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BRUF_2013_0031The lifeblood of NC State University is its students. We here at Forest Biomaterials at NC State University serve undergraduates who are focused on wood & paper science & engineering, the key competencies of our department. We recognize our students’ motivation and dedication in their fields of study, and we proudly invest a fair amount of resources to foster their development and creativity. The department is privileged to provide financial resources to students in the form of Natural Resources Foundation Scholarships that are used to offset and defray their tuition expenses. As most are aware, the Scholarship pool is augmented on a continuing basis by the generous donation of individual gifts, corporate gifts, student or faculty group giving, and the special “Committee of 100” initiative. All of the scholarships that we award recognize our students’ scholastic accomplishments.

Recently, an international journal, BioResources, founded by faculty members Lucian A. Lucia & Martin A. Hubbe, contributed to this Scholarship pool through direct annual installments of $15,000. Our undergraduate programs in Paper Science & Engineering (PSE) and Sustainable Materials Technology (SMT) benefit from these allotments because they are directly administered to our students by Undergraduate Coordinators.

The core mission of BioResources is to support the education of our departmental students. The Editors are proud to administer, for the first time, an award at the Departmental level to support the research efforts of aspiring undergraduate students. We are therefore pleased to introduce the “BioResources Undergraduate Research Fellowship,” which recognizes undergraduate students for their research aspirations and contributions. The Fellowship will allocate funds for undergraduate students to pursue a research project of their interest with any faculty of their choosing. The program will administer funds in perpetuity for at least two students in Paper Science & Engineering or Sustainable Materials Technology/semester, who will each hold the title of “BioResources Undergraduate Research Fellow.” The Fellowship carries a stipend of up to $750/semester to worthy students on the basis of their interest, potential for success, and/or technical merit.

We anticipate that students will be Fellows for at least two semesters, but more likely for up to four. We encourage sophomores entering their Fall semester to apply, but will also consider other worthy candidates. Dr. Lucia currently administers the logistics of the program, which entails having interested students submit their resumes and a brief targeted statement concerning their proposed research project with a time line and deliverables. The students will normally be in the lab for 8-10 hours/week, for which they will be paid; all other costs (lab supplies/materials, instrumentation, analytical costs, etc.) must be borne by their Advisor. We expect that the title of Fellow will be an incentive to students who have shown meritorious activity in the Departmental activities/coursework/journal and as an incentive to matriculate to the PSE & SMT programs. We intend to recognize the Fellows by permanently inscribing their names on a wooden plaque that will be on permanent display in the department. At the end of their tenure, we expect our Fellows to write a publication-worthy document that will highlight their research accomplishments as Fellows and acknowledge the support of BioResources. We have already selected two outstanding recipients for the inaugural class of Fall 2013: Ms. Emily Walsh and Mr. Luke Hansen.

BioResources is pleased and honored to provide the Fellowships. We anticipate that they will not only honor selected students, but also enhance their career opportunities, serve as a mechanism to excite future recruits, and support the research infrastructure of the Department of Forest Biomaterials.