In 1998, NC State’s College of Engineering reached out to North Carolina’s parents and educators and asked them a series of questions.
- Do you know students who are creative and interested in why things are the way they are?
- Do you know students who show an interest in science, math or technology classes?
- Do these students like to find more than one way to solve a problem?
- Do they want to find a way to change the world?
The answer from parents and educators was an enthusiastic “YES!”
And so, The Engineering Place was born.
The mission of The Engineering Place is 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.
The Engineering Place serves as the College’s department dedicated to community outreach. In addition to coordinating other programs, the faculty and staff at The Engineering Place develop and design new summer camp curriculum each year for its partnering locations in North Carolina. There are currently four summer program locations in Hickory, Rocky Mount, Raleigh, and now Charlotte. In 2013, these locations received more than 2,200 applications for their summer programs. Unfortunately, they had only 1,084 spots available.
The youth of today are the problem-solvers of tomorrow. It is imperative that we encourage children to work through problem-based scenarios. In doing so, they learn the value of collaboration and trial and error.” – Dr. Laura Bottomley
The summer program offered through The Engineering Place began in 1999 and was the brainchild of NCSU engineering professor, Dr. Laura Bottomley. Dr. Bottomley graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering. She spent two years at AT&T Bell Laboratories before returning to a Ph.D. program at NC State in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Bottomely taught at Duke University, where she began her work in K-12 outreach. Since then, she has consulted with Lockheed Martin, IBM, MCNC, and others before eventually originating her current position in the Office of Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering at NC State. Currently, Dr. Bottomley serves as the Director of Women in Engineering and Outreach Programs.