Custom-Designed Major (CSDN) alumni go on to do incredible things after graduation. CSDN graduates have furthered their education in graduate school, law school, and medical school. Some have started their own businesses while others are collaborating across the private sector.
The following is a list of CSDN alumni and a brief description of their individualized major completed during their time at Drexel University.
My major is based on the belief that interdisciplinary collaboration is key for successful efforts towards a more sustainable future. Key elements of my curriculum include design; both fashion and product, sustainability, and environmental science, chemistry and a bit of materials sciences. In order for my designs to be successful in leaving little environmental foot print, it is crucial to have an understanding of the materials used and their impacts, as well as how economic and social factors influence environmental efforts. Sustainability is not only about the environment, as most assume, but just as much about people and their quality of life. Driven by the desire to help solve our problems of over-consumption, not add to them, I designed my curriculum to prepare myself best I can with an arsenal of knowledge that will allow me to make choices that are beneficial to our world in my future designs.
My curriculum design, "Applied Mathematics & Music", follows the approach of the STEAM academic philosophy (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). It combines theoretical and practical subject matter alike, dealing in math, computer science, signal processing, music theory and performance, and music industry technology. I've also spent my free time during the years pursuing an understanding of storytelling. Outside of the classroom, I take on new hobbies that I take pretty seriously (right now, it's cooking), in order to continue expanding the scope of my multi-disciplinary abilities. I work at a music technology company, Impact Soundworks, as a Software Architect for music production software used by professional composers in all industries. I am also writing the soundtrack for the aesthetic contemplative game "Sole", created by Philadelphia indie-developer Gossamer Games.
My major combines visual arts and humanities to highlight and strengthen their connections and create a unique perspective on art and humanity. One of the goals that inspired my major was to make commercial art more academic. However, this makes engaging with commercial art less accessible. For my senior project, I used my humanities background to create an effective argument for art accessibility, and I used my art background to present said argument accessibly: in a comic book.
Toward the end of my undergraduate studies, the focus of my major shifted toward an entrepreneurial outlook revolving around a communal spirit. Through my custom-designed major of music journalism—at its core, a combination of Communication, Music Industry, and Music courses—the skills I learned and the spirit of collaboration I grew to embrace helped me create and shape BLIGATORY. BLIGATORY provides a community-focused approach to music journalism, seeking to create an inclusive environment that revolves around music-based discussion. Post-graduation, I plan on continuing my work with BLIGATORY and expanding it to multimedia platform with a sustainable business model, and more importantly, a tight-knit and welcoming community of music listeners.
My major combines the disciplines of science and technology studies, global studies, sociology, and political science to study the interactions between knowledge production and policy impact. There is often a gap between researchers and policymakers that can lead to harmful policy decisions. I want to understand how people in power at the highest levels of government work with academic institutions such as think tanks to inform their policy decisions. By exploring the flow of the policy process through an evidence-based lens, I hope to explore how situations like COVID-19 and other pandemics are impacted.
Technology is the best friend of creative destruction. Technical co-founders sit at the crux of business, technology, and design. It is critical to be proficient in very different areas to start a successful technology company. My major does this by removing the breadth from three different fields and keeping only the certain areas of depth critical to starting a technology company. All of the classes in these areas prepare me to find a product and market, design a compelling software solution, and orchestrate its implementation.
I aim to apply an interdisciplinary approach to the study of our food system, from agricultural production, to retailing, to consumption, to address the ever-pressing problems of food justice, environmental degradation, and ill health that comprise our relationship with food. By studying the food system holistically through a lens of social entrepreneurship, I hope to find sustainable solutions through business as well as communication and policy measures. Our methods of producing food, our health, and the health of our environment are interconnected; food studies and entrepreneurship intends to explore these links and, in doing so, develop outcomes for a well-nourished world.
My objective is to harness the power of storytelling and the principles of business, so I can not only write and direct film, but also produce and distribute it in a way that seeks to positively impact the world in both practical and entertaining terms. An entrepreneurial skillset and approach is vital because I will found and operate my own studio, a task that will demand high expertise in both filmmaking, and in the leadership and efficiency unique to business.
The main focus of my studies is to look internationally at nutritional problems and also the politics that are involved with solving or lessening these nutritional problems around the world. I would like to focus on women's health in rural Asian and African societies. My major is a combination of Anthropology, Public Health, Political Science, Nutrition, and International Area Studies.
My Custom-Design Major combines fashion, marketing, and public relations on a global scale. Everyone wears clothes, which means the fashion industry will be around for years to come. With almost 8 billion people on the Earth my job is to understand how I can communicate across the globe so I can market a product to them correctly. During my time at Drexel, I took courses in Design & Merchandising, Communications, Marketing, and International Business. My coursework has allowed me to better understand how other cultures communicate among themselves, as well as with others. For my senior capstone project, I wanted a way to be able to communicate with everyone, so I created a blog called Design by Green. Within my blog I touch on different trends going on within the fashion industry, specifically sustainable fashion, and ways that we can all improve. One step at a time we can all make a difference to make the Earth a cleaner and safer place to live!
The goal has always been to create an educational conglomerate of traditional writing courses, expansive literature classes and a component focused on "the human condition" (i.e. psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.). I designed my major around the idea of using academia to inform my worldview and, by extension, elevate my writing. While classes and learning are of great importance to me, reading and writing themselves are top priorities. Thus, I try to leave room to foster these tools alongside classes and such. My plan for the major is to keep creating top-notch art that is beautiful and dangerous.
My research incorporates the culinary arts, history, sociology, and anthropology to use food as a means through which to educate about history and culture. By understanding the path our food system has taken since its inception, and how history has influenced that path, we can have a better understanding of the root of the issues facing our food system today. This year my work has culminated in the presentation of an 11-course tasting menu that illustrates the culinary history of Philadelphia from indigenous to modern foodways. Through my research I aim to further my own culinary skills, promote the development of an equitable and sustainable food system rooted in indigenous knowledge, and educate about history and cultures through the beauty of food.
In order to better understand the way nature inherently creates balanced systems, I am exploring a multi-faceted approach to science and design. By looking at the natural world through a designer’s eye, the goal is to mimic the stable and self-healing systems that occur without intention. I believe that humanity will solve many of its current problems by looking to nature for solutions. Currently, I’m looking to launch a product designed to remove toxic compounds from air.
Art conservation is a field in which its primary concern is preserving art, achieved through highly detailed and heavily informed work. Those in art conservation will have a scientific background, most often chemistry since many historically artistic mediums are done with organic materials like flax (which is used to the liquid base of oil paint as well as linen canvas). Thus, the Foundations of Art Conservation as a major draws from these principle fields: art history, chemistry, and fine arts. This major hopes to encapsulate a well-rounded education that prepares for an introductory level of application in the real working world as well as the rigor of graduate school. The senior capstone revolves around tactile, experimental experience with a variety of materials deployed and documented by professionals in the field. The senior capstone project was an experimental procedure that focused on the effectiveness of gel-suspended detergent solutions on old varnish and grime along with a wet cleaning of Irish crochet lace.
Food is a naturally interdisciplinary field that connects people through community, environment, health, and scientific innovation. My time in the Custom Design Major at Drexel afforded me the opportunity to explore that intersection in a way that incorporated my core values and beliefs. Piecing together Nutrition, Food Science, and Public Health, with a special focus on sustainability, I work to find ways that food science and sustainable food product development can be used to solve larger humanitarian issues such as large scale food waste, malnutrition, and food insecurity. Most of my work within these four years, and moving forward, centered around healthy, community based upcycled food products. Supporting marginalized communities, staying culturally competent, and respecting the environment have always been at the forefront of my personal and professional goals and this program provided me the space to continue making them a priority while studying my academic and intellectual passions.
My major built the idea discipline of Data Science from the field’s components including mathematics, statistics, computer science, and information science. With that base of analysis, I choose to apply it to finance. My capstone project took nontraditional data and applied it to finance. Specifically, I researched retail investor decision making, and how volatility changes based on those factors. My data sources focused on Robinhood, Reddit (namely r/wallstreetbets), and pricing data. Though my specific research question didn’t yield the anticipated results, I still feel some validation for seeing the GameStop frenzy playout as I wrapped up my research.
I am interested in exploring the field of Neurochemistry, which examines how neural systems are affected by chemicals. I seek to close the gap between understanding these systems at the biomolecular level and understanding how this forms the mechanism by which which organisms learn and adapt to their environments. We are defined at every stage of life by the experiences that we have, from the chemical levels of sensory input through every resultant biomolecular response that comprises our perception of it. Understanding these mechanisms that define our experience of the world is for me fundamental to understanding not just who I am as an individual, but how, despite our differences, we are all the same.
I have always been interested in the brain, particularly in regards to mental illness. Thanks to the Custom-Designed Major Program, I was able to spend my time at Drexel studying Cognitive Neuropsychology: a holistic examination of the brain and its function in relation to psychiatric conditions. Following my studies, I completed a Senior Capstone in which I investigated the prevalence of mental illness in the college population. I interviewed students in order to understand their perspectives on mental health and illness on campus, particularly at Drexel. This research demonstrated a much greater need for education about mental health for all members of the campus community. My capstone project has fueled my interest in continuing to raise awareness about mental health and becoming an advocate for those experiencing psychiatric conditions.
My major combines the areas of film, business, and music into one major that focuses on film production and creating music. I also take general business courses, such as Entrepreneurship and Accounting, to help me better understand the business of film. Knowing the business alongside the production will give me a better understanding of the industry as a whole. Since I hope to direct and score movies someday, this major is the perfect way to combine all of the areas I need to learn in a structured and concise way.
In the age of technology, there are now countless ways to tell a single story. Because of this, I’m building a major that encompasses the traditional idea and method of storytelling, in both the business and creative worlds, and how these stories can come into fruition by utilizing new and upcoming media and technology. To do this, I’m studying different aspects of the humanities and design theory, and balancing that out with various studies in digital media and web development. My mission is simple: I want to tell stories, and I want to help others tell their stories in a fun and interactive way that is appropriate for this new technology based generation.
My custom-designed major aims to draw a bridge between medical professionalism and the general public. Complex medical terminology is often difficult to understand by non-professionals and there still remains a gap today between the two areas. My major combines communications and science courses with a focus on human health, anatomy, and disease. Areas of study within my major include Biology, Communications, Public Health, Health Sciences, and Health Services Administration. With a solid STEM foundation, medical background, and communications base, I hope to use the skills learned from my major to identify, solve, and advocate for health related issues for the public while being a better physician.
My major, E-Commerce Business Development with a Focus in Fashion, is centered around helping artists monetize their creative skillset. As a kid, I never thought it would be possible to make a living as an artist — until I started doing it. Now, I run two different clothing brands “BLADE” and “KEMO!”, collaborate with dozens of like-minded artists, and help other creatives turn their passions into a viable career. I created my major to fill in the gaps in my own knowledge. More specifically, I am interested in bridging the gap between art and business. Although research surrounding creative entrepreneurship is still in the early stages, there are a number of actions and tools that an artist can leverage in order to be successful. My capstone project explored the question, “How can a creative make money?” Although, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, the digitalization and globalization of our world has allowed artists to hustle in a smarter way. The “starving artist” is now full.
Paleontology and Digital Reconstruction is the study of extinct life and use of 3D digital space to enhance the methods of paleontological research. Paleontology builds on two main disciplines: geology, to interpret the context of fossils in Earth’s history; and biology, to understand the anatomy of extinct organisms and how they lived and functioned. Digital reconstruction involves 3D scanning fossilized bones and using various methods drawing from biomechanical engineering to reach conclusions about the mechanical functionality of extinct organisms.
As a Cognitive Neuroscience major, I am interested in higher cognitive function and its underlying physiological and biological processes. Through my curriculum and co-op experiences, I aim to learn more about human cognition & behavior as well as the tools that allow us to study the brain. My curriculum consists of psychology, biology, and computer science courses, supplemented by philosophy, political science, and other humanities. By examining human cognition through multiple lenses, I aim to gain a holistic understanding of the cognitive science field and use that knowledge in applied research settings, from developing human-centered technologies to informing public policy.
Architectural Conservation and Sustainable Living comprises the theory and application of conservation ideology in the built environment. I integrate historic preservation, sustainability goals, holistic environmental theory, and social construction into the conceptual redesign and planning processes of spaces. The Custom-Designed Major provided a mentor to help me patch up my career plan, the freedom to explore what I want, and the resources to help me get there.
After graduating from a democratic alternative school, where I spent the last two years of high school, the Custom-Designed Major Program proved to be wonderful for my myriad of interests and my non-traditional approach to education. By combining Environmental Policy, Economics, Public Health and Storytelling I am addressing the triple bottom line. I equate environmental policy to the environment portion, economics as the growth and development segment, and public health as the social part of the triple bottom line. Storytelling is found at the intersection of the three rings that make the triple bottom line, as storytelling is what bonds it all (and us all) together. Ultimately I am interested in Urban/City Planning. I also chose to include storytelling as part of my major because I am interested in helping those living in urban populations to tell their stories about their health and their environment. Additionally, having an in depth understanding of communities’ needs, wants, and aspirations is a critical part of inclusive, comprehensive planning. The storytelling portion of my major was in large part inspired by radio programming such as The Moth, This American Life and the local community initiative, First Person Arts. In addition to planning I am concurrently interested in academia, specifically academic advising—which essentially is planning in a different context.
My major examines the interplay between music, theatre, and storytelling; how they influence and improve each other, and how they combine to create the ultimate live storytelling mechanism. Specific coursework included the likes of music theory and composition; acting and performance techniques; music and theatre history; playwriting workshops; dramatic analysis and adaptation; and relevant humanities and social sciences courses. My aim with these disciplines is to aid in the development of new works of musical theatre, so naturally my capstone project centered around creating a new music-forward theatrical piece. Over the course of my senior year, I wrote and composed an hour-long one act musical, then, through a collaboration with another senior at Drexel, produced a staged reading with an all-Drexel student cast, crew, and creative team.
My custom-design curriculum fuses the plans of study for students within the Design and Merchandising, Entertainment and Arts Management and Entrepreneurship programs. Courses included in my major aim to provide knowledge within fashion product design, production, sales, marketing, and communications. Incorporating digital media courses allowed for a study of nuances that the digital age presents and how traditional ways of marketing and product promotion have been altered. Navigating my own professional career acts as a field study; presenting an opportunity to practice skills learned in the classroom and share my wins and losses to a community of young creatives. My capstone project focused on the ideation and initial build out of “Sane Brains”, a creative professional development workshop offering practice material, resources, and industry-expert insight. Post-graduation, I plan to build out this initiative further to service like-minded individuals looking to tap into the creative/fashion industry.
The Custom-Designed Program has been the highlight of my time at Drexel and has allowed me to craft the perfect education for myself. I was able to combine Psychology, Product Design, and Entrepreneurship. Through CSDN I have found an amazing group of untraditional learners through this program and I am so pleased to call so many of them friends and mentors! With the lessons I've learned and the networks I've been able to build, I am going to continue on with my two LLC's that I created during college, while teaching entrepreneurship part-time at a local high school in PA. The biggest takeaway that I have for all of us, is to treat the world like our Custom-Designed Program and co-ops: stepping stones and curiosity led.
My major is an overall study, starting with preliminary design and leading to final execution, of sustainable buildings and their corresponding systems. Through engineering studies, I can understand underlying building systems, and therefore how to reduce waste and energy consumption. I’m combining this with Architecture to gain proper drawing techniques and learn about the structure of buildings, and Interior Design to create healthy interior spaces. Tying it all together, I’m studying Sustainability in the Build Environment and Environmental studies to gain an in depth understanding of Sustainable designed buildings and their systems.
Cryptography and steganography are two sides of the same coin. Cryptography is concerned with protecting information by making it impossible to read without the correct password, while steganography is concerned with protecting information by making it invisible to eavesdroppers. Both fields draw upon advances in mathematics, computer science, and digital media to effectively secure and conceal private data from prying eyes. Together, cryptography and steganography are central to many important rapidly developing applications including secure banking and e-commerce, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, digital signatures, and digital rights management. Through this course of study, I hope to push the boundaries of data security and make security more accessible to the general public.
There is not a single product that we consume in today's world whose supply chain does not impact the environment. In too many cases, this impact is negative and we do not understand, or even see, what implications our consumption habits have on the world around us. In my major, Sustainable Product Development, I am learning how to take social and environmental considerations in our supply chains and bring meaning to the term 'transparency' in product sourcing and manufacturing. In the future, I'd like to assess supply chains and ensure that companies are using ethical and sustainable practices in a consulting or compliance role.
Combining Communications, Fashion Design and Merchandising, Sports Business and Entertainment and Arts Management, I crafted a curriculum around a major titled “PR, Crisis and Brand Management in Fashion and Sports Media”. I used Communications as the overarching discipline for a major tailored to the ever-changing and ever-evolving popular culture landscape with specific focus fashion and sports. This interdisciplinary model was driven by the need to explore the intersections of fashion, sports and entertainment as they pertain to society as a whole and what their effects have been and what they will be as we move forward. In conjunction with these areas of focus I chose to also explore the way social justice has been affected and pushed forward within these fields. I have plans to attend law school and work specifically in the realms of fashion, sports and entertainment, while paying close attention to how the world if effected and in turn how the world effects them. With the rise of Name. Image and Likeness regulations in college sports and the fixed need for athlete and fashion companies image and brand management I believe I designed something that is exclusively tailored to my interests but also the needs of the world around me.
Analytic Finance and Investment Theory is an attempt to understand investing with a wider lens that focuses just as much on the “why” as the “how”. Combining Finance and Economics with Philosophy, Psychology, Math, and a wide range of social sciences, I am seeking to better understand what drives and motivates investors to make decisions in order to make better predictions and develop better formulas for my own investment strategies. The Custom-Designed Major program allows me to go beyond the traditional Finance education that teaches the existing paradigms, and instead supplement in my own foundational analysis and critical reasoning.
My major is based on the strength of learning from communities (specifically women, girls, and sexual and gender minorities) that are most vulnerable in low-income countries. These low-income countries are among the countries in the world called ‘majority’. What does it mean to learn? To learn is to understand the various creative and resilient ways that marginalized groups have been navigating systems and structures in their home countries. ‘International Development and Policy’ takes from the disciplines of political science, economics, and sociology. My capstone project was a culmination of research that I conducted on Guatemalan feminist grassroots groups. It was synthesized with the goal of increasing awareness about their work but primarily to highlight their funding needs to international donors.
"Healthcare systems in emerging markets struggle because 80% of medical technology is designed for 10% of the world’s population." — Sisu Global Health
Through my custom-designed major, I hope to bridge this gap and make healthcare technologies more accessible to people in global health sectors. By drawing from global health, health administration, and biology, I hope to understand the limitations of the current healthcare systems in both first world countries and developing countries. By recognizing the complex technical, political, and cultural barriers in place in different areas, we can successfully implement low-cost, effective medical technologies into the global healthcare infrastructure that have the potential to save millions of lives.
My major focuses on the biological background in studying our mind, the molecular processes, the signaling pathways, the growth and division patterns, behind neurons and their accessory cells. It also applies psychological concepts of mental processes to gain a fuller understanding of our mind. With every breath you take, every image you see, every word you read, even right now, your mind is firing signals and interpreting stimuli behind it all. Our lives as we know it are centered on our mind’s ability to receive, process, and communicate stimuli within itself. The complex machinery of the mind, and the subsequent mental processes that follow, is a broad and relatively uncharted territory. After years of research on the brain, we have only scratched the surface of what is to be discovered. Neurobiologists work to uncover these secrets, to gather more understanding of this elaborate and beautiful machine that we use every second of our lives. With a background in the molecular mechanisms of cell biology, neurobiology hopes to apply this information to the circuitry in our brain.
I am a versatile designer merging design, visual art, and biomedical sciences. Coining my studies as “Intelligent Human Design”, I like to think of myself as the missing link between art and science. Most of my coursework is between biological sciences and product design, and this combination of curricula is a way to bridge the barriers between healthcare and artistic design. Art and science are complementary in a way that their consilience is not the same as an artist and scientist working together - I define the collaboration. After acquiring a diverse portfolio of experience in technology start-ups and healthcare, my goal is to create efficiency consultation that focuses on UX for healthcare, hospitals, and international travel. I want to bring a creative and analytical eye these environments to make sure they produce the best human experiences possible.
The Custom-Design Major program allowed me to integrate my passion for the fashion industry with a deeper dive into the motives of consumers. I studied fashion through an interdisciplinary lens by focusing on courses in Design & Merchandising, Marketing, Art History, and various areas of Sociology. With an industry that is so heavily focused on pleasing the consumer in order to drive up sales, consumer behavior was a fitting focus for my educational focus at Drexel University. Understanding the inner workings of market research and consumer motives has allowed me to view my career experiences at Mundi Westport and MantraBand with a more creative lens.
Before I began applying to colleges, I was told repeatedly that it was a terrible idea to specify in neuroscience as an undergraduate. Although I heeded the warnings, I knew my passions revolved around the brain, so I formed a new plan: I would take two opposing perspectives relating to the brain, study both, and connect them back to the brain independently from my classes. Thus, I came to Drexel University to double major in Chemistry and Psychology–Chemistry would provide an internally-based and scientific explanation of brain functioning, while psychology would provide an externally influenced and individualized basis for brain functioning. I quickly realized, however, that it was implausible to graduate on time with that particular dual major when also completing the pre-medical requirements. Fortunately, I discovered and became a part of the Custom-Designed Major Program which allows more room for gaining perspectives in the field of neuroscience. Hopefully my choice of curriculum, along with Neuroscience Association of Drexel University – a student organization beginning the process of recognition in July 2013 – will provide a foundation for Drexel to establish an Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience.
As a Humanistic Health major, I am interested in understanding the relationship between public health and individualized patient care. To explore the interdisciplinarity between public and patient health care, my coursework consisted of biology, psychology, criminology, and public health classes. Biology and psychology provided the framework for understanding an individual’s mind-body connection in relation to their health while criminology and public health provided the framework for population-based healthcare. Through my curriculum, co-op, and co-curricular experiences, I have experienced the many interactions between my four disciplines that work together holistically to shape the life course of an individual. It is my hope post-graduation to continue to explore the link between patient care and public health in my future endeavors in the health care field.
I define journalism as the process of going out into the world and bringing back its stories, connecting the audience to people and places they have never seen. The journalism I am pursuing is not limited to any one medium or method, and is instead focused on telling important and resonant truths. I created my major because the skills I need for the new age of journalism must be flexible in an increasingly connected world and might not parallel those of the journalists who came before me. This major is centered on journalism and incorporates courses from digital technologies, cultural studies, and design fields.
With a vibrant combination of Game Art and Design, Computer Science, Psychology, Sociology, Entrepreneurship, and Management, my goal is to be the heart of a creative team of game designers working to tackle some of the world's most relevant and deepest-rooted problems: questions of war, poverty, identity, innovation and tradition to be investigated from skin to core one video game at a time.
As a Custom-Designed Major student, I study a combination of music industry, entrepreneurship, and applicable social sciences. My goal is to sustain a flexible and fulfilling career in the music industry that allows me to accomplish the goal of improving the lives of young adults. For this reason, I incorporated coursework in my major relevant to young adult behavior such as classes in psychological problems of modern youth, urban sociology, and family psychology. To develop the skills to accomplish this goal I took entrepreneurship courses related to startup companies and market need analysis such as startup law, startup consulting, and launching new ventures.
Through my major, I combine neuroscience, psychology, criminology, and public policy disciplines intending to use the understanding of the brain to inform policies and laws in the criminal justice system. Currently, the US correctional system is known to be overcrowded and houses individuals with mental health concerns. Through careful application of neuroscience research, I developed a report on current neuroscience research that could lead to effective reform of these problems. I then presented my findings to the communication officer at SiS, a juvenile justice care center for at-risk youth in Sweden. Moving forward, I am excited to continue deepening my understanding of neurocriminology as I learn more about criminal justice reform from a neuroscientific lens.
With this program I am able to look outside the traditional scope of fashion education and learn how the apparel industry is affected by global issues, including those social, political, and economic. This type of wide-reaching, self-driven education is vital in understanding and solving the problems that apparel companies face today when making decisions.
With cities rapidly trending upward as desirable places to live, parallel to the increasing urgency of environmental concerns, critical inquiries about the nature of sustainability in the urban context are continually gaining relevance. Scholars must examine definitions of sustainability from a multiplicity of perspectives as well as the interplay among them. Using progressive theoretical frameworks of Sustainable Urban Design and Development integrated with social science methods of inquiry, this major explores how city-dwellers perceive their place in the urban context and subsequently how they negotiate their physical environment with larger social constructs to create meaning in the built-environment.
We live in challenging times with limited resources where many around the world are unable to fulfill their needs. I am studying human health and its relationship to the environment (natural and built), with the aim to design and develop sustainable, culturally aware solutions to address issues related to basic human needs such as food and water access. It combines three very different fields (environmental engineering, public health, and global studies), in order to provide the necessary foundational skill set to work across boundaries to help move the world to a better place.
Through the combination of applied design and art and design history and theory, I hope to bridge the gap between the concept and practice of design. Drawing from fields such as Graphic Design, Art History, Philosophy, and Entertainment and Arts Management, I study the relationship between art, design and society. Design Theory has allowed me to pursue work in the museum, graphics, and art management fields to experience design from multiple perspectives.
My major is an intersection of design, environmental studies, and social sciences. Throughout my time here I have focused on the importance intentionality. This led to my capstone project, a journal meant to encourage self- reflection and cultivate curiosity. It is a space for vulnerability where I explore topics like change, loss, perception, communication, choice, resiliency, and community.
From my first day at Drexel, my goal was to follow the pre-med track and continue on to medical school to ultimately practice as a physician. I knew early on that I didn’t want to take the traditional biology major route and with careful thinking I came up with Neurotechnology. My custom-designed major incorporates the fields that I believe function together to make me the most socially relevant doctor, with a neuroscience focus. The disciplines include: biology, psychology, and biomedical engineering. Biology and psychology work together to create a neuroscience base and provide me the foundational knowledge on the human body and human behavior. Biomedical engineering exposes me to the technological advances arising in the medical field. The combination of these disciplines assures that I give equal attention to the mental and physical health of an individual while also being equipped with the knowledge on the latest medical technology.
My major Quantitative studies in Natural Sciences focuses on using quantitative and computational tools along with concepts from physical and life sciences to address questions about brain and behavior. A central question in psychology and neuroscience is how learning and memory are manifested by changes in the brain. Episodic memories are thought to be stored in synaptic connections between hippocampal neurons that code for space and time, but connectivity and coding in the hippocampus continues to change even when there is no apparent learning or forgetting. Through my capstone project, I developed a computational model that uses dynamics in connectivity to generate dynamic representations. I evaluated the model using mathematical analysis and computer simulations to assess the patterns of representational dynamics, compared simulation results with experimental findings, and studied how these dynamics could benefit learning and permit stable memory.
Through the combination of software engineering, interactive digital media, human-computer interaction, psychology, and entrepreneurship and innovation, I hope to bridge the gap between design and development. I want to craft digital experiences and products that are enriching for people. Design is more than making things look aesthetically pleasing as it is about solving everyday problems through the lens of people. I want to deliver exceptional experiences through digital innovation and apply design thinking to address and solve everyday issues in this ever-changing technological advanced world. My Custom-Designed major has allowed me to draw from these concentrations so that I can develop meaningful informational and sociotechnical systems by learning about the psychology of human-computer interaction while developing my skills in software development, design, and leadership in the eyes of digital innovation.
As humanity's impact on the environment continues to increase, actively solving issues in sustainability is urgent. Major conflicts facing modern society include climate change, biodiversity loss, environmental injustice, and more. I desire to gain an in-depth scientific understanding of environmental systems and the environmental disturbances caused by human activity. Furthermore, I aim to develop the technical skills necessary to solve environmental issues through architecture and urban design. Architecture and infrastructure have a huge impact on the environment. I aim to advance a career in which I approach urban design as an environmental scientist. Optimal design choices can only be made with a thorough understanding of their complex consequences on local and global systems.
My major brings together the disciplines of Entertainment & Art Management, Design & Merchandising and Entrepreneurship to create a curriculum that focuses on entertainment and arts related commerce. Through my education, I am learning about several key subject areas including but not limited to artist and audience development, copyright protection and law practices, product development, supply chain management, marketing, physical and e-commerce platforms as well as entrepreneurial ideology and start up pitching. In my career, I would like to focus on providing opportunities for independent visual artists to create merchandise as a way of gaining exposure and a more sustainable career. With my degree, I would also be able to pursue a career in the music industry either in a record label’s merchandising department or for their tours and festivals.
My major connects Retail and Design, Communications and Journalism, and Marketing to create an interdisciplinary study of the fashion industry as it relates to media and journalism in our increasingly digital world. There are fashion programs with heavy focuses in merchandising, marketing, or design, but there are none that have kept up with the ever-changing media landscape. My goal with my custom-design major was to pursue a well-rounded understanding of editorial fashion, the retail space, and the American media consumer as well as obtain the fashion industry knowledge, journalistic experience, and digitally-focused business acumen needed to move forward as a fashion writer, editor, and critic. My senior capstone project was a manuscript of personal essays and interviews revolving around pieces of clothing from my personal wardrobe, and as the current fashion editor at Seventeen, I hope to continue to share other people’s stories through the lens of fashion.
Nearing the end of high school, I was conflicted as to which of my passions I wished to pursue. Through robotics competitions and personal endeavors, I had developed a love for the world of programming. However, the strong role listening to music had played in my life lead me to crave being involved in the creative process of it. As such, I originally entered Drexel as a Music Industry major. When I learned of the custom major program, I was overjoyed- I could now combine my passions for technology and music into a unified plan of study. My major overviews music from the perspectives of both composers and studio engineers, and additionally encompasses classes in programming and digital signal processing that are necessary for the implementation of music software. No matter what career the skillset I’m building here leads to, I hope to have a lifelong involvement in the worlds of music and technology.
I am a literary artist with a lifelong love of writing. My major includes coursework in writing, English, social science, and business. My social science classes help to better inform my writing, while my business classes support my entrepreneurial interests. A key component of my major is project-based learning. Through my self-directed projects and running my own studio, I have been able to complete several story-based games and other literary work, both interactive and static.
I have pulled from Criminal Justice, Computer Security and Technology, and Intelligence Analysis, which consists of HUMINT (Human Intelligence, psychology), to GEOINT (Geographical Intelligence, Geology and related studies), to SIGINT (Signals Intelligence, Electrical Engineering). Developing attacks and exploiting zero-days are a cornerstone to the cybersecurity objective of my major. Being able to draw conclusions and predict human behaviors will help the government predict attacks and prevent potential loss of life.
At a young age, I began playing the drums and took up playing other musical instruments from there. I developed a love for data during this time, as well, which would carry over into my college career. Upon entering Drexel as a Custom-Designed Major, I combined my interests in music and data, as well as an interest in legal studies, to carve out my major. After graduation, I am looking to pursue a career in business intelligence or data visualization to leverage my data knowledge as well as my creativity.
There are many fields where numbers can be used to explain qualitative phenomena, and my major aims to cover disciplines where quantitative models play a key role in the development and application of theory. My coursework focused on finance and economics with complementary courses in physics and data science to cultivating the ability to model in any setting. My capstone project focused on building a suite of economic and financial models that are implemented in the investment framework for Drexel’s DragonFund. The major complemented a separate undergraduate degree in Math, where I built a strong foundation for many of the tools that would play an instrumental role in the models seen in the custom design major’s disciplines.
By combining my background in science with design, I learned how to improve interior spaces, while benefiting patients, staff and even the financial aspects of hospitals. Given that I studied a scientific approach to problems throughout my education, I acquired a scientific mindset to solutions. When I examined a space, I was curious to learn about ways to improve it that were scientifically based. This was what sprouted my interesting the biophilic design. Each design aspect in this type of design is backed by science and research. In addition to what looks the most aesthetically pleasing. I was the most curious about what designs are most effective and researched. I hope to continue my education through a Master of Science in Interior Architecture and Design.
Video games have evolved to become an excellent medium for storytelling since the dawn of the first titles for the most popular franchises that still persist today. With narrative at the forefront of my work, I wanted to develop a major that bridges the game design process, digital art, creative writing/screenwriting, and 2D animation. My ultimate ambition is to craft a story that reflects the greatest of our human values and traits, as well as some of the worst imaginable—a story that transcends mediums and is not restricted to a single demographic. One of my foci involves analyzing the character-player relationship and how it is initially built from the start of a game to its conclusion. In addition, I am very interested in the underrepresentation of minorities in media, particularly in video games and in literature. It is my dream after graduation to participate in the ever-growing industry of independent game development as an unconventional, yet highly curious artist who is constantly in search of new ways to bring my worlds and characters to life.
From the unethical treatment of garment workers to the extreme decline of the environment and the growing demand for fast fashion, the fashion industry can no longer ignore the need for sustainability. Sustainable Design Management, as a major, stands at the intersection of fashion and the environment, focusing on how we can change our business practices for the betterment of the earth. Combining Design & Merchandising, Environmental Studies, Organizational Behavior, and Sociology, my major looks at how we can make fashion a force for good. My interdisciplinary approach bridges tangible concepts (like product, marketing, and sales) with intangible concepts (like sociological theory and environmental data.) By examining the fashion industry through an environmental and social lens, I can understand the complexities of sustainable development. I hope to cultivate a fashion industry that relies on ethical and regenerative practices through business consulting.
My major combines technical skills in art and business, with creative methodologies for critical problem solving and idea generation. This combination allows me to both innovate in a business environment and bring a value-focused lens to my creative work. With an interest in the business world, and a desire to find outlets for personal expression, this major has allowed me to figure out how a creative skillset fits in a system that traditionally undervalues the arts while benefiting greatly from them. For my capstone research I worked to develop a company that restructures the digital organization industry into a more user-focused and interpersonal environment. Through research, teamwork, and independent exploration, I learned to validate my ideas and collaborate with others while remaining true to my creative vision.
My goal is to achieve an interdisciplinary understanding of the dynamics that impact the behaviors, goals, and success of organizations. My academic coursework is focused on ethical practices, organizational management and behavior, personal and professional development, team development and leadership. I have been an active member of the Drexel Community, and a dedicated member of Greek Life and the Undergraduate Student Government Association. I have served in many campus leadership and mentorship roles which, along with my COOP experiences, have furthered my understanding of successful organizational dynamics. My professional career will focus on assessing and guiding leadership and employee development to support the values, missions, and visions of organizations.
Kate’s Custom-Designed Major pulls together mathematics, statistics, probability, finance, economics, and risk management to study Actuarial Science – a discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk and predict future events in finance, insurance, and other industries. Kate’s major consistently heavily of courses from the College of Arts and Sciences including many Mathematics courses and English, philosophy, and writing courses, as well as courses from the Lebow College of Business including finance, business statistics, economics, and accounting courses. The flexibility of the CSDN major also allowed Kate to take computer programming courses within the College of Computing & Informatics, since many actuaries are required to conduct some level of coding. For her capstone project, Kate applied her actuarial skills to help a group of environmental, mechanical, and civil engineers to design potential solar and wind alternative energy sources for Tyonek, Alaska, a small Alaskan Native American village. Kate was responsible for completing environmental, community, and financial risk assessments to determine the risk of various alternative energy sources, as well as completing financial and cost analyses related to the design and implementation of alternative energy system infrastructures being designed by the engineering team.
My major in Social Design integrates environmental studies, design fields such as visual communication, architecture and design research, and the disciplines of economics, and sociology. I am interested in how the built environment affects social behavior, and how design can be used as a translational framework to communicate ideas between science and engineering. For my capstone project, I focused on environmental design and created Bloc Magazine that combines the intersections of nature, science, and design. It explores areas such as biocommunication, ecological prosthetics, and new ontologies for describing our relationships with nature and features artwork alongside articles to support an arts-science activism approach. I plan to pursue a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture to explore new approaches in interacting with our natural and built environments.
I love the private sector. My program is a tailored combination of how the private sector manages risk and crafts policies towards controlling their environmental impacts. This endeavor is centered around the belief that the private sector should function as its own best regulator, and that environmental protection can emerge as a function of risk management and protecting a company’s bottom line. I am particularly interested in impacts on water supply and availability. My present research focuses on developing a risk management model as a tool for municipalities to address recent harmful algae blooms (HABs) affecting municipal water supplies.
Nowadays, shows such as The Daily Show with Trevor Noah or The Colbert Report are as popular and well known as media networks like CNN, NBC, or Fox. Whether it's online, on tv, or through the radio, many people listen to satirical comedians on a regular basis. Some take it at face value while others use it as a source of news and a foundation to form political opinions. I wanted to build a major that understood the psychology and philosophy behind satirical mass media communications as well as applicable skills related to this. My primary focus is on how satire and comedians play a role in political discourse.
I entered Drexel with a strong desire to pursue a pre-dental track, but I did not simply want to major in Biology. Given my career aspirations, I would like to not only learn the necessary hard-core science that I will need, but I would also like to be able to communicate with patients and make them feel at ease in a dental chair. I came to Drexel with the desire to take many courses in Biology, Psychology, and Spanish. However, I soon found out that in order to graduate in a reasonable time frame, a triple major would not be possible. I am grateful that I found out about and the Custom-Designed Major Program. My Custom-Designed Major, Humanistic Biopsychology, will allow me to integrate Biology, Psychology, and Spanish into one cohesive whole. By the time I receive my diploma, I will have the skills I will need to interact with all different types of patients and understand where they are coming from, no matter what the situation.
During my undergraduate degree at Drexel, the Custom-Design Major program allowed me to integrate my passion for food with my interest in environmental conservation and public health. I studied food through an interdisciplinary lens which highlighted culinary arts, food science, environmental science, sustainability, nutrition and public health. Thus, throughout my internships and experiences working with the Drexel Food Lab, urban farms in Philadelphia and the hunger relief organization Philabundance, I employed my knowledge of each of these disciplines. As a recent graduate, I am confident that I will view my entire career with this interdisciplinary mindset. I hope to work to create a sustainable food system that is more beneficial to all.
I am interested in the impact of science and technology on society with a concentration on the interaction between humans and prosthetics. The short list of areas of study includes, sociology, history, anthropology and biology. Yet, I’m open to integrating more disciplines into my course of studies. I was inspired to develop my particular curriculum for two reasons. The first reason is because of the uniformed reliance of science and technology by humans and the ways we deal with its’ abundance. Secondly, I’m interested in how people with prosthetics cope with a world that was not built with them in mind. I don’t have a future plan for my major concretely set in stone yet, and will see where the classes take me.
The program gave me the opportunity to combine typically disconnected disciplines to obtain the skills necessary to pursue the type of career I wanted. Specifically, I wanted to pursue a career in automated trading since high school. Such a career combines computer science, mathematics and finance to automate trading of assets in financial markets
In Nuclear Weapons Free World Peace on the Earth, Amit Ray declares: “The power of biological weapons is ten times more than the nuclear power. Unless we act fast with an open mind, any one of them can extinct the human race.” Biological security and defense is an ever-evolving field that requires an interdisciplinary approach bridging the gap between science and policy. In today’s world understanding biological threats, whether man-made or naturally occurring is vital to the safety of our population. Biological defense and security encompasses preparation, response and recovery from biological agents. Elements of my curriculum include Virology, Epidemiology, Public Policy, Disaster Recovery & Continuity Planning, Data Science and Information Visualization. The CSDN program has allowed me to pursue my passions through my coursework and in the real world as a Homeland Security Fellow. As far as the future is concerned, I will obtain my master’s degree and take on influential roles in policy, science, and public health across private and public sectors.
The goal of environmental marketing is to provide a strong background in the fundamentals of environmental science research, marketing practices, and audience framing to provide well informed support for scientists trying to expand their reach. Scientists in fields like environmental science and conservation biology tend to be too underfunded to afford outreach support and under-educated in the best practices of communication with those outside of their fields. This results in insufficient outbound communications and an ever growing gap between the general public and scientists. My capstone project was focused on developing a guide for scientists in fields similar to environmental science to improve their communications with the general public. My goal going forward is to further my education in best practices in science communications to provide marketing support services to scientists and science supporting non-profit organizations through my company, Telemitra Inc. To learn more about the history and mission of Telemitra Inc. please visit Telemitra.
While there is some overlap between art and design, they are not the same thing. Design is more than just typography and pixel perfect shapes and colors. Design is solving everyday problems with a mouse and keyboard. The role of the designer is constantly evolving; with my plan of study, I intend to receive a degree that zeroes in on those changes and ensures that I will be prepared to succeed once I graduate. With my major there are three core areas of interest: User interface/User Experience Design, Product Design, and Entrepreneurship, with a strong focus on programming and full-stack design. My Custom Design Major will allow me to understand more about human-computer interaction, while heightening my design and leadership skills.
My major combines Architecture, Environmental Science, Product Design, and Engineering. The goal is to specialize in urban sustainability through innovation of existing structures. By using new technology to enhance natural processes, a more sustainable design can be created. This curriculum is preparing me for the applications needed to build better engines for converting algae to biofuel or being able to create an air filter by building and designing high efficiency living ecosystems that maximize the carbon cycle. My Major tackles these ambitions through both design and research.
Entrepreneurship & User Experience draws heavily from digital media, design, psychology, computer science, and business. My goal in creating this major is to understand how we interact with technology, how the systems we interact with are created, and ultimately how they can be improved. By doing this, I believe I can become an innovator, using technology to address issues in areas like sustainability, education, and medicine.
My custom-designed major allows me to pursue my interests in three vastly different disciplines, namely the humanities, health sciences, and biological sciences, in a unique way by combining them into one entirely new plan of study. Through taking language, public health, biology, and international health courses, this major will give me the initial tools I need to make a lasting change in the healthcare of not only the United States, but also hopefully in the healthcare of developing countries all over the world as well.
With the garment industry being one of the most polluting industries in the world, it is time we start looking inward and start asking questions. My major combines environmental sustainability, workers' rights, textiles, and garment production in order to explore the who, what, and where's that pertain to our clothing. By combining these fields, I hope to become an expert in nature-centered garment production and to educate others about putting value back into their closets.
I’m drawing from the fields of education and digital media, as well as psychology and creative writing to study the effects of television and film on education: specifically for children from 8 to 12. I hope to enter the digital media industry to create quality programming for youth.
Aurora’s Custom Designed Major is Human-Environment Interaction with a focus on Anthropogenic Climate Change. Combining Ecology, Sociology, History, and Public Health; this program aims to understand the relationship between humans and the environment through an integration of ecological and social knowledge, and to apply this knowledge to climate adaptation. As climate change becomes a larger threat to public health, it is important to implement climate adaptation strategies that consider the history and sociology of the communities they aim to help. Aurora’s capstone project is a comparative case study that uses two communities with water based livelihoods to examine the social aspects of each community that influenced the success or failure of climate adaptation strategies .Through an understanding of the social and historical aspects of how a community forms a relationship with the environment, this project exposes and emphasizes the connections between man and environment, and uses these connections to make inferences about how to preserve these communities ecologically and socially.
My coursework consists of a combination of neuroscience, cognitive studies, biology, psychology, economics and health care systems courses. I am particularly passionate about the relationship between the brain and human/animal behavior. Although both the biological sciences and the psychological sciences appear to align in their methods, the ways in which those in the two disciplines view what is ultimately the same system differs significantly. Both practice empirical inquiry and promise objectivity, yet, both perceive the relationship between the brain and behavior quite differently. As a custom – design major student, I hope to help bridge the gap between the fields of biology and psychology through my study of the human brain and apply this unique academic experience by pursuing a career in the healthcare system. I became instantly enthralled with the study of the human brain after taking my first cognitive neuroscience class. The complexity of the human brain and the mysteries of its role in defining the human “self” has since been a fascination of mine. It is hard to believe that this 3-pound gelatinous blob in my head carries the weight of an individual’s past, present, and future. To be able to understand the brain from both a biological point of view and a psychological point of view requires me to embrace the complex methods of many different disciplines and to understand and execute the shift in perception that is required to be able to speak and write in such a way that I will be understood and respected by the people that make up the variety of disciplines that I draw my courses from.