Drew Phelan- Catalyzing Connections Founder

Name: Drew Phelan      

Graduation Year: May 2017

Major/Minor: Biology/ Human Resource Management

Hometown: Foxborough, MA (Home of the Superbowl Champs!!)

Student Involvement:  I am a member of the Delta Zeta Spring 2015 Pledge Class. I am involved in Enactus as the Presentation Team Chair as well as the Project Manager for Project Congo; The MyPath Mentor for Biology and work on campus as both the Chemistry Tutor in ACE as well as a Research Assistant under Dr. Chris Reid studying Borrellia burgdorferi and potential proteins within Lyme disease that may point to a vaccine/ treatment in the future.

Favorite thing about Bryant?  My favorite things about Bryant is how easy it is to start a new project or event and have the entire campus behind you every step of the way to ensure it’s success.

Tell us a little about the clubs you have started:  Catalyzing Connections is a spin off of the traditional career fair held by the Amica Center every semester. This unique event focuses on connecting our science students with prominent employers in the area as well as graduate program representatives in order to hear about opportunities in their field of study. Student will be presenting their past research and projects to these companies while also visiting their booths.  The event is on March 5th from 5:30-7:00 in Bello and has incredible food being catered! If you are interested in attending, please use this link to register!


I’d like to thank Amy Weinstein of the Amica Center, Dan McNally of the Science Department, Dean Samters of the College of Arts and Sciences and of course, the committee of 14 students who have been integral to this events success.

Project Congo is another project I started this year through Enactus. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a terrorist- driven country that has been in constant war for decades with little to no help from the UN and neighboring countries. This project aims to establish education systems as well as to stimulate the economy through a new international business. The first project involves collecting French-written books and science lab equipment to help finish a high school in a peaceful village. Charmaine Pequeno and Gabrielle Rinaldi have been pivotal in the foundational beginning of this project. The next projects work to crowd-fund $500,000 through corporate angel investors in order to provide the Congolese with a Palm Nut Machine that will be able to extract the lucrative oil from this invasive species of nut in the DRC, Ian Collins and his team have been working diligently to begin this process. Finally the Soap project, perhaps the most involved of the three aims to create an international business with the Congolese to sell their palm kernel oil soap to European nations as well as the United States. Greg Johnson and his team have begun creating a business plan and researching the marketing, supply chain, financial, and logistical requirements of this goal.  If anyone wants to get involved, feel free to email me at [email protected]!

What inspired you to start these clubs?  Catalyzing Connections started when I saw how much science at Bryant is underappreciated-- I was at lunch one day with my Organic Chemistry textbook and someone actually asked me where I went to school because they had no idea Bryant even had a science program- let alone such an outstanding one.

Project Congo started when Dean Samter’s husband, Dr. Hunter approached me looking for old science lab equipment our labs may be able to donate. When I heard of all the atrocities the Congolese face everyday I knew I wanted to do more than give them old beakers and flasks.

Do you plan on doing these every year?  Yes, however I plan to pass Project Congo along to Greg Johnson next year as I am hoping to be studying Breast Cancer in California next semester.

Any plans for the future yet? I hope to be accepted into Brown’s MD/PhD program so I can be both a Neurosurgeon as well as a molecular biology researcher.