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

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

December 14, 2020

Faculty & Staff Shout-Outs


Raja Schaar, Assistant Professor and Program Director for Product Design, was honored among the Industrial Design Society of America’s (IDSA) 20/20 Recognitions. Chosen by IDSA staff, this recognition highlights 20 professional IDSA members who have generously offered their valuable time and talents towards the betterment of others within our Society and their communities during the year 2020. In doing so, they contribute towards advancing our mission of advancing the industrial design profession through information, education, community, and advocacy. Learn more.


Shell Myers, Administrative Coordinator for the Art & Art History Department, was featured in the Office of Equity and Diversity DEI Spotlight: December 2020. The monthly spotlight series recognizes different individuals and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) committees across campus for their work to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at Drexel. 


Research about MXene-coated fabrics that can block electromagnetic interference, led by Yury Gogotsi, PhD, Distinguished University and Bach professor in the College of Engineering, and Genevieve Dion, Professor in the Department of Design and director of the Center for Functional Fabrics, was featured in a Dec. 13 New Atlas and a Dec. 11 Tech Crunch post. Simge Uzun, a doctoral student in the College of Engineering, was quoted in the New Atlas piece.
Link to story (Tech Crunch)
Link to story (New Atlas)


Frank Lee, Professor and Director of the Entrepreneurial Game Studio, became an Editorial Board member of Entertainment Computing, a peer-reviewed journal published by Elsevier. Lee also became a judging member of the annual Webby (US) and Lovie (EU) Awards. Webby awards are an annual award show, established in 2000, that celebrates the best of the internet and interactive media. 


Brea Heidelberg, associate professor and program director for Entertainment & Arts Management, was a guest on the Adaptistration podcast Shop Talk discussing centering equity in the symphony and orchestra world.  


Clare Sauro, director of the Robert & Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection and Assistant Professor in the Department of Design, was quoted in a Dec. 7 Washington Post article about the transformation of pajamas to athleisure in light of lockdowns. Read more. 


Peter Allen Hoffmann, adjunct faculty in the Department of Art & Art History, is exhibiting work in the online group exhibition, Then is New. The online presentation is on view through December 20 at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery.  


Art History Professor Pia Brancaccio delivered a three-part seminar entitled, Spinning the Wheel of the Dharma: Early Buddhist Art in the Indian Subcontinent, at the Jnanapravaha Institute (Mumbai, India). The seminar will examine the main artistic traditions associated with the practice of Buddhism in the ancient Indian Subcontinent. Learn more. 


Rashidah Salam, adjunct faculty in the Department of Art & Art History, will exhibit her new works as a window display at Muse Gallery in Philadelphia through December 27th, along with guest artist, Juan Bacote. Rashidah was invited to travel to Onondaga Community College in Syracuse as an invited guest artist to exhibit a solo show in Spring 2021 with the theme of DiversityRashidah will also give a talk to the community in Syracuse. 


Associate Professor of Music Industry Ryan Schwabe received a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album. Schwabe mixed Baauer’s (Harlem Shake) fully animated second LP Planet’s Mad for Warp Records, along with the accompanying 40-minute animated film produced by Actual Objects and guest starring Eric Warehelm. Planet’s Mad the movie can be seen here. 


The Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation was mentioned in a Dec. 1 Grid Philly article looking back at how activists in 2020 set their sights on creating a better, kinder city. The Institute, Philly Thrive, neighbors and activists are demanding the new owner of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery site, Hilco Redevelopment, be environmentally conscious as it develops the site. Read more. 


Nick Jushchyshyn, Assistant Professor and director of Drexel’s Immersive Research Lab and Brent White, director of the Jazztet and Jazz Orchestra, both in the Westphal College, were quoted in a Dec. 1 WHYY article about Drexel’s jazz orchestra which will put on a virtual concert of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. Students in Jushchyshyn’s lab are creating an immersive digital environment. The musicians each recorded themselves at home with green screens, then those individual performances are assembled together into a 3D digital environment, made to look like a snowy mountainside. Read more. 


Raja Schaar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Design, was quoted in a Nov. 25 Fast Company article about the most gorgeous dishes to serve on Thanksgiving, according to designers. Read more. 


Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio (EGS) recently collaborated with and consulted for a new theatrical production of D-Pad at Theatre Exile, a South Philly theatre company. D-Pad is a new play by Philly Playwright Jeremy Gable about a young women’s journey to form her own independent game company. Professor Frank Lee, Director of the EGS was quoted in a Philly article about D-Pad’s premiere. 


Professor Toby Seay of the Department of Arts & Entertainment Enterprise will present at the Sound Instruments and Sonic Cultures Conference in December. This conference is hosted by the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, UK, bringing together scholars of Sound Studies, Musicology, AV Preservation, and moreToby’s presentation is titled “EMT 140: What the Sound of Philadelphia Sounds Like. Learn more. 


Student & Alumni Shout-Outs


Design & Merchandising students Teren MacDonald and Zara Barrett and Fashion Design student Neena Bui were awarded the Fashion Scholarship Fund. Out of 646 applicants, 120 students received the FSF award this year, which includes a $7,500 scholarship, an industry mentor, coveted internship and job opportunities, along with events, and support throughout their career.  


Product Design alum and adjunct faculty member Carl Durkow’s (’18) sculptural candles are featured on the front cover of this yearSight Unseen catalog. 


Music Industry alum Carter Fox (’13) authored a guest post titled “An Overnight Success Story… 15 Years in the Making” for HypeBot, a music, technology, and business blog. In the piece originally written for the DiscMakers Blog, Carter details how he was able to draw on fifteen years of experience in the music industry and adapt his marketing strategy in order to garner over 700,00 streams for one of his singles on Spotify. 


Rhona Applebaum, PhD (MS Home Economics ‘78) joined Bioharvest Sciences, Inc., the developer and exclusive owner of the proprietary and patent protected BioFarming technology, as consultant for regulatory and environmental affairs. Dr. Applebaum is a widely recognized and experienced leader at the nexus of industry, government, and civil society, most recently having served as first chief science and health officer at the Coca-Cola Company. Read more. 


Westphal alum and adjunct instructor Yiling Lai (BS Design & Merchandising ‘16; MS Fashion Design ‘20) was awarded first place in the Fashion Design category in the 2020 Make It With Wool competition for her oversized coat design. Read more.