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Drexel's 2017 Udall Scholarship Recipients

April 17, 2017

Congratulations to Drexel's newest Udall Scholars - Ashleigh Jugan, Vincent O'Leary, and Michelle Torelli!

We are delighted to announce that a record number of Drexel students have received the prestigious 2017 Udall Scholarship, in recognition of their leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to the environment or issues facing American Indian communities.

Drexel's 2017 Udall Scholars:

Jugan HeadshotAshleigh Jugan (BS Environmental Science ’18, Honors)
Drexel Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Watson

Ashleigh first discovered her interest in environmental research during her iSTAR experience to Finland in 2014 while working on remediation of acid mine drainage. She found similar research at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she took her first Co-op in the Wetlands Department as a field and lab technician. She is currently a member of the Undergraduate Research Leaders (Programming Chair, 2015-16) and the President of the Drexel Naturalists Association (Vice President, 2015-16). Ashleigh's career goals include research and education in the conservation and tropical ecology fields, specifically endangered species. Ashleigh received a Spring 2017 Gilman International Scholarship and Freeman-ASIA Award to support her 3-month co-op in Vietnam. She will be working directly with endangered pangolins at Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. Ashleigh previously studied abroad at the University of Sydney in Australia for five months in 2015.

OLeary SizedVincent O'Leary (BS Environmental Science & Geoscience '18, Honors)
Drexel Faculty Mentor: Ted Daeschler

Vincent O'Leary is passionate about the intersection of the environment and society, especially using data to visualize and tell stories about the world around us. At Drexel, Vincent has worked with several groups at the Academy of Natural Sciences, most recently for his co-op with Steve Dilliplane. In this position Vincent helped to set the ground work for combining all the Academy's digital records into a single database for researchers to use. Through this work, Vincent came to appreciate the data management and archival side of research, and is now working with Dr. Ted Daeschler in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology to digitize their collection of nearly 25,000 fossils. Through his research and experiences like the NOAA Hollings Scholarship, Vincent has become an advocate for communication in science, and hopes to continue sharing his interests with the public. Vincent was also named a 2017 Truman Scholar, in recognition of his potential and commitment to making a difference through a career in public service.

Michelle TorelliMichelle Torelli (BS/MS Chemical Engineering/Environmental Engineering ’18, Honors)
Drexel Faculty Mentors: Yury Gogotsi, Sabrina Spatari, and Giuseppe Palmese

Michelle is a first-generation college student and Liberty Scholar recipient who hopes to couple her chemical and environmental engineering studies to solve global environmental and energy challenges. Through the STAR program, she studied Li-ion battery storage of MXene composites which led her to publish a journal article. Michelle was the recipient of the DoE Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education as a co-op at the DoD U.S. Army Research Laboratory where she developed novel non-Newtonian fluid formulations and published a government limited-distribution article. She then completed an internship as a Materials & Process Engineer with The Boeing Company where she conducted technical reviews and evaluated models of chemical operation issues within the International Space Station’s Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and Active Thermal Control System (ACTS). Michelle is currently Founder & President of Latinos On Fast Track (LOFT), a mentor for SWE, and an Undergraduate Research Leader.


The Udall Scholarship recognizes top U.S. current sophomores and juniors, who are selected on the basis of academic achievement, leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to the environment or tribal policy and healthcare.

As 2017 Udall Scholars, Ashleigh, Vince and Michelle are among just 60 students selected nationwide from roughly 500 candidates nominated by over 200 colleges and universities. Udall Scholars receive an educational scholarship of up to $7000, participate in a four-day Scholar Orientation, and become a member of the Udall Alumni Network of environmental and tribal leaders and public servants sharing innovative ideas, professional advice, and job and internship opportunities.

The students’ selection places Drexel among the top institutions in terms of the number of Udall Scholars this year. This also doubles the number of Drexel Udall Scholars and is the most Udall Scholarships awarded to Drexel students in a single year since the program was established in 1992!

Huge congratulations to Ashleigh, Vince, and Michelle!

Special thanks to the members of Drexel’s 2017 Udall Campus Committee, who worked with the Fellowships Office during the winter term to review applications, conduct interviews, and advise nominees on their applications:

  • Shannon Capps, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Julia Novak Colwell, Visiting Fellow for the Great Works Symposium, Pennoni Honors College
  • Peter DeCarlo, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Alison Kenner, Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Center for Science, Technology and Society
  • Chris Sales, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

For more information, please visit our Udall Scholarship page, or contact the Drexel Fellowships Office.