40 Under 40 2024

When we think of teachers, mentors, coaches and advisers, we often envision individuals with gray in their hair or a few lines etched into their faces. Time is a powerful teacher.

Yet there is nothing magical about aging, and the 40 Under 40 Class of 2024 illustrates just how quickly determined and passionate professionals can master skills in settings as diverse as research laboratories, corporate offices, classrooms, hospitals, community clinics, professional kitchens and government agencies.

We are thrilled to introduce you to individuals who hit their professional stride early and demonstrate an eagerness to share their quickly — not easily — gained wisdom and know-how with others to nurture a better future for all.

Paige DeAngelo

Paige DeAngelo, 23

BA communications ’23

Founder and CEO, Aer Cosmetics, Philadelphia

Concerns about climate change inspired Paige DeAngelo to create sustainable mascara.

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Tonii Hicks

Tonii Hicks, 26

BS culinary arts and science ’21

Executive Chef, Philadelphia

Like a culinary Robin Hood, Tonii Hicks shares the know-how of elite chefs with community residents who face food insecurity.

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Seth Jacobson

Seth Jacobson, 38

MS global and international education ’13, PhD educational leadership ’17

Executive Director, Octavius Catto Scholarship, Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia

Bewildered as a boy by universities in his midst, Seth Jacobson found his calling on campus.

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Kate Watson

Kate Watson, 39

DrPH ’17

President, Advocacy Academy, Philadelphia

Kate Watson helps advocates find the right words when interacting with survivors of domestic violence.

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Matthew J. McBride

Matthew J. McBride, 31

BS chemistry ’14

Assistant Professor, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey

Drawn to Drexel for its abundant research opportunities, Matthew J. McBride has become a pioneer in studying links between nutrition and cancer treatments.

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Rachel Rutter

Rachel Rutter, 35

JD ’16

Founder and Executive Director, Project Libertad, Philadelphia

A nonprofit launched by Rachel Rutter supports the diverse needs of children fleeing countries in crisis.

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Arpit Shah

Arpit Shah, 35

BS, MS, PhD biomedical engineering ’11, ’14, ’17

Senior Scientist, Century Therapeutics, Philadelphia

Just 12 years after completing his BS in biomedical engineering, Triple Dragon Arpit Shah helped Drexel launch a specialized program to bring young people into the growing field of cell and gene therapy.

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Kyle Westphal

Kyle Westphal, 31

BS fashion design ’16

Fashion Designer, Philadelphia

Kyle Westphal overcame gargantuan hurdles in his quest to make women feel beautiful and special.

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Vaughn Shirey

Vaughn Shirey, 30

BS environmental science ’17

David H. Smith Postdoctoral Conservation Research Fellow, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

In a quest to document threats to biodiversity, Vaughn Shirey enlists butterflies to gain insights about climate change.

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Teryn Phillips Thomas

Teryn Phillips Thomas, 35

BSBA ’10

Co-Founder and CEO, EdLight, Ventnor City, New Jersey

Teryn Phillips Thomas’ company, EdLight, uses artificial intelligence to shine a spotlight on the overlapping needs of teachers and students.

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