Creativity Sparkles at Celebration of Innovation

Seven student projects stem from interdisciplinary collaborations across the University.

The full breadth of students’ talents and ingenuity took center stage at this year’s Celebration of Innovation. The May 5-6 virtual event highlighted seven diverse projects that featured interdisciplinary collaborations from across the University. From creating a cookbook system that teaches people with intellectual disabilities to cook, to COVID-19 volunteering and training initiatives, students transformed their ideas into practice to make the world a better place. Hear from the students, and watch these videos below to learn more about their work.

Inclusive Design for Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities
Students collaborate with industry partner Carousel Connections to help young adults with disabilities live independent and healthy lives. The team is creating a cookbook system that teaches individuals to cook, while also imparting job skills that provide opportunities in the food and beverage industry.

Madalynne Aubry, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; Cynthia Jih, College of Rehabilitation Sciences

Faculty Advisors
Elizabeth Shirrell, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; Drs. Kimberly Mollo, Michael Barrett and Sarah McNabb, College of Rehabilitation Sciences


Creating a Vaccine
Students team up for hands-on experience on how vaccines are made in Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing and Center City labs. They seek ways to use creativity for advancements in optimizing processes, scaling up and making gene therapy affordable, ingestible and tolerable.

Myettia Peck, Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing; James Walker, College of Health Professions

Faculty Advisors
Geoffrey Toner, Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing; Sean Chadwick, College of Health Professions


Ocean Awakening
Based on the student’s personal story and inspired by her fear and love of the ocean, this collaboration unites textile design with fashion. The project brings a collection to life with designs that incorporate two students’ visceral response to the ocean’s expansiveness and strength.

Olivia Manning and Vanessa Fath, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce

Faculty Advisor
Marcia Weiss, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce


Solar Decathlon Design Challenge
Working with partners at universities in China on a team competing in the Solar Decathlon, the Jefferson students develop a building façade that meets requirements for sustainability, innovation, versatility and design aesthetics. The final full-scale structure will be on display near the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. This project is supported by the Eileen Martinson ’86 Fund for the Undergraduate Capstone Experience.

Olivia Birritteri and Cevan Noell, College of Architecture and the Built Environment

Faculty Advisor
Kihong Ku, College of Architecture and the Built Environment


Health Passport
A team of Sidney Kimmel Medical College students in the scholarly inquiry design track collaborated with the Jefferson Center for Autism and Neurodiversity to assist the Center with considering how an interactive healthcare passport for patients with autism spectrum disorder and neurodiversity would be helpful in emergency room scenarios. The students assisted with interviewing emergency medical professionals and designed potential solutions from their perspectives.

Kathryn Achuck and Zane Gouda, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Faculty Advisors
Drs. Morgan Hutchinson and Bon Ku, Sidney Kimmel Medical College; Dr. Wendy Ross, Jefferson Center for Autism and Neurodiversity


Industry Connections: Tenneco
Industrial design, engineering and business students find solutions that use a Tenneco product in unique and unintended ways. Each team is given a braided substrate material, reimagines a use for it, and then competes in real-world pitches to have the product potentially produced.

Lauren Kloos, Clara Miller and Ehson Shirazi, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce

Faculty Advisors
Michael Leonard, Dr. Muthu Govindaraj, Dr. Les Sztandera and Matt Umbriac, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce


COVID-19 Volunteering and Training Initiatives
Nursing and medical students work together on volunteer and training opportunities that support Jefferson in COVID-19 relief, including vaccine administration. Trained students have worked in Philadelphia’s mass vaccination clinic at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, which gives more than 6,000 vaccines daily.

Lindsay Killian, College of Nursing; Alexandra Leto, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Faculty Advisor
Dr. Jennifer Bellot, College of Nursing

Along with highlighting seven student projects, Celebration of Innovation honored several individuals for their contributions to innovation. This year’s honorees included:

Innovator of the Year
Mauro Porcini, Senior Vice President and Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo

Leaders of Innovation
Mary Lynne Bercik, PMP, PMI-RMP ’90
Appointed, Executive Director Global Operations Sourcing, Organon & Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc.

Tracy-Gene Durkin, Esq. ’83
Director, Sterne, Kessler Goldstein & Fox

Francisco J. Morales ’98
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, 5.11 Tactical

The Rieders Family
Fredric Rieders, PhD ’52 (awarded posthumously)

Eric Rieders, PhD
President & Chief Operating Officer, NMS Labs
Chairman, Fredric Rieders Family Foundation

M. Fredric Rieders, PhD ’85
Treasurer and Director, NMS Labs
Board Member, Fredric Rieders Family Foundation

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