Submitted: Kathi Rowzie June 2, 2020
Educating the Next Generation of Paper Industry Engineers
Helping young people understand the inherent sustainability of pulp, paper and paper-based packaging is an essential factor in recruiting and training the next generation of paper industry engineers—and the NC State Pulp and Paper Advisory Board has been doing just that since 1954.
The Board partners with alumni, corporations, friends and foundations to generate support for the NC State Paper Science and Engineering Program in the Department of Forest Biomaterials, College of Natural Resources. NC State’s program is the largest in North America, graduating paper science engineers with a bachelor’s degree. With approximately 200 students studying pulp and paper, around 60% of them also receive a dual degree in chemical engineering.
“Two Sides is an invaluable resource for our program and for the advisory board,” says Pulp and Paper Advisory Board Executive Director and Director of Recruiting Jennifer Piercy. “Today’s prospective students are more interested than ever before in sustainability and in careers that contribute to a sustainable future. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of misinformation about the sustainability of pulp and paper that, if left unchecked, has the potential to steer young men and women away from rewarding careers in our industry. Two Sides helps us correct these misperceptions and helps us achieve our mission and goals every day,” she says.
The NC State Pulp and Paper Advisory Board is part of the NC State Natural Resources Foundation, Inc., which supports the success of the College of Natural Resources with funding not typically included in state appropriations. The Advisory Board has 25 corporate members and 40 directors who serve in a volunteer capacity on six committees that support the goals of the Paper Science and Engineering Program. Their efforts include individual giving and alumni relations, corporate development, and liaising with students and other university stakeholders. Board committees also assist with planning meetings and professional development events for students, and act as advisors to the undergraduate program to ensure coursework is relevant to today’s paper industry.
Among the Board’s most critical work is evaluating and recommending scholarship recipients to the university and, of course, recruiting. The Scholarship and Recruiting Committee evaluates up to 150 scholarship applications each year and regularly assists with recruiting events, including special events in paper mill towns.
“Every single prospective student we come in contact with is given print information from Two Sides and is directed to the Two Sides website for more information,” Piercy explains. “Two Sides provides external validation of the value of paper products and the industry by stating facts and busting myths.”
Piercy likes to refer to the work of the Pulp and Paper Advisory Board committees as the bookends of the paper science undergraduate program. “We bring in great students, develop them and prepare them for the industry. In turn, the industry—corporations, alumni and others—help to promote a successful future for our industry,” she says. “Two Sides enables us to recruit the best possible engineering students into our program and industry, and we are proud to be a longstanding member.”
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