Departmental Mission and Values
Our mission, as education professionals with a depth and breadth of technical expertise, is to serve the larger mission of the school with focused efforts to expand and diversify the population of students engaged in engineering and computer science. Our mission statement is to:
Foster curiosity and innovation through hands-on exploration and the joy of discovery
Provide exposure to our disciplines through meaningful interactions with technology and technical professionals
Instill fundamental skills necessary for excellence in engineering and computer science
Create, teach, share, and disseminate innovative course content using pedagogical best practices
Engage in meaningful personal and professional development
Ryden Program for Responsible Leadership in technology
The Ryden AI Program works to ensure students understand how to merge humanity with advanced technology and know how to use technology to solve complex, macro problems affecting society by:
Providing broad access to K-12 education to all students regardless of their personal resources or the resources of their community.
Making advanced technology relevant to everyone through an interdisciplinary approach that consistently includes ethical considerations and the implications of AI for our society.
Using open-source tools and principles to create a community developing, using, and improving freely available resources for learning and teaching about technology.
Click here to learn more.
ECS welcomes YOUNES BAALLA as instructor of Engineering (Morganton)
We are happy to introduce our newest faculty member in the position of Instructor of Engineering on the Morganton Campus. Younes Baalla brings his academic background and industry experience in Aerospace Engineering as well as teaching experience from Wake Tech Community College and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. You will find him in the Leviton Lab teaching Electrical Engineering this spring and if you see high altitude weather balloons launching from campus next year, he will be the likely culprit!
ECS welcomes Mr. Ben Halligan as Academic Program Facilitator (Morganton)
Ben Halligan joined NCSSM on the Morganton campus in November 2022 as an Academic Programs Facilitator. He previously worked for the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, supporting distance learning technology on the campus of UNC Asheville. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s in business administration from Western Carolina University. He enjoys being active in the outdoors, playing soccer, mountain biking, rock climbing, and paddling. Ben is an NC native from Asheboro who lived in Asheville from 2001 until 2021. There, he met his wife while playing in an adult soccer league. They have two cats, a dog, and one son, born in July 2020.
ECS welcomes Mr. Dustin Hand as the new Fabrication Lab Manager (Morganton)
Dustin joins NCSSM after nearly a decade of teaching in nearby counties and at Catawba Valley Community College. Dustin has a Bachelor's degree in Career Technical Education with a minor in STEM and a Master's Degree in Higher Education Leadership. Dustin has recently taught advanced manufacturing, CAD, and electrical trades at the high school level and Fabrication level I, Symbols and Specifications, and various welding processes sat Catawba Valley Community College. Dustin grew up in Western North Carolina and enjoys spending time with his wife Fay, daughter Savannah, and their animals on their small beef farm. He enjoys golf, fishing, and road trips with his family and friends. Dustin can also be found working on projects such as carpentry, welding, and automotive repair.
ECS Welcomes Michael D'Argenio as A new computer science instructor (Durham)
Michael D’Argenio received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Computer Engineering from NC State University. While in school, he served as the program director at WKNC, designed a prototype for an autonomous transit system, completed a teaching certificate program, and developed open-source embedded system development tools. He worked for Schneider Electric developing electric vehicle charging stations and motor starters and as the University Outreach Program Coordinator.
In 2020, he joined Ravenscroft School where he taught computer science, engineering, robotics, design & making, and CAD in addition to managing a makerspace and coaching two FTC teams. He is one of the founders of Raleigh Community Kickstand, a non-profit bike co-op serving the unhoused population in Wake County. He is an avid musician, cyclist, tinkerer, programmer, artist, and life-long learner.
ECS Welcomes Brian Sea as a new computer science instructor (Morganton)
Hailing from Louisiana, Brian went to university in Missouri where he discovered a passion for teaching computer science while teaching at the ADVANCE program in Natchitoches. Brian has taught in all manner of settings including private and public boarding schools, a community college, and a four-year university. He's developed and implemented computer science programs at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Head-Royce School.
Aside from teaching, Brian has contributed in aspects of admissions, residential life, and even coached fencing. During summers, he can be found playing video games, literally running around, and trying to create educational software for teachers around the world.
ECS Welcomes Matt Hilton as a new computer science instructor (Morganton)
Matt previously taught computer science and engineering in the Caldwell and Pitt county school systems. Matt has also taught computer science for NC Virtual. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a master's of education from UNC Wilmington.
Matt enjoys learning how to combine computer science and engineering to solve real-world problems. He loves working with students as they explore robotics, drones, physical computing, and algorithms. One thing that he has always loved about computer science is the puzzle nature of solving tasks. He has an endless curiosity about technology and how it works. Outside of academics, Matt enjoys spending time hiking, kayaking, and playing board games with his wife and daughter.
The entrance to the offices off the Reynolds Breezeway is graced by "Okeanos", a work of art by Annie Chen '18 that was constructed in the Peter T. Haughton Innovation and Fabrication Laboratory. The organic form emphasizes technology's relationship to our world and invites participation from a broader audience of students who may not be drawn-in by traditional symbols of our disciplines. It is accompanied by a quote from Steve Jobs relating the importance of the context of humanity when developing technology.