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The Latest Shout-Outs: Westphal Student, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni Achievements

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

November 15, 2022

Faculty & Staff 

D.S. Nicholas, associate professor of Design Research, was recently awarded a $15k grant from the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative, a highly competitive program that supports applied research projects that enhance the value of design and professional practice knowledge. Her project, "Age Friendly University and Community Creative Spaces," is a collaborative effort to demonstrate how the university can further its commitment to being an Age-Friendly University (AFU), and develop a model for implementing age-friendly improvements that align with the university’s commitment to civic engagement.

Assistant teaching professor and program director of Design & Merchandising Chris Baeza participated in Future Forum 2022: Fabricating the Future at the German University of Applied Sciences. She was a panelist on the topic of fashion identity, alongside Hannah Glaser, a Masters student from HAW Hamburg, Isabel Slone, independent journalist.

Antonio Martinez-Molina, associate professor of Architecture, is part of a research team that was awarded $200,000 by the William Penn Foundation for a 24-month project titled: Academic Network to Support Urban Water Resilience (ANSUWR). The research team includes principal investigator Franco Montalto of Drexel Engineering, Robert Traver and Bridget Wadzuk of Villanova University, and Ellen Kohler of the University of Pennsylvania.

Debra Ruben, academic associate dean and associate professor and Ulrike Altenmueller-Lewis, Department Head of Architecture, Design & Urbanism were awarded $351,000 by the William Penn Foundation to support “Playful Learning by Design.” A collaboration with Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network (PLLAN), the project aims to develop a university-level course on playful learning for architects and designers that will be available to higher education instructors across the country.

Along with Mohammad Gharipour, University of Maryland, Daniel E. Coslett, assistant professor of Architecture published a new edited volume entitled "Islamic Architecture Today and Tomorrow (Re)Defining the Field." The book, which addresses the study and creation of historic and contemporary Islamic architecture around the globe, is available now from Intellect/University of Chicago Press. 

Dr. Joe Hancock, professor of Retail & Merchandising, released his 9th book, Fashion Brand Stories 3rd Edition, through Bloomsbury Press. The book launched on October 20th, 2022 and features stories about some of the world's top brands and designers. Dr. Hancock's work also includes interviews with industry professionals and Drexel alums such as for Design & Merchandising alumna Nancy Mair, Executive Vice-President of Nordstrom Rack.

The Visual Studies Program of the Art & Art History Department is pleased to partner with The Study at University City in presenting a solo exhibition of paintings by our faculty member Bruce Pollock. The exhibition runs through January 4, 2023 with an opening reception on Thursday, December 1, 5 - 7 pm.

Art & Art History professor Jen Blazina has been invited to participate in the 2022 Glass Art Fair represented by Habatat Detroit Fine Art of Royal Oak, MI. She will be showing a series of works, Cutting Ties, in glass, screen print and bronze. This work is based on letters sent to her grandmother's family and an homage to her profession as a seamstress. Jen has been invited to display two pieces in 2022 InVision exhibition at the Banana Factory in Bethlehem, PA. The works will be mixed media pieces which combine glass, bronze, photography, steel and screen print. Jen has also been invited to contribute a print to Vox Populi’s first ever $99 Sale Exhibition. This exhibition is a fundraiser which features over 100 different pieces of artwork by talented local and national artists. All artworks are the same size and same price with names revealed only after purchase. The money raised through this exhibition will be poured right back into tangible efforts to support and showcase the Philadelphia arts community.

Drexel was mentioned in an Nov. 2 West Philly Local event feature as a partner in Theater X's production of "Pac and Biggie Are Dead" at Mandell Theater. Link to story.

Dr. Laura-Edythe Coleman, director of the MS in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership, was quoted in a Hyperallergic article about a group of scholars who stepped down collectively from the American Alliance of Museums’s Museum Studies Professional Network, citing infringement of their academic freedom. Link to story.

Kaisha Askins Blackstone, a teaching professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, was quoted in an Oct. 26 Philadelphia Inquirer story about the original version of the "Dancing on My Own," the Calum Scott version of which has become the Phillies' unofficial anthem during their run to the world series, and how composition copyrights ensure that the artist, Robyn, will receive royalties when any version of it is played.
Link to story.

Bill Fennelly, an associate professor in Westphal College, was mentioned in an Oct. 24 Broadway World article about "People's Light" and the world premiere of "Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto," for which Fennelly is the director. Link to story.

Jeff Apruzzese, an assistant professor in Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and director of the Music Industry program, was quoted in an Oct. 16 Philadelphia Business Journal story about the program being named to Billboard magazine’s “2022 Top Music Business Schools” list. Link to story.

Nick Anselmo, teaching professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and theatre program director, was quoted in a Nov. 9 Broad Street Review article about a co-production between Drexel and Theatre in the X, “Biggie and Pac are Dead,” at Mandell Theater. Link to story.

Students & Alumni

Distinguished alumna and Rankin-Epstein honoree Katherine Dowdell, AIA was selected as a 2022 John Frederick Harbeson Award Recipient. Kathy Dowdell has over 25 years of experience in architecture, interior design, and historic preservation. Learn more.

Design & Merchandising alum Jessica Hervey (’20) graduated with a Master's in Sustainable Fashion Management at Sustainability Management School (SUMAS).

Kathy Chung (Graphic Design ’22) is a Vietnamese American graphic designer who successfully funded a calendar she created for 2023. She is working with environmentally conscious local businesses to print the calendar, which began as a class project.

Tanda Francis (Graphic Design ‘99) was profiled in an Inquirer article "Meet the artist who will finally give Marian Anderson her Philly place of honor." Ms. Francis is a Brooklyn based artist and sculptor who is creating the long over-due statue of the famous Philadelphia-born contralto Marian Anderson. The statue, which will be titled Freedom Rings, will stand outside the Academy of Music. Link to Article.

Zoe Wolfe (Game Design & Production ‘20), software engineering team lead, QuotaPath, was featured in Philadelphia's RealLIST Engineers 2022, which highlights 20 influential, creative and impactful technologists who are shaping the Philadelphia tech scene. Ms. Wolfe started her career at QuotaPath as an intern, then a software engineer, and was promoted to team lead this year. She was also named QuotaPath's Navigator of the Year, a peer-nominated award based on the company's values, in January 2022. Link to Article.