Westphal’s Talented Alums Recognized in ‘Drexel Magazine’ 40 Under 40
June 01, 2021
Each year, Drexel Magazine recognizes some of the most promising, entrepreneurial, creative, and inspiring alumni under the age of 40. These alumni launched new companies in the middle of an historic downturn, reimagined how they delivered on their talents, and, collectively, adapted their professional environments to the unique challenges of 2020. This year, seven Westphal College of Media Arts & Design alumni were highlighted as nominees of the Class of 2021. Their full profiles, along with that of 33 other notable alumni, can be found on the Drexel Magazine website.
Daniel Fornace graduated from Drexel University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Digital Media. Since earning his degree, Fornace has worked as a game designer for Microsoft Studios, become an independent game developer, and more recently, announced the creation of a new game studio, Aether Studios, which is working on new games and is built off “Rivals of Aether.” Fornace credited Drexel with making him “well-rounded when it comes to technology and video game development.” For Fornace, success is releasing video games that only his team could create with people who are just as passionate as he is.
Andrew Aversa graduated from Drexel University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry. Aversa is the co-founder, owner, and lead developer of Impact Soundworks; a music software company established in 2008. From its humble roots in Drexel’s Studio A, the company has released over 60 products used by more than 100,000 musicians across the world, generating revenues that top $2 million. Aided by Drexel’s talented professors and industry professionals, Aversa was given pivotal guidance both in and out of the classroom.
Tashia Tucker graduated from Drexel University in 2012 with a Master of Science in Interior Architecture & Design. Tucker is the CEO and founder of Olombria, a London-based biodesign company focused on insect pollution. Tucker credits the Design Future Lab at Drexel, where she worked as a senior researcher from 2013–2016 while also working as an adjunct professor, with introducing her to biodesign – the incorporation of living organisms as essential components in design.
Courtney Sabo graduated from Drexel University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design. Following her time at Drexel, Sabo joined forces with Jack Forbes in 2017 to build Kopa, which provides students, digital nomads, and traveling professionals affordable digs with short leases. As the design and strategy lead, Sabo has helped grow the website to 2+ million renters, manage improvements, and launch Kopa for Business, which makes housing and roommate recommendations for employers of partner companies. Sabo explained that Drexel’s co-op provided “access into an industry and mentors that she wouldn’t have had in her normal coursework.”
Dana Clare Redden graduated from Drexel University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. In 2012, Redden started her consultancy Solar Concierge but soon became frustrated that pricing plans discouraged widespread adoption, particularly in poorer neighborhoods. In 2016, she pivoted and launched Solar Stewards, an innovative business dedicated to environmental justice. When asked how Drexel helped her, Redden responded, “Being immersed in a city experience teaches you transferable skills you can use in a variety of professional scenarios.”
Salina Mayloni Almanzar graduated from Drexel University in 2017 with a Master of Science in Arts Administration. During her time at Drexel, Almanzar found the confidence to push for the equitable, inclusive, and bold public work she wanted to see in her city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In the years since, Almanzar hasn’t stopped pushing. Drexel helped her “feel a sense of validation in the work she was interested in and gave her the confidence to push for the kind of public work that she wanted to see.” Almanzar values the “collaboration and co-authorship that Drexel encourages.”
Chris Sulit graduated from Drexel University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry. A Drexel co-op with a studio in New Jersey proved to be a turning point for Sulit. Working alongside the owner of Knoop Studio, who eventually became his mentor, he learned the ropes of running a studio, eventually moving up to chief engineer and studio manager. In 2013, after the death of his mentor and the closing of Knoop Studio, Sulit purchased equipment and Trading 8s Recording Studio was born – his greatest accomplishment. At Drexel, Sulit “gained valuable tools needed to build a successful recording studio.”