Undergraduate Student Spotlight: Courtney Jones

It seems that having a desire to know how things work is a must for becoming a great engineer. So, it was a good sign that Courtney Jones, ISE spring 2020 graduate, had engineering in her future when she started competing in national clay shooting competitions. “While practicing several days a week and learning about the clay machines and the mechanics behind them, I knew I wanted to learn about how objects were manufactured,” recalled Jones. Another good sign that she had engineering in her future came from a teacher. “I had a wonderful high school calculus teacher who inspired me to enter a field with advanced math,” she said. So armed with an analytical and curious mind, Jones decided to pursue engineering, and the journey that would eventually land her in NC State’s ISE Department had begun.

Now, it was time to pick out the ideal college. Jones researched many of the top engineering schools and even toured a few, but not NC State. “Surprisingly, I never did an official tour of NC State,” she said. “But I attended an information session held by the College of Engineering.” There, she heard from Laura Bottomley, director of the Engineering Place, about NC State’s Change of Degree Application program (CODA) — a centralized resource for researching different majors. Since Jones was unsure of which discipline of engineering she wanted to pursue, she joined the Wolfpack because the CODA program allowed her the flexibility to find the right degree. “NC State’s program was the best fit for me to find the best route for me,” shared Jones. 

Now that she knew which school she would be attending, it was time to start figuring out which type of engineering was right. The summer before she arrived on campus, Jones attended the ESCape Camp, an engineering camp for incoming female first-year engineers. During camp, she talked with students from many different engineering majors. But it was an ISE Ph.D. student, Shakiba Enayti, who sparked her interest. “It was fascinating,” exclaimed Jones. She had never heard of industrial and systems engineering, so that night, she researched the major and realized how much she enjoyed improving things.


During her first few semesters at NC State, Jones narrowed her degree choices down to just two. “I was in between deciding mechanical and industrial,” she said. But after speaking with professor Richard Bernhard, she knew she would find a home in the ISE department. “I would like to thank Dr. Bernhard for being a great mentor and friend,” proclaimed Jones. “We met by chance when I was trying to decide if I would like to CODA into ISE. I am extremely grateful for all he has done.” She is also appreciative of all the ISE professors. “They have helped me and taught me so much along the way about life and ISE principles.”

Jones graduated in May as the president of the NC State chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. She also was the manufacturing lead for Wolfpack Motorsports, an organization that builds a formula-style race car from scratch each year. Jones will continue the hobby that got her interested in industrial engineering in the first place. “One of my favorite hobbies outside of NC State is participating in sporting clay competitions. I have competed for nine years, and in 2015, I was ranked the 8th lady in the World,” she exclaimed. 


Before graduating, Jones accepted a job offer from Wolfspeed, a Cree Company, in one of its nine to 12-month rotational programs. Just as when she was choosing a degree, Jones likes to keep her options open. “The first will be as a supplier quality engineer, followed by an industrial engineer and then a production control engineer,” she explained. “After these rotations, I will be able to choose which direction I would like to go.”