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Alumna Steffanie Easter Establishes the Lisa Bullard CBE Scholarship Fund

Distinguished alumna Steffanie Easter (B.S. ‘85), has established the Lisa Bullard CBE Scholarship Fund to provide need-based scholarships for students pursuing an undergraduate degree in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and as a testament to Prof. Bullard’s impact.

Dr. Bullard with student Ida Githu (B.S. ’13)

Throughout her tenure at NC State, Lisa Bullard has been a pillar of educational excellence within the department. “Dr. Bullard is a truly outstanding educator and an asset to the entire NC State community,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Warwick Arden upon her being named recipient of the inaugural Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2022. Dr. Bullard has been the Director of Undergraduate Programs in the department since July 2002. She officially advises all of the First-Year students, double majors, and transfer students, but in reality, she is the informal advisor for all undergraduates in chemical engineering. In addition to her responsibilities as an advisor, Prof. Bullard also teaches sections of the introductory sophomore course, the professional development seminar, and the final senior design capstone course, ensuring that many of the students will have had her as an instructor at some point in their undergraduate careers. Known for her kind and comforting demeanor, you can often find her sitting with a student, both in rocking chairs, talking about course planning, job opportunities, or challenges that the student may be facing.

Donor Steffanie Easter jokingly suggested that the scholarship be alternatively named “The Lisa Bullard Rocking Chair Scholarship.” Easter shared, “Ever since I stood in her office, saw her rocking chairs and literally felt the warmth and compassion that she provides students, I knew this was something I wanted to do. And fortunately, I have been blessed to have the opportunity.” The Lisa Bullard CBE Scholarship Fund will plug a gap in the medium-term for students who have unmet financial need and, unlike other scholarship funds, it can be awarded at any point during the academic year. According to Dr. Bullard, “The flexibility of this scholarship will give us the capacity to be more responsive and better support our students through the challenges they may face.”

Easter earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from NC State University in 1985 and an M.S. in Engineering Management from the Catholic University of America in 1995.  She currently serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Cobham Advanced Electronics Solutions (CAES). Prior to this, she served as the Vice President, Deputy Army Business Unit and Vice President, Strategy and Planning at SAIC. Before joining SAIC in 2020, she became the first civilian to serve as director, Navy Staff in 2018. She has also previously served as the assistant deputy CNO for manpower, personnel, training and education, where she was the civilian executive advisor for the planning and programming of all manpower, personnel, training, and education resources, budgeting for Navy personnel, and developing the information systems and tools to effectively manage the Navy’s total force. Throughout her career, Steffanie served in a variety of challenging and high impact positions.  She served as the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(ALT) and the Principal Deputy to the ASA(ALT) where she led and managed a $30B R&D and Procurement portfolio executing the Army’s acquisition function and the acquisition management system of over 800 programs. After more than 30 years federal service, Easter retired from the DOD in 2019. However, throughout her career, Steffanie has served as an advocate for STEM education and mentoring. She has been awarded the Presidential Rank Award, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, and the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award. She is also the recipient of the 2009 National Women of Color Award for Managerial Leadership, and the 2010 recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Professional Achievement. She was honored by the department as a CBE Distinguished Alumni in 2017, and she was recognized with a Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award by the College of Engineering in 2019.

Woman and student sitting in rocking chairs conversing in her office.
Dr. Bullard chatting with an undergrad in her famous rocking chairs.

The department is grateful for Steffanie Easter’s dedication to excellence in STEM education and to her engagement as an alumna. We look forward to growing the Lisa Bullard CBE Scholarship Fund in the future and experiencing the positive impact it will have on our undergraduate students.