Dombro Wins COE Award for Excellence

The College of Engineering honors outstanding employees with their Awards for Excellence each year. This year, Latha Dombro, MEM’s Program Specialist, received this award for her hard work. In 2023, the MEM Program had more students but limited staff. Despite this, Latha created many impactful program initiatives that greatly improved the MEM Program.

According to interim director Brandon McConnell, “She has clearly exceeded her role’s expectations.” During her time in the MEM Program, Dombro launched many projects to support students. “Latha has consistently shown a high level of commitment, leadership, and innovation,” McConnell remarked. One of these initiatives is the Career Fair, which she organized for the second year. This event helps companies connect with MEM students for jobs.

Latha Dombro receiving the COE Award for Excellence
Latha Dombro receiving the COE Award for Excellence

Significant Contributions

Under Dombro’s leadership, the MEM Program established chapters in the American Society of Engineering Management (ASEM) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA). These chapters offer students valuable networking opportunities and professional development resources. “These two student chapters wouldn’t exist without her efforts,” added McConnell. Moreover, she introduced Quinncia, an AI resume-building tool. She also organized workshops for resume refinement and mock interviews, giving students essential career skills.

Furthermore, Dombro’s dedication to student-industry interactions led to the Speed Networking Night. As a twist on Speed Dating, Dombro brought in professionals from Lenovo, Edward Jones, and more to meet students. This event gives students guidance, networking opportunities, and insights into various career paths. Reflecting on the event’s success, Dombro said, “This was my favorite event, and I can’t wait for the next one!”

The recipients of the COE Awards for Excellence with the Dean and Assistant Dean of COE.
Latha Dombro with the other recipients of the COE Award for Excellence and the Dean, Dr. Jim Pfaendtner (right), and the Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Jerome Lavelle (left).

Additionally, she created the Peer Mentorship Program, pairing students with mentors. These mentors provide guidance, share resources, and help navigate challenges. The positive response from students shows the program’s effectiveness. “The students love having someone relatable to guide them,” remarked Dombro.

Latha Dombro and Dr. Jerome Lavelle

Reflecting on her journey, Dombro emphasized, “Bet on yourself.” She shared, “You will never lose when you bet on yourself.” She expressed gratitude for receiving the award, noting, “Moving to NC during COVID with no job lined up and two young kids, winning this award is significant. It shows I made the right decision to shift from K-12 education to Higher Ed.” Dombro’s dedication to student success and innovative initiatives has greatly impacted the MEM program at NC State. Her work exemplifies the power of education. As she continues to inspire and empower students, her influence will shape future leaders in engineering management.