Weather Forecast for Philadelphia

Partly Cloudy
Tuesday 07/28 10%
Partly Cloudy
Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 93F. Winds light and variable.
Wednesday 07/29 0%
Sunshine and some clouds. High around 95F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Thursday 07/30 60%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms. High 93F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Partly Cloudy
Friday 07/31 10%
Partly Cloudy
Partly cloudy skies. High 94F. Winds light and variable.
Saturday 08/01 0%
Sunny skies. High near 95F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.


Industrial design students Nick Friez, Anthony Maladra, Chloe Muller and Sam Pawlak with their Target products. (Photo by Seth Andrew Shimkonis)

Industrial design students Nick Friez, Anthony Maladra, Chloe Muller and Sam Pawlak with their Target products. (Photo by Seth Andrew Shimkonis)

In collaboration with Target and product design firm Umbra, four Philadelphia University industrial design students are having their products manufactured and sold as part of the mega-retailer’s back-to-school line.

Target announced the sale of the student designs, winners of a design competition with Umbra, on July 22. The items, under the label Loft by Umbra, are now available online and on the shelves of Target’s almost 1,800 stores.

The winning PhilaU industrial design students and their products are:

Nick Friez: Bunky, a bedside stand to hold electronics and books (buy it here).

Chloe Muller: Roo over-the-door laundry bag that converts to shoulder tote (buy it here).

Sam Pawlak: Cacti, a multi-surface desktop organizer (buy it here).

Anthony Maladra: Trig, a graphic pegboard to hold items (buy it here).

Chloe Muller's laundry bag for Target

The students and PhilaU’s industrial design program will share royalties on sales of the items, which range in price from $9.99 to $19.99. Some are available in multiple colors.

The students, now rising seniors, tackled the design project as part of a fall 2014 design studio co-taught by Lyn Godley, associate professor of industrial design, and Mike Leonard, academic dean of the School of Design and Engineering. Godley, who has known Umbra co-founder and Vice President for Inspiration Paul Rowan professionally for many years, helped advance the project.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our students to have their products manufactured and on the market at a mass retailer the caliber of Target,” Godley said. “This level of visibility and volume is huge for any designer, let alone a student, and will open many doors for them in the future.”

Target and Umbra sought out the student collaborators because, in addition to bringing top design skills to the table, the students know first-hand the challenges of living in dorm rooms and small spaces and the need for innovative solutions.

Nick Friez and his Target design

“Our students did a remarkable job translating consumer needs into great products,” Leonard said. “The Target products in collaboration with Umbra are exceptional and will perform well in the market.”

About 25 industrial design students at PhilaU participated in the project. Rowan and members of the design team at Umbra, a Toronto-based home products design firm, worked with students throughout the fall, offering frequent feedback and advice in person and via videoconferencing.

“Today, schools understand that industry relationships are crucial to professional development,” Rowan said. “The opportunity to work with the Umbra team, to design for their own peer group, was recognized to be a huge benefit to the students. For our part, we’re thrilled to help student designers begin promising careers.”

PA Class of 2016 receive white coats

During a joyful ceremony last week, physician assistant studies students in the Class of 2016 donned their new white medical coats to mark the start of their clinical rotations. The 49 students were helped into their coats from their Class of 2015 mentors, who will graduate next month.

Meanwhile, the first 22 students in Philadelphia University’s new South Jersey-based PA program started classes this week, as did the entering class of physician assistant studies students on the University’s main campus. PhilaU’s nationally ranked PA program was expanded to New Jersey to help meet the growing demand for health care professionals.

At the July 16 white coat ceremony, family members, friends, faculty and staff celebrated the PA students, who will each complete 10 rotations over the next year in such specialties as emergency medicine, psychiatry, surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, and diagnostic radiology.

“The white coat ceremony marks the day future PAs leave the classroom and go out into practice to hone their skills interacting with patients and preceptors,” said Jesse Coale, director of the M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies program. “They will treat all ages, from infants to geriatrics, and will evaluate and manage patients with the strong ethical integrity and emotional maturity they’ve developed over the last 12 months as part of their didactic education.”

PA students Ken Watson and Emily Reynolds in their white coats.

PA students Ken Watson and Emily Reynolds in their white coats.

Kenneth Watson, president of the PA Class of 2016, said he is excited to put his white coat to use in his first rotation in emergency medicine at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. “This ceremony symbolizes not only my hard work, but my peers’ hard work and their sacrifices,” he said. Watson, who is considering specializing in burn care, said, “My professors have guided me to this point and now it’s time for me to apply what I have learned to real-life situations.”

Emily Reynolds, who started a rotation in primary care at Inspira Health in New Jersey this week, said receiving her white coat marked “an incredible milestone” in her career as a health care professional. Reynolds, who plans to focus on emergency or trauma care in the future, said “every patient gives another opportunity to learn and grow as a provider.”

Meanwhile, this week the inaugural group of 22 students in PhilaU’s new physician assistant studies program based in South Jersey started classes in the two-year graduate program.

The New Jersey PA program mirrors the one on PhilaU’s main campus, a nationally ranked program that offers undergraduates an accelerated master’s degree in five years and graduate students a two-year master’s degree.

Philadelphia University has partnered with Stockton University and Reliance Medical Group to offer the New Jersey program. Stockton this fall will enroll the first freshmen in a new five-year program leading to a bachelor’s degree from Stockton’s School of Health Sciences and an M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies from PhilaU.

Graduate classes will be held at Stockton’s Carnegie Center in Atlantic City and students will perform clinical work at Reliance and other sites in the surrounding communities.

“This collaboration provides a great opportunity for students to obtain what Forbes magazine recently cited as the top master’s degree leading to jobs,” says Michael Dryer, executive dean of PhilaU’s College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts. “This program will help address the significant shortage of primary care health practitioners in New Jersey.”

When fully enrolled, PhilaU’s physician assistant studies program in South Jersey will include 40 students, with half of those coming from Stockton’s accelerated undergraduate program and the rest from other colleges and universities.

Physician assistants work under the supervision of licensed doctors and practice medicine alongside other providers. Their responsibilities include taking medical histories; performing physical examinations; ordering or performing lab and diagnostic tests; developing treatment plans and delivering health-related counseling. For more information on PhilaU’s M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies program, click here.

PhilaU head men’s basketball Coach Herb Magee, who earned his 1,000th career victory this year, was named one of the 2015 “best Philadelphians” in Philadelphia magazine’s August issue.

PhilaU physician assistant studies students donned their new white medical coats at a July 16 ceremony marking the start of their clinical rotations, The Roxborough Review reported July 21. The 49 students in the class of 2016 were helped into their white coats by mentors in the class of 2015, who will graduate next month and practice in a wide range of medical fields.


Stragetic Design MBA Director Natalie Nixon discusses the future of work, including the value of design thinking and collaboration, in an Inc. magazine article in which she interviews innovation strategist Heather McGowan, a former PhilaU assistant provost.

The Northeast Regional games in the $1 million Basketball Tournament were played at PhilaU this past weekend, reported The Philadelphia Daily News, Comcast SportsNet, Syracuse Post-Standard and others. The regional winners will advance to the finals in Chicago next weekend.

M.S. in GeoDesign students and faculty work on redevelopment plans for Navy Yard.

M.S. in GeoDesign students and faculty work on redevelopment plans for Navy Yard.

Seven Philadelphia University students working toward their M.S. in GeoDesign are developing plans for the future sustainable development of Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, the nation’s most successful commercial redevelopment of a former military facility.

During a six-day charrette last month, the students tackled a comprehensive review of the 2013 Master Plan redesign of the Navy Yard by Robert A. M. Stern Architects. They employed 3D geospatial software and analytical techniques to develop sustainable design alternatives for future development at the former military base, which is now a 1,200-acre business campus along the Delaware River.

The students’ plan outlines sustainable office, industrial, research, residential and open space development, said James Querry, geodesign program director.

“For the Navy Yard project, the students worked in their areas of specialty, including architecture, landscape architecture, geography, urban planning and geology,” Querry said. “They used 3D technology to design workflows and sustainability metrics, all in collaboration with other planners, designers, architects and developers.”

The accelerated, collaborative planning project, called a charrette, included considerations of solar technology, bio-climatic architecture and transit-oriented development.

The students were assisted on the project by Rob Fleming, director of PhilaU’s M.S. in Sustainable Design program, as well as officials from the Navy Yard, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, SEPTA, Garsdale Design Ltd., Esri and Pennoni Associates.

The students are continuing to refine their plans throughout the summer and will present their final designs to project stakeholders and the public at Philadelphia University’s 2015 GeoDesign Forum on October 16.

Philadelphia’s Navy Yard was established in 1776 as the first U.S. naval shipyard. The U.S. Navy closed the shipyard in 1996 and the city of Philadelphia began redevelopment in 2000 to turn it into a thriving business campus with 145 companies and 11,000 employees.

For more information on Philadelphia University’s innovative M.S. in GeoDesign program, go to

Libby-Headshot-898x1024Libby Nichols ’14, a star midfielder in lacrosse who was awarded a prestigious Fulbright grant to study head injuries in young soccer players in Germany, has been awarded a $7,500 NCAA postgraduate scholarship to support her medical school education.

Nichols, who graduated with a 3.9 GPA in pre-medical studies, will begin her studies at the University of Maryland School of Medicine next month. For her Fulbright grant, she studied the cognitive effects of heading soccer balls on young athletes and is now working on a statistical analysis of the data with her research advisor, which they hope to publish this year.

Nichols also received numerous honors for her work on the field, including CACC Student-Athlete of the Year and Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Overall Female Performer of the Year.

Tyler Fleming ’12, who was awarded a prestigious Fulbright award his senior year at PhilaU and is now a medical student, has been named a 2015-16 Albert Schweitzer Fellow to help address the social factors that impact health.

Fleming, who attends Touro University School of Osteopathic Medicine in California, will spend the next academic year working with La Clinica de la Raza in Vallejo, Ca. He is one of about 235 graduate students in health care disciplines selected to work at 12 program sites this year as part of the Boston-based fellowship program dedicated to enhancing health care for vulnerable people and communities.

After studying science and business at PhilaU, Fleming taught English in Vietnam as part of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  At PhilaU, Fleming collaborated on research on the possible carcinogenic effects of third-hand smoke with chemistry professor Jeff Ashley, which was published in the International Journal of Environmental Assessment and Monitoring.

Photo credit: Colin Hansel.

PhilaU industrial design alumni Morgan Gaumann and Colin Hansel handcraft surfboards for their business, Rodeobird. Photo credit: Colin Hansel.

As undergraduates, industrial design students Morgan Gaumann and Colin Hansel turned their love of surfing into a capstone project—and then, with help from PhilaU’s Blackstone LaunchPad, into a full-fledged business. Now, more than a year out of PhilaU, the two continue to run Rodeobird—building one-of-a-kind surfboards designed for East Coast waves—out of a Kensington-based warehouse just north of Center City.

Colin Hansel (left) and Morgan Gaumann present Rodeobird at the 2014 PhilaU senior showcase.

Colin Hansel (left) and Morgan Gaumann present Rodeobird at the 2014 PhilaU senior showcase.

Reaching customers through word-of-mouth, a boutique N.J. surf shop and sponsorship of seven surfers, the partners work full-time in design jobs while continuing to build their reputations and sales and improve their products. Their handmade boards, tailored for each surfer, take up to four days to make, including drying time, and sell for a competitively priced $500 to $1,000. They are working on expanding into a lifestyle brand, designing apparel such as graphic T-shirts.

“I grew up surfing on the East Coast,” Hansel said. “The waves are different here than on the West Coast, we have shorter rides.”

Determined to stay on the leading edge of innovation, Rodeobird’s founders continue to research and test different materials and composites to improve their surfboards and move toward using 100-percent recyclable materials. See more on their Facebook page.

Read more about Philadelphia University’s startup culture here. The PhilaU Entrepreneurs, a series of profiles on student and alumni business ventures, continues June 24 with a story on 2015 industrial design alumnus Matt Cook’s collection of streetwear-inspired backpacks.

Check out other student and alumni features:
Matt Cook Brings Form and Function to Urban Backpacks
Morgan Berman Designs My MilkCrate App for Sustainable Living
Jonny Nguyen and Christopher Dang Plan to Serve On-The-Go Pho
Galen Kane Designs a Better Water-Filtering Bottle

Colin Hansel constructs a surfboard. Photo credit: Colin Hansel.

Colin Hansel constructs a Rodeobird surfboard. Photo credit: Colin Hansel.

Log in to Facebook to watch a video of Rodeobird surfer Jason Marks in action.