Bottomley Earns National Teaching Award Semifinalist Honor

Original article by Emily Packard from the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Office

Two of nine semifinalists for the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching hail from NC State. Laura Bottomley and Hollylynne Lee were semifinalists for the national award, and Lee is now one of three finalists.

Bottomley is director of the Engineering Education and Women in Engineering programs and The Engineering Place in the College of Engineering and friend of the ISE Department.

“We’re extremely proud of both Hollylynne and Laura’s achievements on the national level,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Warwick Arden. “This is a reflection of not only their dedication to teaching excellence, but the overall quality of instruction at NC State.”

Laura Bottomley is a key part of the college experience for freshman engineers at NC State
Laura Bottomley is a key part of the college experience for freshman engineers at NC State

Bottomley joined NC State in 1997. She is responsible for the oversight of the Engineering Place and its strategic operations, runs the Women in Engineering program, advises students and teaches the E101 Introduction to Engineering and Problem-Solving class for first-year students. She is also charged with launching the new Engineering Education program joint between the Colleges of Engineering and Education.

Bottomley is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education, a faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers at NC State, a member of the steering committee for the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) assessment in technological literacy. She previously received an individual Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

“NC State is a very unique university. As a Research I institution with an swarrayincredible impact on the world stage, you might think that teaching was secondary. But it is not,” said Bottomley. “NC State is filled with faculty that care a great deal about their teaching and take seriously their responsibility to train the next generation including writers, designers, mathematicians, scientists, educators and engineers! We know that the problems faced by our world are too complex to be solved by any individual discipline, so we emphasize an interdisciplinary worldview. We also take seriously our land-grant mission to teach the students of North Carolina.”

Rave Reviews

The impact of both Bottomley and Lee on their colleagues, students and the university cannot be understated. Here is just a sampling of how others feel about Bottomley.

“Dr. Bottomley has so much knowledge that you want to reach out and grab …. I often refer to her as Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus because she is intelligent, resourceful, loving and has jokes readily available. She has an extensive knowledge base of pedagogical practices that can be integrated into a wide-variety of class content areas.”

Whitney N. McCoy, Ph.D., NC State University Alumna ’20

“As Director of Women in Engineering, Director of the Engineering Place (K-12 outreach), an associate teaching professor, and an advisor, Dr. Bottomley’s main desire and drive is her care and concern for individuals. She is an educator who advocates, supports, motivates and serves all students but she has a specific skill of working with underrepresented students, staff and faculty. When her students succeed, she succeeds, but her pride is always in the students, their accomplishments, their actual learning, their excitement, their confidence in engineering and ultimately their confidence in their own determination and grit to succeed.”

Katherine C. Titus-Becker, Ph.D., Director, Women in Science and Engineering

The Cherry Award

The program honors excellence in teaching, stimulates discussion about the value of teaching and encourages departments and higher education institutions to place a high value on their teaching faculty. The estate of Robert Foster Cherry established the award at Baylor University in order to reflect Cherry’s appreciation for teachers who greatly impacted his life, and granted the first award in 1991.