Message from the Department Head

What Drives Us

Jonathan Spanier
Jonathan Spanier

Where does human activity end and machine activity begin?

It’s a question with a long history, from the time hands-on inventors—the first mechanical engineers—devised the lever, pulley, and wedge, and later applied these and other simple machines to assert military might, build great cities, and transform everyday life. Today, that question has taken on a new shape: How do we explore the frontiers of the human-machine interface for the benefit of humankind—a challenge that both stimulates our imaginations and raises important ethical issues. At Drexel MEM, we’re on the leading edge of finding answers, whether that “machine” is something we can see, hold or feel, perceive, or model the flow of.

We’re a teaching and learning community inspired by the enthusiasms and values of contemporary maker culture. Our highly networked, collaborative environment is a second home for a distinctive kind of engineer: one who is eager to work across STEM fields, collaborate with classmates and colleagues in the humanities and social sciences, and partner on breakthrough ideas with organizations ranging from Boeing and the American Heart Association to the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the Department of Energy, and PeaceTech Lab.

In every MEM program, we’re taking on the real problems of real people using the values of modern design thinking—making life more equitable and meaningful, whether in our local Philadelphia neighborhoods or communities around the world. Increasingly our students and graduates will be called upon to lead: developing complex systems, teaching and mentoring new generations of engineers, playing roles in securing peace through improving the lives of those in need. Join us.

Jonathan E. Spanier, PhD
Professor and Department Head