About Us

Our program was founded in 1999 and grew as an extension of the Women in Engineering Program with the desire to attract more women to engineering by reaching out to younger students. We recognized that any efforts to attract women to engineering would also be beneficial for underrepresented populations and all students.

We also acknowledged the need to inform the public about the true nature of engineering, to promote and support educational improvements in the way that math and science are taught in K-12 schools and to place importance on 21st century skills for all students.

High school campers participate in pump experiment.

Mission

To educate, both directly and indirectly, the citizens of North Carolina, particularly K–12 students, about the true nature of engineering and the opportunities and careers within engineering through hands-on, inquiry- and problem- based programs and informational workshops and tools.

Vision

Every student, educator and parent in North Carolina will know the definition of engineering and the impact that engineering has on everyday life.

Director and Staff

Dr. Bottomley

Dr. Laura Bottomley
Director of Women in Engineering and The Engineering Place

Laura Bottomley joined NC State University in fall of 1997 with the mission of creating a Women in Engineering program. She soon realized the need for and originated a K-12 Outreach program in 1999. She is responsible for the oversight of the Engineering Place and its strategic operations. She is also a frequent creative contributor to program content. She holds primary responsibility for funding operation and personnel. Laura also runs the Women in Engineering program, advises students and teaches the E 101 Introduction to Engineering and Problem-Solving class for first-year students.

Laura graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering in 1984 and 1985 respectively. She spent two years at AT&T Bell Laboratories, before returning to school at NC State for her Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering. She has also taught at Duke University, where she began her work in K-12 Outreach while teaching undergraduate and graduate electrical engineering courses. Since then, she has consulted with Lockheed Martin, IBM, MCNC and others before eventually originating her current position in the Office Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering at NC State.

Laura is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education, a faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers at NC State, a member of the steering committee for the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment in technological literacy and a frequent guest speaker for various groups (e.g., https://www.allbusiness.com/services/business-services/4342779-1.html). She has been inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women for her work in empowering women and eliminating racism. The combined Women in Engineering and K-12 Outreach Program under her tutelage received the institutional President’s Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2000. In 2009 Laura received the individual President’s Award for Excellence. Also in 2009 IEEE honored her with the Educational Activities Board Informal Education Award. Some of her National Science Foundation-sponsored work with K-12 was featured on the NSF Discoveries website in 2005.

Renee CroteauRenée Croteau
University Program Associate for The Engineering Place
919.513.3336

Renée Croteau joined NC State University in spring 2016. As part of The Engineering Place team, she supports outreach efforts, summer programs and also creates and provides program content for K-12 students. Renée enjoys the opportunity to work with and mentor NC State engineering students she supervises in these outreach efforts.

Renée received a B.S. in aerospace engineering and a minor in mathematics from Syracuse University in 1993 and an M.S. in plastics engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 1998.  Working domestically and abroad, Renée spent a decade in research and development at cutting-edge corporations driving innovation and technology in the biomedical, aerospace and transportation industries. In recent years, Renée has been working toward improving STEM education and access to educational opportunities for students with disabilities.

Susan D'AmicoSusan D’Amico
Coordinator of Engineering K-12 Outreach Extension
Susan D’Amico earned a B.S in Industrial Engineering from NC State in 1986. She has worked in the Telecom and Contract Manufacturing Industries for over 20 years as an Industrial Engineer, Process Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Project Manager, Business Cost Manager and Program Manager. In the course of her work, she has interfaced with many different types of engineers. Her professional path has made a turn towards education, and she has completed the coursework for a lateral entry teaching position. Susan now works for The Engineering Place as Coordinator of Engineering K-12 Outreach Extension. She’s responsible for the elementary and middle school engineering summer camps on the Raleigh campus. She also works with other partnering locations, such as Rocky Mount, Hickory, Havelock and Kinston, to help provide K-12 summer educational engineering opportunities throughout the state to as many children as possible.

Nancy Shaw
Nancy Shaw
K-12 Outreach Coordinator


Nancy Shaw, an electrical engineer with 10 years of experience in telecommunications, 5 years of experience in help-desk computer troubleshooting and more than 10 years of experience in K-12 Outreach, received her B.S.E.E. degree from NC State University in 1989. As the K-12 Outreach Coordinator in the College of Engineering (COE) at NC State, she teaches and advises freshmen engineering students, directs the statewide middle school Future City program and its annual competition, serves as the COE liaison for the FREEDM Systems Center and provides “Engineering on the Road” experiences for K-12 students across the state. Previously, Nancy served as the North Carolina Project Lead the Way (PLTW) State Director for more than 10 years, and she participated on the development team that created the NC K-12 Engineering Connection Standards. She has contributed to the curriculum content of several online engineering curricula, including the TechXcite Program for 4-H afterschool students and TeachEngineering.org, a National Science Digital Library. Nancy is an active member of American Society for Engineering Education and the Society of Women Engineers.

Locations and Facilities

Our main facility is located on the North Campus of NC State University in Daniels Hall. We have multiple spaces that can be used for classroom-style activities and lab exploration, as well as resource rooms for equipment and materials.

Through the College’s distance education programs, we collaborate with partners in Rocky Mount at the Gateway Technology Center, Hickory at the NC Center for Engineering Technology and Havelock at Craven Community College and Kinston at Lenoir County Community College.

Funders, Partnerships and Collaborators

  • Boston Museum of Science
  • National Academy of Engineering
  • National Science Foundation
  • Wake County Public School System, NC
  • Brentwood Elementary School, Raleigh, NC
  • Rachel Freeman Elementary School, Wilmington, NC
  • IEEE – CASEE Engineering Equity Extension Service
  • National Assessment of Educational Progress

Awards

  • Middle School K-12/University Partnership Best Practices award from the American Society for Engineering Education, 2014
  • Educational Activities Board Informal Education Award from IEEE in 2009
  • Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2000 and 2009
  • Program featured on the NSF Discoveries website in 2005
  • Wake County Public School Partnership Award

Employment Opportunities

Outreach Ambassadors – We employ a number of undergraduate engineering students who support our outreach efforts throughout the community at events both on and off campus. These students receive training in working with K-12 students and lead activities for both large and small groups. Students work on average 10 to 20 hours per month throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Summer Programs Staff – Each spring, the College hires undergraduate engineering students, as well as high school students, to support summer programs in June and July. Students work between one and four weeks with the program and serve as team leaders for week-long activities, residence counselors and departmental assistants.

Visit our employment page or contact us at coe-theengineeringplace@ncsu.edu for more information about any of these opportunities.

Contact Us

The Engineering Place

College of Engineering
NC State University
118 Page Hall
Campus Box 7904
Raleigh, NC 27695-7904
919.515.3263

coe-theengineeringplace@ncsu.edu