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Four COE staff members receive Awards for Excellence

Memorial Belltower

Four staff members from the College of Engineering received Awards for Excellence for 2021.

The Awards for Excellence program recognizes the accomplishments and achievements of permanent NC State employees at both the unit and University levels who do not hold faculty rank. Awards are given in two employment categories: Exempt from the Human Resources Act (EHRA) employees are directly engaged in the activities of NC State’s mission of education, research and extension, while State Human Resources Act (SHRA) employees carry out a wide range of activities in support of NC State’s mission.

Awards are given across seven categories: Outstanding State Government Service, Efficiency and Innovation, Public Service, Safety and Heroism, Customer Service, Human Relations and Spirit of North Carolina. A virtual ceremony was held on April 28, 2021, to replace an event that, in most years, is held on campus.

Lesley Hubbard, an administrative support specialist in the UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), was an SHRA winner. She was nominated in the Outstanding State Government Service category. Dzung Nguyen, an electronics specialist in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), was nominated in the Customer Service category and was also an SHRA winner.

Veronica Catete, a research scholar in the Department of Computer Science (CSC), was an EHRA winner nominated in the Spirit of North Carolina category. Kanton Reynolds, director of undergraduate programs in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), was also an EHRA winner and was nominated in the Efficiency and Innovation category.

Lesley Hubbard

Lesley Hubbard

Hubbard is described as an exemplar of excellence and the anchor of the undergraduate program. She created a student ambassador program, a tremendous asset to the BME department, for both the NC State and UNC-CH campuses.

Her strategic planning was vital in the joint undergraduate program with NC State and UNC-CH students. She has a cheerful disposition, positive attitude and always makes time to help others.

One NC State student said, “No one at the University radiates positivity like her.” An alum who was moving to Minnesota said Hubbard found contact information of several alumni of the program in the area. “That little act made the world feel so much smaller and moving halfway across the country less daunting,” said the alum. Hubbard displays exceptional devotion to duty, well above and beyond requirements or advanced expectations.

Dzung Nguyen

Dzung Nguyen

In the middle of March 2020, most of the NC State community had to work remotely due to the pandemic. Working remotely only lasted a few weeks for Nguyen, however, and soon he was back onsite working full time.

There was a huge demand for PPE equipment in hospitals and clinics, and as the manager of the ECE MakerSpace, Nguyen knew that 3D printers could make critical components for homemade masks. He volunteered to help make these components that were so critically needed and provided 210 complete face shields for local hospitals and clinics and 100 face shields for campus use. He even repaired respiratory protection equipment at UNC Rex Hospital. Not only was Nguyen instrumental in the pandemic recovery efforts, but his dedication to his regular work duties are described as innovative, diligent and exceptional. He has found virtual ways to continue to teach and guide students who would normally be using the MakerSpace. Nguyen truly exhibits extraordinary customer service.

Veronica Catete

Veronica Catete

Catete exemplifies excellence in service, leadership and scholarship and has been recognized by multiple organizations for her outreach work and broadening participation in computing. Catete promotes STEM and computer science education in the state of North Carolina and beyond. Her groundbreaking work has led the way in establishing evaluation support for novice K-12 teachers new to computer science. She has contributed to making NC State the world’s leading institution in computer science education research. Catete serves as co-advisor for the NC State STARS student organization, mentors several students and graduates, and helps write grant proposals. She is the leader in a partnership with Reedy Creek Middle School, integrating sciences and computational thinking.

She helps the Infusing Computing Project, which has prepared and empowered 450 NC and SC teachers to learn to integrate computational thinking into their classrooms, an incredible service in NC, which just adopted computer learning standards for all K12 students in 2020. Catete is involved in task forces to improve diversity and promote anti-racism. She teamed up with The Engineering Place and Raleigh Police Department to provide computer science outreach programs to girls, at-risk youth and homeless children. She has also worked to bring STEM to rural areas in Rwanda. Catete truly exemplifies the state motto, “To be, rather than to seem,” by mentoring others in the pursuit of excellence and serving as an ambassador for the state of NC.

Kanton Reynolds

Kanton Reynolds

Everything that Reynolds does results in greater efficiency for students and employees while adding value to the customer experience. He has transformed academic advising by implementing an advising kiosk and adding automated forms and stratified advising appointments. Reynolds developed processes to ensure fair and transparent allocations, while working with NC State’s library to develop training and research methodologies useful for engineers and making them career ready. Reynolds founded the Student Ambassador Program, which revolutionized outreach to prospective students, peer advising for current students and connecting with partners. Reynolds rebuilt the Study Abroad program in the UK, developing an international internship for students.

He also supports the Women and Minorities in Engineering program by assisting with the initiative in Rwanda as well as the study-abroad program. He created an honors course focused on scientists of color for the Black Male Initiative and has been described as an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Numerous faculty and staff members and students have given testimony to Reynolds’ dedication, inspiration, innovation and support. He embodies efficiency, innovation and human relations at NC State and beyond.

The College’s winners received eight hours of paid time off, a $250 check and a plaque. They are also made eligible for the University-wide Awards for Excellence, when up to 12 individuals receive special distinction as recipients of the NC State University Awards for Excellence — the University’s most prestigious honor for non-faculty employees


Other SHRA nominees from the College were:

Christiana Boyle – Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Clay (CJ) Gosnell – ASSIST Center

Donna Richards  – CSC

Erwin Miller – Department of Nuclear Engineering (NE)

Johnathan McEntire – Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

Karen Welton  – ISE

Olivia Catlett  – BME

Russell Villard  – NE

Sharon Herring –  Dean’s Office-Finance

Sherry Bailey  – NE

Tamara Nagelberg – Industry Expansion Solutions (IES)

Tracy Brown  – Dean’s Office


Other EHRA nominees from the College were:

George Martell – Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Holli Singleton –  IES

Lindsay Smith – NC State Engineering Foundation

Michele Ray-Davis – Biotechnology Training and Education Center

Ozgur Ozdemir –  ECE