Lisa Bullard, a Park Faculty Scholar for the Class of 2018, has built her career at NC State on the foundation of a lifelong love for the university. A native of Garner, N.C., Bullard always wanted to attend NC State. She opted to study chemical engineering because she heard it was the most difficult major and “thought it sounded like a fun challenge.”
A Caldwell Fellow, Bullard enjoyed a rich undergraduate experience. She lived on campus all four years, participated in spring break mission trips with her church, studied abroad at Oxford, and served as president of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. She also pursued internships with Argonne National Lab, DuPont, and the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) program. Upon graduation in 1986, Bullard went on to earn her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
In 1991 Bullard and her husband, Michael, relocated to Kingsport, Tenn. to work for Eastman Chemical Company. During her nine-year career there, Bullard held engineering and management positions across numerous departments. Then, in 2000, Bullard returned to NC State as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering – a role she calls her “dream job.”
“Teaching at the school you attended is awesome – in conversations with my students, they are often surprised to learn that I stayed in the same dorm or had the same professor they did!” Bullard said. “Having been very involved on campus when I was a student, I can encourage students to target their interests and passions and help direct them toward organizations and activities that match their goals. I also have a sense of what might be an appropriate balance and how they can juggle classes, service, leadership roles, and relationships.”
Bullard’s research interests lie in the areas of teaching and advising effectiveness, academic integrity, and instruction in material and energy balances and capstone process design. Unsurprisingly, her dedication to her students has won her a great deal of respect, admiration, and teaching and advising awards over the years.
“I love the combination of teaching and advising that my current role entails,” said Bullard. “Getting to know students in my class and then advising them outside of class helps me to get to know the whole person. Even after graduation, I stay in touch with many of my former students and follow their career and personal journey, often helping them find jobs or writing letters of recommendation for MBA or med school years later. I consider my students to be part of my extended family and cherish my relationships with them.”
Having mentored more than a dozen Park Scholar chemical engineering majors and served on both the Park Scholarships Selection Committee and Park Advisory Committee, Bullard developed a strong working relationship with the program. Park Scholarships Director Eva Feucht approached her regarding the possibility of becoming a Park Faculty Scholar.
“I was familiar with the ‘product’ of the program (the amazing students) but I didn’t really know much about the process,” Bullard said. “I talked with previous Park Faculty Scholars, and without exception, they were enthusiastic ambassadors of the program.”
After her daughter, Meredith – now a junior at NC State – completed high school, Bullard had some extra time and flexibility to take on the responsibility of being a Park Faculty Scholar. She and Andy Fox, fellow Park Faculty Scholar for the Class of 2018, advise individual students on academic matters and guide the class as a whole in developing enrichment activities. In April, Bullard and Fox accompanied their class on Learning Lab I, during which they met with educators, school administrators, and government officials in and around the state’s Triangle and Triad regions to examine how they are addressing socioeconomic inequalities in schools in order to maximize student success. This October, Bullard, Fox, and their sophomores will travel to Washington, D.C. for a Learning Lab II trip focused on the nation’s role in managing infectious disease outbreaks.
“The Freshman Retreat really solidified my commitment to the class as a whole and to each individual scholar,” said Bullard. “I’ve enjoyed getting to watch each one blossom during his or her freshman year, and I’m excited about the chance to watch them grow over the next three years and support their development.”