Achievement in the Sciences – Reunion 2010

Jonathan Spanier says Drew has made a significant difference to his personal and professional life.  Two physics faculty, Bob Fenstermacher and the late Ashley Carter of the RISE program, he says, have made a “profound and lasting impact” through their exceptional teaching and encouraging letters received through the years.  Jonathan credits a gift from Carter—an inscribed copy of a Herman Weyl monograph—as seeding his evolving fascination with symmetry in nature that has become an important part of his work.

Currently, Jonathan is an associate professor with tenure in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Drexel University, and he holds an affiliated appointment in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.  He received the Ph.D. with Distinction from Columbia University in 2001 in applied physics (condensed matter) with Professor Irving P. Herman, and he completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in physical chemistry at Harvard University with Professor Hongkun Park prior to joining the Drexel faculty in 2003.  He says that one of the greatest satisfactions in his career thus far has been watching the intellectual growth and development of his students.

Jonathan was honored in 2007 at the White House with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).  He was cited for “innovative research in materials science and engineering to improve synthesis strategies to produce… nanostructures with specific properties and multifunctional capabilities,” and for “his exceptional teaching of graduate and undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds.”  He currently serves as Director of the U.S. Department of Education-funded Graduate Assistantships in Areas of National Need (GAANN) project at Drexel entitled “Renewable Energy Technologies and Infrastructure Networks (RETAIN)”, a newly-awarded three-year grant that supports a the research and training of a cohort of Drexel Ph.D. students in carrying out sustainable energy-themed doctoral research, in conjunction with international academic and scientific partners at the Desert Research Institute at the Ben Gurion University in the Negev in Israel.

Jonathan’s research involves developing nano-structured electronic materials and investigating their remarkable electronic, plasmonic and ferroic properties using scanned proximal probes and inelastic light scattering.  These materials, properties and methods have potential application in new devices, including those for solar energy harvesting.

At Drew, Jonathan currently serves on the committee in support of the Robert Fenstermacher Fellowship honoring Bob’s 40 years of service to Drew.  He was formerly a member of DART (Drew Alumni Recruitment Team) and a Career Online Mentor.  He and his wife, Jacqueline Faiman, live in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania with their two daughters.