Standout Seniors ’23: Ben Fahrney (Mechanical Engineering)  

Penn State Behrend’s Class of 2023 is ready to make its mark on the world!-  We’re proud of our students and all that they have learned and accomplished here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll introduce you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technologies, participated in important research projects, and made their mark at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Ben Fahrney.   

ben fahrney3 cropped

Major: Mechanical Engineering Major

Hometown: Lititz, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: Provost Scholarship as well as scholarships from the foundry industry

On choosing Behrend: I chose attend Penn State Behrend for its excellent integration of the business and engineering schools. I chose to stay at Behrend because of the professors. During my first year, one of my professors sat down with me for almost four hours to talk about what I wanted to get out of my experience there. This kind of personal interaction with professors is common at Behrend and exactly the reason I loved it here.

On choosing his major: Like most engineers, I have always loved learning how things work but, at Behrend, I really fell in love with the process. Seeing a project that you have been working on for months–and sometimes years–slowly come together is a truly rewarding experience and one I hope to continue pursuing in my professional career.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: One of my proudest accomplishments was completing an almost three-year-long research project (concerning the integration of additive manufacturing into the Pennsylvania investment casting industry to spur economic growth) and presenting my findings at various competitions, at major trade expos, and at several campus presentations. Working on a huge project like that and then presenting in front of more than 200 industry professionals is not where I would have seen my Behrend career going, but it has been an amazing experience.

Campus involvement: I have been on the executive board for the Materials and Manufacturing Group for all four of my years here at Behrend. I am also involved in the Rack ‘em Pool Club and Disc Golf Club and have been a Welcome Week volunteer twice. I have also worked in Innovation Commons, the college’s open ideation, product development, and prototyping center, for three years.

Awards and recognitions: I have been on the Dean’s List several times, won both first and second place in the engineering division at our annual Sigma Xi research competition, been the recipient of several metal casting scholarships from the foundry educational foundation (FEF), and won the Larry Blum Intern Scholarship, which allowed me to speak at the 68th annual technical conference for the Investment Casting Institute.

What makes him unique: When I first came to Behrend, I had almost no experience in the metal casting industry. I barely knew what the industry was. Since starting formal academic research during my first semester, I have become a highly regarded student in the field.  After four short years, I have had internships, competed in competitions, and spoken at conferences in the industry. I am an active member of the Foundry Educational Foundation, the Association for Iron and Steel Technology, and the Investment Casting Institute and frequently travel to their conferences and expos.

Top priority: I am excited to begin pursuing my professional career. I’m also looking forward to setting some roots down near my family and begin serving my community as a volunteer firefighter again.

Eager to help: I am most passionate about helping people in any way that I can. I enjoy talking with new and prospective students, making them feel welcome, and giving them the advice and guidance that was so helpful to me when I first came to Behrend.

Advice for first-year students: The best advice that I have for new students is to talk to people. Bugging my professors, people at job fairs, and even the maintenance staff at Behrend has afforded me more opportunities than I can count.

After his graduation in May, Ben has accepted a position as a systems integration and testing engineer in the rotary mission systems division of Lockheed Martin in New Jersey.

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