Catching Up with Your Board of Governors

Posted in Fall 2020, Cross Roads, Class Notes, Alumni News

In a year like no other, the Alumni Board of Governors has carried on with forging lasting bonds and opportunities for fellow Dragons.

The Alumni Board of Governors welcomes five new members of elected directors this fall. We asked them to share their reasons for joining the Board of Governors and one surprising detail about themselves.

Valerissa Baker

Valerissa Baker

BS biological science ’15

Why I Joined

I joined to increase representation in alumni engagement activities and policies. Current board member Angela Harris ’02 was also a huge inspiration because of her continued leadership and commitment to Drexel. I’ve been blessed to connect with many Dragons across the globe who have influenced my career and personal growth, and I plan to pay it forward through our alumni network.

About Me

While attending Drexel, I studied abroad and took coursework at Nanyang Technological University located in Singapore. I have since travelled to more than 50 countries, learning and appreciating cultural norms of different communities. Traveling and meeting new people are two of my greatest passions and I hope to encourage others to explore the world around them and connect with people who are unlike themselves.

Kristen Dudley

Kristen Dudley

BS fashion design ’06

Why I Joined

I have always felt aligned with the University’s ethos and I’m a very proud alumnus. Contributing to Drexel’s future by serving on the board is one way I feel I can give back and give forward!

About Me

In 2015, I hiked the Appalachian Trail for eight days with 11 strangers. We stayed along the hut system that exists within the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life, and I can’t wait for the day I can recreate the experience with my husband and son.

Orcel Kounga

BS engineering ’17

Why I Joined

Being on the board will hopefully put me in spaces to be able to advocate for the needs of the alumni community. I see my role as a liaison between the University and alumni, specifically our younger alumni. I want to be a diverse face in the crowd and help ensure that alumni can see themselves in this group that is meant to represent them.

About Me

I was raised in Italy for close to 10 years of my life. That time period shaped my thinking of the world. Because of that, I speak four different languages: English, Italian, French and conversational Spanish.

Danielle Schroeder

Danielle Schroeder

BS/MS civil engineering ’17

Why I Joined

As I look back fondly at my time at Drexel, I see how my connections with alumni had a great impact on me as a student. Now as a board member, I want to pay it forward by giving back to the current students. I look forward to using this role to elevate stories of my fellow alumni about how they are continuing the “Drexel Difference” and foster new connections with alumni I have not met yet.

About Me

I love the performing arts space and have participated in plays and musicals since I was 8 years old. Most notably, I was in the play “The King and I” at Plays & Players Theatre in downtown Philadelphia.

Patricia McKelvey Dieter

RN nursing (Hahnemann) ’75, BSHS physician assistant (Hahnemann) ’77

Why I Joined

I’ve not previously been involved with my own alumni organizations, although I have experience with them through my professional role as chief, Division of PA Studies at Duke University. I owe Hahnemann University and Drexel a lot — they accepted a small-town Pennsylvania girl and gave me a strong clinical base and self-assurance that allowed me to expand into other areas in my career.

About Me

I was a twirler in high school — but please don’t ask for a demonstration today!


Dear Drexel Alumni,

Earlier this year, we all abruptly transitioned to remote work, life and learning. Our alumni engagement efforts were no exception. Still, I am proud of how our organization — and the Dragon community around the world — came together to support each other.

Despite the unexpected spring and summer we’ve had, here are some highlights from the year’s accomplishments:

• Connected alumni and co-op students in a series of “Dragons at Work” events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of co-op.

• Broke records for the 46th Alumni Turkey Project, raising more than $70,000 to provide holiday meals to 2,000 Philadelphia families.

• Hosted more than 100 alumni career services, lifelong learning, social and student engagement programs online throughout the spring and summer.

• Achieved our initial fundraising goal for the Alumni Impact Scholarship and celebrated the graduation of our first recipient.

• Heard from more than 750 alumni who “Answered the Call for Co-op” by stepping up to conduct informational interviews with students who had a canceled or delayed co-op (see page 46).

• In October we convened the 10th annual Global Night of Networking, where we welcomed the Class of 2020 to the alumni community.

• We also launched the Dragon Network (see page 49), our new online professional development community.

• We look forward to supporting the efforts of the University’s Anti-Racism Task Force and have created a working group within the board to ensure that we are part of promoting action and ensuring lasting change.

I hope that next spring, we will be able to return to campus for Alumni Weekend 2021. In the meantime, I hope to “meet” many of you online. Please feel free to email alumni@drexel.edu to share how Drexel Alumni can continue to be a resource to you in the coming months and beyond.

Sincerely,

Amish Desai ’03
Chair

amish headshot

Amish Desai ’03