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The Latest Shoutouts: Westphal Student, Faculty, Staff & Alumni Achievements

January 19, 2021

Celebrate the students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design in this round-up of recent accomplishments.

Faculty & Staff Shout-Outs

Over 30,000 Drexel AJ Flex Face shields were donated and distributed to more than 100 hospitals, rehabilitation and nursing home facilities, EMS and police departments, educational institutions, clinical practices and nonprofit organizations, thanks to the efforts of faculty and staff across Drexel University, including Erik Sundquist, Associate Teaching Professor, and Raja Schaar, Program Director of Product Design.

Raja Schaar, Program Director of Product Design, and Chris Baeza, Program Director of Design & Merchandising, presented their research “It Was a Lack of Imagination,' Except Someone Thought of It: Teaching Ethics with Science Fiction” at the VentureWell OPEN in March 2020; presented “Using Design Fiction to Teach Ethics in Design” at the International Design Conference in September 2020; and are set to present “Design, Disaster, and Impact: Connecting Cli-Fi, Ethics, and Social Entrepreneurship to the Future” at the VentureWell OPEN in March 2021.

D.S. Nicholas, Program Director of Design Research, and her research group Integral Living Research, including Dornsif School of Public Health’s Yvonne Michael and College of Arts & Sciences’s Shivanthi Anandan, recently published their article “Covid-19 Home Sign-Posts" in the Health Issue of ENQ (Enquiry).

Stuart Fineman, adjunct faculty in Visual Studies, has work on display in ART MATTERS 2, an online exhibition that shows a field of tension but also a symbiotic dialogue between the individual artworks. Stuart Fineman was one of 15 finalists in the exhibition curated by Galerie Biesenbach. To view his work, click here.

Blaise Tobia, Professor Emeritus in Visual Studies, and Virginia Maksymowicz were published in Hyperallergic for their article, “The Forgotten Federally Employed Artists.” Read the full article.

Kathi Martin, Professor and Associate Director of Graduate Fashion Design, presented “Sharing Historic Fashion through the Digital Archive/Access and Interoperability” at the CIDOC Conference 2020 organized by the Museum of Art and History of the City of Geneva, Switzerland. This conference addressed an important, but often ignored societal issue: digital transformation in cultural heritage institutions. The paper is co-authored by Design Research graduate student Claire King and Nick Jushchyshyn, Program Director of Virtual Reality & Immersive Media, and discusses the work of the Drexel Digital Museum Project (DDM) in best practices production and documentation of 3D interactive images for historic fashion.

David Beker, adjunct faculty in Architecture, has won the Juror’s Award for the 21st annual Works in Wood exhibition for his furniture piece, “A Deconstructed Tea-Chest” at the New Hope Arts Center. The exhibition celebrates the woodworking heritage of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. View the Works in Wood virtual exhibition.

Clare Sauro, Director and Curator of the Robert and Penny Historic Costume Collection (FHCC), was quoted in a December 7, 2020 Washington Post article and The Seattle Times’ December 16, 2020 article “This is our pajama moment” about the transformation of pajamas to athleisure in light of lockdowns. Read the full article.

Harris Steinberg, Executive Director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, was interviewed for a January 5, 2021 KYW Newsradio “In Depth” podcast. In “America’s roads, rails, and bridges are in bad shape for bad reasons. Can the U.S. finally fix its infrastructure?” Steinberg discusses the challenges behind fixing and enhancing America’s infrastructure and what needs to happen before one of the wealthiest nations in the world decides to invest in itself. Listen to the full podcast.

Robert Weizner, Assistant Teaching Professor in Music Industry, was quoted in the Harvard Political Review article, “A New Genre: Empathy, Sound, and Creation Amid the Pandemic” published on January 13, 2021. Read the full article.

Jason Schupbach, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design Dean, was featured in “Drexel Deans Look Back at 2020,” a two-part series showing how Drexel deans reflected on the innovations, challenges, and lessons learned from 2020.

Raja Schaar, Program Director of Product Design, was a featured speaker at the Anchorage Museum of Rasmuson Center lecture Anchorage Design Week: Future Landscapes: Product Design with Abhas Misraraj + Raja Schaar on October 8, 2020.

Student & Alumni Shout-Outs

Alumna Gabrielle Conforti (BS Design & Merchandising ’07) was promoted from Chief Merchandising Officer at Urban Outfitters to President of Urban Outfitters North America.

Alum Donald Rehmann, Jr. (BA Architecture ’91) joined Muhlenberg Greene Architects as a project manager, where he will oversee New Commercial Architecture, Architectural Restoration and Repair, and Adaptive Reuse projects from initial planning and schematic design through construction completion. Rehmann brings over 20 years in architectural design and construction management experience. Read more.

Alumna Laura Petrovich-Cheney’s (MS Fashion Design ’93) artwork, “All the Light Within,” was selected to be part of the Radical Tradition: American Quilts and Social Change exhibition at the Toledo Art Museum, on view through February 14, 2021. “All the Light Within” resembles a classic eight-point star quilt and is made of painted wood salvaged from natural disasters that have destroyed homes.

Alumna Adrienne Harding (MS Arts Administration ’15) was selected to participate in Sphinx LEAD (Leaders in Excellence, Arts & Diversity), a 2-year leadership program designed to evolve the industry landscape by empowering the next generation of executive leaders. Eleven Black and Latinx arts leaders were selected from around the country to participate in the third year of this transformative program. Learn more about the Sphinx Organization.

Elliot Dickman, Animation & Visual Effects student, was selected to attend the 2021 National Collegiate Research Conference (NCRC) as a plenary speaker hosted by the Harvard College Undergraduate Research Association (HCURA) from January 21-24, 2021.

Interior Design & Architecture graduate students Tiffany England, Anna Fowler, Sarah Jahanbakhsh and Colin Lott received IDEC Foundation Graduate Scholar Awards based on their response to the question, “What has drawn you to the interior design education profession?” The winning scholars will have an opportunity to participate in virtual mentoring meetings with nationally recognized educators, Katherine Ankerson (Professor and Dean, University of Nebraska, Lincoln) and Shawna Corry (Professor and Dean, University of Idaho).

Interactive Digital Media senior project Souvinear, a mobile app for music communities, received Honorable Mention in the 2020 Webby Awards. Senior projects Pluto Social, an experimental social network that focuses on fostering meaningful connections, and Boldly, a unique marketing platform that connects like-minded creators and brands, took Gold in the 2020 MUSE Creative Awards competition.