The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves through professional practice and/or service. This includes to the University, profession, or society at large. Ideal candidates will have made rapid advancement within their organization. As well as received recognition for early professional achievements. They are leaders of the future in their profession.


Criteria for the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

  • The nominee must have graduated from the department with at least one of its designated degrees, which include:
    • Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering (BSIE)
    • Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Furniture Manufacturing (BSIE, FM)
    • Bachelor of Science in Furniture Manufacturing and Management (BSFMM)
    • Master of Industrial Engineering (MIE)
    • Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

    We include candidates with affiliated degrees:

    • Engineering Operations
    • Operations Research advised by department faculty designated as OR-ISE

  • The nominee must:
    • have graduated within 20 years of the award year
    • not be a current employee in the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State University
    • have a continuous record of exceptional integrity and sound character

    Please identify any noteworthy community and/or public service as well as commendable service to the industrial engineering profession, including service to their Alma Mater.

You can submit your nomination of an alumnus at any time. The faculty, at the first faculty meeting of the school year each August, will select award winners. The new award winners receive recognition at our annual event each year.


Nomination Process

Complete the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award Nomination Form

If you prefer, you can e-mail or write to:

Dr. Julie Swann
Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial Engineering
111 Lampe Drive, Campus Box 7906
Raleigh, NC 27695

Class of 2018

Rashida Hodge

Class of 2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus - Rashida Hodge
Rashida Hodge is the Vice President of IBM Watson Embed and Strategic Partnerships. The IBM Watson Group is charged with accelerating a new class of “cognitive” software, services, and apps that fuel a diverse cloud-based ecosystem of enterprises.

Prior to her current role, Rashida held numerous leadership roles across IBM where she was core to establishing sustainable business operations and end to end client and partner success.

Rashida has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering, from North Carolina State University and holds an MBA from Duke University. She is the founder of the NC State College of Engineering Foundation Real Hope for Next Gen Engineers Endowed Scholarship.

Rashida is originally from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands and has a passion for mentoring and giving back to her community.


Dr. Constance Lightner

Class of 2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus - Constance Lightner
Dr. Constance Lightner earned her bachelor’s degree (1994) in Applied Mathematics from Norfolk State University and her master’s(1997) and doctoral (2000) degrees in Operations Research from NC State. Upon completing her doctoral degree, she began working at Fayetteville State University (FSU) as an assistant professor of Management. Dr. Lightner is currently an associate professor who has served as the chair for the Department of Management for 7 years. While Dr. Lightner has received numerous university teaching awards during her 19 year tenure a FSU, her most prestigious honor came in 2008 when she was recognized as a UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award recipient. She has been actively involved with community outreach projects that include working as a lead statistician for the United Way to conduct county wide surveys about Social Service funding opportunities. Dr. Lightner also serves as a UNC Community College liason who develops articulation agreements with Community Colleges in NC to assist students transferring to new universities. Her last 2 research articles (about transportation route optimization) were published in Soft Computing and the International Journal of Intelligent Computing and Cybernetics, where she received an Outstanding Paper in Emerald Literati Network Award for Excellence.