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Engineering Village Expanding to Centennial Campus

The meeting space in Wolf Ridge Valley Hall is part of Engineering Village 2, the new Living and Learning Village on Centennial Campus set to open this fall.

Starting in the 2024 fall semester, NC State College of Engineering (COE) students will be offered a newly expanded pilot living and learning village option.

With the success and high participation numbers of the existing Engineering Village (EV) on main campus, the village is set to expand to Centennial Campus. In August, the first batch of second-year and transfer engineering students will move into “Engineering Village2 (EV2)” in Wolf Ridge Apartments’ Valley Hall.

Jerome Lavelle, the COE’s associate dean of academic affairs and founder of the Engineering Village, explained that the college has seen increased demand for spaces in the village over the years. In the past, the COE allowed some second-year students who wanted to remain in EV on the main campus.

However, with the requirement for first-year students to live in on-campus residential communities and engineering growing as a college, more and more second-year students were being turned away due to lack of space. Now, the newly expanded village on Centennial (EV2) will allow students who benefitted from living in the village as first-year engineers to remain part of the village in the second year and beyond, on Centennial Campus.

“We believe that if engineering village students have an on-campus option beyond their first year that has all of the ‘wonderfulness’ of the village and is located on Centennial Campus, there will be interest in that option,” Lavelle said. “This pilot year is going to assess that demand for us.”

Lavelle said that the first-year Engineering Village is primarily focused on helping students adjust to college life, as well as discerning disciplines, navigating the first-year engineering, math, and science courses, and finding the engineering or computer science path they want to take.

In the expanded village, Lavelle said students will seek a nurturing, positive environment that creates opportunities and helps them pursue their goals beyond finding a major.

Hunt Library’s gaming lab is one of several amenities available to students on the Centennial Campus.

“In the second year, students are in statics, dynamics, circuits, and other courses, so we’ll be doing some tutoring and mentoring around those sophomore or early junior-level courses,” Lavelle said. “We’ll also be doing programming that might be much more oriented toward connecting students to undergraduate research, co-ops and internships, international experiences, health and wellbeing, and exposing them to undergraduate research and working in the labs.”

Caitlin Corker, University Housing’s associate director of Living and Learning Programs, said the new village space will also be an invaluable resource for engineering students transferring to NC State.

“Through this new experience, we can support all of our engineering transfer students from community colleges and other four-year institutions,” Corker said. “Having this additional support system for them, through continuing engineering students and transfer engineering students living together, provides them the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences from a different perspective.”

The project is split-funded between the COE and University Housing and will cost over $200,000.

The collaboration between the COE and Housing has always been strong and will only continue to grow with this new program. “They are one of our most collaborative Living and Learning Programs partners,” Corker said.

The Engineering Village is also under new leadership, as Derius Galvez recently joined NC State as the new village director.

“I’m extremely excited,” Galvez said. “It’s a great opportunity to be right in the prime of it. I think that being able to lead the effort into creating something that hasn’t been there before is the basis of what an engineer is. So to be able to be at the forefront of that is very exciting.”

Galvez explained that adding the expanded village for students beyond their first year is a way for engineering students to avoid a phenomenon known as the “sophomore slump,” in which programming to help students navigate college drops off after their first year.

“Freshmen get a ton of programming and study tips,” Galvez said. “For engineering, it’s a little bit more difficult, because (in the second year) you’ve now CODAed in for the engineering discipline, and there has to be a methodology for students to be prepared. Students have to know how to seek internships and professional development, and how to navigate the strenuous nature of those engineering classes. So the expansion is extremely important.”

With the new space in Wolf Ridge ready to roll, a project that’s been years in the making will finally realize the fruits of its labor when students move in this fall.

“I could not be more excited about the potential that the expanded Engineering Village can have in creating environments that assist our great young people in seeing, quantifying and realizing their aspirations and goals,” Lavelle said.

This story was first published in Academic and Student Affairs News.