2023 Cooperative Education Awards

The Cooperative Education Awards celebrate the continued success of our Drexel Dragons' co-op experiences. 
2023 Cooperative Education Awards

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 2023 Cooperative Education Award winners.

A Message from Ian Sladen

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

Congratulations to Our 2023 Cooperative Education Awards Winners

As we applaud the winners of this year’s Cooperative Education Awards at Drexel University, please enjoy these remarks from Ian Sladen, vice president for Cooperative Education and Career Development.

Experience is Key: Amplify Your Impact with Drexel Co-op

Students who participate in Drexel’s Co-op program can best speak to its benefits. From being able to test-drive future career options to shaping the future of their industries — all while still in school — Drexel Co-op provides guided and supported experiences that enable students to expand their professional networks and start making an impact right away. View our special video featuring the 2023 Cooperative Education student award winners.

Experience Is Key: Amplify Your Impact With Drexel Co-op

Drexel Co-op provides guided and supported experiences that enable students to expand their professional networks and start making an impact right away.

2023 Cooperative Education Award Student Winners

Photo of Arya AmaroArya Amaro

Dornsife School of Public Health

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Taylor Lipsich, PatientWing


During her time on co-op at PatientWing, Arya proved to be a great verbal communicator as she speaks with patients, research sites, and advocacy groups in an appropriate manner. Her attention to detail quickly became clear and she became responsible for the company's internal condition pages, which have educational information about different diseases. She utilized her outstanding creative thinking and written ability to create the template for these pages, which is now the standard for all pages at the company moving forward. Arya is also passionate and dependable, always presenting new ideas to solve problems at team meetings and even proactively working with others to come up with new projects and successfully complete them. In addition to working tirelessly to schedule patients for PatienWing's stories initiative, Arya documented many key processes/procedures for the company, established standards for sales research, and created a social media strategy for the company to use moving forward. As she proved herself to be extremely well-organized and effective at time management, Arya even assisted with interviewing new hires and developing training materials.



Diego Aragon-Guevara

College of Arts and Sciences

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Nancy Lee, Drexel University's Learning and Developmental Disabilities Educational Neuropsychology Research (LADDER) Lab


Diego showcased his initiative, creative thinking, and dependability during his immersive research experience as a joint co-op student with Drexel University's LADDER Lab (in the Department of Psychological and Brain Science) and the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute. Diego's dedication and commitment to research on neurodevelopmental disorders, and particularly autism spectrum disorder, was clear from the beginning. During his time on co-op, Diego contributed to data collection for the LADDER Lab's NIH-funded studies focused on children and young adults with down syndrome, worked to update the lab's website, oversaw numerous lab operations, and contributed to manuscript writing and poster presentations. His second abstract on examining disparities (related to ethnoracial background and sex assigned at birth) in the historical receipt of special education services for autistic adults with identified learning challenges on the Learning Needs Screening Tool was even chosen from over 100 submissions to be one of fewer than 20 oral presenters at the UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference. At the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, his professionalism was evident as he contributed to all stages of the research process, including conducting bilingual cognitive assessments with young children with suspected autism spectrum disorder (ASD).



David Austin

College of Engineering

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Ken Leibig, OMEGA Engineering


David made some of the most insightful and innovative impacts that OMEGA Engineering has experienced in his short time on co-op, as he was very professional and worked with key members on each of the production, planning, purchasing, quality, sales, product management, manufacturing engineering, and design engineering teams on various projects. For example, in the Engineering lab, David took the initiative to research, design, and build a way to improve the accuracy and response times of their newest sensor product with very little guidance. Showing clear dependability and aptitude for the work, OMEGA Engineering was able to pass products with issues David's way and know that he would be able to analyze, understand, and manipulate data to find objective solutions in no time. Within just two weeks of starting at OMEGA, David learned the engineering and physics behind their newest innovative product, made an acute observation about its patent-pending algorithm, and was the only student to ever make a contribution large enough to be included as a co-inventor on a patent filing. Even after his co-op ended, OMEGA Engineering kept David on to work part time and continue contributing to their Engineering team.



Ciara Budd

School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, & Health Systems

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Maura Diamond, Century Therapeutics


From day one at Century Therapeutics, Ciara has been critical to their success as she proved herself to be an essential member of the team. Ciara showed a clear understanding of the sensitivity and rigor required of her work as she navigated pressure and met tight deadlines while culturing tumor cell lines and contributing to the generation of critical cell reagents. While on co-op, Ciara also displayed impressive problem-solving skills and initiative in order to devise and execute solutions with little need for guidance from more senior team members. She conducted her own research and read papers with relevant protocols, ordered any needed reagents, executed the experiment, interpreted the results on her own, and sent her supervisor complete and thorough data packages, going above and beyond to provide analyzed results.



Nicholas Eltman

College of Nursing and Health Professions

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Randel Swanson, DO, PhD, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania)


Throughout the duration of his co-op at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Nick was an outstanding addition to the research team, providing key logistics and database development support. While Nick contributed greatly to many projects in the Medical Center's lab housed within the Center for Neurotrauma, Neurodegeneration & Restoration, his primary role was serving as an assistant clinical research coordinator for a survey conducted with combat veterans who have traumatic brain injury (TBI) exposure. Every week, Nick demonstrated excellent interpersonal and communication skills as he performed 25-50 outreach introduction and recruitment calls to potential veteran participants. Nick personally enrolled over 100 veterans with TBI exposure into the study and then administered the survey to these participants. After the success of the study, Nick worked to draft a case study along with an accepted peer-reviewed scientific abstract and is working on a full scientific manuscript for publication, serving as second author. All in all, Nick continuously displayed the highest caliber of initiation, dedication, dependability, and professionalism.



Clayton Falciani

College of Computing & Informatics

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Valentina Graci, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


While on co-op at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Clayton showcased great creativity and initiative when creating a code in Java that would display a touchscreen video game designed for children with cerebral palsy. He proactively took the step to re-create this video game in Python along with a few novel scenarios for the game. Keeping in mind the motor impairment that children with cerebral palsy have, Clayton then tested his game in CHOP's Magnetoencephalography (MEG) lab room while being respectful of the clinician times. Due to Clayton's incredible work, CHOP was able to create a novel testing methodology to examine brain activity during a feedback touchscreen game in the MEG laboratory. Clayton even had the opportunity to co-author and publish a method paper on this groundbreaking work.



Ashley Go

School of Education

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Tammar Williams, Henry C. Lea School: Head Start

Recipient of the 2022 John and Lisa McNichol Early Childhood Education Funded Co-op Award


While working for the Head Start program at the Henry C. Lea Elementary School, Ashley proved to be a wonderful asset to their Pre-K Head Start classroom, going above and beyond working with students in a kind-hearted manner. Ashley showcased great initiative when preparing lessons in order to get every student involved. Ashley even used songs and play observations to help assess if her non-verbal students were meeting their goals, which proved extremely helpful during parent teacher conferences and IEP meetings. Using her technical skills, Ashley was able to help keep students engaged by teaching them using interactive technology. This adjustment in the classroom made a great impact on her fellow teachers and will continue to improve future students' learning opportunities at the Henry C. Lea School.



Hemani Kapoor

Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Lusi Klimenko, University of Pennsylvania


Impressing her colleagues with the caliber of her design and web development work, Hemani consistently brought new ideas to her co-op at the University of Pennsylvania and was able to professionally and confidently communicate them to her supervisor and other team members, including senior-level staff. Not only did her excellence in design push other designers on the team to work harder and try new things, but she also introduced a level of web interactivity that had not been implemented in the past. Hemani single-handedly designed and developed an interactive webpage used to show the highest-level donors' various giving options on a high priority area of the School of Arts & Sciences website. She also designed several spreads in the school's alumni magazine (OMNIA) and was always eager to take on a new challenge, speaking up if she had questions. Hemani's maturity, preparation, and ability to handle complex work brought the University of Pennsylvania to hire her on a freelance basis.



Kirstin Newell

Bennett S. LeBow College of Business

Nominating Co-op Employer:
Kristin Gardener, DVF Studio, LLC (Diane Von Furstenberg)


While on co-op at DVF Studio, Kirsten jumped in right away and took on a project manager role for the InCharge community/network of women initiative, where she assisted the CEO, VP of Creative, PR and Events departments by working on the vendor selection process for the company's website build and facilitating communication across departments. Within her first week on co-op with Diane Von Furstenberg, Kirsten crafted an effective communication strategy tying their in-person events to their LinkedIn social media presence. Kirsten is also responsible for the success of the company's Anti Racism Fund and RAISE Fashion project — which provides paid internships, housing, and living expenses for students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) at some of NYC's most prominent fashion companies — as she did a fantastic job sourcing partners and making sure the event went smoothly.



Thomas Ricci

Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship

Nominating Co-op Employer:
George Strassner, Wholesale Craft Outlet, LLC


At Wholesale Craft Outlet, Thomas proved himself to be a dedicated and ambitious leader whose positive attitude was contagious as he inspired and motivated everyone around him. Thomas was excellent at identifying and completing tasks, even those not directly given to him by supervisors. Instead, he took initiative and improved efficiency through self-implemented best practices. Thomas leveraged his great communications skills and creative thinking to unite their workforce, operating more efficiently and cohesively as a team to complete projects and support one another in their production.

Faculty/Staff of the Year

Drexel Entrepreneurship Co-op Team

Nominating Staff: Drexel Co-op Leadership

Providing a unique opportunity open to all Drexel students that allows them to use their own business for co-op credit, the Drexel Entrepreneurship Co-op Team ensures that each student receives high-quality mentorship along with the space and funding needed to grow their existing business. As interest in startups has grown, the entrepreneurship co-op has gained in popularity and this team has maintained a terrific partnership with the Steinbright Career Development Center amidst this growth. As consistently reliable and collaborative partners, the Drexel Entrepreneurship Co-op Team communicates year-round with Steinbright throughout the application process and continues to seek feedback and input from Steinbright throughout the rest of the recruitment process. It is clear that they value the development of the entrepreneurial spirit within all Drexel students and will do whatever they can to help them succeed — this dedication extends to ensuring that co-op advisors and other professional staff members are provided with proper information and resources about this unique opportunity.

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.

Lisa Ng, PhD

Drexel University
BS Class of 2003, PhD Class of 2010


Lisa Ng, PhD is a mechanical engineer in the Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She graduated from the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at Drexel University with her bachelor's degree in 2003 and a PhD in Civil Engineering in 2010. In between her undergraduate and graduate studies, she did a two-year stint in a Taiwan architectural firm. After obtaining her PhD, she completed a one-year post-doc at NIST where she's been working since 2011.

She has been the program manager for the Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Buildings Program in the Engineering Laboratory at NIST. Her research is focused on airflow and indoor air quality performance in buildings, with a focus on low energy buildings as well as energy efficiency design and operation strategies in general. She is active in the development of strategies for incorporating more accurate infiltration estimates in building energy models and the application of multi-zone airflow and indoor air quality (IAQ) models to a range of building performance issues.

Lisa is an active ASHRAE member (and has been since her undergraduate days), serving on TC2.8 Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability, the Ventilation Subcommittee of SSPC 62.1, and TC9.12 Tall Buildings. She is active in mentoring students through several programs at NIST, including the hiring and mentoring of many co-op students. Lisa is active in affinity groups at NIST including Toastmasters, Association of NIST Asian Pacific Americans, Women in STEM, and ParentsNet.

Lisa is married with two children (12 and 9) and two dogs (13 and 8). She currently lives and works in the D.C. metropolitan area.

Employers of the Year

The 2023 Cooperative Education Awards

Nominating Students: Abigail Dech, Danielle Ruser, and Gabrielle Greco

With an emphasis on independent learning and fostering curiosity, the supportive management at Century Therapeutics provide an approachable environment in which their co-op students know that their opinions are valued as an equal member of the team, and coworkers have been known to frequently go out of their way to make sure that students are getting the most they can out of their co-op experiences. Supervisors like Daniel Perry, Thomas Brigman, and Andriana Lebid ensure that students who choose to co-op with Century Therapeutics are equipped with the knowledge, training, and practical skills needed to be successful. Century pairs a fun and engaging work with immense trust in their co-op students, which in turn inspires students to explore their work deeper and work hard every day.

The 2023 Cooperative Education Awards

Nominating Student: Simon Hui

At Twenty Acre Capital, co-op students are given meaningful responsibilities and practical job experience that builds off the knowledge gained in the classroom and gives them insight into advancing their future careers. As manager, Sam Indyawan makes sure that students are provided with numerous opportunities for mentorship that help them grow both professionally and personally. Students are given substantial feedback on their work as they familiarize themself with tools of the industry and develop their professional skills within the collaborative environment at Twenty Acre Capital


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