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2018 Goldwater Nominees

February 15, 2018

Congratulations to Drexel's nominees for the 2018 Goldwater Scholarship – Robert Ross, Nicholas Trainor, John Quinlan, and Philip Weigel.

These students were selected from applicants from across the university to represent Drexel University in the national Goldwater Scholarship competition. We wish them the best of luck.


Robert Ross (BS Computer Science ‘19) is a junior computer science student interested in algorithms and automation. During the CS freshman design sequence, Rob led a team of 6 students that designed and built an airborne, semi-autonomous system capable of detecting windows in a building’s façade (a first step towards automated window washing). As a STAR scholar, guided by Ryan Kaliszewski (then a member of Drexel’s math department), Rob developed and coded an algorithm for obtaining the chromatic symmetric function of certain graphs. During his second and third years, through an independent study and a co-op, Rob researched with the Drexel Wireless Systems Lab’s Bellyband project under the direction of Bill Mongan (CS Lead Researcher) and Kapil Dandekar (PI). The project aims to develop a wireless, powerless alternative to the wired respiration sensors using RFID, smart garments, and signal processing. Rob developed a system which tested all existing algorithms and a novel algorithm for processing the Bellyband’s signal. The algorithm reduced the respiration rate error by 77.5% (from 6 to 1.35 RMSE). The system will enter clinical trials this month. After graduating, Rob intends to pursue a PhD focused on algorithms and automation.

Nicholas Trainor (BS/MS Chemical Engineering/Materials Science and Engineering ‘19, Honors) is a junior chemical engineering student pursuing a Master’s in materials science and engineering. His first research experience was as a STAR Scholar working with Dr. Yury Gogotsi and the Drexel Nanomaterials Institute (DNI) on composites of MXenes and graphene for use in supercapacitors. He returned to DNI for his first co-op, synthesizing new MXenes and studying new applications for various MXenes. His second co-op was with Dr. Goran Karapetrov (Condensed Matter Group), growing and characterizing thin films of titanium diselenide, which he has continued during the academic year. For his third co-op, he will be working with Dr. Vibha Kalra on lithium-sulfur batteries. Nicholas plans on pursuing a PhD in materials science and engineering with a focus on large-scale synthesis of 2-dimensional materials.

John Quinlan (BS/MS Biomedical Engineering '19, Honors) is a junior biomedical engineering student concentrating in biomaterials and tissue engineering. John is currently involved with projects in Dr. Hong Wang's lab at Monell Chemical Senses Center, where he studies the role of bitter taste receptors in the immune response, and in Dr. Alessandro Fatatis’s lab at the Drexel University College of Medicine, where he continues his STAR Scholars project examining the therapeutic potential of an inhibitor of CX3CR1 in metastatic breast cancer. He spent his first co-op with Dr. Shibu Thomas at Janssen Pharmaceuticals identifying fusion genes as biomarkers for prostate cancer, and his second co-op working with Dr. Michelle Potter at Merck Research Labs developing animal models of Alzheimer's Disease. John intends to pursue an MD/PhD focusing on neuroscience and bio engineering with the goal of developing therapies to intercept neurodegenerative diseases.

Philip Weigel (BS Electrical Engineering ’20, Honors) is a third-year electrical engineering student minoring in physics. Philip first began his research during the STAR Scholars program working on the development of solid xenon bolometers with Prof. Michelle Dolinski. He continues to work with Prof. Dolinski on simulations of liquid noble gas purity monitors. For his first co-op, he worked at MIT under Prof. Janet Conrad and Dr. Daniel Winklehner. At MIT, he worked on the development of computational methods to improve cyclotron beam injection devices and the construction of a high-current ion source for the IsoDAR experiment. For his second co-op, he will be working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University on a xenon detector purification system for the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment. Philip plans to continue his research and pursue a PhD in Physics, focusing on the experimental side of elementary particle physics.

Special thanks to faculty who participated on the Goldwater Campus Committee, working with the Fellowships Office during the fall and winter terms to review applications, conduct interviews, and advise nominees on their applications:

  • Michelle Dolinski, Assistant Professor, Physics
  • Rick McCourt, Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science; Associate Curator of Botany, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
  • J. Doug Wright, Associate Department Head and Associate Professor, Mathematics
  • Caroline Schauer, Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering 

The Goldwater Scholarship was established by Congress in 1986, with the goal of recognizing the nation's top undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

For more information about the Goldwater Scholarship, please email Dr. Meredith Wooten, Director, Drexel Fellowships Office.