Minors: Chemistry, Astrophysics, Computer Science, and Mathematics
Hometown: Greensburg, Pennsylvania
On working with faculty members: Behrend has faculty members who go out of their way to help you succeed, in the classroom and through research. The small class sizes at Behrend allow you to have a lot of really meaningful and personal interactions with faculty members.
On majoring in Physics: It’s a versatile major. Physics requires you to develop excellent learning and problem-solving abilities, and it gives you a strong understanding of the fundamentals that are used in other science and engineering disciplines. It’s not uncommon to find physics graduates in many different career paths.
Seeing the light: I’ve done research work with Dr. Bruce Wittmershaus, associate professor of physics, for three years. I’ve been helping him to improve his luminescent solar concentrators. These devices use fluorescent materials to redirect sunlight onto solar cells and produce an electric current. I’ve grown a lot as a researcher and I’ve been fortunate to submit a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. It’s also the topic of my Schreyer Honors thesis.
On being a teaching assistant: I enjoyed the opportunity to gain teaching experience as a teaching assistant for the college’s introductory physics courses. I learned that teaching material to others is the most effective way to truly understand course material yourself.
Who inspires him: Elon Musk
Advice for new students: Start doing research work with a faculty member as soon as possible. Don’t be shy about reaching out to them because they are very willing to help you and share their experiences with you.
Jonathon plans to attend graduate school.