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From the dean

Dr. Louis Martin-Vega

As the spring winds down, even as we mark the difficult anniversary of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, I am optimistic today and hope that you feel the same way. Across our nation and all over the world, the administration of safe and efficacious vaccines (including on the NC State campus) is offering hope for a return to the lives we lived before. These vaccines, developed in record time, are now also being deployed rapidly across our country, illustrating the power of scientists, physicians and engineers working collaboratively across disciplines to take on the vexing problems that face humanity. You can read insights on this incredible effort in our Q&A with Julie Swann, department head and A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professor in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and a globally recognized expert on vaccine distribution and logistics.

At NC State, a rigorous testing program coupled with continued adherence to safety protocols has allowed us to have a successful spring semester, with some students living and attending classes on campus and our research enterprise continuing to thrive while keeping faculty members and students safe.

You’ll find more positive news in this issue on new U.S. News & World Report rankings of online graduate engineering programs, which placed our Engineering Online sixth in the country, and on a very successful 2021 Day of Giving, during which our alumni and friends contributed more than $6 million to the College.

Fitts-Woolard Hall, our newest building on NC State’s Centennial Campus, is being utilized by students and faculty members and we are increasingly hopeful that we will be able to welcome you to visit this amazing new facility later this year as conditions continue to improve. The College has commitments of $49 million toward our goal of $60 million and I hope that you will consider a contribution that will help us close the remaining gap.

At the same time, our College continues to commit itself to creating an environment that is welcoming to all, including members of groups that are historically underrepresented in the field of engineering. Angelitha Daniel, the longtime director of our Minority Engineering Programs, has begun work as a special advisor to the dean for faculty and student diversity, equity and inclusion. Angie is helping to chart a path forward as the College builds that welcoming community that we all want.

Unfortunately, we are seeing increased levels of harassment and violence across the country against members of the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. In a personal statement I issued this spring, I called on our entire College of Engineering to be bold in continuing to stand together with all marginalized groups to combat racism and keep a spotlight on this critical issue.

Thank you, again, for your continued support of your College of Engineering. I am hopeful that we are much closer to a time in which we can welcome you back to campus to see firsthand the outstanding work that our faculty, students and staff are doing.

Louis A. Martin-Vega, Ph.D.

Return to contents or download the Spring / Summer 2021 NC State Engineering magazine (PDF, 52.0 MB).

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