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October 2021 Shout-Outs: Westphal Student, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni Achievements

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

October 08, 2021


Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research & Planning Neville Vakharia was invited to speak at the Center for Cultural Affairs at Indiana University, where he will share research on cultural asset mapping to an international group of cultural affairs experts and scholars.

Joseph Hancock, PhD, Professor of Retail & Merchandising, was quoted in an Oct. 6 Philadelphia Inquirer opinion article about the decline of aspirational dressing amid the Philadelphia Orchestra’s new dress code designation. The article was picked up by MSN Lifestyle.
Link to story (Inquirer)
Link to story (MSN)

Nick Jushchyshyn, Assistant Professor of Digital Media, was quoted in an Oct. 4 New York Times story about Dolce & Gabbana's $6 million physical/virtual fashion NFT. Link to story.

Art & Art History Professor Pia Brancaccio, will give a keynote lecture for the Vihara Project International Workshop at the University of Georgia, Athens on October 29. Pia presented giving a paper on “The Bamiyan Buddhas: Art and Technology” at the international workshop on Regional Histories of South Asia in Light of Archaeological and Textual Sources, University of Lausanne, Switzerland on October 7. She is delivering a lecture on "The Colossal Buddhas of Sri Lanka” at Harvard University on October 13.

Associate Professor of Art & Art History Lewis Colburn's A Fountain for a Dark Future is a larger-than-life recreation of Umberto Boccioni’s iconic sculpture, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913). Using it as a point of departure, an Oct. 28 roundtable will explore Italian Futurism, imagined utopias, disruptive events, automation, authoritarianism, sea level rise, Silicon Valley, speculative fiction, Sci-Fi, and more. By using the sculptural forms of the past to interrogate the conditions of the present, we may find our way toward possible futures. Learn more. In mid-October, ProspectArt will publish an essay on Lewis’s project Disposable Monument II: After the Boys Who Wore Gray written by Antar Kuri. View the article here.

Assistant Professor of Art & Art History Delia Solomons will present a paper at L’Association d’Art des Universités du Canada’s annual conference on October 21. The panel examines intersections of art, horror, and colonialism. Delia’s paper is titled “Marisol’s Babies, Nuclear Giants, and Other Monsters.”

Art & Art History adjunct instructor Rami George, alongside J. Midden and Mak Hepler-Gonzalez, will be featured in an exhibition titled Love and Wisdom at Icebox Project Space on November 11-21 with a live performance on November 13. 

Associate Professor of Entertainment & Arts Management Brea M. Heidelberg, PhD led a webinar with The Columbus Foundation on efficient and effective meetings as part of their Nonprofit Forum series. Brea also moderated a conversation with Steven Hadley, author of Audience Development and Cultural Policy for WolfBrown. Finally, she served on a panel with Griselda Suarez with the Arts Council of Long Beach in Long Beach, CA and Ruby Lopez Harper of Americans for the Arts talking about arts, equity, and community.

Art & Art History adjunct Albert Fung is participating in Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, presented by the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, on Saturday, October 16. Learn more.


Light Years Apart, a short by 2021 senior Animation & Visual Effects team “Space Camp” (Maria Osanova, Ara Talitsskaya, Jonathan Jankowiak, Gabrielle Harder, Samantha Hall, Julia Farley, Brandon Delvalle, and Shannon Boyle) is an official selection of the 30th Philadelphia Film Festival. Light Years Apart was also a semi-finalist for this past year’s Student Academy Awards. The team weas advised by Digital Media faculty Milady Bridges, Nick Jushchyshyn, and Dave Mauriello. 

Thomas Falzani (Graphic Design ‘20), co-founder of Lula, was named to Philadelphia Business Journal's "Meet Greater Philadelphia's Inno Under 25" where young innovators are showcased. Lula teamed up with Uber to help convenience stores offer on-demand delivery to their customers via the Uber Eats app, and has also announced a partnership with National Convenience Distributors, a wholesale distributor of candy, snacks, fresh sandwiches and salads, tobacco products, coffee, ice cream and frozen and refrigerated foods to more than 14,000 customers in the 11 contiguous states from Maine to Maryland. Link to Article.

Ida McCausland (Design ‘79), owner of IJM Interior Design, LLC and president of the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) based in Media, was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about how interior designer firms are learning how to restructure the way they worked with clients as a result of the pandemic. Link to Article.

WKDU, Drexel’s student radio station, was featured in a Sept. 23 Jewish Exponent story about its 50th anniversary and its history of Israeli pop music programming. Link to story.

Zoe Wolfe (Game Design & Production ‘20), software engineer at QutoaPath, was quoted in a Philly about how her internship at QuotaPath has given her confidence in the workplace which has led her to strengthen other professional skills as well. Ms. Wolfe joined the three-year-old startup in April 2019 as part of Drexel's co-op program and has helped support the company during its rapid growth. Link to Article.

Michael Herring (Arts Administration '19) was appointed senior artist manager at Young Concert Artists, a New York City-based non-profit organization dedicated to discovering and promoting the careers of talented young classical musicians from all over the world, effective October 25. He is also the co-founder of Chamber Music Chicago, a non-profit series in residence at the Holtschneider Performance Center. Link to Article.


Kiylah "Ky" O'Brien (Design & Merchandising '18) participated in the Saint Joseph University's Naturals Club's marketplace pop-up on September 24, which featured Philadelphia-based vendors who promote natural health products. Ms. O'Brien serves as the category specialist at GoPuff. Link to Article and Link to LinkedIn.


Richelle Parham (Design & Merchandising '91; Marketing, LeBow '91), president of global ecommerce and business for Universal Music Group, participated in a panel "Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff While You're Conquering the World" at the Variety's Power of Women Summit Presented by Lifetime. Link to Article.


Field hockey student-athletes Puk Thewessen, Entertainment & Arts Management major; Eline Di Leva, in the College of Nursing and Health Professions; and Isabel Jacobs and Amber Brouwer, both in LeBow College of Business, were featured in an Oct. 8 Philadelphia Inquirer story about field hockey players from the Netherlands making an impact at Philadelphia schools. Head Coach Denise Zelenak was also quoted in the piece. Link to story.