40 under 40: Class of 2021

About the nominees…

No one expected a year like the one we’ve had, but Drexel’s young 40 Under 40 greeted it with grit. While the world hunkered down during off-and-on quarantines and up-and-down case counts, Dragons kept their sights on their goals. They launched new companies in the middle of an historic downturn, reimagined how they deliver on their talents, and for a surprisingly large number of them, became first-time parents. Even when there was darkness — some lost loved ones — there was also the resilience to help others cope in any way they could. Some alumni dreamed up new ways to support families who were struggling. Some rushed to the front lines to help communities beset by rising infections. One and all, they took something from this experience they can build on when the world is breathing easily again.

Meet this year’s 40 Under 40 and see why we think the Class of 2021 is our most amazing yet.

Tech Mavens

Daniel Fornace, 32

As the creator of the video game “Rivals of Aether,” Daniel Fornace is among the most talented game designers and developers in the industry. After graduating from Drexel in 2011 with a BS in digital media, he joined Microsoft Studios as a game designer, where he worked as a consultant on many critically acclaimed titles including “Trials Evolution,” “Dust An Elysian Tail,” “Charlie Murder,” “Mark of the Ninja,” and “Ori and the Blind Forest.”

View Profile

Dan Fornace

Startup Stars

Tom, 34, and Jason Rowinski, 38

As kids, Tom and Jason Rowinski loved to sell household items to their mom or whoever was around, and they never outgrew the thrill of building businesses together. When they were both students at Drexel, the brothers dedicated their time inbetween classes on business, technology and information science toward building a custom software company on the side called JTR Solutions, of which Tom is CEO and Jason is chief technology officer.

View Profile

Jason and Tom Rowinski

danish dhamani
Danish Dhamani , 26
BS mechanical engineering ’17

CEO and Co-founder, Orai (Philadelphia)

“I came across many people who were happier (including me) by moving closer to family and/or being in the suburbs. This is the longest time I’ve spent as a young adult under the same roof as my parents, and it’s been wonderful!”

ilya robovetsky
Ilya Rabovetsky, 36
BS business administration and BS information systems and technology, ’06

Principal, Redblock Realty Inc. (Philadelphia)

“This pandemic has truly reminded us all about the need to distinguish between the things we can and cannot control. It’s too easy to fall into the rabbit hole of all the negativity.”

Courtney Sabo
Courtney Sabo, 27
BS graphic design ’15

Co-founder, Kopa (San Francisco, California)

“Year 2020 taught me to make the best out of any situation and appreciate seemingly small things.”

dana redden
Dana Redden, 38
BS interior design ’05

Founder & CEO, Solar Stewards (Atlanta)

“Solar Stewards [can] help the private sector emerge from this crisis in a profitable way while helping them lead and exceed corporate social responsibility and diversity equity and inclusion goals.”

Joshua Amrani
Joshua Amrani, 33
BS international business ’11

Founder & CEO, The Amrani Group (San Francisco)

“Staying at home for over one year, I proved to myself how much more my teams and I could accomplish if half our time was not spent traveling. We plan to carry that respect, efficiency and optimization of time with us moving forward.”

Paul Golota
Paul Golota, 38
BS business administration ’06

Co-founder & CEO, MedSurvey (Southampton, Pennsylvania)

“My team can be just as, if not more so, productive while working remotely; this has prompted us to re-think our office space, work-from-home policies, and general health policies.”

Connectors & Builders

Valerissa C. Baker, 29

You could say Valerissa Baker’s road to an executive position at World Vision started at Drexel, and it quite literally did. As an undergraduate, Baker was the first recipient of the Dornsife Global Development Scholars program. Her 2014 co-op took her to Zambia with the global nonprofit World Vision, where she led a research project on maternal and child health. Today, she is a business development and product manager for World Vision with a global portfolio that includes Zambia and other countries in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

View Profile

valerissa baker

Samaritans & Healers

Jeanette Bowles, 38

Jeanette Bowles is an unapologetic disruptor. In 2019, as the executive director of Safehouse, a Philadelphia nonprofit that sought to provide drug overdose prevention services, she fought a bruising public battle to try to open the nation’s first above-ground supervised drug consumption site. Philadelphia has one of the nation’s highest overdose mortality rates and Bowles came to the fight armed with research and years of experience working on the front lines of the overdose crisis.

View Profile

jen bowles

Arts, Education & Community

Adriana Abizadeh, 31

Property by property, Adriana Abizadeh is leading the charge to revitalize a corner of Philadelphia as the inaugural executive director of the Kensington Corridor Trust and in the process, creating a pioneering framework of steward ownership that could serve as a national model. The nonprofit corporation, governed by local residents and business owners, buys parcels at market value along Kensington Avenue, the once-thriving main drag of a North Philadelphia neighborhood that has faced hard times, and places them in a trust to preserve affordability in the face of gentrification.

View Profile

adriana abizadeh

Scientists & Scholars

Babak Anasori, 39

Babak Anasori not only discovers nanoparticles, he illuminates them so that the rest of the world can experience them. Anasori is currently an assistant professor and principal investigator in the Anasori Research Lab in the Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, but his career began at Drexel.

View Profile

babak anasori

Legal Eagles

Stephen Kulp, 32

As a gay, Korean American attorney who was adopted, Stephen Kulp says he constantly looks for ways to bring together the affinity groups he represents. Last year, he was elected as the first person of color to chair the Philadelphia LGBTQ Bar Association, offering him an opportunity to mentor other LGBTQ attorneys, as he was at the start of his career, and to advocate for civil rights and equal access.

View Profile