Engineering Alyson Farkas

Global aerospace company hires alumna

Alyson Farkas, the first in her family to graduate from college, impressed Lockheed Martin management as an intern, and the company offered her a position before she graduated.

Alyson Farkas earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering with the multidisciplinary engineering design option and started her job as a systems engineer at Lockheed shortly after her May 2021graduation. 

“As a systems engineer, you’re responsible for the integration of different aspects of software and hardware and making sure the documentation makes sense. My degree really helps me because it combines mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering. It prepared me to do this job. It’s all about knowing different aspects of engineering, and it gives you broader knowledge,” she said.

Farkas was an intern with Lockheed for two summers after meeting a representative of the company at the semiannual campus career fair, organized by Abington’s Career and Professional Development

“I learned so much from my internship but especially how to work in the real world. My main takeaway was to never shy away from asking questions. There are tons of smart people there, and I learned to pick their brains. I was cautious during my first internship, but by the second one I was wanting to understand and learn more,” she said.

"My degree really helps me because it combines mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering. It prepared me to do this job. It’s all about knowing different aspects of engineering, and it gives you broader knowledge.” 

Alyson Farkas

At Abington Farkas was a Schreyer Honors College scholar and a member of the campus's Honors Program. Her honors thesis project was to apply artificial intelligence to train a robot to do parts inspection in a simulated manufacturing environment. She was also the recipient of an engineering scholarship.

Her experience at Abington began the summer before her first year when she enrolled in the Engineering Ahead (EA) program. EA is an academic enhancement program for underrepresented categories of students including minorities, women, first-generation, and those from low-income households.  

“Engineering Ahead helps transition you to college. College isn’t as scary because you already have these connections. You focus on math, physics and chemistry,” she said. “It shows how things are done in college, and it opened up other opportunities. After I finished the program, I became a mentor and tutored other students.”

Through EA, Farkas met Ann Schmiedekamp, professor of physics, and Michael Kagan, associate professor of physics. 

“I took Dr. Kagan for every level of physics, and Dr. Schmiedekamp got me involved in ACURA (Abington College Undergraduate Research Activities) my first year,” Farkas said. “Working on undergraduate research opened up opportunities for me since I developed relationships with faculty who mentored us.” 

Her team earned a blue ribbon for their ACURA project, "A Survey with Radio Astronomy of Cold H1 Clouds in the Milky Way." 

Farkas, who tutored other students throughout her college career, was president and treasurer of the Engineering Club at Abington. 

“We did some really awesome projects. It created a collaborative environment, and we talked about problems and questions we had. It was a great support system,” she said.   

Farkas said she knew Abington was where she wanted to attend college from her first visit. 

“I fell in love with the campus and knew it was the place for me. Abington has a small school feel, but large school resources plus there is the alumni network. I loved the engineering program, too. Your education is personalized. You get to know the professors, and you’re not just a number,” she said.

For the general engineering degree with the multidisciplinary engineering design option, students like Farkas complete their first two years at either Abington and conclude their engineering coursework in the Innovation Center at Penn State Great Valley.

“The engineering program has a hands-on approach. You can learn all the theory you want, but the hands-on application brings your education full circle whether it’s through the lab, simulations or the design focus. You get to go through an entire life cycle,” she said. “Once I saw the lab at Great Valley, I fell in love. It was so much fun to use, and a great atmosphere, too. I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities.”