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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.

February 14, 2023

Faculty & Staff


Ryan Schwabe, an associate teaching professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, was mentioned in a Feb. 2 Philadelphia Inquirer story about local artists nominated for Grammy awards. Schwabe engineered an album nominated in the "Best Engineered Album, Nonclassical" category. Link to story

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts has awarded associate professor Brea M. Heidelberg a multi-year grant to provide organizational evaluation and development expertise to BIPOC-led and serving cultural organizations. In this role, Dr. Heidelberg will provide annual organizational capacity assessments, develop and lead professional development workshops, and provide 1:1 consultation to organization leaders in over 30 organizations throughout Pennsylvania.

June He, Assistant Professor of Product Design, will be serving as Principal Investigator on a $30K VentureWell Course & Program Grant creating age-friendly innovations with a focus on entrepreneurship, technology and interdisciplinary student collaboration.

Max Vasapoli, academic advisor and adjunct faculty member, was selected for Theatre Philadelphia's inaugural Content and Criticism Cohort, focused on the diversification and professional education of theatre criticism in Philadelphia. Max was awarded certification, funding, and masterclasses with premiere critics and journalists while critiquing theatre in the area.

Associate teaching professor Jocelyn Tarquini recently wrapped five months of editing on the 8 part documentary series "When Sharks Attack and Why" for Disney+ & National Geographic.

Photography professor Andrea Modica published the monograph Theatrum Equorum with TIS Books. Learn more.

Alphonso McClendon, associate professor in the Department of Design, has contributed images and a vignette, “Black by Popular Demand at HBCUs”, to Fresh Fly Fabulous: 50 Years of Hip Hop Style, Authors Elizabeth Way and Elena Romero, Foreword by Slick Rick, Rizzoli, Feb. 2023. This publication is an accompaniment to the Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style exhibition on display at The Museum at FIT from February 8 to April 23, 2023. McClendon contributed items including a pair of graffiti art denim jeans from 1989 to the exhibition.

Art History professor Pia Brancaccio published the essay “Reuse Practices in Ancient India” in the catalog for the exhibition Recycling Beauty currently on view at the Fondazione Prada, Milano, November-February 2023. Pia is a collaborator on MAK (Mapping Ancient Krisnagiri), a research project conducted at the Kanheri Caves, India (early January) in collaboration with the KAKEN Fellows of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. She was an invited Speaker at the International Literature Festival held in Jaipur India - in conversation with William Dalrymple on the Buddhist Caves at Aurangabad and a discussant at Columbia University for the book presentation: "Shiva’s Waterfront Temples: Architects and their Audiences in Medieval India" by S. Kaligotla. In addition, Pia delivered the lecture "Buddhist Archaeology in India" at Beijing University (end of November)

The text of the lecture will be published in Chinese in a forthcoming volume on the Archaeology of the pre-Islamic period in Central, Western and Southern Asia" published by Peking University Press.

Professor Emeritus Blaise Tobia will serve on a panel at the College Art Association’s national conference in NYC in February. The panel, “Art History in Search of a Historian” was organized by Blaise along with his wife/collaborator Virginia Maksymowicz (Emerita, Franklin & Marshall University). It will present the work of the CETA Arts Legacy Project, which they founded and currently coordinate. The Federal CETA program of the 1970s employed 20,00 artists and arts professionals nationally, more than any other program since the New Deal. Their co-authored article “The Forgotten Federally Employed Artists” was published by Hyperallergic in 2021 and is a good summary of the legacy project’s work. Learn more.

In February, Art History assistant professor Delia Solomons’s book "Cold War in the White Cube: U.S. Exhibitions of Latin American Art, 1959-1968" will be published as part of Penn State University Press’s “Refiguring Modernism” series. She will also be presenting at the College Art Association’s annual conference a paper titled “Marisol’s Masks and the Hypnotized Self.”

Neville Vakharia, associate professor and Associate Dean of Research & Planning, presented his research on knowledge management in museums at the Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts conference in Seoul, Korea. He also chaired a panel on future trends in arts and cultural management research.

Professor Joseph H. Hancock, II, PhD is the new Collections Editor for Fashion and Personal Style Studies for Lived Places Publishing. Learn more.

Sleep & Sorcery, an audio series created and produced by Associate Director of Communications Laurel Hostak Jones, was praised in the Daily Mirror. Read more.

A book about mutual aid associations, written by Andrew Zitcer, PhD, an assistant professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, was excerpted in a Feb. 8 Grantmakers in the Arts blog post about using science fiction to build a solidarity economy. Link to story

Design & Merchandising instructor Kimberly McGlonn was the subject of a Philadelphia Magazine feature focused on her new “shoppable museum,” Blk Ivy. The brand was also featured in a Jan. 18 Philadelphia Citizen story, which also discussed McGlonn’s business Grant Blvd and activism through fashion. Link to story

Kathi Martin, a professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, was quoted in a Jan. 26 Fashionista article about how Drexel and other fashion schools are teaching the metaverse to students. Link to story

Nicholas Jushchyshyn, assistant professor of Digital Media, was mentioned in a Philly article "These Philly profs working on VR education, deepfake spotters and tiny robots make predictions for next-gen tech." Mr. Jushchyshyn is researching the use of virtual reality, immersive reality and the metaverse for filmmaking and educational experiences. He focuses specifically on graphics and interaction in this technology. Link to Article 

Jason Schupbach, Dean of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, was quoted in a Feb. 1 Philly Voice article about a new, two-year apprenticeship, in partnership with Urban Outfitters, intended to prepare students to work in the fashion industry called Made to Measure: The URBN x Drexel Apprenticeship Program. Link to story

Students & Alumni


Dr. Sarah Kenderdine, world-renowned interactive immersive designer, and her Lab for Experimental Museology (eM+), EPFL, have been awarded funding to digitize German painter Louis Braun’s 1893, 10 x 100 meter panorama of the battle of Morat, an event which preserved the independence of the Swiss Confederation and influenced the course of European history. Fashion Design and Digital Media students at Drexel University have been designing 3D virtual costume inspired by the period of the battle. The students involved are Yi Liu, Peter Adams, Katy McClure (Fashion Design ’23) and Marlena Dougherty (Digital Media ’22). Learn more.

Hailey Moss (Arts Administration & Museum Leadership ‘23) joined the University of Wyoming Extension and Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality (WORTH) Initiative as the state’s first WORTH Initiative Extension educator. Ms. Moss’ position is the product of an exciting new partnership between UW’s Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, home to the WORTH Initiative, and UW Extension. Link to Article

Richard H. Olaya (Architecture ‘98) was listed as one of AL DÍA’s Top Entrepreneurs and will receive the Pioneer Award at the 2023 AL DÍA Top Entrepreneurs Forum & Reception on February 24. Mr. Olaya, principal of the Philadelphia architecture firm OZ Collaborative, has spent nearly three decades in practice, working in the architecture field. In addition to his architectural work, Olaya is also an active member in his community, contributing his time to various arts and cultural organizations in Philadelphia, while keeping his Colombian background alive through both his professional work and hobbies. Link to Article

William Stichter (Architecture ‘03) was nominated for a Grammy Award as art director for Best Recording Packaging for Divers, the album released last year by his band Soporus. Mr. Stichter worked at various architecture firms during and after college, but finally left full-time work in 2005 to focus on music. Ever since, he has continued to work on projects in architecture, construction, graphic design, printing, and audio/visual live events. Link to Article

Margaret "Meg" Wolensky (Arts Administration ‘16) was named a 2023 Wind Fellow. Her artwork will be featured in the second annual Wind Fellowship Exhibition at the InLiquid Gallery from January 27 to March 4. In addition to being a visual artist, Mx. Wolensky specializes in creating art and design educational opportunities as the managing director of Continuing Education at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. She has a range of experience organizing and participating in public arts programming as a curator, juror, visiting artist, guest speaker, art history lecturer, and as a hands-on arts educator specializing in fine arts foundations and advanced oil/watercolor painting techniques. In her previous role as a project manager at Mural Arts Philadelphia, she worked to facilitate trauma-informed art-focused educational experiences for high-risk youth, young adults, and incarcerated parents. Link to Article

Allie Gress, a student in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, was mentioned in a Jan. 27 article in The Sentinel, about the nine contestants competing to wear the crown as the next Miss Central Pennsylvania. Link to story

Eric M. Colton (Film & Video ‘10; MS Arts Administration ‘13) shared his career path in the Alumni Q&A segment of ArtsLine, the quarterly newsletter of the Drexel University Arts Administration & Museum Leadership Program. Mr. Colton is a finance consultant at ArtsFMS.

Stephanie L. Katz (Arts Admin & Museum Leadership ‘21) was featured in the Alumni Spotlights segment of Westphal's ArtsLine, the quarterly newsletter of the Drexel University Arts Administration & Museum Leadership Program. Ms. Katz is currently participating in a Fulbright Seminar at the Museo Nacional del Prado and Drexel University to collect museum visitation data and develop actionable universal insights to support the greater museum sector.

Timothy Quirino (Graphic Design ‘08) was profiled on Philly's website. Mr. Quirino returned to the Philadelphia area in 2020 after spending several years at Meta in Palo Alto, CA as a product designer. He currently works remotely as a designer for Threads, a Slack alternative for creatives. Before going to the west coast, he co-founded Geekadelphia, the beloved geek culture blog he started in high school, which eventually led to the annual Philly Geek Awards. He received Drexel's 40 Under 40 in 2015. Link to Article 

Tanner Richardett (Music Industry ‘20; MS Arts Administration & Museum Leadership ‘22), an audience services manager at the Arden Theater Company, shared his career path in the Alumni Q&A segment of ArtsLine, the quarterly newsletter of the Drexel University Arts Administration & Museum Leadership Program. In addition to his full-time role with the Arden, Mr. Richardett also works in a volunteering capacity with The Strides Collective as the director of production where he is responsible for staffing, contracting, and budgeting for productions.