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President's Report 2024

Success Stories

Read more highlights from the University of Delaware community

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  • Dance helps grow cultural understanding in the community

    During its UD residency, the performance group Indigenous Enterprise shared its heritage and culture through powwow dancing on campus and throughout the state. The group performed traditional indigenous dance styles infused with modern influences and worked with dance students to expand their cultural awareness.

  • Healthy brain? More wild blueberries, please

    A diagnosis of celiac disease drove Katherine Rippon to pursue an Honors degree in nutrition and dietetics at UD, then research the link between wild blueberries and improved cognitive health in older adults. “I've really been able to grow as a person to learn what the research side of things looks like,” Rippon said.

  • Working toward equity in fintech

    The new FinTech Innovation Hub is expanding Delaware’s national leadership in promoting equity through financial technology. Working in finance, engineering, public policy and other disciplines, UD and its community partners are developing products and services that can break the cycle of poverty and help families build wealth and financial security.

  • Advancing transistors for faster device performance

    As the world becomes more reliant on the increased processing speed of smartphones, AI-powered devices and laptops, the need for next-generation transistors to help power them is crucial. UD researchers are exploring technology to manufacture transistors with higher-electron mobility, which has already garnered interest from industry professionals. The work could revolutionize high-frequency and high-power electronic systems.

  • Assessing community impacts and equity of offshore wind

    As offshore wind energy generation continues to grow, what’s the impact on coastal communities? UD researchers are helping to answer that question and developing energy justice indicators to consider fairness in decision-making and cost allocations. The research aims to make sure wind power aligns with community preferences and values. UD also helped develop the state’s first Offshore Wind Training Program to prepare local professionals to work in the region’s growing industry.

  • Assessing repair needs to inform an affordable housing strategy

    Commissioned by Habitat for Humanity, UD studied the need for home repair assistance and its role in a broader solution to Delaware’s affordable housing crisis. Some 25,000 low-income households need repairs, with an estimated cost of $96 million. The information is critical for Habitat for Humanity to prioritize and address repair needs throughout the state.

  • Bringing hospitality to veterans’ hospitals

    Combine hospitality business management and health sciences — with student actors simulating medical encounters — and you have the Veterans Patient Experience Academy. The five-week program teaches physicians, nurses and other staff about the neuroscience of expectation management and the power of empathy and active listening. The result is greater patient satisfaction and better care. The developers are now working to bring this training model to Veterans Administration hospitals and other medical facilities nationwide.

  • Building coastal resilience in underserved communities

    Partnering with Delaware Sea Grant, students in UD’s Coastal Resilience Design Studio worked with residents and leaders of Bowers Beach, Del., to develop strategies to improve the town’s environmental sustainability. Their plan included using silt from offshore dredging for marsh restoration, improving flood protection measures, planting native species and increasing plant diversity to better absorb stormwater.

  • Celebrating social and historical significance of Black dancers in film

    To showcase the history of Black dancers in film, UD faculty, professionals, students and community partners collaborated on “Suite Blackness: Black Dance in Cinema,” an original performance on campus during Black History Month. The show featured the stories and talents of Black dancers in cinema spanning 1920 to 2000.

  • Center for Intercultural Engagement opens on UD campus

    In fall 2023, the Blue Hen community celebrated the opening of the Center for Intercultural Engagement, which offers students a place to discuss current events and share ideas related to social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion. The center was established as part of the University’s five-year Advancing Racial Equity and Inclusion Plan. 

  • Championing zero-waste initiatives worldwide

    A top expert on the sustainability  of primary minerals used in electronics, UD Professor Saleem Ali has been named to the United Nations Advisory Board of Eminent Persons on Zero Waste as part of its “war on waste.” The goal of the 13-member board is to develop best practices for a systems-level approach and promote local and national zero-waste initiatives. 

  • Distinctive program combines study abroad with business internships

    An immersive study abroad program at UD is helping business students experience international culture and a meaningful internship while also staying on track to graduation. Students take intensive, condensed classes for eight weeks, followed by another eight weeks focusing exclusively on their internship. Students start in Sydney, Australia, and can intern in Singapore, New Zealand or other sites. The transformative program “opened my eyes to skills that I didn’t really know I had,” said Ethan Kimmel, a senior finance major.

  • Doctoral research finds video games ‘most engaging’ intervention

    Kids like exercise; they just don’t like being told to do it. So research in the Move 2 Learn Innovation Lab focused on using video games to promote motor skills, movement and physical activity in children with autism. The work is part of a dissertation by Jacob Corey, who earned his doctorate in UD’s top-ranked Physical Therapy program and is now pursuing his doctorate in Biomechanics and Movement Science.

  • Embarking on our next 100 years of study abroad

    A century after launching the nation’s first study-abroad program in 1923, UD continues to lead in global education. A third of UD students study abroad, compared to one in 10 nationally, and faculty and researchers are engaged in more than 200 partnerships around the world. UD celebrated its milestone anniversary with cultural events, visits by dignitaries and an alumni trip to France, recreating the inaugural study abroad experience.

  • Ensuring inclusive support for future students

    Joseph Nakao finished his doctorate in mathematics in 2023, but he left behind something important: the first Queer and Trans Graduate Student Union, which he created so others “would know that they are not alone.” His advocacy, which extends to national efforts, earned him a Graduate Student Excellence in Scholarly Community Engagement Award.

  • Expanding our understanding of intelligence

    Diagnosed as neurodivergent at age 10, Willa Lane found a supportive and academically rigorous experience in the Honors College, which fueled her interest in the intersections between the mind and body. And that helped her earn a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which will fully fund her doctoral program at the University of Cambridge. Lane hopes her research about cognition in cuttlefish will redefine how humans think of intelligence.

  • Fulbright partnerships enable unique UD experiences

    Eleven recent graduates and alumni received 2023 Fulbright Student Program grants — the largest number of awards in one year in UD history — to conduct research in Kazakhstan, Germany, Colombia and other nations. The State Department also recognized UD as one of its Fulbright Top Producing Institutions, with 100 recipients so far.

  • Green Grants among efforts to advance UD’s sustainability goals

    A project to dramatically decrease the number of birds striking the windows at Cannon Laboratory earned a Green Grant from the new UD Office of Sustainability. Launched in 2023, the office is taking a two-part approach to advancing sustainability at the University: Promoting and supporting research and academic initiatives, and addressing operations throughout the institution.

  • Harnessing the power of AI for teaching, learning and research

    UD is advancing multiple innovative projects that use artificial intelligence to benefit students. Working with Amazon Web Services, UD Study AiDE draws from a video and text archive of more than 300,000 classes to let students create their own digital flashcards, study guides, practice quizzes and more. Morris Library developed an AI literacy tutorial on the technology and issues around bias and ethics. Also, the AI for Teaching and Learning Working Group is part of a two-year partnership with 19 universities to assess AI’s impact on higher education and evaluate institutions’ readiness to implement the technology.

  • Innovative music research aids children with autism

    How can music improve the world? For Elise Ruggiero, a double major in Music Performance and Psychology whose brother has autism, the answer grew into a research project that explores the musical preferences of children with disabilities. Providing the right music for each child means they can enjoy singing with classmates and other essential formative experiences.

  • Inspiring the journey of teacher preparation

    Encouraging students to pursue a teaching career starts with early support. The Delaware Educators Rising conference allowed middle school, high school and college students to explore their options through workshops, competitions and presentations. UD’s Teachers of Tomorrow program brings high school juniors and seniors to campus each summer to help them develop the skills necessary to succeed in UD’s teacher-preparation curriculum.

  • Institute works to improve civic life for more than 50 years

    Founded in 1973, UD’s Institute for Public Administration has provided invaluable service to state and local governments through its applied research and the education of numerous, notable public servants. Its scholars and students have helped shape public policy on education, health, environmental protection, safety and many more issues.

  • Leading workforce development for MACH2

    UD will lead the higher education component for workforce development for the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2), a federally funded regional coalition leveraging technology and infrastructure to accelerate the use of clean hydrogen as a carbon-free fuel source. MACH2 complements the work of UD’s Center for Clean Hydrogen, launched in 2022. 

  • National center raises profile of Africana scholarship

    Drawn by a half-century of UD’s scholarship in Africana Studies, the National Council for Black Studies now makes its home here. The move further raises the University’s profile in the growing field and connects the NCBS with a top-tier research institution. The John and Patricia Cochran Lecture in Africana Studies is a signature event for UD, recently featuring scholar Salim Faraji on “African American Folk Religion.”

  • New academy supports the executives who support the educators

    Principal supervisors and curriculum directors play key roles in enhancing K-12 learning environments, guiding teachers and improving student outcomes, so UD worked with the state to launch the Executive Leadership Academy. Part of the School Success Center, the program helps them sift through competing priorities while staying focused on instructional leadership.

  • Professor recognized for scholarly inventiveness and impact

    Joseph Fox is a pioneer in ultrafast chemistry whose patents include the fastest known bio-orthogonal reaction, a process that was cited as foundational to the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His discoveries and innovations are advancing medicine, biotechnology and more. Fox was named a 2023 fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and earned the Francis Alison Award, UD’s top faculty honor recognizing our most outstanding scholars.

  • Protecting water sources from heavy metal contaminants

    Fatemeh Izaditame’s deep interest in soil sciences brought her to UD to pursue her doctorate. Izaditame researched how soil contaminants like arsenic at abandoned industrial sites in port cities like Wilmington, Del., are released from the soil, affecting drinking and irrigation water in surrounding areas. Now expanding her research to other cities to determine remediation needs, she notes, “I see that what I’m working on has a really impactful meaning in the real world.”

  • Reducing textile waste, spurring local economy

    The U.S. generates 17 million tons of textile waste annually, so an interdisciplinary team of UD researchers is developing a hyper-local, second-generation textile supply chain. The idea could reduce textile waste while creating a circular system that keeps materials in use. Depending on the material properties and the needs of the region, textiles could be recycled for other purposes, like landscaping fabric, insulation and erosion control, benefitting both the local economy and the environment.

  • Research explores the limitations of ‘college-above-all’ culture

    A rich ethnographic case study of a college prep school is shedding new light on how Black and Latinx boys imagine their lives after high school. Focusing intensely on getting students into college — without considering their career and personal aspirations — can actually be detrimental to long-term success for some. The study led to creation of Finding Future Selves, a suite of online resources for educators to help all students understand why college is important, as well as how to get there.

  • Research shows electric vehicles can go the distance

    “Range anxiety” — the fear of running out of power before reaching a charging station — is one of consumers’ biggest concerns about electric vehicles. But UD researchers analyzed driving data to determine that nearly one-third of the driving population can meet their needs with less expensive, smaller battery vehicles without making changes to their daily habits. Almost everyone can do so with some adaptations to their longer-distance driving plans.

  • Student advisors work toward University-wide goals

    Now in its second year, the President’s Student Advisory Council provides UD leaders with informed, diverse and inclusive perspectives to help enhance opportunities for all. This year, students shared feedback on a host of topics with deep dives into civil discourse and artificial intelligence.

  • Students demonstrate UD pride as top competitors

    Blue Hen student-athletes continued to excel in competition in 2023. The men’s lacrosse team won the Colonial Athletic Association’s regular season and tournament championships for the second year in a row. Also, the softball team won the CAA regular season championship, and the volleyball team won the CAA conference tournament championships.

  • Taking a comprehensive view of global education

    Cultivating international networks is a key element in UD’s Global 360 Strategy. For example, UD welcomes its 10th cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows to campus in 2024, continuing a program of engagement and collaboration with young professionals from sub-Saharan Africa. For the past 20 years, UD has also hosted the Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative-Student Leaders Program, which helps participants build leadership and problem-solving skills. UD’s Global 360 Strategy also integrates international student enrollment, study abroad programs, research partnerships and more.

  • Taking an entrepreneurial approach to teaching orthopedics

    The problem: Fewer than 5% of surgeons are Black or Hispanic and fewer than 9% are women. A solution: Creation of the nonprofit Perry Initiative and a curriculum to teach orthopedics in high school and medical school, yielding nearly 350 resident or attending surgeons since 2009. And now scaling it up: A new partnership with curriculum provider Project Lead the Way and an anatomical models company to deliver the course in more than 1,500 classrooms nationwide.

  • Teacher Residency Program prepares educators and strengthens schools

    To provide immersive experience for future educators and help address Delaware’s teacher shortage, UD’s Teacher Residency Program enables students to work in year-long residencies in K-12 classrooms in high-needs schools while earning a stipend. They commit to teaching in the state for at least three years after graduation. 

  • Telling the story behind the stitching

    The silk taffeta dress is famous, its designer nearly forgotten. But with help from Fashion & Apparel Studies faculty and students who recreated Jaqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress for a museum display, the name of Ann Lowe is now recognized as one of the world’s first Black high-fashion designers. Stitch by stitch, the students gained a new appreciation of artistic passion and the persistence of the human spirit. 

  • Tiny robots could be deployed to revolutionize medicine

    Sambeeta Das has a straightforward yet boldly ambitious goal for her research with microscale robots and their use in biological processes: Make organ donation as we know it today obsolete. The robots, smaller than a human cell, could aid in development of organoids, which are created in a lab as a predecessor to producing full-sized, working organs. The research could have many other medical uses, such as speeding up the healing of a broken bone.

  • Top justices share insights into corporate law

    UD’s Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance, one of the nation’s most prominent centers focusing on issues critical to leaders of corporate boards, brought together current and former Delaware Supreme Court justices, two of whom are UD alumni. The justices emphasized Delaware’s place at the pinnacle of corporate law, stressing the value of a careful judicial approach that maintains the state’s role as home to many of the nation’s biggest companies.

  • Transformative power of art and the sea

    When seeking inspiration for her dissertation topic, Art History doctoral student Gabriella Johnson turned to the sea and its connection to Italian art of the 1600s. Her unique focus won her a prestigious Rome Art Prize, enabling her to travel to Italy to conduct research in museums throughout the country. Johnson said the art demonstrates the “transformative power of nature” and how sea themes and objects “played an active role in shaping religion, science and geopolitics in the 17th century.”

  • Truman Scholar connects social justice and computer science

    Shreeya Parekh — a dual major in computer science and political science and part of UD’s Cybersecurity Scholars program — is deeply curious about the political implications of cyberattacks, especially on marginalized communities. Her interests and academic accomplishments earned her a prestigious Truman Scholarship (the 22nd at UD) to graduate studies, leadership training and other exciting opportunities.

    Four UD students also earned Goldwater Scholarships, supporting their plans to pursue research careers in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering.

  • UD and national experts advance biopharmaceutical research

    More than $580 million has been invested by UD and its partners in the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) — a nationwide consortium of more than 200 public, private, nonprofit and academic entities, headquartered at UD — to develop more efficient and cost-effective ways of making these life-saving medicines and getting them to patients. The work involves expertise in science, engineering, public policy and other fields, and NIIMBL has helped build life sciences into one of Delaware’s largest industries.

  • UD-patented bacteria shown to protect vital crops

    UD1022 — a unique strain of Bacillus subtilis created here — protects plants against disease and promotes growth. New research now shows that it helps protect vital crops like alfalfa and legumes from damage by fungal diseases, potentially helping to increase crop yields for livestock food sources. 

  • Unique achievement in musical performance

    Graduate student violinist Nijoma Grevious received thunderous applause for her award-winning performance of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Violin Concerto in G minor, op. 80 at the prestigious Sphinx Music Competition in Detroit. Grevious is the first ever UD student to win top spot at the competition, taking both the $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize and the Audience Choice prize.

  • Virtual reality creates hands-on hospital simulations

    Wearing a virtual reality headset, honors nursing major Luke Stuchik talks to patients, picks up a stethoscope and listens to a patient's heart rate, all part of a realistic hospital simulation in McDowel Hall. The simulation teaches “delegation,” a critical skill in nursing for prioritizing patient needs and then responding accordingly.

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