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CoAS Accomplishments in Brief


October 28, 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

The College of Arts and Sciences congratulates the winners of its first-ever virtual Research Day:

Graduate Students

  • 1st place: Katherine Fiocca, Dr. Sean O'Donnell, “Body Size Does Not Predict Reproductive Development in a Primitively Eusocial Paper Wasp”
  • 2nd place: Natalie Stuart, Dr. Karol Osipowicz, “Neural Activation Patterns Predictive of Emotional State, and their Resting State Connectivity”
  • 3rd place: Akanksha Bhatnagar, Dr. Felice Elefant, “Investigating Tip60 HAT’s Bi-level Gene Regulation at the Chromatin and the RNA Level”

Undergraduate Students

  • 1st Place: Timothy Hanlon, Dr. Kent Mouw, “Dissecting the Impact of Radiation Induced DNA Damage and Repair Processes on Immunotherapy Response in Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer”
  • 2nd place: Gracie Sobalvarro, Izzy Sangaline, Nina Olney, Caroline Voyles and Skylar Ricci, Dr. Jason Orne, “Selling Pleasure/Danger: A Typology of Sex Shops Along the Sex Positivity Spectrum”
  • 3rd place: Trevor McCaffrey, Dr. Amy Kimball, “Exploring the Origin of Radio Emission in Radio-quiet Quasars”

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • 1st place: Annie Schillo, Dr. Gwen Ottinger, “The Fenceline Community Experience and Unmet Needs in Environmental Policy”
  • 2nd place: Violet Flynn, Dr. Barbara Hoekje, “The Role of Co-op in Skills Development for Students in the College of Arts and Sciences
  • 3rd Place: Marie Gioulis, Dr. Jocelyn Sessa, “Mexico, Henry Pilsbry, and Archives: Understanding the Connection Between History and Science”

Alumni Prize for Best Poster, Selected by CoAS Alumni

  • 1st place: Shauna Zodrow, Dr. Karol Osipowicz, “Neural Activation Patterns Predictive of Emotional State, and their Resting State Connectivity”


Marina Potapova, PhD, associate professor of biodiversity, earth and environmental science, was awarded a $100,000 contract from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a large set of diatom data for lakes of the northeastern U.S. Several hundred diatom slides, originating from various lake surveys and coring projects, are housed at the Diatom Herbarium. Most of these slides were analyzed in the past, but merging these historical counts together is impossible, as the taxonomy is largely incompatible among the projects. These slides will be re-analyzed using the novel “voucher flora” approach to ensure reproducibility and taxonomic consistency. The resulting dataset will be useful for future paleolimnological explorations.

Writers Room’s ongoing community-led, participatory-action research study, led by Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD, an assistant professor in Drexel’s School of Education, with the School of Education, “Anti-Displacement: The Untapped Potential of University-Community Cooperative Living,” was awarded a third year of funding with a $160,000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), with partial funding committed by CNCS’ anti-poverty arm, AmeriCorp VISTAS.

In the Media

Sean O’Donnell, PhD, professor of biodiversity, earth and environmental science and biology, wrote the blog post “Can Desert Ants Take The Heat?” in Insectes Sociaux, the blog of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects.

Alison Kenner, PhD, associate professor of politics, Morgan Sarao, BA political science and philosophy ’19, and Zakia Elliot, program manager of Philadelphia Climate Works, co-authored the article “Dumping Over Dignity: The Fight for Climate Justice and a Just Transition for Sanitation Workers,” in Science for the People’s special issue, “A People’s Green New Deal.”

Scott Knowles, PhD, professor of history, co-authored the op-ed “3 Big Ideas to Fuel an Equitable COVID Recovery” in WHYY.


Susan Bell, PhD, professor of sociology, co-authored “Towards Precision Medicine: Inclusion of Sex and Gender Aspects in COVID-19 Clinical Studies – Acting Now before It is Too Late – a Joint Call for Action,” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, as a member of The Sex and Gender in COVID19 Clinical Trials Working Group.

Christian Hunold, PhD, professor of politics, and Maz Mazuchowski, BS environmental science, co-authored the article “Human-Wildlife Coexistence in Urban Wildlife Management: Insights from Nonlethal Predator Management and Rodenticide Bans,” in the peer-reviewed, open-access journal Animals.

Sonali Jain, PhD, associate teaching professor of sociology, co-authored a book chapter called “Government Engagement, Hindu Nationalism, and the Indian Diaspora in the United States” in “The Wiley Blackwell Companion on Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism,” published by Wiley-Blackwell.

Amanda McMillan Lequieu, PhD, coauthored the article “Performing transparency, embracing regulations: Corporate framing to mitigate environmental conflicts” in the journal Environmental Sociology.

Nada Matta, PhD, assistant professor of global studies and of sociology, published the article “Class Capacity and Cross- Gender Solidarity: Women’s Organizing in an Egyptian Textile Company” in the journal Politics and Society. She also wrote a short piece about the article that was published in two American Sociological Association blogs, Work in Progress and Marxists Sociology, called “Capitalist Restructuring and the Power of Women Textile Workers in Egypt.”

Richard McCourt, PhD, professor of biodiversity, earth, and environmental science, made several contributions to the book “Phylonyms: A Companion to the Phylocode,” CRC Press, describing a new approach to classification of life on Earth. He also co-authored the article “The Other 1940 Expedition to the Sea of Cortez,” published in Journal of the Southwest in an issue commemorating the 80th anniversary of a famous cruise to the Sea of Cortez.

Sean O’Donnell, PhD, professor of biodiversity, earth and environmental science and biology, was first author of the publication “Diurnal and Nocturnal Foraging Specialization in Neotropical Army Ants,” Ecological Entomology.


Richard McCourt, PhD, professor of biodiversity, earth, and environmental science, spoke at the Annual Meeting of Botanical Society of America. 

Lillian Walkover, PhD, post doctorate fellow in global health, and Susan Bell, PhD, professor of sociology, presented “Pathways Towards US Medical Licensure for Refugee Physicians” at the 2020 North American Refugee Health Conference.