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Drexel's Nominees for the 2016 Udall Scholarship

March 7, 2016

Congratulations to Drexel’s nominees for the 2016 Udall Scholarship – Ashleigh Jugan, Alex McBride, Vincent O'Leary and Vaughn Shirey!

Jugan HeadshotAshleigh Jugan (BS Environmental Science ’18, Honors) first discovered her interest in environmental research during her iSTAR experience to Finland in 2014 while working on remediation of acid mine drainage. She found similar research at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she took her first Co-op in the Wetlands Department as a field and lab technician. Ashleigh recently studied abroad at the University of Sydney in Australia for five months. She is currently the Programming Chair for the Undergraduate Research Leaders and the Vice President of the Drexel Naturalists Association. Ashleigh’s career goals include research and education in the conservation and tropical ecology fields, specifically endangered species. Her faculty mentor is Dr. Elizabeth Watson in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science.

McBride HeadshotAlexander McBride (BS Materials Science and Engineering ’17, Honors) began researching at Drexel in 10th grade with Dr. Caroline Schauer on organic photovoltaics. Alex is interested in leveraging photonics, a study dedicated to light-matter interaction, to solve some of our most pressing energy and environmental challenges. Alex is the President of both the Drexel Smart House and Drexel Students for Christ. Through the iSTAR program, he conducted research in Germany in 2013; in 2014, he worked at the University of Oulu in Finland as a Paul Peck Scholar. IN April 2016, Alex will be returning to Germany to work at Merck KGaA on organic LED (OLED) materials for display applications. His faculty mentors are Dr. Yury Gogotsi and Dr. Caroline Schauer, both in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

OLeary SizedVincent O'Leary (BS Environmental Science & BS Geoscience '18, Honors) is passionate about the intersection of the environment and society, as well as freshwater ecology and conservation. He has worked on multiple projects at the Academy of Natural Sciences, including both of his co-ops so far. Vincent is also a mathematics minor, and has experience building models and simulations of the environment while at the Academy.  Vincent was the President of Drexel Smart House in 2014-15, and has been a part of founding two student organizations within the BEES department. Most recently, Vincent traveled to Iceland over the 2015 winter break to study renewable energy and sustainability, and plans to continue his research at graduate school after graduation. His faculty mentor is  Dr. Ted Deaschler in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science.

Shirey Vaughn Shirey (BS Environmental Science, '17) is interested in merging informatics and natural history collections to promote access to environmental/biological data and educate local communities on urban insect biodiversity. He conducts research in systematic entomology at The Academy of Natural Sciences alongside continuing development of the entomology collections database and data management protocols. Vaughn appreciates research in conjunction with education and believes that the two are truly inseparable. This upcoming year, he will be working on developing connections between collections at the Academy and promoting his citizen science project, PhilaBug. His faculty mentor is Dr. Jon Gelhaus in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science.

Special thanks to the members of Drexel’s 2016 Udall Campus Committee, who worked with the Fellowships Office during the winter term to review applications, conduct interviews, and advise nominees on their applications:

  • Peter DeCarlo, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
  • Mira Olson, Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
  • Loÿc Vanderkluysen, Assistant Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science 


The Udall Scholarship awards 60 scholarships of up to $7000 and 60 honorable mentions to sophomore and junior level college students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care.  The Udall Foundation seeks future leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics.

For more information, email Erin Drulis, Program Coordinator of the Fellowships Office.