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Graduate Alumni

Drexel's graduate programs are designed for students who strive to apply their knowledge in both theory and practice. Graduate students across diverse fields are positioned for success inside and outside the classroom.

Robert Charles Barton II

Robert Charles Barton II dreamt of becoming a physician so he could combine his passion for helping people with his talent for analysis. He was able to nourish both of his strengths in Drexel's interdisciplinary health sciences master's program within the College of Medicine's Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Professional Studies.

Barton thrived on Drexel's challenging coursework, faculty mentorship and student diversity. "People come from all over and from all walks of life," he said. "It's great because I picked up tidbits from everyone - study tips, what to do in Philadelphia, etc." Barton also served the community as a medical scribe at a healthcare nonprofit for the homeless and as the Drexel chapter president of a student-run emergency housing unit.

Now studying to become a physician at a medical school in Chicago, Barton is well on his way to putting the leadership and real-world experience he gained at Drexel into practice.

Boris Dyatkin

While completing a PhD in materials science and engineering and researching in the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute, Boris Dyatkin was driven to develop environmentally friendly batteries and a supercapacitor composed of entirely of "green" materials under the mentorship of Yury Gogotsi, PhD, director of the institute and distinguished university and trustee chair professor.

His research included international collaborations and resulted in several prestigious publications, travel awards and fellowships, including one in China. Dyatkin also completed a co-op at the Army Research Laboratory, and participated in scientific policy advocacy visits to the U.S. Congress. He said, "Drexel has an incredibly strong record of successfully developing novel materials and concepts. I am extraordinarily grateful for the experiences and achievements that Drexel made possible."

Looking to apply his skills to address more of society's crucial needs, Dyatkin accepted a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Research Fellow position at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. 

Akshay Finney

Drexel’s signature experiential learning opportunity, better known as co-op, connects students with full-time professional work enabling them to build their resumes while they earn their degrees. Drexel alumnus, Akshay Finney, was one such student who combined his master’s degree coursework with industry exposure through a co-op in the emerging cybersecurity field at Meditology Servicesa healthcare information technology security company. 

While new to the healthcare IT industry, Finney brought a sound knowledge of cybersecurity. “With respect to my technical skills, Dr. Harish Sethu’s Web Security series was invaluable. The beauty of the course was that it wasn’t just for engineering or math majors,” reflected Finney, who thrived in the interdisciplinary nature of Drexel’s cybersecurity program.

Finney’s co-op also propelled him ahead of his peers before his approaching graduation. “As an international student a full-time job is something that weighs heavily on your mind,” Finney, who is originally from India, explained. So, when Meditology Services offered him a full-time position before Drexel’s Commencement, he not only jumped at the opportunity, but also knew he was ready. Finney was just about fully trained when he started his first day as an associate, saying, ”I knew what to expect right off the bat.” He now works on innovative IT risk management and ethical hacking teams, traveling from cities ranging from Buffalo to Los Angeles, ensuring the critical security of healthcare providers.

Elizabeth Nicholls

Driven to find gaps in existing research and address issues of social injustice, doctoral psychology student Elizabeth Nicholls focused her work on the psychosocial functioning of hospitalized children and their families within underserved populations. 

Nicholls gained valuable research experience at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and upon graduation accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Delaware. She said, "I was fortunate to collaborate with international researchers on projects, which I frequently spearheaded. I am proud to say that these projects resulted in publications or presentations that have publicized the challenges faced by some of the world's most vulnerable children."

At her fellowship Nicholls will work on her next goal: developing and implementing culturally sensitive psychological programs for children with cardiac conditions and their families. 

Sergey and Yuriy Smolin

While searching for PhD programs, twin brothers Sergey and Yuriy Smolin were drawn to Drexel’s Chemical and Biological Engineering department because of its reputation for research in sustainable energy. Five years later, still enthused by their decision and now armed with doctoral degrees, the Smolin brothers are taking on their next milestone together: as engineers at Intel.  

With recognition from research publications, collaborations, presentations, and awards, the Smolin brothers had career choices in both academia and industry. The opportunity to put academic theory into practice in creating a final product, is one of the reasons the brothers chose to pursue careers in the technology industry. 

“Earning our PhD degrees at Drexel has been the most engaging, challenging, and rewarding endeavor that each of us have accomplished thus far,” they reflected. “Under the mentorship of our advisers our critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills have improved tremendously.” Read more about their experience.

Bryan Spinelli

Bryan Spinelli enrolled as a doctoral student in Drexel's rehabilitation sciences program with the ambitious goal of making a significant difference for cancer survivors.

Spinelli's collaborations with physical therapy clinicians and his research focusing on rehabilitation enabled him to develop a standardized physical assessment for cancer survivors that is now being used in physical therapy practices throughout the region. 

Upon graduation, Spinelli was awarded with the Outstanding Promise Award for physical and life science across the University. As he continues with his cancer rehabilitation program development and direct patient care as a physical therapist and rehabilitation clinical specialist at Rhode Island Hospital, Spinelli credits "the faculty and staff of Drexel for their guidance and support which enhanced both my professional and personal growth."