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Celebrating Students in Research: Summer 2023

October 23, 2023

STAR Scholars

STAR Scavenger hunt
STAR Scholars Scavenger Hunt

Summer in UREP is all things STAR! Our 2023 STAR Scholars spent 10 weeks tackling advanced research projects with the guidance and support of their faculty mentors. This year’s cohort spanned nine Drexel colleges and schools and worked with mentors from 13 different colleges, schools, and institutes at the University. In addition to working on their projects, they attended workshops and drop-in hours to learn research and communication skills and connect with other offices at Drexel. At the end of the summer, 35 students participated in the STAR Scavenger Hunt, traversing Philly to find famous landmarks and hidden gems.

STAR Quick Pitch Competition

39 students participated in this year’s STAR Scholars Quick Pitch competition. Judges heard pitches over four initial sessions, selecting eight students to participate in the final round. Congratulations to all of our participants, and especially our three winners!

Emily Woodland presenting at the Quick Pitch
Quick Pitch winner Emily Woodland

1st Place: Emily Woodland, biomedical engineering ‘27, “Drexel Dragon Heart: Next Generation Blood Pump Design for Pediatric Patients with Heart Failure”

2nd Place: Madhu Karuppiah, biomedical engineering ‘26, “Starving Breast Cancer in the Brain”

3rd Place: Julia Wiafe-Jackson, global studies ‘26, “EcoHIV Effects on Reward Seeking Behavior and Striatal Microglia Function”

2023 Summer Showcase
2023 Summer Showcase

Summer Showcase

We were thrilled to host the 2023 STAR Scholars Summer Showcase in a new location: Bentley Hall! STAR Scholars, faculty mentors, UREP and PHC staff, friends, and family filled the first floor of Bentley on August 31. Scholars presented their research posters and explained the results of their projects to attendees. We were so pleased to invite new and familiar faces into Bentley and look forward to future Showcases in our home on campus!

Miss the Summer Showcase? View summaries of all the projects in the 2023 STAR Scholars abstract booklet!


Luphi Gao, mechanical engineering ’24, published “Parametrization of Energetic Ion and Electron Fluxes in the Near-Earth Magnetotail” with his faculty mentors Dr. Dmitri Vainchtein (Drexel) and Dr. Anton Artemyev (UCLA) in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. Luphi is a former STAR Scholar and current member of the SuperNova Undergraduate Research Fellows Program.

Nadia Bouras, biological sciences ’24, published “Prefrontal modulation of anxiety through a lens of noradrenergic signaling” with her mentor Dr. Wen-Jun Gao in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. Nadia is a former STAR Scholar and Velay Fellow.

Abe Jeyapratap, computer science ’25, published “Analysis of Structural Brain Network Topology Alterations in Autism and its Relationship with Autism Severity” in the 2023 IEEE 20th International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI), now indexed in IEEE Xplore. Abe received a 2023 Winter Mini-Grant to work on this project with Dr. Yusuf Osmanlioglu in the College of Computing & Informatics.