Carr headshot 2

Margaret “Carr” Hughes

Founder, Cynosure Learning, L3C and Site Director 2014, Assistant Site Director 2016

Contact e-mail:

Carr holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree from the University of Arizona where she majored in Higher Education, concentrating on Organization and Administration. After spending 13 years in the private sector, Carr refocused her energies on the field of education. As an advocate for educational reform, Carr began to dedicate her time to increasing awareness of STEM learning benefits. From developing robotics programs to writing grants for community gardens, Carr has completed multiple community outreach projects, all related to STEM learning. Carr is eager to introduce area youth and their families to educational programming opportunities that require students to ask questions and push through setbacks, enabling students to recognize their accomplishments. Carr has two boys, Jack (13) and Dabney (11).  Her favorite activities are playing tennis, gardening, and cooking.


Jennifer Thompson

Program Coordinator, Cynosure Learning, L3C and Site Director 2015 & 2016
Contact e-mail:

Jennifer has a Biology degree and a Masters degree in Education, with a concentration in Science and Technology, from Salisbury University in Maryland.  She began her teaching career upon graduation and taught 6th grade Science on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for four years before moving to Charlotte.  For the past four years, she has served as a 7th grade Science teacher for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. Jennifer also serves as a Fellow in the Charlotte Teachers Institute for two years where she focuses on developing her science content and writing curriculum activities for middle school classrooms.  In Jennifer’s classroom, students are continually encouraged to ask questions, challenge ideas, and investigate.  She believes that these skills are important for every student to apply in every aspect of their lives.

cy·no·sure noun [sigh-no-shure]:  A cynosure is something that strongly attracts interest by its brilliance.

Cynosure Learning, L3C, is an independent company that collaborates directly with the faculty and staff at NC State University’s College of Engineering.

Cynosure’s mission is to educate area youth about the true nature of engineering by offering engaging hands-on activities in a variety of inquiry-based settings.

“[T]o effectively cultivate interest and ability in STEM-related disciplines, interventions must occur early, beginning at the K-12 level and continuing throughout the collegiate years.” – Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, Director of the Institute for Higher Education Policy

We believe that it is important to expose children from an early age to the intrinsic benefits of STEM disciplines, particularly engineering. Engineering is fundamental to our society, yet the field of engineering is often overlooked.

As we all know, the youth of today are the problem-solvers of tomorrow. When children are given hands-on opportunities to engineer, they learn how to communicate with their peers as they collaborate and share ideas. Because children are innately creative and not afraid to try new things, they strive hard to solve problems.

While educators recognize the benefits of engineering curriculum, most schools (particularly elementary) do not have the time and resources to incorporate engineering into the school day. Therefore, we have partnered with NC State University to bring this high-quality engineering program to Mecklenburg County.

Students enrolled in Engineering Camp Charlotte will learn about the Engineering Design Process and gain a better understanding of the technical and personal skills necessary to design and improve technologies. Students will also learn how to consider the properties of various materials while considering the limitations imposed by their constraints, such as practicality, safety, and cost.  We also introduce students to the Academy of Engineering’s 14 Grand Challenges.   After all, these campers may well be the citizens who solve these problems in the future!

Join us in our quest to foster creativity and perseverance in tomorrow’s leaders!

Engineering is everywhere.  Are you up to the challenge?

Cynosure Learning, L3C, was formed to further educational purposes described in Section 170(c)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code, as defined in G.S. 105-228.90. Neither the production of income nor capital appreciation is a significant purpose of the company. Furthermore, no activities of the company will accomplish any political or legislative purpose within the meaning of Section 170(c)(2)(D) of the Internal Revenue Code, as defined in G.S. 105-228.90.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email