2018 President's Awards Winners
Award for Excellence
Melissa Ayers, MS, is the Research Program Administrator for Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and the WELL Center in the College of Arts and Sciences (CoAS). She has represented CoAS on the University's Research Administrators Advisory Committee since the committee's inception in 2015. Prior to joining CoAS, Melissa was the Program Coordinator for Recruitment, Marketing and Grants in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department in the College of Engineering. Melissa's background is a combination of engineering and science – her two bachelor's degrees are in electrical engineering and biomedical engineering from Drexel, and her master's is in neuroscience from Thomas Jefferson University. Before returning to Drexel as a professional staff member, Melissa worked as a research associate in the neurology department at Jefferson, studying the effects of different wavelengths and intensities of light on human physiology and behavior.
Danielle Kopicko is currently Associate Director of the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute. She first joined Drexel in 2009 after completing an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.
At the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute, Danielle manages all educational, international and research programs in the area of nanomaterials at Drexel. This includes oversight of Drexel's Korea Co-Op NNFC-Drexel Nano2 Co-op Center, the Erasmus Mundus Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion (MESC+) M.S. program, and most recently, she worked with faculty across the University to establish an interdisciplinary M.S. degree in Nanomaterials within the College of Engineering. She works diligently with students, faculty and colleagues across the University to promote this growing, multidisciplinary field.
Rebecca Signore joined Drexel University in January 2014 as the Director of the Center for Academic Success on the Center City Campus. In her current role as the Director of University Academic Success Initiatives, she oversees support services including academic coaching and tutoring for the Center for Learning and Academic Success Services (CLASS). She also works closely with colleagues across the institution as a member of the Learning Alliance. In addition to her leadership roles, Rebecca works one-on-one with students as an academic coach, helping them to refine and strengthen their study skills, behaviors and habits. She holds a BA in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in English Literature from Arcadia University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English at Old Dominion University, and her research interests include American modernism and the rhetoric of learning and student success.
Civic Engagement Award
Early Childhood Literacy and STEM Team
The Academy of Natural Sciences brings over a decade of experience in providing training and programming for early childhood educators and families in the city of Philadelphia. It all began with a grant funded program in 2008 titled, A Head Start on Science, and has evolved into a new citywide initiative, called Science and Literacy for Success (SLFS). SLFS includes three distinct projects that support over 55 early childhood classrooms and benefit over 1,000 families, providing programming, support and training both in-school and out of school. Building on the Academy's expertise as a leading science institution in Philadelphia, these innovative new programs successfully bring science and literacy skill acquisition together to encourage a lifelong love of learning.
Award for Diversity & Inclusive Community
Center for Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE)
The mission of The Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE) is to affect institutional change in STEM teaching and learning across the educational spectrum by conducting, catalyzing and supporting fundamental research. CASTLE was founded in 2014, and is currently home to more than ten funded projects. The center is rooted in Drexel's long history of experiential learning and innovation in STEM education, embodied by both the Co-Op program and the E4 program, an NSF-funded, inquiry-based curriculum pioneered by the College of Engineering in the 1980s. Recently, CASTLE has not only been successful in securing new funding for STEM education initiatives, but also in becoming part of large, national programs focused on improving STEM education, including the UTeach and CIRTL (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning) National Networks which encompass 78 top universities.