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This website is no longer being maintained. For the latest news, events, and information, please visit http://www.materials.drexel.edu/.

Frequently Asked Questions
for Postdocs

Filter FAQs:

What are Drexel's options for graduate student housing?
Drexel now provides graduate housing.  You can get more information here.

I would like to order supplies and how can I arrange it?

If you are ordering supplies for your lab, you can order and ship it to MSE main office.

Please arrange your shipping to:

Your Name
Dept of Materials Science and Engineering
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

And be sure to write down YOUR phone number for contact.

The packages are delivered around 1pm everyday and we have a list of packages on the counter of mailbox.  Please sign when you take your package.

As for regular mails, we place them in the group mailbox.


I went to a conference. How can I get reimbursed?

If you went to a conference or traveled somewhere for a meeting, please fill out the Travel Reimbursement Form. Employee ID is your student ID. Please make sure you have account number (fund code) from your adviser and approved.  


You can bring Keiko the signed form with original receipts in Main office. 

Contact Keiko at knakazawa@coe.drexel.edu or 215-895-2323

I would like to reserve a conference room. How can I reserve?

MSE has a conference room next to our main office on LeBow 3rd floor and lounge.  MSE staff can reserve our conference room, lounge or projector for you. To check availability, please go to http://cal.coe.drexel.edu/

MSE main office: 215-895-2323
Keiko: knakazawa@coe.drexel.edu
Yenneeka: ylong@coe.drexel.edu


There are conference rooms in other departments as well. Please contact the department directly if you wish to reserve the conference room.
Speitel and Hill : Dean's office.  215-895-2210
ECE 302 & 303 : ECE office. 215-895-2241




Is there any formal lab safety training?

Yes! Everyone who works in a lab is required to take the on-line safety training offered by the University's Safety & Health department. Go to http://www.drexel.edu/facilities/healthsafety/ and select the "Training" tab at the top, and then select the "general lab/chemical training" tab. You will need to enter your Drexel Student ID # to proceed (that way there's a record of you having taken the training, and periodically the department receives a report of who has taken the training...and therefore we also know who hasn't!), and from there onwards it's self-paced...just read the text and answer the questions.

 If you have specific safety-related questions not addressed by the above then go find Dr. Richard Knight (LeBow 335, x1844, knightr@coe.drexel.edu) and he will try to answer them, or will find out the answer and get back to you.

I cut my finger quite badly while working in the lab, do I need to report that to anyone?

Yes, you should notify Drexel Public Safety (X2222).  If it needs stitches  then Public Safety will provide an escort to the Emergency Room.  You may also have to fill out some paperwork for insurance purposes, so carry your health insurance card or information with you at all times.  You can also get in touch with Dr. Richard Knight (215.895.1844 or knightr@coe.drexel.edu or LeBow 335), if it is not an emergency.

The sink in my lab is blocked and there are several fluorescent light tubes out ... how do I get these fixed?
Contact Andrew Marx (215.895.6352, amarx@coe.drexel.edu) to have a maintenance request submitted.  If this is not routine maintenance, please include a Drexel account that the work should be charged to (check with your adviser if you do not have one).  If the problem has not been addressed in a week, let Andrew know.

Where do I get labels for chemicals such as "acids", "caustics" or "bases"?
Dr. Richard (Rick) Knight is also the department's Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO)...go see him (Room 335, LeBow Engineering Building)...he has a supply of various labels for things like this. He can also answer most questions relating to general lab. and chemical safety. If he can't answer your question he will contact Drexel Safety and Health and find out!

Who is responsible for putting stuff away, cleaning up the labs, etc.?
You are!  It is your responsibility to clean up after yourself, make sure that all your samples are clearly and properly labeled (which means chemical names should be IN WORDS not chemical formulae, plus a date and some contact information), label any chemicals you are working with (the label template for this is downloadable from the Dept. web page too), make sure the chemicals are properly stored and generally clean up after yourself.  Unlabeled, undated and improperly stored chemicals are at high risk of being trashed AND they are a safety violation!

What happens if the equipment breaks or fails when I'm using it?

If you've been properly trained, have permission to use the equipment, and have followed all guidelines and instructions, then you're in the clear.  Things can break during normal use and we understand that.  If, however, you've broken something through inappropriate use, doing something you've been told NOT to do, or through carelessness, then there may be consequences: temporary suspension of your user privileges, possibly even a monetary fine. If in doubt, please stop and ask first!

The best thing to do is to contact Dr. Zhorro Nikolov (znikolov@drexel.edu or 215.895.1293) or Dr. Richard Knight (knightr@coe.drexel.edu or 215.895.1844) before trying to fix any equipment yourself.  Be sure to report it too.  The worst thing you can do is just walk away and say nothing: that's unprofessional and not acceptable.

I want to use one of the pieces of equipment from the centralized Materials Characterization Facility in my research, can't I just learn from a fellow student then go ahead and use it?
Unfortunately, no.  Before you can use something as complex and expensive as the ESEM or Raman Spectrometer, or any equipment for that matter, you must be properly trained and checked out, just like driving a car...so first contact Dr. Zhorro Nikolov (zhorro.s.nikolov@drexel.edu) in the Materials Characterization Facility (Suite 110 of the Bossone Research Enterprise Center) to learn the rules governing access to and use of the equipment.

Why do I have to pay a deposit for keys?
As an incentive to return them when you graduate or leave... in the past students didn't always return keys when they left, and sometimes they passed them on to "friends" and so on... not a very secure practice.  We need to know who has what keys and having $20-40 "invested" in key deposits is generally enough for people to remember to return them.

I need office and laboratory keys ... where do I get those?
See Dr. Richard Knight (LeBow Room 335), who will direct you to whomever is in charge of assigning desks and, once you are assigned a desk, Dr. Knight will issue you the necessary keys ($20.00 deposit for first key plus $10.00 for each subsequent one).  Desk keys, where available , are also available and require a $5.00 deposit. All deposits are cash only, and refundable when you return the keys.

How am I going to get paid, and when?

If you are a faculty member, post-doctoral research associate, graduate student, or administrative staff person, paychecks are issued the last working day of every month.  If you have never worked at Drexel University before, you must go to Human Resources (4th floor at 3201 Arch Street) to fill out new hire paperwork.  Unless you fill out paperwork to have your check deposited directly to your bank account, the check can be picked up at the Cashier’s Office on the first floor of the Main Building.  If you do sign up for direct deposit, it will most likely not go into effect until the second month of your employment so your first check should be picked up at the Cashier’s Office.  Support staff, student employees, and work study students are paid every other Friday.  The Friday before a pay day is the end of a pay period and you must go on line to Drexel One and submit your hours.  Anyone signed up for direct deposit will not get a paper deposit slip, but must go online to Drexel One to check their deposit information, https://one.drexel.edu/cp/home/displaylogin. 


I have friends stopping by from out of town. What are some things they absolutely must do before they leave Philly?

Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art and do the "Rocky" thing on the steps!

Walk along "boathouse row"

Stroll down South Street

Try a "Philly Cheesesteak" at Pat's or Geno's on Passyunk Avenue in South Philly

Take a trip "downashore"...which means visit Atlantic City (Lannic City)

Stop by Reading Terminal Market

Go see the eagle and listen to an organ concert at Macy's (formerly Wanamaker's Department Store)

Visit Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center

"People watch" in Rittenhouse Square

Check out the waterfront at Penn's Landing

Have a picnic in Fairmount Park (or a wintertime hike!)

Take a tour of the city's murals with the Mural Arts Program

Try a Vietnamese hoagie (Banh Mi)

What's the best way to get around the city?


PhillyCarShare - http://www.phillycarshare.com/

SEPTA - http://www.septa.org/service.html will show you routes and schedules for Bus, Trolley, Subway and Regional Rail Lines.

Walking - Philadelphia is a very walkable city. Walk!Philadelphia

Taxis - The best way to get a taxi is just stepping outside and hailing one. If you need to secure a ride in advance, try any of these cab companies: Olde City Taxi (215-338-0838); Capital Dispatch (215-235-2200); Liberty Cab Co. (215-389-8000)


Where should I look for housing in Philly?

This can be a rather daunting task, mainly because there are so many choices. Philadelphia and the surrounding area have many options for rental accommodations. The first thing to do is decide whether you wish to live close to campus or out in the suburbs. If it's the former then you have further choices to make...whether to live in the immediate campus area (i.e. University City, which includes Powelton Village and the U. Penn areas) or elsewhere, like the Art Museum (Fairmount), Center City (east of the Schuylkill River) or other areas (South Street, Graduate Hospital etc.). If you choose to live in the suburbs then think about how you're going to get in to campus each day, and, more importantly, get home at night, maybe after an evening class that went on until 9:00 pm...not so bad in summer, but what about on a cold, windy, snowy night in January? Does SEPTA (the local train and bus transit authority) run buses or trains to where you need to go, when you need to go? You can certainly drive too...then you may have to travel the Schuylkill Expressway each day...generally considered to be one of life's less pleasant experiences!

Then it's a case of deciding what you want...studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom or whatever size apartment, often based on how much you can afford.

Sources of information on available rental accommodation include the Triangle (the Drexel student newspaper), the Daily Pennsylvanian (the U. Penn. student newspaper), free papers like the City Pages of the Philadelphia Weekly or the Citypaper. You can also visit U. Penn's Off Campus Housing office http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/offcampusliving/ and see what they have to offer. Most apartments require a "security deposit" which can vary but is typically 1-month's rent, usually paid in advance of move in. For anyone living in a rented apartment, it's a good idea to purchase "Renter's Insurance" to cover your property...some apartment rental companies actually require tenants to have Renter's Insurance coverage. Some apartments include utilities (heat, air-conditioning, water, electricity) as part of the rent...check to see if this is the case...if it isn't then those are going to be extra monthly expenses you will need $ for.

Another option is International House, an independent, non-profit organization housing nearly 400 students, scholars and interns from over 65 countries.  It can be very competitive to get in there, however.

If you have a car or motorcyle then think about parking. What's available? Is it on-street, in a garage or what? Is it free or will it cost extra?

Do you have a pet? Some apartment do not allow pets. Others do, but may limit it to "cats only, no dogs" and may also require you to pay an additional "pet deposit."

Students who are already here are one of your best resources...they've already been there, done that, and can advise on what areas of the city are good and what are perhaps not so good...very important information. In the end the decision comes down to you...so trust your instincts - if you don't feel comfortable living in a certain area then don't select an apartment there - the chances are you'll regret it later. Choose somewhere you feel safe and comfortable and remember that everyone's comfort level is different! If you're considering an apartment in a certain area then, visit the area at different times of the day. South Street or Old City are relatively quiet during the day, but really come to life in the evenings and at night, especially at weekends - can you handle the noise?

I'm hungry! What are some good "foodie" areas of the city to explore?

Philly is full of great places to eat and explore.  Here are a few places to start your "foodie" quest:

What entertainment is available in Philly?

Philadelphia is a great city for entertainment and dining out...music of all kinds - orchestra, opera, ballet, jazz, major rock tours and smaller shows at places like the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, the Trocadero in Chinatown, the TLA/Fillmore on South Street, and World Cafe Live right next to campus on Walnut Street.

If it's food your after then there are even more choices...great steak houses (Mortons, Ruth's Chris and others), world class restaurants like Le Bec Fin, plus loads of very reasonably priced restaurants and bars in University City (New Deck Tavern, Mad 4 Mex, White Dog Cafe), near the Philadelphia Museum of Art (London Grill, Jack's Firehouse, Rembrandts, Rose Tattoo) and in Center City (The Bards, Irish Pub, Roosevelts, Dickens Inn, Marathon Grill and a whole host of others...American, Asian, Mediterranean, Fusion and other ethnic cuisines...too many to list here. 

Nightlife: If you're up for a night on the town, check out the following links for the best places to party all night long.






Music: If you're in the mood for a sweet sound to your ears, visit the following sites to find the music hot spots around the city. If you don't think that a small city like Philadelphia has much to offer in night life, think again!




Want to tune in but you're short on cash? There are free Friday night concerts at Penn's Landing all summer long!




Free:  http://www.foundationarts.org/events.html


If you want to be in the know about all things cool around Philly, visit this site: http://www.uwishunu.com/

And another good site:  http://www.phillyfunguide.com/

For things in and around University City:  http://www.ucityphila.org/ 

The Community Education Center offers classes and events year-round.   

How do I get an account on the MSE domain?

 To obtain an account on the MSE domain, send the following information to Andrew Marx (amarx@coe.drexel.edu)

  1. Full name
  2. Email address
  3. Advisor
  4. Status (Undergrad/MS/PhD/Post-doc...)
  5. Preferred user name (all user names are based on the user's real name)
    • Real name: John Dorian
    • Possible user names: JD, JDorian, JohnD, JohnDorian, Bambi, etc.

You will then receive an email with your username and password, along with instructions for accessing your secure network file share.

How do I set up direct deposit?

ALL LEVELS OF EMPLOYEES:  When you complete your New Hire paperwork with Human Resources (located in 3201 Arch St.), you will be advised about Direct Deposit.  If you decide to sign up for direct deposit at a later date, go to http://www.drexel.edu/hr/employees/forms.html

How do I get after-hours card swipe access to LeBow/Bossone?
In order to be able to swipe your card to open the doors to LeBow or Bossone, you must be given permission in the access control database.  To request access to any of the Materials dept. areas in LeBow, CAT, the Main Building Complex (Curtis or Alumni Hall), or Bossone, contact Dr. Richard Knight, knightr@coe.drexel.edu.  For access to any part of the centralized Materials Characterization Facility located in Bossone 110, contact Dr. Zhorro Nikolov, zhorro@coe.drexel.edu

Support Materials Education @ Drexel

Last updated Thursday, April 16, 2009