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By Manon Macallister

WHAT Are You Studying?

manon macallisterAt this point in the Fall semester, gray days are followed by early nights, and the overall mood of the campus can be depressing. Thanksgiving break and Christmas vacation are looming over excited and library-fevered students, and the promise of some time at home with family is enough to make all motivation wane. My excitement to see my family this year is just as evident as it was my freshman year, but now I know that trips home come with lots of hugs and lots of questions: “How is your roommate? How are your grades? What is it you are studying again?” Last year, that last question was interesting to answer, especially since the average person has no idea what paper science is, so my response was met with furrowed eyebrows, pursed lips, and overall confusion. “What are you studying” was quickly followed by a startled “Well, why are you doing that?” At that point I could not explain why I changed my major, but now that I have an entire semester under my belt, I know exactly why I did so: I am passionate about paper.

Growing a Class by Almost 20%

Eight students, including myself, joined the paper science program last year as on-campus transfers, which means that we applied to NC State with the intention of studying something else. Thankfully, my intentions and those of my peers changed. We grew our class by almost 20% heading into our sophomore year. My initial interest in the program was sparked by an information session delivered by Dr. Byrd, and was solidified with the Introduction to the Pulp and Paper Industry (PSE 201) course that he taught. Dr. Byrd’s charisma as a presenter and his passion for students and the program got me excited about the major, so I completely credit my decision to him.

Similar Experiences

  • Michael, a junior, thought that computer science was his calling until it dawned on him that he is actually interested in alternative resources. He switched into the Paper Science and Engineering program to research plant-based materials and fuels and to hopefully further his experience in the field.
  • Jeremy, a sophomore, decided to give PSE 201 a try after hearing about it from other freshman engineers, and he loved it so much that he decided to rethink his future. He is not entirely sure where the degree might take him, but he is looking forward to exploring the opportunities the department provides.
  • Matthew, a sophomore, was originally a chemical engineering and Spanish double major, but he dropped his Spanish major to a minor and added Paper Science after a single information session. He is interested in the opportunities that the department offers abroad, and plans on taking advantage of an exchange program in Finland.
  • Kim, a senior, also originally picked chemical engineering when she accepted her NC State offer.  After her encounter with other students studying PSE her freshman year she toured the department and took PSE 201.  The department felt like home and she knew that the program was going to help her excel in her academic career at NC State.

So, all in all, each transfer student, myself included, can thank the wonderful recruitment and outreach efforts that the College of Natural Resources puts forth to educate students on the Paper Science program. This small but overwhelmingly dedicated department is committed to each and every student it serves, and I am proud to call this college my home.

See for Yourself

Sure, we boast high starting salaries, 100% job placement and a degree that can literally take you anywhere in your career (and the world); however, my fellow students, the alumni and industry professional and the college faculty and staff are what make us unique, fun and different! If you or someone you know might be interested in the programs we offer, come give it a look. You never know what might fascinate you!  You can reach us at 919-515-7709 or  Check out our Facebook page and our website.