate Services team at the Met Office in Exeter, United Kingdom. She will be working with climate modelers from the Hadley Centre to understand how regions will be impacted by climate change, and then working with governments and stakeholders from those regions to develop climate resiliency plans.

Gwen Ottinger, PhD, associate professor of politics and of science, technology and society, has been invited to be the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Science and Society at the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa in Summer 2021. She will work with Canadian colleagues on the comparative study “Co-production of Knowledge and Justice in Environmental Policy.”

Kelly Underman, PhD, associate professor of sociology, was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award from Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences. The award is presented to a tenure-track assistant professor who has demonstrated unusual excellence and innovation in teaching.


Naomi Goldstein, PhD, professor of psychology, and Kirk Heilbrun, PhD, professor of psychology, in collaboration with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, were awarded a $92,000 Rapid Response Research (R3) grant by the William T. Grant Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. The project is titled “Judicial Confinement and Release Decisions: Protecting Youth and Communities During the Pandemic and Beyond.”

Gwen Ottinger, PhD, associate professor of politics and of science, technology and society, in collaboration with Public Lab, launched a project to revitalize “the bucket,” a low-cost air sampler used by communities suffering from petrochemical pollution. The project, funded by the 11th Hour Project, will update plans for the do-it-yourself device and make them more readily available to potential users. It will also develop infrastructure for supporting future bucket monitoring.

Jack Santucci, PhD, and Jamil Scott, PhD, of Georgetown University, were awarded a $23,000 grant from the New America Foundation to research the effect of election reforms on underrepresented groups. The work, titled “East-Coast and National Experimental Tests of Candidate Entry Under Single-seat Ranked-choice Voting, with Measurement of Attitudes toward Descriptive Representation,” will involve survey experiments with Philadelphia and national samples.

In the Media

Richardson Dilworth, PhD, department head of politics, Mimi Sheller, PhD, director of the Center of Mobilities Research and Policy, Scott Knowles, PhD, department head of history, and Franco Montalto, PhD, of Drexel’s College of Engineering, published the article “COVID-19 Reveals a Path Forward on Climate Change” in American Scientist.

Sharrona Pearl, PhD, an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Science, Technology and Society, published the article “The Reason We’re so Uncomfortable Wearing Masks” in the Washington Post.


Ali Kenner, PhD, associate professor of politics and of science, technology and society, presented a paper titled “Anticipating Adaptation in Philadelphia's Energy Assistance Sector” at the Pandemic Urbanism Symposium, hosted by the University of Washington. The paper is co-authored by Drexel University undergraduate students Briana Leone, Andrew Rosenthal and Morgan Sarao.

Sean O’Donnell, PhD, department head of biology and professor of biodiversity, earth and environmental science, gave an invited keynote and panelist talk at the Young Scientist Symposium on the links between climate change and neurobiology, hosted by the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) in Austria.


Rebecca Clothey, PhD, director of the global studies program, and Richardson Dilworth, PhD, department head of politics, co-edited the book publication “China’s Urban Future and the Quest for Stability: Volume 12,” published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Richardson Dilworth, PhD, department head of politics, coedited the book “How Ideas Shape Urban Political Development: The City in the Twenty-First Century,” published by University of Pennsylvania Press. The book is a collection of international case studies that demonstrate the importance of ideas to urban political development.

Tim Fitts, adjunct assistant professor of English, had his short story “Torque” from his collection “Go Home and Cry for Yourselves” republished by the Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly.

Jörn Venderbos, PhD, assistant professor of physics, co-authored the article “Three-state Nematicity in the Triangular Lattice Antiferromagnet Fe1/3NbS2” published in Nature Materials.

Scott Warnock, PhD, professor of English and director of the University Writing Program, and his former English 102 student Lisa Schepis-Myers coauthored the article “‘The Provoker’ Discussion Board Threads,” published in the May issue of Online Literacies Open Resource. Warnock also published Burlington County Times:The Sixers Could’ve Had Tom Brady” in the Burlington County Times.