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The 2022Cooperative

The Cooperative Education Awards celebrate the continued success of our Drexel Dragons' co-op experiences. These awards are given to students, employers, and faculty/professional staff for outstanding work in the cooperative education program. As the professional world continues to evolve, we are filled with pride by the excellence and resilience of our community, and we applaud the success of all the participants who make Drexel Co-op a leader of experiential education. Join us in celebrating all of our 2022 Cooperative Education Award winners.

A Message From Ian Sladen

Please enjoy these remarks from Ian Sladen, vice president for Cooperative Education and Career Development.

What if You Knew? Co-op at Drexel

By combining world-class academics with real-world experience, our cooperative education program empowers students to test-drive future career options and effectively work with the leaders of today as they develop into the leaders of tomorrow. View our special video featuring the 2022 Cooperative Education student award winners.

2022 Cooperative Education Award Student Winners

The Cooperative Education Awards recognized eleven exceptional Drexel students for their outstanding efforts in fulfilling the goals and ideals of cooperative education.

Ashley Bishop

Major: Biomedical Engineering
Nominating Co-op Employer: Kurtulus Izzetoglu, Drexel University's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

Ashley Bishop's excellent professionalism and initiative greatly impressed her co-op employer as she worked at Drexel University on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (DHS-FLETC). During her research, Ashley assisted with the implementation of experimental cognitive protocol, human experimentation, and data acquisition at the DHS-FLETC training facility and helped the design of personalized training for the law enforcement officers. She also took the lead on developing the first prototype for enabling simultaneous data collection of four physiological sensors at the FLETC training facility. Due to her incredible contributions, Ashley was immediately recruited to continue her research with Drexel and the DHS.

Nadien Zerban

Major: Information Systems
Nominating Co-op Employer: Amanda Tyler, Group One Trading, LP

Immediately at the beginning of her co-op, Nadien established herself as a dependable and resourceful member of the quality assurance (QA) team at Group One Trading, LP. Due to her excellent work throughout her time with the QA team and mastery over the company's software ecosystem, she transitioned to working directly with users of the software as a member of the application support team, where she was able to make her biggest impact. She was asked by the company to continue working beyond the end of her co-op due to the value she was adding to the operation and continues to impress those around her with her work ethic, quick learning, and sharp eye.

Casey Wood

Major: Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Nominating Co-op Employer: Cindi Landmesser, JPG Photo and Video

Casey Wood displayed extreme dedication to the field and professionalism in her communications during her co-op at JPG Photo and Video. While on co-op, she immediately applied her classroom learning to her position and returned to the Close School of Entrepreneurship with new perspectives and sharpened skills. Casey then used all she learned on co-op to kick-start her own company. After finishing her co-op at JPG Photo and Video, Casey has become a major freelancer for the company. She is currently focusing on growing her photography business.

Bhakti Marfatia

Major: Health Sciences
Nominating Co-op Employer: Chelsea Ward McIntosh, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

During her co-op with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Bhakti made her research as successful as possible in the midst of a pandemic due to her flexibility and willingness to go above and beyond to help patients and their families. As Bhakti researched detecting differences between distraction events during a driving simulation task, she was also responsible for maintaining standard operating procedures of the driving stimulator for safety events, writing the processes, and providing training for other team members. Bhakti exceeded expectations by volunteering to train new members and was instrumental in the development of an abstract that was accepted by the Transportation Research Board. She made her study team a warm and welcoming environment, providing strong leadership to the other students working on the project.

David Zurowski

Major: Biological Sciences
Nominating Co-op Employer: Daniel Hui, Tmunity Therapeutics

Since the first day of his co-op at Tmunity Therapeutics, David has integrated himself seamlessly with the company and displayed a positive, committed work ethic. Because of his capability, he was quickly assigned the same level of challenging projects and a workload equal to other scientists with advanced degrees and years of experience. His most notable projects include the development of a novel imaging platform to visualize the functionality of engineered chimeric-antigen receptor T cells (CAR T) products used to treat cancer. During his co-op, he presented his work to the entire company numerous times and received recognition from management as high as the CEO.

Jaclyn McLaughlin

Major: Materials Science and Engineering
Nominating Co-op Employer: John La Scala, DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory

Jaclyn quickly distinguished herself during her co-op position at DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory by demonstrating her enthusiasm and passion for research. During her co-op, Jaclyn developed optimal 3D printing resin formulations to study how bio-rubbers can be used to toughen thermosetting polymers for use in photo-cure additive manufacturing. She co-authored a peer-reviewed article with her supervisor and helped to create the model of the Ashby chart used throughout the document, as well as a book chapter associated with additive manufacturing of high-performance thermosetting resins — both resulting in her having two scientific publications to her name before graduating college. Jaclyn's proactivity and effort was infectious and an inspiration to others.

Fatou Diabira

Major: Public Health
Nominating Co-op Employer: Lynda Shepherd, School District of Philadelphia Kenderton School

During her co-op experience at Kenderton School, Fatou quickly made herself indispensable working closely with the school's 8th graders as they embarked on their high school selection. She was a key staff member and was always eager to research ways to improve lesson development. Her expertise, judgement, and welcoming personality led to students and staff trusting her insights as they worked with her. Her flexibility and enthusiasm made her an integral part of the school, and her professionalism demonstrated just how dedicated she is to the future of education.

Joseph Pancerella

Major: Finance
Nominating Co-op Employer: Shannon McPhillips, Mondrian Investment Partners

During his co-op at Mondrian Investment Partners, Joseph led a massive project to automate manual office processes that resulted in saving his team approximately 120 hours per year. He displayed incredible initiative by taking on an active role and was often given responsibilities similar to those of senior team members. In this ever-evolving area of the industry, Joe has helped with the efforts around gathering diversity and inclusion data from the HR Department and populating it in relevant reports/databases. Joseph was highly regarded within the company and has since accepted a full-time offer at Mondrian to start after his graduation, a testament to just how significant his contributions were to the company.

Christina Lildharrie

Major: Custom-Designed
Nominating Co-op Employer: Banu Ahtam, Boston Children's Hospital

Christina used her ingenuity as a custom-designed major in her co-op position at Boston Children's Hospital to research the effects of nutrition in the brain development of infants. From the proactive and professional way she interacted with her colleagues to the quality of her work, she showed competence and passion in her position. Her dependability meant that her supervisors could rely on her to complete her duties efficiently and within the given deadline. Christina's research has left a lasting impact on the scientific and medical community moving forward.

Madelyn Simon

Major: Elementary Education
Nominating Co-op Employer: Janae McGinnis, Belmont Charter Elementary School

Education major Madelyn channeled her creativity into developing innovative and interactive lesson plans for students during her co-op at Belmont Charter Elementary School. With her encouragement and assistance, students were able to achieve new educational goals. She impressed her employers with her willingness to work across departments such as Special Education and was able to cultivate professional relationships with other educators and administrators. Even through challenges of virtual learning, Madelyn maintained a positive attitude that benefited the students and her fellow teachers.

Hunter Hampton

Major: User Experience and Interaction Design
Nominating Co-op Employer: Richard Gottlieb, OnCourse Systems for Education

Hunter's communication skills and dependability meant that his quality of work did not suffer even while working entirely remotely for his co-op position at OnCourse Systems for Education. Though he was originally hired as an application developer, Hunter expressed interest in the specification and design process that later led him to help develop the company's new "Student Story" application. His competence meant that his supervisors did not think twice about assigning him advanced and complicated jobs, all of which Hunter executed efficiently. His eagerness to be involved in as much as possible impressed his employers, and his positive attitude and willingness to learn made him a pleasure to work with.

Employers of the Year

Jason Keiser, Mike Dotsey, and Greg Walters

Early Bird Medical Inc./Excision Medical
Nominating Student: Alison Kane

At Early Bird Medical Inc./Excision Medical, supervisors Jason Keiser, Mike Dotsey, and Greg Walters know that "mistakes" are steps toward the right answer. With their guidance and mentoring, co-op students have been encouraged to explore new interests and grow outside of their comfort zones. Jason, Mike, and Greg went above and beyond to ensure that students felt fully supported in the work they contributed to the company, and their commitment provided the foundation and confidence needed for students to make real progress in their fields.

Jim Denyer

Independence Blue Cross
Nominating Student: Cole Hoener

Jim Denyer exceeded all expectations in his role as supervisor and mentor at Independence Blue Cross. From one-on-one discussions to assisting in networking, Jim set co-op students up for success in their fields by providing them with opportunities to demonstrate their skills and encouraging them to take on new challenges. With his guidance and support, students have been able to further their careers and enhance their professional development.

Faculty/Staff of the Year

Office of Equity and Inclusive Culture

Nominating Staff: Drexel Co-op Leadership

The case managers within Drexel's Office of Equity and Inclusive Culture's have been tireless advocates and collaborators with Steinbright's team of advisors, co-op professional staff, and Drexel Co-op students. These professional staff members reach out to students to offer counsel, support, and guidance to address and resolve any workplace concerns in order to ensure that each student is fully supported in their co-op positions. They also have improved the complaint reporting and follow-up process, yielding quicker and better resolutions, as they remain dedicated to helping students make the most of their co-op experiences.

Excellence in Cooperative Education Award

Selected by members of the Alumni Board of Governors and presented annually at the Steinbright Career Development Center's Co-op Awards, this award recognizes a Drexel alum who has completed at least one co-op experience while enrolled. Nominees demonstrate excellence in their chosen fields and serve as an example of the opportunities that experiential education can provide. Nominees should also demonstrate a commitment to sustaining such opportunities for current and future Drexel students, such as through hiring co-ops.

Matthew Bahr

Class of 1995

Matthew Bahr is an Associate Fellow at GlaxoSmithKline, and currently leads a team of analytical scientists focused on pharmaceutical research using robotic high-throughput instrumentation. Dr. Bahr also sits on the Board of Directors for the Enabling Technologies Consortium, which emphasizes pharmaceutical collaborations in a pre-competitive environment.

For the first half of his career at GSK, Dr. Bahr put his mechanical engineering degree from Drexel University to work as he oversaw the operations of two pilot plants in the greater Philadelphia area. Over time, his career interests shifted to the research of drug molecules, and he went on to complete a master's degree in pharmaceutical manufacturing from Stevens Institute of Technology and then a doctorate in pharmaceutics from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Dr. Bahr is passionate about working with Drexel University's co-op program. He instituted the co-op program for his GSK group in 2015 and has mentored fourteen students since. He is most proud of having co-authored several journal papers with his former students, coached them while they have progressed into their own graduate programs, watched one of them earn recognition as the 2020 Drexel Co-op of the Year award recipient, and even hired one of his former students as a current full-time employee in his lab.

Dr. Bahr and his wife of twenty two years, Stephanie, are the proud parents of two boys. Michael is a high school student, and Christopher is a BS/MS student in the Pennoni Honors College studying chemical engineering.