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October 2020 Shoutouts: Westphal Student, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni Achievements

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

October 15, 2020

Faculty & Staff Shout-Outs

Associate Professor Lewis Colburn of the Department of Art & Art History was selected as one of 18 finalists for the Taouyan International Art Award at the Taouyan Museum of Fine Arts in Taouyan, Taiwan. In March of 2021, Lewis will exhibit a new work at the TMoFA, along with the other finalists for the award. Lewis is also a recipient of the Summer Research Award for Tenure/Tenure Track faculty, awarded by the Office of Research and Innovation and the Office of Faculty Advancement and Undergraduate Affairs at Drexel University.


Assistant Professor of Art & Art History Dr. Delia Solomons’s article “Marisol’s Antimonument: Masculinity, Pan-Americanism, and Other Imaginaries” is published in the Fall 2020 issue of The Art Bulletin.


Product Design Assistant Professor Raja Schaar authored “Inviting intimate conversation on our Fears and Anxieties about the Future”. Raja gave several talks including a VentureWell Zoom Webinar: Teaching Design and Innovation Online, Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) Sustainability Deep Dive, Fireside Chat “Sustainable Transportation Design”, IDSA Sustainability Deep Dive Speaker Roundtable, Black Artist, Artivists, and Designers (BAAD) Juneteeth Panel Discussion and Public Forum: “How does Black Lives matter Factor into your Creative Expression or Practice?”,  Where are the Black Designers (WATBD) “Education Panel, Fireside Chat “In Conversation with Sandy Speicher, IDEO CEO. Where are the Black Designers?”, Women in Design x being: “Barriers”, and Bellatrix Group “Health and Human Connectedness Webinar Series for Innovative ealth Leaders” Panel Discussion.


Department of Design Professor Dr. Joseph H. Hancock, II was interviewed by Intellect Books about the most recent issue of Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, of which he is Principal Editor. Joe was mentioned in a Gear Patrol article about fashion history and the gay community, and interviewed for a Mel Magazine article on the origins of cargo shorts. Joe was also quoted in an August Philadelphia Inquirer article a bout how COVID-19 will impact our vanity viewpoints. The article was published in the Chicago Tribune.


Associate Professor of Entertainment & Arts Managament Dr. Brea Heidelberg was part of the speaker seriesCentering Equityat George Mason University, alongside Ruby Lopez Harper from Americans for the Arts. Read more.


Dr. Laura-Edythe Coleman, Assistant Teaching Professor of Arts Administration & Museum Leadership, co-authored a chapter in Museum Activism titled "From the Ground Up: Grassroots social justice activism in American Museums" with Porchia Moore.


Dr. Joseph Larnerd, Assistant Professor of Art & Art History is a 2020 Recipient of a Terra Foundation for American Art Research Travel Grant. His research proposal is titled “Undercut: Rich Cut Glass in Working-Class Life during the Gilded Age.”

Toby Seay, Music Industry Professor and director of the Drexel Audio Archives, was quoted in a September Bisnow post about efforts to preserve Philadelphia’s legendary Sigma Sound Studios.


Art & Art History Professor Dr. Pia Brancaccio published “Monumental Rock-cut Images from Sri Lanka: New Perspectives” in Bridging Heaven and Earth. Art and Architecture in South Asia 3rd Century BCE-21st Centuryvol.2.  Edited by L. R. Greaves and A. Hardy. New Delhi: Dev Publishers, 2020. Pia gave a virtual lecture for the University of Mumbai & Pradaya Heritage Management Service in Pune on the Buddhist Cave Monastery at Aurangabad in June 2020.


Art & Art History Professor Jen Blazina was included in an exhibition called “Tools of the Trade” in Blue Spiral 1 Gallery of Asheville, NC. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, “Tools of the Trade” is the first of two all-women shows the gallery is hosting in 2020. Jen displayed multiple large-scale pieces from glass, bronze, print media and found objects.


The AFI Docs Grand Jury Prize for Short Films went to Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa, directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Mike Attiescored and mixed by Associate Teaching Professor of Cinema & Television John Avarese.


Civil Dialog, an interactive, digital art installation created by Frank Lee, PhD, a professor in Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and director of the Entrepreneurial Game Studio in the ExCITe Center, was featured in a SeptemberWHYY “Radio Times” episode about how to have conversations with people you disagree with.Civil Dialog was also mentioned in a Generocity story and a Technically Philly story.


The Pearlstein Gallery’s event,"Revival!", a celebration of the visual and sonic frequencies that are contained within and spill out of Black ecstatic experiences, was featured in a SeptemberBroad Street Review weekend arts round-up.

Assistant Teaching Professor of Interior Design Sara McElroy was interviewed for Women in Lighting. Watch the interview here.


Lisa Hayes, Associate Professor of Fashion Design, was quoted in a September Refinery29 article bout plus-size education and why fashion inclusivity needs to be addressed within school curricula.


Fashion Design Professor Kathi Martin attended the Digital Multilogue on Fashion Education, hosted by the Royal College of Art’s Zowie Broach, held in September of 2020 and attended by over 400 educators.

DistinguishedTeaching Professor Derek Gillman was one of three members of a panel on collaboration in building projects presented at the American Institute of Architects’ Forum on Architecture and Design, on October 8th. He spoke about his museum projects from the perspective of the client. 


Assistant Professor Nick Jushchyshyn of the Department of Digital Media, was interviewed for a Drexel News Blog piece about Fox Sports’ initiative to fill empty baseball stadium seats with virtual fans.

Assistant Professor of Urban Strategy Andrew Zitcer’s co-authored piece, The specter of the “art-less city”: Locating artists in Philadelphia’s creative economy, was published in the Journal of Urban Affairs.


Associate Teaching Professor of Music Industry Ryan Schwabe recently mixed Baauer’s fully animated second LP Planet’s Mad for Warp Records. The concept album is accompanied by a 40-minute animated film produced by Actual Objects and guest staring Eric Warehelm. The film, also mixed by Ryan, can be seen here.


Mark Beecher, Director of the Percussion Ensemble was featured in The Drum History Podcast’s episode, “The History of Rudiments with Mark Beecher.” Learn more.


Kathryn Cox, adjunct faculty of the Department of Design, had an original kimono design featured in the pages of the October 2020 issue of Vogue.


Tom Borrup, adjunct faculty of Arts Administration & Museum Leadership, authored The Power of Culture in City Planning, which will be released on November 30, 2020.Tom is also a co-author of The Routledge Handbook of Placemaking, with Cara Courage, Maria Rosario Jackson, Kylie Legge, Anita Mckeown, Louise Platt, and Westphal Dean Jason Schupbach, which will be released on December 20, 2020.


Katie Knoeringer, adjunct faculty of Art & Art History, wrote a short essay that was published as part of a collection of essays called Simple Gifts: Twelve Essays on Gratitude, edited by artist and professor Mary Stewart. Simple Gifts is available for purchase as a Kindle book, through Amazon, with proceeds benefiting food banks in Tallahassee and Ocala, Florida.


Rami George, adjunct faculty in the Department of Art & Art History, was interviewed for BOMB Magazine about their exhibition at MIT List Visual Arts Center. Rami’s work was also included in Camera Austria International's 40th anniversary issue.


Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman, adjunct faculty of Urban Strategy, was quoted in an October New York Times article recounting the benefits of crying.


Keenan Bennett, adjunct faculty of Art & Art History, organized an outdoor exhibition of flags made by Heather Raquel Phillips at the 319 building and the project was covered by WHYY.


Associate Teaching Professor John Avarese in the Department of Cinema & Television received a National Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Sound Mixing for the PBS show Articulture with Jim Cotter.

Joseph Hancock, PhD, a professor in Westphal College, was quoted in an Aug. 2 Philadelphia Inquirer article about how COVID-19 will impact our vanity viewpoints. The article was published on Sept. 6 in the Chicago Tribune.

Dr. Miriam Giguere, dance professor from the Department of Performing Arts, has been invited to guest edit a special issue of the national journal Dance Education in Practice on Virtual Dance Education.

Emmy award winning show Weird But True! edited by Associate Teaching Professor for the department of Cinema & Television Jocelyn Tarquini was highlighted in the Washington Post as best show to watch with 9+ year old children.

Fashion, Style & Popular Culture, a peer-reviewed journal specifically dedicated to the area of fashion scholarship's interfacings with popular culture and principle edited by Professor Dr. Joseph H. Hancock, II, has been accepted by Copernicus as an ICI Journal.

Associate Professor Bill Fennelly was mentioned in an Oct. 16 Deadline article about the Michael Smerconish – Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking feature-length film version of the radio and TV host’s stage performance being acquired by Virgil Films. Fennelly served as the stage director and oversaw the recording of the one-time performance in the empty, storied Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA.

Post-production Facilities Manager and adjunct faculty for the department of Cinema & Television Nick Natalicchio produced opening night of the concert series featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center with sound mixing by Assistant Teaching Professor John Avarese.

Alumni & Student Shout-Outs

Amanda Forastieri, a recent graduate of the Fashion Design program was featured in a Woman’s Wear Daily article as the winner of the 13th annual Supima runway show design competition.


Two senior teams from the 2020 Interactive Digital Media Class won Gold awards in the MUSE Creative Awards. Boldly, a personalized marketing platform, was created by Interactive Digital Media students Mel Gross, Caroline Scheinfeld, Claudia Bonitatibus, Ryan Van Dongen, and students from the College of Computing and Informatics (see full team roster and learn more here). Pluto, an experimental social network, was created by Sarah Bray, Mike Carbone, Rob Nashed, Woo Song, Clay Tercek, and Veronica Lin (learn more here).


Nicole Haddad (MS Fashion Design ‘08) and her brother Jordan's environmentally friendly fashion company, Lobo Mau, were featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about how they are adapting to the work at home environment by creating a new line of "work-from-home attire."


James Acker (Screenwriting & Playwriting ’16), received a Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. The prestigious fellowship is awarded by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that runs the Academy Awards. James’ script was one of five selected from 7,831 entries to receive the $35,000 fellowship award. Read more in Variety and Deadline.


Aaron Kaminski (Entertainment & Arts Management ‘16), a professional mini golfer from Linwood, NJ and an entertainment manager at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, was interviewed on Action News about what it's like to be a contestant on the hit ABC show Holey Mole where contestants compete for the ultimate prize of $250,000. He grew up playing mini-golf in Ocean City, NJ, and today, he is the president of a mini-golf league called O Street Mini Golf in that shore community. Mr. Kaminski travels around the country reviewing mini-golf courses for his YouTube channel. He also competes in high stakes mini-golf tournaments. 


Six Design & Merchandising (D&M) students, Zenobia Barnes (‘20), Abby Bender (’20), Stacie Bernhaut (‘20), Julia Krawiec (’20), Nelly Saad (‘20), and Tatiana Krakhmaleva (’21), are finalists inESRAP 2020 Student Merchandising Competition. Sponsored by the Educators for Socially Responsible Business Practices-ESRAP, the juried poster competition empowered students to become change agents through the application of socially responsible business practices. On or before October 30, 2020, the final winners will be selected by industry professionals working within the area of sustainability and social and environmental responsibility at VF Corporation, parent of The North Face, Vans, and Timberland. The D&M students’ posters can be viewed on the ESRAP’s website.


Thom Wall (MS Arts Administration '15) published Juggling: What It Is and How to Do It with Modern Vaudeville Press. Read more about Thom in Chestnut Hill Local and St. Louis Today.


Two Graphic Design students are recipients of 2020 Graphic Design USA Web Design Awards. Recent graduate Matthew Barnett (’20) is recognized for his project, Network (Broadway Play Website), and An Bui (’21) is recognized for NDEO Website RedesignLearn more. 


Tiffany England (MS Interior Architecture & Design ‘21) received the Teaching Assistant Excellence Award for Academic Support from Drexel’s Graduate College. Read more.


Game Design & Production student Tara Boonngamanong was selected as one of Google’s 2020 Women Techmakers Scholars for Gaming. Learn more.


Fashion designer and Project Runway finalist Nancy Volpe Beringer (MS Fashion Design ’16), was mentioned in a July 11 WCAU-TV (NBC-10) segment, which featured her line of protective gear that includes transparent masks and "high-risk" alert vests, for people who have an elevated risk for developing an acute case of COVID-19.


Adjunct instructor and Product Design graduate Carl Durkow’s candle designs are featured in a Sight Unseen round-up of unique sculptural candles. 

Kyle Thrash's (Film & Video ‘11) documentary film Maybe Next Year is set to release on several streaming services on November 10, 2020. The documentary film captured the Philadelphia Eagles 2017 Super Bowl winning season from the eyes of four of the team's most ardent fans. Maybe Next Year is also featured in the Philadelphia Film Society’s lineup of screenings at the PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard. Learn more.


Beth Insabella Walsh, ASID, IIDA, CID, (BS, Interior Design, Westphal, 1985), founder and principal of Insabella Design, was profiled in an article in Vue magazine. Beth previously worked for 12 years as director of interiors for a large architectural firm, and she has numerous awards for both high-end residential and commercial projects, as well as Fortune 500 clients. 


Architecture student Franchesca Alchanati received Louis and Bessie Stein Family Fellowship from Drexel’s Office of Global Engagement. The Fellowship provides funding for exchanges with Israeli universities.


Prisca Milliance (MS Fashion Design ‘12) has joined the creative crew for the upcoming film, The Sweetest Girl: A Forbidden Love Story as the costume designer. Prisca is the creative director and owner of L'antillaise, LLC where she designs, produces and markets custom luxury resort wear in Miami, FL. Additionally, she is an instructor at the Miami Fashion Institute at Miami Dade College. Read more.


Resilience, a game designed by students from the Westphal College, the College of Computing & Informatics and the College of Arts and Sciences, was mentioned in a July 16 Gamespot blog post and an article in Technically Philly after winning Best Student Game at the annual Games for Change Festival. Learn more about Resilience here.


Colin Stewart (Film & Television ’20) is profiled in a 6ABC “Philly Proud” segment. Watch the segment here.