NMPP PhD Candidate Emma Snelling Selected for 2023-24 Koerner Family Award

The Koerner Family Award is intended to support research for graduate students in the College of Engineering. Candidates are required to submit a written summary of current research efforts as well as completed their departmental candidacy exam. NMPP members have a strong history of being selected for this award with past receiptents including Emily Herbert (2022-23), Divya Kamireddi (2021-22),  Jessica Schiffman (2008-09), and Matthew Cathell (2005-06).

NMPP Undergraduate Conway Zheng Receives TMS Foundation’s 2024 Structural Materials Divison Scholarship 

NMPP member Conway Zheng was awarded a scholarship by The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS) for both his involvement in Drexel’s Material Advantage chapter and on academic merit. This award is for undergraduate students majoring in metallurgical and/or materials science and engineering with an emphasis on the science and engineering of load-bearing materials, including studies into the nature of a material’s physical properties based upon its microstructure and operating environment. Only one student is selected per year nationwide. Conway will be recognized for this honor at the TMS Annual Meeting and Exhibition happening in Florida this March. More information on this award can be found here and here.


NMPP PhD Candidate Emily Herbert Receives Fulbright 

Drexel Materials PhD student Emily Herbert (BS ’19, advisor: Caroline Schauer) has received a 2023 U.S. Fulbright Scholar Award for her proposed project, “Scaling Up Production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs).” As a Fulbright scholar, she will work with Dr. Sean Scully at the University of Akureyri in Iceland to make PHAs greener and cheaper to produce. Read more here.

Dr. Caroline Schauer selected as one of the 2021-22 STAR SCHOLARS OUTSTANDING MENTORS OF THE YEAR

Dr. Caroline Schauer was recognized for her work as a STAR Scholars mentor due to her work with NMPP’s three STAR Scholars this summer, Alessandra Cabrera, Eli Werbach, and Conway Zheng. Read more here.

NMPP Presented at the 2022 Fiber Society Fall Meeting and Technical Conference at North Caroline State University

STAR Student Alessandra Cabrera Featured in College of Engineering News

NMPP member Alessandra Cabrera’s STAR project was recently featured on the College of Engineering’s website. The article can be found here.

NMPP Work Aimed at Elevating BioPlastics and Repurposing Industrial Food Waste Highlighted in Drexel Magazine

PhD candidates Emily Herbert and Emma Snelling were part of a recent article titled “How to Save the World.” The piece showcased thirteen ideas being pursued at Drexel University to help aid the fight against climate change. The article can be found here.

Dr. Caroline Schauer awarded funding from Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing PA Innovation Program

Caroline Schauer, PhD, Margaret C. Burns Chair in Engineering and Professor of materials science and engineering, and Jonathan Deutsch, professor and director of the Drexel Food Lab, have received funds to partner with Altered State Distillery to build the product design, formulation, packaging chemistry and commercialization for two to three new ready-to-drink (RTD) shelf-stable beverages with the goal of bringing unique craft RTDs to market, growing the Northwest PA food and beverage manufacturing industry and creating new jobs.

NMPP Member Linda Franceschini Succesfully Defends Her MS Thesis

Linda succesfully defended her thesis work titled “Evaluation of PLA-Based Spent Coffee Ground Composites as an Improved Plastic Material.”

NMPP Member Nicole Tavormina Succesfully Defends Her MS Thesis

Nicole succesfully defended her thesis work titled “Actie Natural Polymer Nanoyarns.”

NMPP Member Brennan Coleman Succesfully Defends His MS Thesis

Brennan succesfully defended his thesis work titled “Mechanically Drawing Polyacrylonitrile Nanofibers and Characterization of the Touchspinning Process.”

NMPP Member Divya Kamireddi Receives 2022 College of Engineering Koerner Award 

We’re Rebranding! Introducing the Natural Materials and Polymer Processing Group

In an effort to better communicate the researching currently ongoing in our lab, the lab group name has been changed from Natural Polymers and Photonics (NPP) to Natural Materials and Polymer Processing (NMPP). 

NMPP Members Emily Herbert and Emma Snelling Selected as Coulter Fellows 

Emily and Emma join a group of other graduate students assisting in market research analysis for potential research proposals seeking to improve human healthcare. More on the program can be found here.

Drexel Undergraduate Research and Enrichment Mini Grant Awared to NPP Member Linda Franceschini

Money from the grant was used to purchase tensile testing grips for extruded filaments. Previous attempts using other grips failed to provide consistent results leaving the group unable to fully characterize our composites until now. 


NPP Member Emeka Chikelu to Present at BME Graduate Research Talks

Emeka Chikelu will be presenting at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems Graduate Research Talks this upcoming Friday, October 15th at 12:30 PM. The Zoom link to attend can be found below.

NPP End of Spring Term Picnic

Following health and safety guidelines, the NPP lab was able to met in person for the first time in over a year and a half! 

Dr. Caroline Schauer awarded a 2021 Scholarly Materials & Research Equipment Award

This funding will be put towards the purchase of a new desktop injection molder!

Dr. Caroline Schauer awarded funding from Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing PA Innovation Program.

The funding will be used to collaborate with Whiff LLC to develop modifications to the existing Touchspinner technology that would allow for the generation of bioactive bandages with improved healing properties made from natural polymers and that require less post-processing than those produced using traditional electospinning. 

Dr. Caroline Schauer selected as the inaugural holder of the Margaret C. Burns Chair in Engineering.

It was announced on May 19, 2021 that Dr. Caroline Schauer, associate dean, research and faculty affairs and professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been appointed the inaugural Margaret C. Burns Chair in Engineering. Named for Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering alumna Margaret C. “Peggy” Burns, ’79, the Margaret C. Burns Chair was established to support a faculty member who champions women, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community. More details regarding the appointment can be found here.

NPP Researcher Emma Snelling Accepted into Drexel University’s Materials Science and Engineering PhD Program! 

Dr. Schauer has successfully convinced Emma to stay on at the NPP lab to further her research into industrial food waste as filler material in polylactic acid composites. Congratulations Emma!

NPP Researcher Jack Burger Accepted into UMASS Amherst’s Chemical Engineering PhD Program as well as University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Materials Science and Engineering PhD Program!

Jack will be continuing his Materials Science and Engineering education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Gong. His work will be in the field of nanomedicine. Congratulations Jack!

Dr. Caroline Schauer to be inducted into medical and biological engineering elite

It was announced on February 15, 2021 that Dr. Schauer was elected to the College of Fellows within the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Dr. Schauer was nominated, reviewed, and elected for outstanding contributions to natural polymer processing into nanoscale fibers and yarns for tissue engineering applications. A copy of the AIMBE press release can be found here.


Special Issue reprint book “Electrospun Nanomaterials” published online

This special issue reprint is freely accessible as a pdf here. This book is a collection of published literature involving electrospinning polymers.

June: NPP Lab Returns to Campus

While the meetings remain virtual, lab members are been approved to return to campus under strict safety guidelines. This include adding face masks to the list of mandatory PPE and limiting the number of personal in the lab at a time. Pictured below is Emily, a PhD candidate, meeting with Dr. Schauer and Dr. Street while working safely in the lab!

March: NPP Lab Goes Virtual

COVID-19 has made research difficult, but the NPP lab has kept in touch via our frequent Zoom meetings! Additionally, grow it yourself Mycelium kits were sent to various lab members which allowed them to continue the exploration into food waste research.


Dr. Schauer is now the Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Research for the College of Engineering!

NPP Lab Members beat ‘The Agency’ at the Escape the Room Philly!

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NPP Lab Alumni Marjorie Kiechel recently received the Ingredion Design for Six Sigma Green Belt

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The certification is for professionals who continuously strives to improve projects in matters of manufacturing, marketing, logistics and other important components at a higher level of a understanding. Congratulations Marjorie!

Dr. Caroline Schauer welcomes Blue and Gold Winners to Drexel University 

NPP Lab Ph.D. student Chukwuemeka Chikelu won the Best Poster Award at the PA Manufacturing Innovation Program Expo


2018 STAR student Engy Khoshit and undergraduate researcher Brennan Coleman are working in the lab this summer.

Welcome to the team!

Dr. Schauer is appointed to the newly created position of Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Engineering

In this new role, Schauer is tasked with overseeing four goals related to the success and professional fulfillment of faculty: developing and implementing strategies to promote respect, inclusion, and diversity within the college; developing and implementing faculty recruitment outreach and recruitment strategies; ensuring that faculty have the necessary resources to be successful by identifying key needs; and helping to manage the faculty information reporting process, including matters associated with annual reviews, college tenure promotions, and dossier standardization.(read more)

Associate Professor Caroline Schauer, PhD has received the Harold M. Myers Award for Distinguished Service

Caroline Schauer and Provost Brian Blake

The Harold Myers Award for Distinguished Service is given to an administrator, member of the professional staff, or part- or full-time faculty member who has engaged in service work that has been recognized to be truly significant to the University. (read more)

Reva Street successfully defended her PhD thesis in May!

Her thesis is entitled “Electrospun Scaffolds for Spinal Cord Explant Cultures”.


Dr. Schauer was selected to take part in the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE at Drexel®) leadership development program 2017-18 fellowship year.

ELATE is a national program designed to advance senior women faculty in academic engineering, computer science, and related fields into effective institutional leadership roles within their schools and universities. (read more)

Reva won third place in the ASM International Liberty Bell Chapter Graduate Student Poster Contest


Lab alumnae Dr. Jessica Schiffman awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Dr. Jessica Schiffman

Dr. Schiffman graduated from Drexel with her PhD in 2009 and joined the UMass faculty in 2011 after a postdoctoral position at Yale University. (read more)


Senior lab members presented at the 2016 Fall Fiber Society meeting at Cornell University

Reva and Ariana gave oral presentations and Olga, Chelsea and Elisa gave poster presentations (In picture from L to R: Ariana Levitt, Reva Street, Chelsea Knittel, Dr. Caroline Schauer, visiting researcher Olga Urbanek and Elisa Mayerberger)

Some sweet news: Marjorie Austero Kiechel is currently woking as a Senior Food Materials Scientist for Ingredion, makers of Stevia and Karo.

Excellent news!

The lab enjoys the annual Habas Lab/Schauer Lab summer picnic!

Riki and Angela are 2016 STAR fellows

Hard at work in the lab this summer!

Olga Urbanek is a visiting researcher from Poland

Welcome Olga!

Former NPP member, Jayvic Jimenez, is off to graduate school.

This fall, he starts the PhD program at Case Western in the Department of Chemistry. Way to go JC!

Dr Schauer to present at the Elecnano 7 May 23, 2016 in Lille, France (read more)

Dr Schauer to present at the Spring Fiber Society meeting in Mulhouse, France May 26, 2016 (read more)

Congratulation to Ariana Levitt on being named an inaugural Coulter Fellow for 2016.

In her fellowship role, Ariana will work directly with faculty, clinicians, the Office of Technology Commercialization, and Drexel Ventures to do market research leading to development of strategic business plans for the proposals submitted to the Coulter Program.

The Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Program is dedicated to improving human healthcare by supporting translational research in biomedical engineering and the health sciences – research directed at the transfer of promising technologies developed at Drexel into clinical practice.  Started in 2006, the Coulter program now exists at 16 universities across the United States. The Coulter process for vetting, selecting and managing projects is known for its aggressive commercialization timeline (3-5 years), and Coulter funded projects average an 8x leverage of the funds granted in follow-on funding from angel and venture investors.

Congratulations again Ariana on this accomplishment!

Collaborator Genevieve Dion and colleagues have been awarded $75 million DOD grant on Functional fabrics (Read more)


Alumnus Emily Buck has received the Vanier Scholarship for PhD study at McGill University

Congrats Emily!


Dr. Schauer is elected to the Governing Council of the Fiber Society

Dr. Schauer is the Plenary lecturer for the 12th International European Chitin meeting and 13th International Conference on Chitin and Chitosan (EUCHIS/ICCC) and the Cost workshop on electrospinning in Sept 2015

Lab members enjoyed the annual Materials Science and Engineering Holiday Party together.

Tatyana successfully defended her MS

Tatyana Huseynova graduated from the NPP lab in June 2015. She received the prestigious Drexel’s Outstanding Master’s Award for her thesis work (first from the group to win!). Currently she is working as an Environmental Compliance Engineering for Hewlett Packard Co.

Reva Street and Dr. Schauer gave oral presentations at the Fall 2015 Fiber Society meeting in North Carolina

The lab participated in the Color Run together!


Laura Toth Beringer successfully defended her PhD Dec 11, 2015.

Way to go Laura! She is currently a Technical Specialist in The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS)

Dr. Schauer is organizing the fall Fiber Society Meeting at Drexel and the Chemical Heritage Foundation Oct 22-24, 2014. Laura Toth Beringer and Dr. Schauer gave oral presentations and Reva Street gave a poster presentation.

Dr. Schauer is the Plenary Speaker in Liberec, Czech Republic.

Lecture was given for the Spring 2014 Fiber Society meeting in the beautiful Opera house!

5 MS students graduate from the NPP lab June 2014!

Congratulations to Emily, Ryan, Bryan, Reaya and Mandy!

Congratulations to Emily Buck and Chelsea Knittel! NSF GRFP recipients

Laura Toth wins fellowship

Joseph and Shirley Carleone Endowed Fellowship Fund ($1,500) – See more at:


Emily Buck wins Whitaker!


Dr. Schauer receives Outstanding Teaching Award from the Department of MSE


Danielle Presents at ACS Fall 2012 Meeting

Danielle ACS

Danielle presented her poster titled, “Investigating Structural Changes to Green Tea Extract (EGCG) by Monitoring the Effects on Cells Using QCM-D”, at the ACS Fall 2012 Meeting.

Marjorie to Present at the MS&T Fall Conference 2012

Marjorie will be presenting a talk at the MS&T Fall 2012 Conference entitled, “Non covalent crosslinkers for electrospun chitosan fibers”. The conference will be held in Pittsburgh, PA on October 7-11, 2012.

(Austero, M.S.and Schauer, C.L. (2012)  Non covalent crosslinkers for electrospun chitosan fibers, Next Generation Biomaterials symposium, MS&T 2012 Conference and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, PA, October 11, 2012. Accepted.)

Marjorie also presented at last year’s Fall conference in Columbus, OH:

Austero, M.S., Donius, A.E., Wegst, U.G.K. and Schauer, C.L. (2011)  Post-processing electrospun crosslinked chitosan fibers, Next Generation Biomaterials symposium, MS&T 2011 Conference and Exhibition, Columbus, Ohio, October 18, 2011

Ph.D. Alumna Jessica Schiffman’s SEM Image Featured on Leading Comedy Website,

Jessica Squid Suckers

NPP alumna Jessica Schiffman’s SEM image entitled “Squidsuckers: The Little Monsters That Feed the Beast” has been featured on as #1 in the article “11 Everyday Things That Look Terrifying Under a Microscope“. Jessica’s award-winning image was taken while researching chitin properties in the NPP Lab and portrays the fang-like structures that are approximately 400 micrometers in diameter and allow a squid to latch onto its prey. Congratulations, Jessica!

Dr. Schauer Receives the Drexel Graduate Student Association Mentor of the Year Award

Dr. Schauer GSA Award 2012

Congratulations to Dr. Schauer for receiving the Drexel GSA Mentor of the Year Award on May 30th!

NPP Lab GSA Award 2012

NPP Lab members show support for Dr. Schauer’s Mentor of the Year Award!

Kris Jones Presents Senior Design Project in College of Engineering Finals

Kris Jones Senior Design

Congratulations to Senior Design member, Kris Jones, for presenting his project at the College of Engineering Finals Competition! Kris received runner-up in the college-wide design competition.

Banner Year for Graduations in the NPP Lab

We have six people graduating from the NPP lab this year! Jennie is defending her PhD on May 18th, Laura is defending her MS on May 24th, Sean is defending his MS on May 30th, and our three senior design students, Ebony, Kris, and Dan, will be graduating in June. Congrats and good luck to all!

Mandy and Emily Present Posters at the Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference

Mandy presented her posted entitled “Post-processing Electrospun Fibers” and Emily presented her poster entitled “Met-Pro: Thin Films for Detection of Cu(II) Ions in Frac Water” at the CAA Undergraduate Research Conference held at Old Dominion University from April 13-15, 2012.


Marjorie Receives the Philadelphia IFT Scholarship


Marjorie received the Philadelphia IFT Scholarship and was honored on May 1st at their student recognition dinner. Congrats Marjorie!

NPP Designs Electrospinning Setup & Lab for High School Students

Jennifer Atchison and summer REU student Will Stoy work with RET teachers Myra Doughty, Paul Holt and Joy Kots to design an electrospinning set up and  laboratory for high school students!

 Group Potluck at Dr. Schauer’s House!

The group gathered at Dr. Schauer’s house for a potluck on August 14th. Food, Wii games, karaoke, and new lab t-shirts made for a great time!

NPP Potluck-Aug14-2011-2

NPP Potluck-Aug14-2011-1