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January 2022 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.

January 11, 2022


The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design was mentioned in a Jan. 4 West Philly Local article about "Rehearsing Philadelphia," jointly produced and presented with the Curtis Institute of Music. Link to story.

Academic Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Interior Design Debra Ruben was appointed to the Accreditation Commission for the Council of Interior Design Accreditation CIDA) and will serve a three-year term beginning January 1, 2022. The Accreditation Commission is the final decision-making authority regarding accreditation of academic programs, and follows well-established practices and protocols for making decisions on the accreditation of interior design programs, working in much the same manner as other specialized and professional accreditors. Prior to this appointment, Debra served as a site visitor for CIDA since 2014, and she has participated in over 12 accreditations as a site visitor, serving as chair or co-chair in the last three years.

Art & Art History adjunct Katie Knoeringer will have work featured in a group show at Cerulean Arts Collective. An in-person reception will be held at the gallery on January 15, and a virtual tour and talk will be held via Zoom on January 26. Learn more.

The Immersive Research Lab (IRL) opened in 2019 to train students in the latest virtual and augmented reality technologies. University City District's 2022 edition of “The State of University City” explores how the IRL became indispensable during the pandemic. Learn more.


The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) has recognized the industry contributions of Girish Balakrishnan (MS Digital Media ‘13) by awarding him the SMPTE Progress Medal. The Progress Medal is the most prestigious SMPTE award, and it recognizes outstanding technical contributions to the progress of engineering phases of the motion picture, television, or motion-imaging industries. Girish received this award in recognition of his long-term commitment and unwavering pursuit of virtual production capabilities, which has resulted in significant advancement in the field and influenced how feature films and television shows are produced today. Balakrishnan is a technological pioneer who is ushering in a new era of film production. Learn more.

Nicole A. Cashman (Design & Merchandising ‘94), founder and CEO of Cashman & Associates, was quoted in a Philadelphia Business Journal article in which she shared her outlook on the local economy in 2022. Link to Article. Recently, Nicole was listed at no. 65 on the 2021 Philly Power 100 from City & State PA. Additionally, Nicole has been recognized by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists with the 2021 Presidents Award.

Design & Merchandising alum Natalie Krumenacker (’19) opened Shop Ravel, a women’s boutique, in Surfside Beach, SC.

Thomas Falzani (BS Graphic Design '20) and Adit Gupta's startup company Lula was featured on PHL INNO's "Startups to Watch in 2022" list in the Philadelphia Business Journal. Lula is a convenience store delivery subscription service that allows clients to order from their local corner store. Link to Article

Brittany Hall (MS Arts Administration ‘13) was promoted to the position of the managing director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, making her the first woman in Philharmonic's history to serve in that role. She began her responsibilities on January 3, 2022. In 2017 she was selected as an Emerging Leader from the League of American Orchestras. Previously, Ms. Hall served as executive director at Binghamton Philharmonic and in leadership for the Erie Philharmonic. Prior to coming to Fort Wayne, she served on several boards including the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, Binghamton Noon Rotary, and the Clyde-Savannah Public Library. Regionally, she is an incoming board member of ACRES Land Trust. Link to Article.

Dana C. Redden (Interior Design ‘06) qualified as a semifinalist in the American-Made Solar Prize Round 5, a competition designed to spark U.S. solar energy innovation sponsored by the Department of Energy. Her team, Solar Stewards Marketplace (Atlanta), is creating a marketplace for social renewable energy credits. This new type of REC will allow corporate purchasers to buy RECs produced in underserved communities, which may align better with their corporate missions. Link to Article.