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Dragons on Fire: Kudos for Student Achievements

January 08 2024

Microscope in a lab with people in lab coats in background

Last term, Drexel University undergraduate and graduate students were recognized for their academic and professional contributions and accomplishments. This update offers a snapshot of activity courtesy of the Office of the Provost.

Want to learn more about opportunities for scholarships and fellowships? There’s Drexel’s Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs (UREP), which also serves graduate students applying for fellowships. 

Scholarships and Publications

The Office of the Provost is pleased to announce the 2023–2024 cohort of six new and seven returning Nina Henderson Provost Scholars. Now in its third year, the program awards a selective group of highly motivated Drexel students with the opportunity to collaborate on strategic projects with the Provost and Provost’s Office leadership that aim to advance the initiatives of the Drexel 2030 Strategic Plan. Through their instrumental roles in key projects across disciplines and strategic goals, Nina Henderson Provost Scholars are uniquely positioned to make lasting change within the Drexel community.

Tobias Tagliaferro, BS environmental science ’24 in the College of Arts and Sciences, coauthored a paper for publication in The Nautilus with Paul Callomon, collection manager of malacology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and Lyle Campbell, an evolutionary geologist from South Carolina. It describes a new species of carnivorous bivalve found in water more than 600 feet deep on the edge of the continental shelf off Charleston, South Carolina. This is the second named living species in the genus Trigonulina from the Western Atlantic and only the third in the world.

Micaela Kersey, BS environmental science ’24 in the College of Arts and Sciences, coauthored a paper with Marina Potapova, curator of diatoms at the Academy of Natural Sciences, and Laura Aycock, collection manager of the Diatom Herbarium at the Academy of Natural Sciences, describing two new diatom species of Pinnulara: P. rexlowei and P. spinifera.

Mohammad Houshmand, a PhD candidate in civil engineering from the College of Engineering, was the lead researcher on the paper “Development of a nature-inspired polymeric fiber (BioFiber) for advanced delivery of self-healing agents into concrete,” accepted for publication in Construction & Building Materials in December 2023.

Elizabeth Espinal, a clinical psychology PhD student from the College of Arts and Sciences, received a $2,000 American Psychological Foundation (APF)/Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP) Graduate Research Scholarship to assist with research costs associated with the doctoral dissertation.

Peihan Li, a PhD candidate in electrical and computer engineering from the College of Engineering, along with Lifeng Zhou, PhD, assistant professor of ECE, had the paper “Assignment Algorithms for Multi-Robot Multi-Target Tracking with Sufficient and Limited Sensing Capability” accepted to the 2023 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).

College of Medicine students Emma M. Byrne, MD ’24, and Anirudh Rao, MD ’24, participated in the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program, a yearlong research immersion program for future clinician-scientists. The program allows scholars to research under the mentorship of an NIH investigator of their choosing, while also participating in a complementary professional development and leadership curriculum. Byrne’s project was “Differentiating Pseudo-Progression from Progression in Immunotherapy-Treated Primary Brain Tumor Patients: A Diagnostic Dilemma” and Rao’s was “Dendrimer-Based Lipid Nanoparticles for Efficient, Low-Toxicity Gene Editing of Human Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells.”

The Westphal BRIDGE Scholars Program, an inclusive community to support underrepresented minority and first-generation students in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, will welcome its largest cohort yet of 32 students in the Class of 2027. The program, which offers holistic support, career capital, mentorship, and scholarship opportunities, is now at full capacity in its fourth year of operation.

Led by Nina Henderson Scholar in the Environmental Collaboratory Alyssa Kemp, BS/MS environmental engineering ’25, from the College of Engineering, Drexel is leading an assessment of community-based climate transition workforce opportunities as a crucial aspect of Just Transition. The project strives to develop an in-depth assessment of how climate transition workforce opportunities, current worker training programs and universities can align to increase the capacities of the green economy in local communities.

Academic Accolades and Other Achievements

Roxanne Bresnee, MFT ’23, and Shaniyah Thomas, MFT ’23, from the College of Nursing and Health Professions, were awarded a 2023–2024 Minority Fellowship from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Research & Education Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Minority Fellowship Program.

Brady Eckert, a PhD candidate in physics from the College of Arts and Sciences, received the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) award for the proposed research project “Characterization and Long-term Stability of Silicon Photomultipliers in Liquid Xenon,” which will be conducted at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL).

Three second-year MD students in the College of Medicine — Tom Parker, Marquis Winston and Carter Van — were honored with the 2023 Joseph “Bud” Haines Community Award from the Council on Chemical Abuse. Parker, Winston and Van are co-presidents of the West Reading Campus Naloxone Outreach Project, which expanded the existing outreach to include supplying and restocking naloxone kits to seven local businesses and organizations that are now known in the community as places where the life-saving drug can be acquired.

Kati Hinman, a PhD candidate in community health and prevention from the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health, was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship for 2023–2024. With this funding, she will spend eight months in Colombia conducting research on resilience and resistance to intersectional violence.

Anil Kumar, MPH epidemiology ’24 from the Dornsife School of Public Health, had his research on global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives in Tanzania showcased at the Global Water Alliance's 16th Annual Conference in Philadelphia in October 2023. This research was conducted while he completed his Dornsife Global Development Scholarship abroad.

A team of undergraduate students — Lam Nguyen, BSBA finance and economics ’24 in the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business and the College of Economics; Jenny Lin, BS global studies and economic analysis ’25, from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Economics; and Muhammad Abdullah, BS economics ’25 and Pablo Santos, BS economics and mathematics ’28, both from the School of Economics — entered the 2023 National College Fed Challenge and were named semifinalists in October 2023.