Dr. Laura Bottomley, director of K-12 engineering outreach programs, won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. She was one of 22 individuals and organizations honored July 9 by President Barack Obama.
The awards honor the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering and who belong to groups that are underrepresented in those fields. Candidates for the award are nominated by colleagues, administrators and students from their home institutions. The mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school. In addition to being honored at a ceremony at the White House this fall, recipients receive awards of $10,000 to advance their mentoring efforts.
In her role as outreach director, Bottomley works with more than 5,000 students, 200 teachers and 500 parents each year. She leads summer camps for K-12 students, programs that send undergraduates and graduate students into schools to work with elementary and middle school students, training sessions for NC State engineering alumni who want to be volunteer teachers in their communities and assistance for K-12 teachers who want to introduce engineering concepts to young students.
Bottomley also directs NC State’s Women in Engineering program, which works to boost the number of women engineers in academia and industry, and acts as a consultant to the N.C. Dept. of Public Instruction and Wake County Public Schools.