The showcase took place on Lancaster Walk, where students presented their findings in two groups of around 60.


Even though it was the middle of the day, August 25 on Lancaster Walk, dozens of stars were shining brightly — or, more accurately, STARS. The 20e anniversary of the STAR Scholar Showcase gathered more than 120 students in one place on the campus of Drexel University to show off their research projects they had spent the summer semester on.

“I really enjoy hosting this event outdoors,” said Emily Kashka-Ginsburg, associate director of the undergraduate research and enrichment program. “The energy is always there for the showcase. It’s a fantastic day, our students are thrilled, the guests are thrilled and it’s great to see what our students have achieved in just 10 weeks. The showcase is the culmination of a lot of hard work.

STAR Scholars are “students tackling advanced research” and the program is delivered by Pennoni Honors College. Students at the end of their first year, who are not yet in work-study, work closely with faculty mentors and undertake research projects in their field. Although research tends to lean towards STEM fields, Jaya Mohan, director of undergraduate research and enrichment programs, said they attract students from across the university.

“Research is about creating knowledge in their field, so it’s accessible to everyone,” Mohan said. “It’s about giving students the opportunity to experience this knowledge creation.

It was the second year the showcase was hosted outdoors, and while it was a change prompted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Mohan and Kashka-Ginsburg said it brought something new. new to the experience, as people walking around are drawn in by the assortment of boards.

The outdoor experience may be new, but the STAR program has been around for a long time. This year was the 20e anniversary of the first research cohort. To celebrate, Mohan and Kashka-Ginsburg brought in alumni of the program from across its history and hosted a series of weekly lectures focusing on the impact of the program and how it helped students launch their careers. A current faculty member, Kara Spiller, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Health Sciences and Systems, was a student in the first cohort and mentored a researcher this year.

“It’s a pretty big step and we’re really excited about it,” Mohan said. “Every time I talk about it in front of our students, I’m like, ‘This program is older than you.’ We are proud of the legacy of the STAR Scholars program and its impact on our students, our faculty, and the university as a whole.

This year, three students who presented during the showcase gave an update on their research.