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Jeremy Feaster (PhD ‘17) | Alumni Spotlight

Jeremy Feaster

 

 

 

Jeremy Feaster 
Ph.D. ’17
Chemical Engineering
Academic advisor: Professor Tom Jaramillo


What have you been up to since Stanford?

In early 2018, I started a postdoc appointment in the Materials Science Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where I became enamored with integrating advanced manufacturing and 3D printing with my expertise in catalysis and electrochemistry. My postdoc gave me an opportunity to grow as a leader in research, from building a state-of-the-art electrochemistry/reactor design lab from scratch to applying and receiving grants. Today, I am a principal investigator and staff scientist at LLNL; my research team focuses on changing the paradigm for chemical reactor design through creating 3D-printed electrolyzers that convert air into fertilizer and turn CO2 into fuels and chemicals. The Jeremy T. Feaster Foundation, Inc., - a 501(c)(3) nonprofit I started 10 years ago – has also thrived; we awarded $10K in scholarships to underrepresented students around the nation who were serving others during the pandemic. I also picked up several hobbies, from photography to wine-making; for the wine, I’m looking forward to scaling the production and would love to share with any wine enthusiasts at Stanford!

Jeremy Feaster
Jeremy Feaster, founder of the Jeremy T. Feaster Foundation, Inc

What’s your fondest memory about your time at Stanford?

While I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Stanford, I have several memories that stand out as cherished moments of my Ph.D. experience. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual conferences (and more specifically, the Stanford receptions at each conference) were legendary. From snake-charmers and sword-swallowers to string quartets and dance floors, the receptions always attracted the attention of all conference-goers. However, one of the reasons why these receptions are special to me is the camaraderie that it fostered among my peers and our colleagues around the world. In these moments, it did not matter what you worked on or where you attended school; you were a chemical engineer, surrounded by other chemical engineers having an amazing time.
 
These connections between other “chemistry creatives” (one of my favorite ways to describe chemical engineers) have endured through distance, pandemics and restricted travel; I am grateful for Stanford ChemE for creating spaces that allow people to simply be and connect on a human level. This is what separates Stanford from the rest; we do not only build catalysts, reactors, models and systems, but engineers as well. Together, we can bond and strive forward as we continue to build a better and more sustainable world, one molecule at a time.

Can you share any advice with our current students or postdocs?

I love “concise advice,” so I’ve listed out the three most impactful pieces of advice that I’ve received that helped me navigate life as a student:

1. A day in the library can save you a year in the lab.

Never neglect the value of what others have done – there is so much that you can learn from just reading! There is no need to remake the wheel, let alone the car – use the knowledge of others to propel your science forward! This also helps you understand where the field is going and what people are thinking, which can invaluable as you navigate your own research.

2. Give yourself grace.

It’s easy to get down on ourselves when things don’t go right. However, we have to remember: you’re creating knowledge and doing things that nobody else has done before. There is no textbook yet; in fact, you’re the one writing it! Even when things are frustrating and aren’t working the way you expect, treat yourself with kindness and don’t be afraid to give yourself a much-deserved break to rest and reset your focus.

3. Success is all in the assist.

Sometimes we can get sucked into the belief that we are working in a silo and it is all on us to make sure our project succeeds. However, I’ve realized that we are at our best as researchers when we are helping each other reach our goals and understand our work. Contribute to others and be willing to receive help – we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and no one person is going to solve all of the world’s problems. This quote – inspired by my colleague Dr. Chris Hahn, a former Stanford postdoc and SLAC staff scientist – is “Our efforts must be synergistic; it is only when we help each other that we accomplish together what we could only hope to achieve separately.”

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