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Celebrating Drexel's Newest Doctorates

Dean James Herbert with Graduate Student Association leaders, Jerry John Nutor, Valerie Tutwiler, PhD, Katie Van Aken, PhD, and their families at the Doctoral Student Celebration.

June 12, 2017

On Sunday, June 11, 2017, the Graduate College welcomed Drexel's Class of 2017 doctoral graduates, their families and colleagues, to the Doctoral Student Celebration in Behrakis Grand Hall. James Herbert, PhD, inaugural dean of the Graduate College and executive vice provost, provided the following congratulatory remarks, highlighting achievements—at Drexel and beyond—of this year's more than 330 doctoral graduates.

"Good afternoon. Welcome Drexel colleagues, friends and family, and of course, our class of 2017 doctoral graduates, to Drexel’s Doctoral Student Celebration. 

As dean of the Graduate College and executive vice provost, I am honored to be here to join you all in applauding the achievements of this year’s graduating doctoral class, who have earned the highest degrees in their fields.

As you know, earning your doctoral degree is not an easy feat. It takes years of study, research, analysis, and often teaching and travelling. It takes not only considerable personal determination, commitment, and sacrifice, but also requires teamwork and collaboration. Most of all, it takes the wonderful support of your family, friends, colleagues, advisers, and faculty. Please join me in a round of applause for those here who have supported our doctoral students along their outstanding journeys towards their degrees.

This class of 2017 doctoral graduates is made up of approximately 330 students, who together, have linked theory and practice to make new discoveries and to develop novel technologies. You have presented at hundreds of conferences across the world, and received countless recognitions from awards, fellowships and scholarships. I’d like to take a moment to highlight some of these accomplishments—past, present, and future—among your class.

Among your graduating class, one student ran the Boston Marathon, successfully defended a dissertation, and accepted a tenure-track position—all within the same month.

At least three students among you received Department of Defense SMART Fellowships for Transformative Science and Mathematics Research; while at least five students earned National Science Foundation Research Fellowships; and another four of you received fellowships from the National Institute of Health.

One student among you was awarded both Bridge to Doctorate and NIH Fellowships, while another student recently accepted a joint appointment in Music and Nursing at Duquesne University. 

One student received NIH funding along with an American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, and will soon start a post-doctoral position at PENN’s Perleman School of Medicine.

A student within your graduating class was recently named Associate Chief Information Officer for Sacramento State University.

One graduate is the Founder and Executive Director of a youth advocacy and family rehabilitation foundation, served as a Fulbright Scholar and Alumni Ambassador, and was recently presented with the Community Activist award by the National Congress of Black Women.

Another received job offers from Apple and Google, before accepting a position with a start-up business—and another two graduates will start positions with Intel. 

Another student was recognized by the American Psychology-Law Society with both Outstanding Paper and Poster Awards, and accepted a position at Harvard Medical School as a National Institute of Mental Health Post-Doctoral Fellow.

One doctoral graduate, who conducted research in both China and Turkey, has accepted a job at Accenture as a Senior Analyst for Pharmaceutical Research and Development.

One doctoral graduate will begin as a fellow at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while another student was accepted into Pennsylvania’s William Penn Fellowship program.

A student among your class has served on the Editorial Committee of the prestigious journal Criminal Justice Review, and will start as a postdoctoral fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Another student among your class researched how music therapy helps dementia patients, which has been adapted by clinicians in Israel and Spain, and will be presented at the upcoming World Congress of Music Therapy.

Another among you earned the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s “Student Member with Honors Award”, one of only two students nationwide to receive this honor, and was also selected for the Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program.

One doctoral graduate will be a Center for Innovation in Mental Health Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the City University of New York.

At least two doctoral students among you completed the Grand Challenges Scholar Program, and another two were awarded Fulbright Research Grants.

Another graduate, who is now already working as an investigator at GlaxoSmithKline, received the company’s highest award for Exceptional Science – not once – but three times.

Among your graduating class, one student is a columnist for the Huffington Post.

A doctoral student among you is the founder and developer of "Parent Tube,” which produces short videos for parents of children with disabilities.

One graduate among you received the German Academic Exchange Service Research Internship in Science and Engineering, while another has accepted an Assistant Professor position at a Science and Technology University in China.

All four graduating doctoral students from Drexel’s mathematics department have accepted assistant professor or post-doctoral fellow positions in academia—a first for the department.

And finally, one student among you received the most prestigious pre-doctoral award given by the NIH; authored 27 manuscripts and book chapters; made 67 conference presentations; won the Graduate Student Researcher Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies; and received job offers from Yale, Minnesota, and North Dakota before accepting a faculty position here at Drexel.

As you can see, the diversity of your accomplishments and the scope of your interests is exceptional. I sincerely congratulate each and every one of you on your paths to becoming the intellectual leaders of the future. I know you will only continue to achieve more as you take on the vast possibilities of this ever-changing world.

I hope that you embrace the uncertainty that often comes with change. I hope that you will be life-long learners and scholars. I hope that you continue to use your talents and skills developed at Drexel to find solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. And finally, I hope that you will come back and share your new knowledge and experiences with Drexel’s future classes of doctoral students.

Please enjoy this well-deserved reception and celebration with your family, friends and colleagues. Congratulations, again, and best wishes for your future endeavors."