Honor Bound Spring/Summer 2022

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HONOR BOUND A DREAM FROM DREXEL UNIVERSITY’S PENNONI HONORS COLLEGE • SPRING/SUMMER 2022

DEPORTED

A DREAM DEPORTED

PLUS:

• Studying Abroad While at Home • Full STEAM Ahead 1 • Shaping Their Research Careers


From the Dean

Alumni Spotlight When Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, poses for paparazzi holding up a shirt that you designed — it’s a cause for celebration. Especially when you’re only a month out from graduating. Dan Farrell, custom-designed major, e-commerce business development ’21, combined courses in design and merchandising, visual studies and marketing to create a custom-designed major that allowed him to use his school projects for his business and vice versa.

“The most rewarding part about running a company is seeing strangers rocking your brand,” Dan says. “It’s so cool to be out on the street and see somebody wearing a hat I made. I feel like your closest friends will always support you no matter what, but it really takes a collective following of strangers to sustain a successful business.”

Dear Alumni and Friends of the Pennoni Honors College: This spring has brought us back to in-person teaching — with and some degree of social distancing. We inaugurated our new space at Bentley Hall, and our staff is in the office on a staggered basis. As I write, I look forward to more loosening of constraints. I am hopeful while trying to manage expectations. I do believe education is likely to take a somewhat different form. It’s a topic we look forward to exploring in some of our programming. We have had a deluge of applications for the Honors Program this year — a fact that we can’t attribute to any one factor but may have to do with the allure of our new home, the visibility of our programming, and word of mouth about our courses and advising. Whatever the reason, we are fortunate to be able to craft a more engaged class than ever before for the coming year. We continue to host an array of programming open to both students and alumni, including, most notably, our Pennoni Panels and “Wednesdays at Bentley.” The latter has been renamed, changed from “Wednesdays at the Kline,” to take advantage of our new home. Please join us in person or online on the second Wednesday of each month for this lively discussion on subjects that matter.

With a large following on Instagram and TikTok and a few brand deals for sneakers and vintage tees, Dan is excited to take his business on the road. Doing e-commerce,

Here’s hoping that a return to some kind of normal — with lessons learned from the pandemic — is right around the corner.

he says, allows you to make sales and reach your customers from anywhere so Dan plans to travel, spend time with his family, run his business and be a creative director or consultant for other brands.

Paula Marantz Cohen Dean, Pennoni Honors College Distinguished Professor of English 215.895.1266 • cohenpm@drexel.edu

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CONTENTS Spring/Summer 2022

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In Brief

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Confronting Antisemitism Through Storytelling BY PAULA MARANTZ COHEN

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Jayla Johnson is Her Own Brand Ambassador BY ERICA LEVI ZELINGER

enn

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Studying Abroad While at Home

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Shaping Their Research Careers

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A Dream Deported BY LAKSHMI PARVATHINATHAN

BY LEAH GATES

BY ERICA LEVI ZELINGER

Curtain Up: Teaching the Broadway Musical BY GAIL ROSEN

ON THE COVER

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Full Steam Ahead

Granting Research to Students

BY ANNA GORDOVER

BY ERICA LEVI ZELINGER

Marketing & Media team of Drexel University’s

Director: Dr. Kevin D. Egan

Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs

Pennoni Honors College.

Editorial Staff

Associate Director: Dr. Katie Barak

Director: Jaya Mohan

Editor: Erica Levi Zelinger

Associate Director, Honors Program:

Senior Associate Director: Leah Gates

Copy Editor: Dr. Melinda Lewis

Julia Wisniewski

Associate Director: Kelly Weissberger

Designer: Isabella Akhtarshenas

Assistant Director of Academic Operations:

Associate Director: Emily Kashka-Ginsburg

Lauren Davis

Assistant Director: Cara Fantini

Honor Bound Magazine is published biannually by the

Comments? Contact us at pennoni@drexel.edu

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Dean: Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen

Academic Programs

Program Manager: Roxane Lovell

Administration Director, Administration & Finance: Ann Alexander

Marketing & Media

Executive Assistant to the Dean: Karen Sams

Director: Erica Levi Zelinger Associate Director: Dr. Melinda Lewis

Program Coordinator: Rachel James

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Alumni News

SUPPORT THE PENNONI HONORS COLLEGE

You can make a difference! When you make a gift to the Pennoni Honors College, you support the tradition of an interdisciplinary education. Every gift counts. To learn more about how you can support the Honors College, contact: David Unruh 215-895-2436 dlu23@drexel.edu

Assistant Director: Brian Kantorek

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In Brief

Happy Anniversary

Pennoni Womxn’s Week This year’s Pennoni Womxn’s Week featured a series of events and activities to celebrate womxn at Drexel and discuss issues and challenges facing womxn today. We kicked off the week with a crossover event on the last day of Black History Month, a Candid Conversations panel discussion about workplace standards of professionalism for Black womxn. Titled “Breaking the Mold,” the conversation focused on respectability politics and redefining professionalism with an emphasis on inclusion. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Undergraduate Research and Enrichment Programs highlighted Drexel students and organizations on social media. Our "Womxn in STEM: Lightning Talk" featured a student who found community as a Black woman in tech through Rewriting the Code. Womxn’s Org Wednesday showcased womxn-centered student organizations and

of the opening of Bentley hall

of Pennoni Honors College

of the STAR Scholars Program

how they support womxn on campus and beyond. Thursday afternoon’s Pennoni Panel, “Exploring Intersectionality,” focused on intersectionality, identity, and inclusion. Panelists and attendees collectively suggested that we can all improve

Dragons Take On Accountability

how we practice inclusion of intersecting identities and do so with caution and care. Finally, on Friday we began a month-long donation drive of clothing,

Funds from Pennoni Honors College’s Rugh Award allowed Pennoni’s Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Programs to

menstrual and hygiene products for Philadelphia-area non-profits. The impact of

financially support six Drexel students to travel to Glasgow in November 2021 as part of Drexel's faculty, staff, and student

the conversations and actions started during this week will continue to resonate

delegation for the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change annual conference.

throughout Women’s History Month and beyond.

Here are some of their reflections: “I was able to walk in climate change protests along with

“It was an incredible convergence of science, politics and

internationally renowned activists, as well as sitting in

people. Listening to delegates of island nations and devel-

sessions with world leaders just an arm’s length away. I

oping countries pleading for action, while also absorbing

made connections with delegates from across the world

the latest news on the climate situation truly provided me

and listened to indigenous leaders, climate scientists and

with a new perspective on the urgency of it all.”

government officials.” —Alyssa Kemp, environmental engineering ’25

—Will Newman, computer science ’24

"When I landed in Glasgow, I came with the intent of researching more about climate change mitigation and the science behind environmental phenomena … Yet, very few spoke directly about science, as it is so much more than science. Climate change revolves around political, socioeconomic and environmental disparities; it is all three, and when even one isn't considered, the system implodes on itself.” —Niyi Onanuga, architecture ’25

“If there is anything I have taken from my experience at COP26, it is that there is amazing progress being made in the realm of global climate action, but we are still worlds away from the progress we are in desperate need of. The hope lies in the number of people showing up to conversation, and the solutions lie in making the issue tangible for everyone to play a role. As a student, I feel we can continue educating ourselves, bring climate action into conversa-

“As a public health major, it was interesting to see that

tions with peers, keep an open and curious mind, and, in

this was one of the first COPs to acknowledge health and

conversation, meet people where they are at with their

human rights as major outcomes of climate change. For in-

understanding and perspectives on climate change.

stance, it was the first year with a World Health Organiza-

—Catherine Quinn, environmental science ’23

tion pavilion, and several countries advocated for loss and damage funding to counteract the devastation happening in low-income countries. This includes destruction of infra-

Trash Talk Custom-designed major alum Paris Gramann, innovative problem solving ’20, is working with local celeb Terrill Haigler to put out a children’s book about sanitation workers. “The kids get to see the 'real dirt' on what it means to be a sanitation worker and they find out how important the job is,” says Paris. The team raised more than $14,000 on Kickstarter to fund the project and Gramann, owner and operator of Empower Creative Agency, worked on the project management for this creative endeavor. Her agency is currently helping to launch two Kickstarter campaigns to benefit others, including a children’s book and bedtime system that highlights nurturing nighttime practices and routines for kids.

structure, extreme weather events, stifling air pollution and other health effects that I have learned about in many of my classes. This experience tied my education together in several ways and provided real-life context for the necessity of public health.” —Sarah Wetzel, public health ’23

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In Brief

Fighting For Their Future In November 2021, Drexel alumni joined a panel for the Climate Year Speaker Series to share their journeys of working in the climate and sustainability space. Alumni panelists included: Collin Cavote (CSDN, biomimicry '15) CEO and founder of Biome, a company that designs and builds modular green walls; Maura Jarvis (CSDN, sustainable product development '16), community outreach specialist for the Philadelphia Water Department; and former STAR Scholars, Kaya Gentile (environmental engineering '20, Velay Fellow), a sustainability analyst at Hines-JPMC incorporating sustainability into all facets of facilities management of the JPMorgan Chase real estate in NYC; and Emma Snelling (chemical engineering '21), a materials science and engineering PhD student researching sustainable packaging applications from industrial food waste.

The Write Place Writer Natasha Burge, whose writing first appeared in The Smart Set, Pennoni’s arts and culture journal, was a finalist for the Restless Books New Immigrant Writing Prize. Her book Drifts (as yet

You can read Burge’s work on thesmartset.com

unpublished) incorporates writing that appeared in August 2021 on The Smart Set about being a native-born foreigner in Saudi Arabia. “It’s been such a pleasure over the years to have such a fitting and supportive home to work through many of my thoughts on transcultural identity and psychogeography,” Burge wrote the editor, Dr. Melinda Lewis.

Bidding on Excellence Cordelia Biddle, who teaches such popular Honors courses as "Writing Killer Fiction" and "The Plot Thickens", was the recipient of the 2021 Adjunct Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. Biddle was recognized for exemplifying the highest quality of teaching and mentorship of students. “We feel so lucky to have Cordelia Biddle teaching for us in the Honors Program,” says Dean Paula Marantz Cohen. “She is an inspired teacher with a profound grasp of Philadelphia history and a great gift for storytelling.”

“Hamala, Bahrain 2019” illustration by Alex Hotchkiss

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In Brief

Winning Laurels

Smart Talk for Civil Discourse

We wish to congratulate the six Pennoni Honors College students and one alumna who are part of the inaugural cohort of

The Civil Discourse, the national PBS-distributed television interview series

student awardees of the Nina Henderson Provost Scholars Program. The annual scholarship provides 12 motivated Drexel

hosted by Pennoni Honors College Dean Paula Marantz Cohen and produced by

students with the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and play a hands-on role in shaping the Drexel experience.

the Center for Civil Discourse, is now in production on its third season. Episodes

They advise and collaborate with senior leadership from the Office of the Provost on key priorities of the strategic plan

include Yale Law School professor and Tiger Mom author Amy Chua; a panel

such as facilitating adaptable, immersive curricula; strengthening an equity-driven culture; and reimagining higher

discussion on academic freedom; and Jay Winter, a World War I historian.

education in the next 10 years. Among the pool of more than 270 applicants are the following Pennoni Honors College

Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available to binge on The Civil Discourse YouTube

students and alum:

channel and showcase an array of high-profile guests engaged in discussion with

Atharva Bhagwat, custom-designed major, computing technology for sustainability and society ’23

Dean Cohen about timely and controversial topics ranging from critical race

María José Garcia Rivas, BS/MS biomedical engineering ’24

theory and journalism to the future of law enforcement and higher education.

Ranjini Mahalanobish, BSBA business administration ’24

While some episodes feature guests with a direct link to Philadelphia culture and

Sarah Malik, PhD mechanical engineering ’24

social service (for example, controversial District Attorney, Larry Krasner; Police

August Modiga, BA philosophy, politics and economics ’23

Commissioners, Danielle Outlaw and Charles H. Ramsey; and representatives

Jonathan Parker, BSBA finance and real estate management ’22

from the Barnes Foundation or Project HOME), all have a national or global

Disha Patel, BS chemistry ’24

profile and offer a persuasive point of view. Highlights from the past two seasons

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founder Nikole Hannah-Jones; author and Honestly podcaster, Bari Weiss; Tony

a r c i a r i va s sÉ g

Award-winning artist/choreographer, Bill T. Jones; formerly incarcerated poet and legal activist, Reginald Dwayne Betts; and Harvard University scholar and public philosopher Michael J. Sandel. To join the conversation, visit The Civil

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Consider This

CONFRONTING ANTISEMITISM THROUGH STORYTELLING BY DR. PAULA MARANTZ COHEN, PENNONI HONORS COLLEGE DEAN

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O

ver the past two years,

of whether they were children

killing of 11 people at the Tree

we have had our

or adults, poor or wealthy, pious

of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh,

country’s shameful

or assimilated (or indeed had

and the recent hostage-taking at

history of slavery and the

converted to Christianity), is a

Colleyville, Texas’s Congregation

long-standing practice of racism

cautionary tale when people say

Beth Israel are only three of the

brought to the fore in dramatic

that Jews are no longer the focus

more visible instances of what

ways. This has highlighted other

of bias and hatred. The anti-Zi-

has become increasingly common

inequities and injustices which

onist and related BDS movements

and has required synagogues and

include disturbing instances of

that single Israel out above other

Jewish community centers to

antisemitism. Antisemitism has

countries for human rights viola-

post security at their doors. That

increased in the U.S. and abroad

tions seems to many Jews to

this should happen in America, a

over this period, reminding us that

reflect a double standard that

presumed site of religious freedom,

the Holocaust was only 76 years

draws on deep-seated antisemitic

is appalling. Moreover, history has

ago, conceived in a cultural context

tropes. The events that occurred

shown that when Jews are targeted,

that seemed highly advanced.

in Charlottesville, Virginia when

all other minorities — and indeed,

people chanted “Seig Heil” and

all human rights and dignities —

who were rounded up regardless

“Jews will not replace us,” the

are subject to attack.

We in Pennoni hosted an impactful storytelling event at the end of April about antisemitism to try and give a particular face to the kinds of abuses that Jews have suffered in the past and

in the recent present. Students, staff, faculty and members of the community shared anecdotes and contributed their thoughts in written and comic book strip form about fleeing from

persecution, confronting Nazi propaganda, feeling conflicted by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and dealing with derogatory comments in everyday vernacular.

The plight of Jews in Europe,

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S

I say, ‘What does an Honors student look like?’ There are

to becoming the CEO of her own marketing and

so many majors, minors, concentrations. I can sit next to

entertainment agency or the president of a record

someone studying environmental science and you never

label, “Jayla J” — as she refers to herself — is finishing her

know when you’re going to cross paths or need them down

degree in entertainment and arts management and her

the line. Be nice to everyone. Never judge. This is how we

requirements for the Honors Program. Often likened to a

can support each other.”

enduring advertising campaign: the Energizer Bunny. The 21-year-old takes 20 credits and works 60 hours a week and still she keeps going and going.

S

“I have a luxurious lifestyle I need to uphold,” Jayla says half-jokingly. The commuter student from Bucks County is unflinchingly confident. The culture creator and micro-influencer already drives traffic and sales to several companies. Her

OR

IS HE

W O

N D A R A MBA B N

“People ask, ‘Oh, you’re in Honors?’ It shocks people. But

Johnson is unapologetically unfiltered. On the road

firecracker, she’s more like the marketing mascot from that

SA D

R

JAYLA J

he may be a master of the Instagram filter, but Jayla

resumé also includes stints as Twitter Lead for Sony Music Entertainment’s Sony Music U, the Recording Academy’s Grammy U program and a participant in the Next Gem

Her favorite Honors course? "Writing History" with

Femme Mentorship Program.

Cordelia Biddle (see page 6). “One of the best professors I’ve had at Drexel. It felt like a home and a community in her classroom.” “The Honors Program,” Jayla adds, “is based on community and activism and involvement — all things that fit who I am as a person. Honors courses have taught me to think critically and learn how to articulate myself.” She’s put those hard-earned communication skills to the test by seeking out jobs that complement her course work. “I understand that opportunities just don’t just come to you,” Jayla says. “I’m not afraid to reach out. A closed mouth does not get fed.” And Jayla is eating up every opportunity she can fit in her schedule. Winter term is packed with classes and content creation gigs, because, “girl’s gotta work”.

GE

R

The average week includes writing a paper for her commu-

IZ V LE A RIC E Y B 14

IN L E

“I just know my name will be in big letters and I want to be

nication course, working on an electronic press kit for Epic

Google-able,” she says earnestly. “I want to make a lasting

Records artists, overseeing a local coffee and bar tap in the

impact on all those I come in contact with.”

Philadelphia area to spread the mission of Bumble’s core values, creating content for Victoria’s Secret Pink social

What gives her the right to be so self-assured? The hours

media platforms and assisting digital marketing campaign

she keeps. The co-ops she’s had. Her infectious passion

for Furia Rubel Communications.

for pursuing creative endeavors. All while taking Honors classes, she says, that have trained her to expand her mind

“Remember the name ‘Jayla J,’ she says. “I plan to

and put her in other peoples’ shoes.

trademark it.”

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FULL

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hen you ask Christine Haw to describe her plan of study in a few words, she’ll have to tell you it’s complicated. By earning her bachelor’s through

Pennoni’s custom-designed major program (CSDN), Christine is pursuing multiple disciplines by combining

2001 after graduating high school, aiming for a BS in computer and electrical engineering. However, she ended up leaving after two years to

focus on a career in music; she began singing professionally at nine years old, eventually performing with a metal band

them into one degree. Her concentrations include

before returning to finish her engineering degree and

social sciences (philosophy, sociology and psychology),

add a fine art minor seven years later. After a neck injury

computer programming (software and systems) and

less than a year in, she had no choice but to take another

art (3D modeling, animation and virtual reality). Some

break from college. Nine years later, in the fall of 2021, she

working titles for her major have included human-cen-

returned to Drexel for a third, and final time, determined to

tered design engineering and interactive design,

complete her degree.

which shares its name with a rapidly growing industry Christine is interested in exploring post-graduation. She also threw in three minors — fine arts, computer science and VR and immersive media — to her already versatile plan of study. Initially, it’s hard to imagine these different interests

AHEAD

C

hristine had her first go-around as a Dragon in

fitting together within a single major. But more than 20 years spent on and off Drexel’s campus — leaving and returning to school multiple times, prioritizing time to pursue goals outside of academia and acquiring new

I knew that there was " something wrong with my

major, and that I was kind of falling in love with art, and the rest is history.

"

“I had considered coming back to Drexel just to finish

interests and passions — have led Christine to immense

my degree for a long time — I guess decades now!” she says,

personal growth, redefining her own career path.

when asked what motivated her to come back and switch her program to one less heavily rooted in engineering. Ultimately, though, it was the CSDN program that solidified her decision: “I didn’t seriously make any moves and contact Drexel until I saw that program.”

After decades on and off campus, a former engineering student finds a way to combine her passions into one custom-designed major

By Anna Gordover, public relations ’24

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utside of classes, Christine is also the

After returning to Drexel to continue her engineering

current visual studies design tutor for

degree, she asked about art classes a second time and was,

those years later, she realized just how crucial an oppor-

Drexel’s Department of Art and Art History.

once again, told no. One term, however, she was presented

tunity like this could be. Formerly stuck in an engineering

This job, she says, is extremely rewarding,

with a choice between taking a required engineering

bubble, having taken time off to explore other paths, she

but it’s also an outlet for her ongoing love of art. In fact,

course — a class only available that quarter — or Design 2.

finally discovered what she was searching for: a chance to

she’s been passionate about both visual and performing

Ultimately, she ended up going with the latter.

combine all her interests without being constrained to such

arts for a long time; she spent her years away from Drexel

For Christine, that was the turning point. “Once I

When Drexel’s CSDN program caught her attention all

a rigid plan of study.

singing with her band full-time, working as a professional

made that decision,” she admits, “I knew that there was

artist and even stand-up comedy. Christine explains after

something wrong with my major, and that I was kind of

technical aspect of her major (“it’s not like I’ve completely

the band broke up, she missed the feeling of performing

falling in love with art, and the rest is history.”

abandoned all of my engineering roots”) she likes being

and being in front of an audience, a big reason why she got into both comedy and gallery exhibition. Juggling all these interests has been challenging over the years, but she’s been gaining organizational skills and, much more importantly, doing what she loves. Incorporating more artistic subjects into Christine’s STEM-heavy schedule (making it STEAM) wasn’t always an option, especially when she attended Drexel the first time. She remembers how “even when I started [as an engineering major], I had asked if I could take art classes in conjunction with engineering and they said no … engineering is very demanding, and there’s just not that much space in the schedule to take any extracurriculars.”

" completely different

You end up being two people, going down both those paths … I

always wanted to find a way to have both.

"

While she is very much still interested in the

able to gain other skills as well. As Christine sees it, “the big difference between an engineering fundamentalist and a social scientist is how you create your arguments, which structures your entire way of thinking from a young age. If you’re on the humanities side, writing papers … you’re looking for supportive evidence for [an argument you’ve created], and in life, you end up becoming that kind of person, looking for people to support your ideas. In STEM, it’s the complete opposite. You have theories that are true until proven wrong – so you’re always looking for evidence to prove you wrong. “And you end up being two completely different people, going down both those paths,” she adds, “and I always wanted to find a way to have both. I knew I already had this fundamental STEM background, even though I’ve always been an artist. There’s always been this contradiction, and maybe that’s why it took me so long to get here.” After her undergraduate degree, Christine plans on earning a graduate degree in transdisciplinary production through the TRANScend master’s program here at Drexel; she is also considering a PhD in information science.

" I knew I already had

this fundamental STEM

background, even though I’ve always been an artist. There’s always been this contradiction, and maybe that’s why it took me so long to get here.

"

Whether she chooses to go into the more theoretical or technical side of the field, she’s extremely passionate about interaction design, citing the Google building and Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience as just two of her inspirations for creating interactive, publicly accessible art spaces. She could also see herself in the game design world, another booming industry that brings tech and art together. Seeing as she’s become incredibly well-rounded and confident about her future, it’s no surprise that Christine encourages students out of high school to customize their college experiences, taking control of their career paths if they feel like they’re being pulled in different directions; she wishes similar programs to CSDN were offered at more institutions, not just Drexel. She believes that “a lot of people are concentrated on the degree part— you can choose to follow someone’s template that has been there for many generations and take [an assortment of] classes that someone else chose for you — or take control of your major.”

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STUDYING ABROAD WHILE AT HOME BY ERICA LEVI ZELINGER

A

t 9 am on a Tuesday last fall, Catharine Schneider

on the same Zoom call with students about the various

had eaten breakfast, charged her phone, looked at

agents of justice the Netherlands capital employs to

her notes and joined her classmates for a 1.5-hour

support a healthy community ecosystem.

marathon breakout session on Zoom to discuss

The two were enrolled in Just Cities, a classroom

Philadelphia’s social structures. At 3 pm and nearly

partnership between Drexel and the Hogeschool designed

4,000 miles away, Imme Dros, a public administration

to incorporate a global dimension to a course on social

student at Hogeschool van Amsterdam, also dialogued

justice policies in Philadelphia and Amsterdam.

C

onceived and co-taught by Cyndi Rickards, associate teaching professor of criminology & justice studies, and director of the justice studies program, the course found a home in the Honors Program in Fall

T

produced such positive results. “When you’re talking about justice or crime,” Rickards says, “the worst thing you can have is a homogenous point of

2021 with an added intensive course abroad (ICA) to spend

view. In an Honors class, you have students who are deeply

winter break in the Netherlands. The ICA, unfortunately,

dedicated to their fields. You have students knowledgeable in

never took off due to COVID.

healthcare, education, finance — and you’re sitting around

Catherine, english ’23, a transfer student who is law

the table talking about affordable housing. This is such a

school-bound, was intrigued by this course as a way to

fine example of incorporating experiential learning to solve

delve into issues of social justice, but also for the chance to

society’s problems. It almost begins to plug the dam.”

communicate with students abroad. “I had hoped to be able to travel abroad, but I’m homebound because my father was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer,” she says. “The ability to have somewhat of an experience with international learning and still feel that I was doing all that I could to protect my family was really appealing.” The 29 Honors students met in person once a week to discuss and define justice, examine the contemporary implications of it, and to use Philadelphia and Amsterdam as data points with the goal of creating a just city. The following

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eaching this class as Honors, Rickards admits,

The ability to have somewhat of an experience with international learning and still feel that I was doing all that I could to protect my family was really appealing. Philadelphia and Amsterdam are quite different cities,

day, the Drexel cohort would split up into policy pods with

Imme says. “The pods helped us see that things that work well

the affectionately-nicknamed “Dutchies,” with an end goal

in one city might not in the other. There is more involvement

to create policy recommendations to lawmakers in the

in the government in Amsterdam, but in the U.S., a lot of

Amsterdam government and Harris Steinberg, the executive

people don’t trust the government. We had to find ways to

director of Drexel’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

incorporate best practices that would work well in either city.”

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AMSTERDAM

PHILADELPHIA "

S

ome people were nervous with the language barrier,”

She herself grew very close with her co-instructors in

says Imme, who has never been to the U.S. “But it was

Amsterdam, and one former student told Rickards she still

exciting to read and hear what life is like in America,

texts back and forth with several Dutchies.

how students experience school and the culture.”

“The relationships formed — particularly in a time

Aside from applying course material to each of their

where people were still feeling isolated — were really valuable.

cities’ state of justice, students engaged in intimate conver-

Sometimes, though, operating in a global fashion has its

sations about everything from insurance and prescription

unforeseen circumstances.

plans to homelessness and equal pay for women.

“Daylight Savings Time,” recalls Rickards,

“We were talking to the Dutchies about the high costs

laughing. “We forgot about the time change here. When

of medication here and it was interesting because they were

you are doing an exchange there are hiccups, and you

asking, ‘Why?’ Catharine says. “I realized there’s a very

need to be flexible. The cross-cultural communication

individualistic mindset that is prevalent in America and it’s

skills are happening on the student end and the

not the case there.”

faculty end.”

The learning objectives, Rickards imparts, go far

After poring over research that reinforces education

beyond critically analyzing data.

is the best way to deter crime, Catharine and her pod gave

“Students had to do in-depth research of each other’s

a final poster presentation recommending a policy change

countries to draft policy, but they were also learning

to reallocate resources from public safety measures in

through uncertainty. It was high stakes. They had to stay

both Philadelphia and Amsterdam to education to reduce

connected throughout the week — using Google, Discord,

the crime rate.

What’s App — these are life skills I hope are transferable.” The unexpected consequences of this course were the friendships that developed, says Rickards happily.

“This class was a confidence boost,” Catharine says.

ACCESS TO EDUCATION

Preschool 3-4 years old

Kindergarden 5-6 years old

Elementary school 6-11 years old Grades 1-5

THE SYSTEM

Elementary school 4 - 12 years old Group 1 - 8

Secondary school 12 - 16/17/18 years old VMBO (4 yr), HAVO (5 yr) & VWO (6 yr)

Middle school 11-14 years old Grades 6-8 Higher education 16> years old MBO (lvl 1-4), HBO (lvl 5), WO (Lvl 6)

High school 14-18 years old Grades 9-12 Higher education >18 years old

Pre-master (lvl 6)

“That thing sounded impossible to do but I’m proud of what my group members and I put out.”

Kindergarden 2,5 - 4 years old

College

Vocational schools

Master (lvl 7)

THE FUNDING

Schools

This is such a fine example of incorporating experiential learning to solve society’s problems. It almost begins to plug the dam.

22

Government

District property taxes

National taxes Government

All public schools

Additional voluntary parental contribution

THE PROBLEMS Perception of people who work technical jobs isn't as "good" as we want it to be

Discrimination exists when receiving school advice Above: Honors Program students enrolled in “Just Cities” say hi from Drexel's campus to their counterparts in Amsterdam. Right: Catharine Schreiber and Policy Pod #12 presented a poster about reallocating resources to education in both Philadelphia and Amsterdam.

Funding of the schools goes through the property taxes of the district

23


SHAPING THEIR RESEARCH CAREERS BY LEAH GATES

The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes the nation’s

TREVOR MCCAFFREY

NADIA BOURAS

physics ’23, STAR

biological sciences ’24, STAR

Being accepted into the STAR Scholars research program at Drexel helped formulate my ideas on what I

as a co-op student in the Gao Lab at Drexel has

fields. Pennoni’s Undergraduate Research & Enrichment

wish to pursue post-college. Through STAR, I was able

completely changed my life. Initially, I had pursued

Programs works with Drexel undergraduates seeking one

to spend the summer after my freshman year doing real

research to explore the field and build my application

of four nomination spots from their home institution.

astronomical research with Dr. Gordon Richards. Initially,

for medical school. Starting in the lab as a sophomore

Scholar recipients receive funding for their final year

I had only really applied to STAR because I knew it would

with very limited knowledge of neuroscience was

or two of undergraduate study and are well-positioned for

bolster my resumé moving forward, but I quickly realized

challenging but also invigorating. I quickly realized

graduate school applications and awards.

that what I was doing was what I most enjoyed; I loved

that the rigor and intellect necessary to conduct

The application requires students to respond to

sitting down independently and just giving a problem my

research was something I never knew I was missing.

several short essay prompts, including: “Describe an

best, over and over, until progress was made. I loved even

When I began, there was so much to learn. At first,

activity or experience that has been important in helping

more that when no progress was made, there’s no one to

my mentor, PhD candidate, Nancy Mack, closely

shape or reinforce your desire to pursue a research career

step in and tell you the answer, because the answer isn’t

trained me on simple tasks, such as slicing mouse

in science, mathematics or engineering.”

yet known — you simply need to find inspiration from

brain tissue. As the weeks went on, I was certified to

whatever resource you can and try something new. Finding

work with live animals and began a more hands-on

passion in my research energized me to work and made me

experience with the mice, eventually mastering brain

learn something new every day. I’m always thinking about

extractions and stereotaxic brain surgery. Toward

my research somewhere in the back of my mind, no matter

the end of my co-op, my PI assigned me my own

what I’m doing throughout my everyday life.

research project and offered me a part-time position

HERE ARE THEIR RESPONSES TO THAT QUESTION:

In addition to working independently on new

SKY HARPER chemistry ’24, Honors, Aspire, STAR A major factor in my desire to pursue a career in

Mother Earth would always push me back up and support

as a research technician in the laboratory. My project

research, I was able to collaborate with experts in the

involves verifying a new biosensor. I presented my

field. Our main collaborator in the project was Dr. Amy

progress on this work as a poster at my first research

Kimball, a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy

conference, Drexel’s Discovery Day 2021. Being in a

Observatory, and my performance in STAR led Dr.

collaborative space with so many intelligent people

Richards to recommend me for a position to work in

was overwhelming but amazing. After sharing my

Dr. Kimball’s lab. STAR has set the foundation for

work, I was proud — I finally felt like a real scientist.

my research career, and with all the opportunities

The happiness and enjoyment that came with talking

that have stemmed from it, I’ve positioned myself to

about my work further confirmed that my decision to

continue growing my research career.

pursue a PhD in neuroscience is the right one.

SEBASTIAN BRUNHART

pharmacological research is my culture. Growing up

me; I later learned this concept to be Newton’s Third Law

on the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners (where

of Motion. Within these ceremonies, the science I saw

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet), my

was always accompanied by healing; the songs and chants

mother would tell me stories of our culture. She would

asking spirits to help the patient, mentally, physically,

leave me in wonder, recounting how the world was created

emotionally and spiritually. This worldview helped me

fortunate enough to participate in an internship with the

that experience, I knew that if we are going to fight the

by the elements and how monsters had roamed the earth.

develop a curious mind that craved knowledge.

U.S. Department of Energy. Although I was researching

looming disaster we call climate change, nuclear would

BS/MS chemical engineering ’23, Honors In the summer preceding my freshman year, I was

on nuclear reactions and the promise of fusion. After

She told me about different deities that killed these

In high school, I began to compete in science

cleanup efforts that were attempting to monitor and

be a substantial part of our arsenal. I also knew I had

monsters and the effects they had on our way of life.

fairs, starting at the regional level and advancing to the

remediate millions of gallons of radioactive waste, I

to be part of making this kind of power production

International Science and Engineering Fair, with three

was far from discouraged from studying nuclear power.

safer and more viable to scale. Taking the ever-present

The monsters in my mind were the dinosaurs, and the

different projects, all focused on the chemistry of life

During that experience, my eyes were opened to the

pressure of climate catastrophe and combining it with

two twin warriors, the meteors. I began to look at more

processes. Conducting and sharing this research opened my

history of nuclear energy, and I launched a self-guided

my new insights into the carbon-free promise of nuclear

cultural concepts with the eyes of a scientist. In a ceremony,

eyes to STEM, cemented the idea I could succeed as a Navajo

inquiry into the future of the sector. I thought back to

power, I committed myself to a career path at the heart

the medicine man told me that no matter where I walked,

in chemistry, and deepened my fascination with biology.

my general chemistry classes, which briefly touched

of nuclear innovation.

As I listened, I began to relate these stories to science.

24

The bench research experience I gained working

top undergraduates in science, math and engineering

25


AA DREAM DREAM DEPORTED DEPORTED

M

ost American teenagers look forward to their 21st birthdays but I’m one of the 200,000 young adults who dread this day.

My name is Lakshmi Parvathinathan and I was born

A

s I learned about all the things my status prevented me from doing, I couldn’t understand why my parents brought me to a country that made us fight this hard to stay here. The

well-marketed American Dream that I’d spent a decade

in Southern India and my parents brought me to the

learning about in school no longer seemed like it belonged

United States when I was just three years old. This country

to me. I just wanted to be a kid and live in the moment,

has raised and educated me from pre-K up until now,

but I realized that I had to start thinking like an adult to

my sophomore year of college as a 19-year-old biological

maximize my chances of being able to stay in the only home

sciences major at Drexel and an Honors student in Pennoni

I’ve ever known.

Honors College. Due to green card backlogs, children like me known as Documented Dreamers — brought here as dependents on their parents’ work visas — “age out” of our status and face deportation if our parents don’t get green cards by our 21st birthdays. We’ve historically been left out of Dreamer solutions like DACA solely because we are not undocumented and maintained a legal status

"

As I learned about all the things my status prevented me from doing, I couldn’t understand why my parents brought me to a country that made us fight this hard to stay here.

"

while growing up. I’ve known about my visa status since I was 11 years

During my senior year of high school, I recognized

old but it wasn’t until I got to high school that I realized

that Drexel would be the best fit for me as it would not only

just how much power my situation had over me. In ninth

provide me with opportunities to develop academically and

grade, my parents slowly revealed to me that we were stuck

professionally, but also as a global-minded citizen. Drexel’s

in the backlog and the struggles I would consequently face. I

biological sciences program, research facilities and Honors

learned that Documented Dreamers can’t legally work, don’t

program would allow me to explore my interest in medicine

qualify for FAFSA, student loans, in-state tuition or most

and interdisciplinary studies, all the while allowing me to

financial aid and scholarships; we are considered interna-

gain work experience through co-op which would prove to

tional students at college, and face deportation at 21. I also

be beneficial for my “international” status. Similarly, Drexel’s

learned that because of my international student status, most

civic engagement opportunities would allow me to continue

medical schools won’t accept me.

building upon the social justice-centered work that I have found myself a part of.

As a child of parents on long-term work visas, I now face self-deportation 26

By Lakshmi Parvathinathan, Biological Sciences ’24 27


L

ast year, I joined Improve The Dream, a youth-led

after graduation and am struggling to accept that I am

advocacy organization fighting for Documented

officially an international student. The word international

Dreamers. The feeling of powerlessness over my

no longer applies to me in quotations, and this completely

status has always consumed me, but since sharing

invalidates the 14-plus years I’ve spent growing up as an

my story and advocating, I no longer feel that way. I have

American. Unless I gain acceptance into medical school or

been working alongside others to meet with congressional

find an employer that is willing to sponsor me and win the

Want to know how you can help

offices, immigration organizations and senior officials

same work visa lottery that my family once applied for, I

from the Department of Homeland Security and the White

will face deportation in June 2024 and have no choice but

Documented Dreamers like Lakshmi?

House Immigration team to ensure no child has to face

to leave my home. Meanwhile, my parents will remain on

Send a letter to your senator, sign a

deportation ever again. As the operations manager, I lead

their work visas and continue to attempt to renew them as

community calls for Documented Dreamers, manage the

they wait for their green cards.

petition, call your senator’s office or set

digital strategy team, help members feel welcome and

"

My experience thus far at Drexel has molded me into

heard, and guide them as they navigate the system and

a global-minded citizen. The support that I have received

share their stories. Our advocacy efforts and stories have

from the Pennoni, CoAS and University-wide staff and

been recognized by numerous outlets such as CNN and The

faculty has empowered me to work towards spreading more

Verge and our movement now has more momentum than

awareness on our campus. The opportunities that I’ve had

ever. This past summer, I was also fortunate enough to

through Pennoni — from stem cell research with STAR

have had the opportunity to share my story with President

and mentoring through Aspire Scholars, to engaging in

Biden who understood my pain and vowed to fight for all

discussion-based classes and panels — has allowed me to

Dreamers. Advocacy is at the core of the very American

grow in all aspects of my life — academically, professionally,

values that I was raised with, and it embodies the future

personally, and emotionally. My situation came as a shock

that I hope to have in the United States.

to virtually every staff member that I initially encountered.

I just wanted to be a kid and live in the moment, but I realized that I had to start thinking like an adult to maximize my chances of being able to stay in the only home I’ve ever known.

However, with open hearts and minds, they listened to my

up a meeting to talk to your senator. improvethedream.org/takeaction

story and have been working alongside me to amplify the voices of underrepresented students like myself. The art of storytelling is truly a powerful one and the Pennoni Honors College has given me a safe and diverse place to do just that. My status has loomed over me long before I was old enough to understand what it meant and now, as I navigate the system alongside Improve The Dream, my friends, family and the Drexel community, I am reminded that I am an American in every way — except on paper. The fight for

"

the protection of all Dreamers is far from over and I hope that the Drexel community will join me and take action.

My student visa was recently approved after nearly 15 months of waiting, which means that I will be able to complete my degree at Drexel. Fifteen months of waiting proved to be extremely stressful for my family and me as we did not know whether my application would be approved or not. In my application, I had to show that I had “non-immigrant intent” and wanted to return to India, my “home” country after graduation. Of course, this was nearly impossible and disheartening to prove considering the fact that I have spent the majority of my life in this country and consider it to be my home. While I am incredibly grateful that my visa was approved and I now have the ability to do co-op and work on-campus, I now worry about my status

28

29


Granting Research to Students By Erica Levi Zelinger ASHLEY BISHOP biomedical engineering ’22 (STAR) working with Dr. Kurtulus Izzetoglu

Kara moran health science ’24 (STAR, Honors), working with Dr. Kelly Underman

Kara Moran, health sciences ’24, plans to go to medical school after she graduates, but she is particularly concerned about the high suicide rates among new physicians. Wanting to do qualitative research in her field to help prevent medical burnout, Kara actively pursued Dr. Kelly Underman to work with her on the

Ashley Bishop found it challenging to balance her biomedical engineering

professor’s medical sociology projects.

and Honors classes, doing research through Pennoni’s Supernova Program and

When she found out about the mini-grant opportunity, Dr. Underman

working part-time at the Drexel Bookstore. Something had to give.

agreed to mentor her since this gave Kara a chance to be compensated for

And then a scan of the Honors College newsletter and a promo about

her work.

Undergraduate Research & Enrichment Program’s (UREP) mini-grants caught

Kara is conducting a content analysis of the news media coverage of

the former STAR Scholar’s eye:

health professionals’ burnout during COVID-19. The hero jargon alone used in

Student/faculty pairs are eligible to apply for a $1,500 mini-grant from

newspaper headlines and splashed across magazines throughout the pandemic,

UREP to cover costs associated with a research project, including costs for

Kara says, has placed a lot of undue pressure on medical professionals.

research, equipment, materials, or even pay for the student researcher.

Some of the grant money is going toward training and data platforms that

The senior already had two co-ops under her belt with Dr. Kurtulus

allow Kara to code newspaper and magazine articles citing medical burnout.

Izzetoglu in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

She hopes to work with Dr. Underman on an article about their findings that

and she figured applying for this grant would help support her financially so that

will be the basis for a book the professor is working on.

she could continue participating in research outside of classes.

“This issue will only continue to get worse,” Kara says. “I want to help

Ashley was one of 10 students to apply for and receive mini-grants in

make improvements to combat medical burnout and improve patient

Winter Term. Highlighted below are four other students, Lupe Fernandez-

outcomes. My generation could change the stigma within mental health in the

Nunez, Kara Moran, Kejsi Ruka and Devin Taylor, whose grants are helping

medical field and that is really powerful and something I want to partake in.”

fund fees for research study participants, conference publications, online training, software and learning materials.

“Pursuing a UREP mini-grant has provided me with opportunities that have allowed me to grow my knowledge and experience in a field I was once intimidated by,” says Devin Taylor, who is working on a research project to design a CPR decision support display for clinicians to use during resus-

With a clear need for more feminist, intersectional and interdisciplinary

Kejsi Ruka

Devin Taylor

research exploring the relationship between gender and corruption, Kejsi Ruka

global studies ’24 (STAR, Aspire, SuperNova),

user experience & interaction design ’22

is working on a sociology project that helps fill the gap. Her research focuses

working with Dr. Kristy Kelly

working with Dr. Aleksandra Sarcevic

on exploring how women in particular are affected disproportionately by

citations. She conducted user research sessions with clinicians, interviews and design walk-throughs, and then analyzed the data to be used to revise a preliminary prototype and design of the CPR decision support display. “Getting involved with UREP has given me valuable hands-on experience that I can now put on my resume and speak confidently about. This mini-grant has allowed me to practice the skills I have learned over the last three-plus years at Drexel and apply them to a real-world situation where I have the chance to make an impact. It has also introduced me to new career possibilities and enhanced my ambition for helping the community around me.”

corruption in hopes of improving anti-corruption programming and training. The former STAR student found Dr. Kelly through UPs ForagerOne, an online platform to help students find research opportunities. Before receiving this grant, the range of what Kejsi was hoping to accomplish was much smaller. “The fact that I could access the trainings and materials, get funding for a conference, and not have to worry about money when doing research opens so many doors and possibilities,” she says. “Research is so … underrated. It is such a good experience for undergrads to establish a relationship with a mentor, get an understanding of grad school and what a research career is like. You can apply critical thinking, analysis and writing to a lot of majors. And it’s so great for networking.”

Lupe Fernandez-Nuñez

Lupe is building upon and validating a new EEG technology to identify

computer science ’23 (STAR, Honors)

biomarkers and collect data to provide objective diagnoses for ADHD subjects.

working with Dr. John Medaglia

“It’s a pretty revolutionary technology in comparison to what currently exists,”

Kejsi presented her findings in March at the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women.

they say excitedly. Another benefit for this computer science junkie is to gain more technical skills with the nitty gritty of data analysis. And their faculty mentor is also giving them the chance experience in writing an aims page for a grant. “This is giving me practical research experience and I think that’s invaluable because a lot of students don’t get that experience until grad school.” Undergraduate research, they add, may seem daunting, but you just have

UREP AWARDED ANOTHER 9 STUDENTS EACH THIS SPRING WITH $1,500 MINI-GRANTS

to get your foot in the door.

30

31


CURTAIN UP: TEACHING THE BROADWAY MUSICAL

B

roadway was closed, and a global pandemic meant my Introduction to Honors/Broadway Musical Disasters course in the Fall of 2020 and my Broadway Musical in American Culture course in the Winter of 2021, would be taught remotely. Would these students, many

trapped in their childhood bedrooms, want to watch and discuss musicals? As I wondered if we would ever see a live performance again, I learned that these students watched with family members, friends and roommates, and with great care and attention. Patterns emerged. Each class had students who performed in musical theater in schools, students who were musical theater fans, students who knew little about musical theater but wanted to learn more, and students who had little or no connection to musical theater. Yet all of them found a

BY GAIL ROSEN, TEACHING PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH

way to connect. Students encountering the outrageous stereotypes in Mel Brooks’ The Producers found it hilarious and were puzzled that any of their classmates were offended. These students wrote and spoke with great passion about the evils of cancel culture. Also, students debated the misogyny and toxic masculinity in Guys and Dolls, marginalized groups and capitalism in Rent and gender roles and stereotypes in West Side Story. As a Stephen Sondheim fanatic, I was delighted by the how much the students loved Into the Woods. One student compared it to chemistry class, explaining that she was told that inorganic chemistry would make sense of all the lies told in general chemistry. She saw Into the Woods doing that for fairytales, as the show, “exposes their flaws, and rewrites them to make real sense to us as adults.” These students always found relevance to their lives and current times in our musicals. In the fall of 2021, I was thrilled to be in person with the students in my Aging/Musical Theater class, even though we all wore masks. Like their predecessors, many shared my love of musicals, and others became fans. One student wrote that after watching the original Broadway cast film of Into the Woods, she was “inspired to return to the theater again, and even opened a separate tab in search of a local musical I could attend within the coming months. (Let's all go!)” I found this group of first-year students to be particularly discerning. They listened to each other and considered different points of view. They saw nuances. While they acknowledged issues with stereotypes and casting in West Side Story, many said that their parents were immigrants, and they recognized the difficult experiences of the immigrant characters in the film. Several students stayed after class to try to organize a class trip to the Spielberg West Side Story film. Although the term is over, they are still sending me e-mails about it. Sitting in the dark and listening for the first notes of an overture always fed my soul. Although it has been over two years since I sat in a theater to watch a Broadway musical, somehow, those students and courses fed my soul even more.

32

33


Alumni News

During the spring term, I am putting into effect an idea I’ve wanted to initiate

cultural critic and novelist. We hope

Eliza Nobles’s passion for improving the environment is an

for some time: teaching with a Drexel

to report back on our experience in a

inherently interdisciplinary pursuit. In her studies, Eliza, custom-

alumnus with specialized expertise worth

subsequent issue of Honor Bound.

designed major, urban ecology ’19, developed cross-curricular

sharing. David Kaganovsky, computing

If other alums have an interest in

ideas about science, culture, art and design — and now she is

and informatics ’95 and former head

sharing their knowledge and experience

using her art to communicate these complex ideas. The UPENN

of the Drexel Alumni Association, is

with our students, I encourage you to

grad student pursuing master’s degrees in city planning and

team-teaching a one-credit course with

contact me or one of our staff so that we

environmental studies, entered an art competition organized

me on Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. The

can brainstorm about how you could do

by University of Pennsylvania and the Global Philadelphia

book deals with how we make decisions,

this. Any kind of contribution, financial

Association (GPA) to highlight the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable

and the relationship between instinct

or in kind, to the Honors College — to

Development Goals (SDGs). In partnership with GPA, Penn’s

and strategy in our daily life. We think

the Program, to our Undergraduate

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy selected Eliza’s mural design,

it will be interesting to explore these

Research initiatives, to our Fellowships

“The Four Elements,” which shows the Earth, held in place

ideas from our respective viewpoints:

programming, or to the Custom-Designed

David is a successful tech executive and

Major — is always appreciated.

Dean Paula Marantz Cohen cohenpm@drexel.edu

by four people who represent the four elements: sun, wind, earth and water. These four elements and renewable resources highlight the collaborative international effort to ensure affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all and meet the

Simon Chamakalayil, MD, biological sciences ’12, CoM ’15, joined Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a psychiatrist seeing patients at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center in Lakeland, FL. Brianna Gaynor, PsyD, psychology ’04, was interviewed for Authority magazine as part of their series about "Why We Need More Women Founders." Dr. Gaynor, a clinical psychologist, is the founder and director of her own private practice, Peace of Mind Psychological Services, in Johns Creek, GA where she serves children, adolescents, and adults in identifying and treating mental illness. Ross M. Goren, biological sciences ’10, was appointed partner at Weber Gallagher law firm in Philadelphia. Goren counsels employers, businesses, and insurance companies on managing workers' compensation risk and represents them in the course of workers' compensation litigation throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

34

Alumni Spotlight

entrepreneur; I am a seasoned academic,

Valerie joined Pathways to Housing PA as director of Institutional Advancement in 2018 and was promoted to VP of Advancement and Special Projects in 2021. Sameep Kadakia (CoAS ’10, DUCOM ’12) and wife Devi Desai Kadakia (CNPH ’09, ’11) have established a scholarship to benefit Pennoni students. The Kadakia scholarship will be awarded to a senior in LeBow or College of Arts & Sciences. Bridget McEnrue, nursing ’13, was named to the Philadelphia Business Journal's Leaders in Health Care, which honors 17 medical professionals that come from a range of sectors and medical facilities, including hospitals, pharmacies, health insurance providers and urgent care clinics. Leah Mele, political science ’15, will publish Laila: Held for a Moment, out in October by Kat Biggie Press. She is also a graduate from Drexel’s new MFA program. Leah gave birth to her daughter Ashanti in April 2021.

Zara Z. Hanawalt, communication ’10, is a lifestyle journalist with a decade of experience in the space who has written for outlets including Byrdie.com, Glamour, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Parents.com and more.

Lindsay A. Michel, screenwriting & playwriting ’19, an independent screenwriter, was recently signed by WME, one of the most influential talent agencies in the world..

Alyssa L. Harden screenwriting & playwriting ’20, joined the animation studio Laika, the studio behind the movies Kubo and Coraline as a puppet coordinator.

Elias Okwara, international area studies ’13, recently became the Africa Policy Manager at digital rights organization Access Now. Elias has also been appointed to two taskforces at the African Union.

Valerie Johnson, business administration ’10, was promoted to vice president of advancement and special projects at Pathways to Housing.

Mutlu Onaral, business administration ’01, who professionally goes by Mutlu, announced his U.S. tour dates and will be making several headline club

appearances as well as opening for singer-songwriter Amos Lee. A Philadelphia-area singer who has worked professionally for 15 years, Mutlu has previously collaborated with and supported Hall & Oats and Amos Lee as well as toured with acts such as Adele, Katy Perry, John Hiatt, Leon Russell, the Blind Boys of Alabama and many more.

U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals: solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy and hydroelectric energy. The public mural will be on display this fall on an external wall of the boathouse at FDR Park in South Philadelphia.

Jeremy J. Zacharias, Esq., business administration ’11, an associate in the Mount Laurel office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, received the PLUS Emerging Leader Award from the Professional Liability Underwriting Society. The annual award is given to young professionals who excel in their profession and exhibit the attributes to become future leaders in their organization and the professional liability insurance industry. Lori Zimmer, photography, ’01, published her new book, Art Hiding in New York, and the forthcoming book in the series, Art Hiding in Paris, which will be released in 2022.

Spread the News! Please send your alumni announcements to pennoni@drexel.edu and let us know what you’ve been up to. Include your name, major, graduation year, and share with us your career stories, promotions, marriages, births, etc.

35


3250 Chestnut Street MacAlister Hall, Suite 5016 Philadelphia, PA 19104

You can make a difference! When you make a gift to the Pennoni Honors College, you support the tradition of an interdisciplinary education. Every gift counts. To learn more about how you can support the Pennoni Honors College, contact: David Unruh 215-895-2436 dlu23@drexel.edu

36

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