For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Drexel's Nominees for the 2017 Udall Scholarship

March 20, 2017

Congratulations to Drexel's nominees for the 2017 Udall Scholarship – John Henderson, Ashleigh Jugan, Vincent O'Leary and Michelle Torelli!


John Henderson

John Henderson (BS Environmental Science ’19)

John Henderson transferred to Drexel in 2015 to study environmental engineering with an emphasis on water resources management.  He has served as the president of Drexel Chapter of Engineers Without Borders during the 2016-2017 academic year and will continue in this office through 2017-2018.  In this role, John has been responsible for coordinating teams and projects, pursuing networking and funding opportunities, and organizing the spring break service trip to El Salvador to install biosand water filters. John is also an NAE Grand Challenge scholar and plans to conduct research into water quality in the Delaware Valley watershed  Prior to studying engineering, John earned a B.A. in journalism, worked in corporate communications, and traveled around the world volunteering as a teacher and farm worker in Africa, India, and Australia.  John completed his first co-op at Teledyne Energy Systems in Baltimore and will be conducting his second co-op at the Philadelphia Water Department doing water quality modeling.


Jugan HeadshotAshleigh Jugan (BS Environmental Science ’18, Honors)
Drexel Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Watson


Ashleigh 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. She is currently a member of the Undergraduate Research Leaders (Programming Chair, 2015-16) and the President of the Drexel Naturalists Association (Vice President, 2015-16). Ashleigh's career goals include research and education in the conservation and tropical ecology fields, specifically endangered species.

Ashleigh received a Spring 2017 Gilman International Scholarship and Freeman-ASIA Award to support her 3-month co-op in Vietnam. She will be working directly with endangered pangolins at Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. Ashleigh previously studied abroad at the University of Sydney in Australia for five months in 2015.

OLeary SizedVincent O'Leary (BS Environmental Science & Geoscience '18, Honors)
Drexel Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ted Daeschler


Vincent O'Leary is passionate about the intersection of the environment and society, especially using data to visualize and tell stories about the world around us. At Drexel, Vincent has worked with several groups at the Academy of Natural Sciences, most recently for his co-op with Steve Dilliplane. In this position Vincent helped to set the ground work for combining all the Academy's digital records into a single database for researchers to use. Through this work, Vincent came to appreciate the data management and archival side of research, and is now working with Dr. Ted Daeschler in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology to digitize their collection of nearly 25,000 fossils. Through his research and experiences like the NOAA Hollings Scholarship, Vincent has become an advocate for communication in science, and hopes to continue sharing his interests with the public.

Michelle TorelliMichelle Torelli (BS/MS Chemical Engineering/Environmental Engineering ’18, Honors)
Drexel Faculty Mentors: Dr. Yury Gogotsi, Dr. Sabrina Spatari, and Dr. Giuseppe Palmese

Michelle is a first-generation college student and Liberty Scholar recipient who acquired a vast background in materials, chemical, and environmental engineering. 

Through the STAR program, she studied Li-ion battery storage of MXene composites which led her to publish a journal article. Michelle was the recipient of the DoE Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education as a co-op at the DoD U.S. Army Research Laboratory where she developed novel non-Newtonian fluid formulations and published a government limited-distribution article. She then completed an internship as a Materials & Process Engineer with The Boeing Company where she conducted technical reviews and evaluated models of chemical operation issues within the International Space Station’s Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and Active Thermal Control System (ACTS). Michelle is currently Founder & President of Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT), a mentor for SWE, and an Undergraduate Research Leader. 

Through her experiences, Michelle hopes to couple her chemical and environmental engineering studies to solve global environmental and energy challenges.


Special thanks to the members of Drexel’s 2017 Udall Campus Committee, who worked with the Fellowships Office during the winter term to review applications, conduct interviews, and advise nominees on their applications:

  • Shannon Capps, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Julia Novak Colwell, Visiting Fellow for the Great Works Symposium, Pennoni Honors College
  • Peter DeCarlo, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Alison Kenner, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Center for Science, Technology and Society
  • Chris Sales, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


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, please email the Drexel Fellowships Office.