Mechanical engineering student chosen for research program at University Park

Hannah Farber on Nittany Lion bench

Hannah Farber

Credit: Hannah Farber

Hannah Farber, who recently completed her second year at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, has been selected to participate in the Multi-Campus Research Experience for Undergraduates (MC REU) program. The program will allow Farber to conduct research in conjunction with a faculty member from her home campus of Penn State Wilkes-Barre and one based at University Park.

Farber, who is majoring in mechanical engineering, will work with Professor of Mathematics Anatoli Ivanov at Wilkes-Barre and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Katie Fitzsimmons at University Park on a research project involving differential equations. She will receive a $4,200 scholarship as part of the program.

“I thought the program sounded like a great opportunity for engineering students,” Farber said. “I chose to work with Dr. Ivanov because I really liked him as a professor. He explains concepts very well and wants to make sure every student has a good understanding of the concepts he is teaching.”

MC REU is an eight-week program with two weeks of in-person learning at University Park. Farber will work with Ivanov remotely and meet with him in person several times throughout the experience. The MC REU program includes professional development instruction on topics such as research best practices, research area connections, faculty panels/virtual lab tours, and graduate school resources. The program concludes with virtual research presentations.

Farber’s research will center on differential equations and how they apply to engineering concepts. She will primarily focus her studies on learning the software MATLAB, a major platform used in engineering and the sciences.

“One of my goals is to become proficient in MATLAB, which I will use in my future courses and career,” Farber explained. “I want to be able to prove or solve any problems that relate to differential equations. I also hope to publish a research paper.”

Ivanov described Farber as an intelligent, hardworking student and said he looks forward to doing research with her.

“Hannah is very good in mathematics in general. She works on additional topics on her own,” he said. “Particularly in the differential equations course she took with me, you have to work very much on a daily basis on every topic and every homework assignment, and Hannah did well with those equations.”

“The Multi-Campus Research Experience for Undergraduates program is a real plus for a student to participate in. Hannah will be able to see much more than the basic mathematics courses she has to take. Through this program, she can do a deep dive into mathematics, differential equations and research,” Ivanov continued. “MATLAB is a very helpful computational tool that will be useful for her in her future. Once Hannah has developed proficiency in MATLAB, she will be able to help me with my research studying differential equations with time delays.”

Farber will transition to University Park this fall to complete her engineering degree as part of Penn State’s 2+2 Plan. After finishing her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in engineering at Penn State. She said she hopes to work in the theme park industry, particularly as a Disney Imagineer, or in nuclear engineering.

At Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Farber was involved in numerous clubs and organizations. She served as cofounder and president of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Club, president of the 4 Seasons Club, representative for the Student Government Association, and member of Radio Club and JAM (Just Amazing Musicians).

“My time at Penn State Wilkes-Barre was amazing. It was such a welcoming atmosphere where I met many nice people,” Farber said. “I had great professors, learned a lot and had so many networking opportunities.”