Alyssa Kemp, a BS/MS student studying environmental engineering, and Sarah
Malik, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering, have been renewed as Nina
Henderson Provost Scholars for the 2023-24 academic year, the Office of the
Provost recently announced.
The Provost Scholars program is an annual scholarship program that provides
12 motivated Drexel students with the opportunity to enhance their
leadership skills and play a hands-on role in shaping the Drexel experience.
Drawing on their diverse backgrounds, disciplines and perspectives, Nina
Henderson Provost Scholars work alongside the Provost and senior Provost’s
Office leadership to advance key priorities of the Drexel 2030 Strategic
Plan and collaborate on strategic projects.
Kemp, who first earned Scholar status in September 2022, is working under the mentorship of Mathy Stanislaus, vice provost and executive director of The Environmental Collaboratory; Hugh Johnson, senior director of research strategy and development; and program manager Sammy Shuster to increase the capacity of community-based climate transition workforce opportunities in
"My project focuses on community-based climate transition workforce
opportunities," said Kemp. "These opportunities are crucial to ensure a
just transition, which equitably distributes the costs and benefits of
climate action, for two main reasons. First, climate transition jobs don’t
require a college degree, which makes them accessible. Second, they can
advance diversity given the current focus on skills over degrees."
Kemp has conducted research identifying key climate transition roles needed
in Philadelphia and began developing partnerships between workforce
development organizations, companies, and universities to train residents
for these jobs. Her goal is to enable these partners to expand their
workforce development programs to equip more Philadelphians with the skills
needed for careers that support sustainability.
"So far, key climate transition workforce opportunities in Philadelphia
have been identified and the groundwork for key strategic partnerships has
been developed," explained Kemp. "Stakeholder recommendations and key
insights have become identified by conducting phased consultations."
In addition to creating employment pathways through strategic partnerships,
Kemp aims to align existing workforce initiatives across Drexel’s
campus to allow for a more cohesive approach to green workforce
Meanwhile, Malik is using her background in engineering to drive innovation
in higher education. As she enters her third year as a Provost Scholar
under the mentorship of Vice Provost Rajnesh Suri, Malik is taking on two
new projects focused on curricular analytics and applications of artificial
intelligence. Her previous project on the future of higher education
involved extensive data analysis and was presented to the Board of Trustees
and Provost's Office. A key finding was the need to create an inclusive
campus environment where students feel a sense of belonging.
Malik's goal aligns closely with this insight - she aims to advance
diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and shape an educational
landscape that meets the needs of diverse students. Her ambition is to make
DEI not just abstract ideals, but active, foundational elements of the
"The future of higher education hinges on a robust commitment to diversity,
equity, and inclusion," said Malik. "My scholarship aims to advocate for
initiatives that make a tangible impact, ensuring education evolves to
serve an increasingly diverse student body and society."
In her new projects, Malik is further exploring innovations that can
enhance inclusion and student success.
"My new projects involve implementing analytic frameworks to visualize and
evaluate the complexity of Drexel’s curricula, and exploring ways to
integrate generative AI into teaching and learning," explained Malik.
Through curricular analytics, Malik aims to represent the university’s
degree requirements in a structured, graphical way to enable analysis of
how courses interconnect. This will help Drexel identify improvements to
curricula that can enhance student experiences.
"The project involves producing a report and presentation in which Drexel’s
curricula are visualized and analyzed using this graph-theoretic
framework," said Malik.
Additionally, Malik is spearheading a symposium to establish best practices
around ethical, effective integration of generative AI into higher
education curricula and pedagogy. As these technologies transform
industries, Drexel seeks to take a leadership role in this area.
Previously, Malik’s scholarship focused on the future of higher education,
analyzing data from over 500 global learners. Her work provided insights
into emerging trends in areas like diversity, finance, mentoring and