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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.

June 13, 2023

Faculty & Staff

D.S. Nicholas, associate professor of Design Research, authored two pieces for the AIA newsletter: What is Design Research? and Design Research on Environmental Assessment, Education Spaces, and Learning Outcomes.

Interior Design faculty have participated in a variety of conferences this spring. Marie Mastrobattista was on a panel discussion at the Interior Design Educators Council (IDEC) annual conference in Vancouver. William Mangold presented at the Interior Provocations conference, and will be presenting at the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) annual conference in June. Ada Tremonte participated in the ReDesign Ed conference in Mexico City as part of Globally We Design (GloWD).

Neville Vakharia, Associate Dean for Research & Planning and associate professor of Arts & Entertainment Enterprise, successfully defended his dissertation and received his Ph.D. in Information Science from Drexel's College of Computing & Informatics.

Screenwriting & Playwriting alum and Westphal Associate Director of Communications Laurel Hostak Jones (’12) has signed with Crossed Crow Books to publish a collection of short stories in Spring 2024.

Assistant professor of Product Design June He was selected as the winner of the 2023 Provost Award for Pedagogical Innovation. Her team recently received the Fall 22 VentureWell Course & Program Grant. Her mixed-media artwork was featured on the cover of the Spring 2023 release of Design Issues by MIT Press. As the founding director, she launched Empathic CoDesign Lab in April 2023.

Associate professor Ryan Schwabe (Music Industry ‘02) was a guest on episode 475 of Bobby Owsinski's Inner Circle Podcast to discuss learning the art of mastering; philosophies on mixing; not being tied to certain mixing techniques; developing your own plugin; and much more. Mr. Schwabe is a two-time Grammy nominated, platinum certified mixing and mastering engineer; nominated in 2020 for best dance/electronic album for Baauer's Planet's Mad; and in 2023, he was nominated for best sound engineered album, non-classical for mixing and mastering Baynk's "Adolescence." Mr. Schwabe is the owner of the music production and engineering company Xcoustic Sound and the music technology company Schwabe Digital. He is also co-owner of the digital record label Rare MP3s and the developer of the new Gold Clip mixing and mastering plugin. Link to Article.

Professor Joseph H. Hancock was quoted in a Vanity Fair about the reality television show Vanderpump Rules and the explosive line of “Scandoval” merch generated by its central scandal. Read the article here.

Art & Art History professor Jen Blazina’s work will be displayed in three group exhibitions this month. Her piece, Separation, is included in Catching Fire. The exhibition is to benefit the Bergstrom - Mahler Museum of Glass in Neenah, WI. The work will be on view from June 7th - 17th. There is a Virtual LIVE auction on June 14th from 7pm - 8 pm CST. In Archive of the Air at Past Presents Project in Philadelphia, Jen’s work on display is influenced by her residency at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program in Woodside, CA. The exhibition runs through July 29th. Jen’s newest body of work is included in the world-renowned Glass 51 International at Habatat Detroit Fine Arts Gallery in Detroit, MI. The show runs until August 18th. Jen will also be teaching a Master's Workshop Photographic & Relief Processes in Printmaking Transformed into Glass at the Toledo Museum of Art, Glass Pavilion in Toledo, OH from June 26th – June 30th.

Students & Alumni

Drexel Interiors students have recently received numerous honors and awards. Taylor Sheppard was a Gensler Brinkman finalist. Lauren Lewis was selected to present at the Drexel Emerging Graduate Scholars (DEGS) Conference and was invited as a panelist for the annual Student Conference on Global Challenges. Afnan Bashaikh presented a poster at DEGS and received a Graduate Excellence Award for Research Excellence. Lisa Singer received a Graduate Excellence Award for Teaching Assistant Excellence. Bryana Duley received the student award from the PA-NJ chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Thomas Falzani (Graphic Design ‘20) and Adit Gupta's (CCI, BS ‘19; MS ‘23) company Lula Convenience was honored by PACT (Pennsylvania Alliance for Capital and Technology) in the technology startup category during its 30th Enterprise Awards ceremony. Lula has been readying its launch with big-name retailers on its e-commerce platform that allows convenience stores to easily connect with delivery apps and track inventory. Additionally, Mr. Gutpa was interviewed during the 'Steering Startups' event hosted by PHL Inno, the Philadelphia Business Journal's innovation vertical focused on technology and startup. The event featured one-on-one discussions with technology and start-up industry insiders. President Fry was interviewed at this event as well. Link to Article 1 and Link to Article 2.

Veronica Miller Jamison (MS Fashion Design ‘14) was hosted by Moody Jones Gallery in Glenside, PA for The Art of Picture Books, a book signing and speaking event on May 25. Ms. Jamison, a surface pattern designer and illustrator, is a published illustrator of five children's books, including A Computer Called Katherine and This is a School. She spent nearly a decade in broadcast news before switching gears to embark on a career in illustration and fashion. She currently works full-time as a print designer for Lilly Pulitzer. Link to Article.

Rachel Kaplan (Interior Design ‘14) was profiled in an article on Kennesaw State University's news site. Ms. Kaplan changed career trajectories from the great indoors studying interior design and sustainable building design to the great outdoors studying songbirds after having the chance to move around the country working with various wildlife species. Ms. Kaplan switched paths to follow a burgeoning interest in wildlife science and recently finished the Master of Science in Integrative Biology program at Kennesaw State University. Link to Article

Jeff Nelson (Animation & Visual Effects ‘22) joined the dynamic team at Halpern Law Firm, a Pennsylvania-based law firm specializing in asbestos and mesothelioma cases, as the new digital marketing specialist. Link to Article

Shayna Davis (Film & Television ‘21), a Philadelphia-based filmmaker, is kicking off the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival with two of her own comedic films. The festival is returning with more than 80 feature films, shorts, documentaries, music videos, animations and virtual reality experiences performing at small venues throughout the city.

Jamie Clifford (Art history, History, '22) was admitted to the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. The Winterthur Program provides interdisciplinary study of diverse ideas, contexts, and theories—supported by truly unparalleled hands-on study of objects, landscapes, buildings, decorative arts, and design, both within and outside the vast collections of the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library—so that all of our students may master the skills necessary to expand and confound predominant scholarship in material culture.