Penn State Hazleton welcomes two new full-time faculty

Woman posing in tan blazer and blouse next to man in blue dress shirt.

Beth Greenberg, lecturer and program coordinator in health policy and administration, and Bhanu Shankar Babaiahgari, assistant professor of electrical engineering, joined Penn State Hazleton's faculty for the 2021-22 academic year.

Credit: Penn State

HAZLETON, Pa. — Two new full-time faculty members have been appointed to begin the 2021-22 academic year at Penn State Hazleton, Chancellor Gary M. Lawler announced.

Bhanu Shankar Babaiahgari has been hired as assistant professor of electrical engineering and Beth Greenberg has been hired as lecturer in health policy and administration (HPA). Greenberg will also serve as coordinator of the HPA program.

“Penn State Hazleton is proud to provide access to educators with real-world experience and a student-centered approach,” Lawler said. “We’re grateful for the addition of Bhanu and Beth to our faculty and are confident they will be valuable assets to students and to their respective academic programs.”

Elizabeth J. Wright, director of academic affairs at Penn State Hazleton and associate dean of academic affairs for Commonwealth Campuses, added, “Bhanu and Beth's enthusiasm and experience will be a benefit to students who come to Penn State Hazleton for our smaller class sizes and opportunities to interact with faculty. We look forward to their contributions to the personal and professional development of our students.”

Babaiahgari will instruct courses in electrical engineering and computer engineering. He will also continue his research, which focuses on direct current (DC) power systems and developing technology to make the systems more powerful, he said.

He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado, where he also served as a research assistant, teaching assistant and instructor.

“I'm a recent doctoral degree graduate, so it wasn’t long ago that I was a student myself,” he said. “I know what type of instruction students respond to and how it is relevant to the career opportunities available after graduation.”

Babaiahgari said it was the encouraging feedback he received from students while teaching during his doctoral degree that helped him decide to pursue a career in higher education.

“I really liked what I was doing,” he said. “If I worked in the engineering industry, I’d likely just perform research. At Penn State Hazleton, I can teach and do research at the same time which is a far better choice.”

Greenberg, meanwhile, will teach courses in health policy and administration, one of 13 baccalaureate degrees offered at Penn State Hazleton. She holds master’s degrees in government and public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Her career in healthcare has spanned 25 years, including stops at statewide organizations such as the Pennsylvania Medical Society and LeadingAge PA, which provides education and support to long-term care providers. She’s also held roles with the state Senate and state Office of the Budget.

Greenberg’s research has largely surrounded data analysis, including the impact proposed changes may have on the regulated community. 

“I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to prepare our students and help them begin their careers as upcoming leaders in the healthcare field,” she said. “My hope is to help them develop skills for lifelong learning, to ask questions and indulge their curiosity, and have them recognize that it takes courage to try new things.”

Greenberg's previous teaching experience includes 17 years at Harrisburg Area Community College and seven years at Elizabethtown College. She also taught two health policy and administration courses at Penn State Hazleton in fall 2019.

“I’m delighted to be back at Penn State Hazleton,” Greenberg said. “I was so impressed with the helpfulness of everyone I met when I was here in 2019 and I look forward in the coming weeks to meeting more of the students, employees and others who make Penn State Hazleton such a special place.”