Here at the College of Natural Resources, students are continuously finding new ways to blend their passions with the skills they learn in the classroom. From unique internships and combined courses of study to unmatched career opportunities, no two students choose to forge the same path during their time here.
To showcase the unique nature of our majors and career placements, we’ll be sharing stories of students in the college who are using their education to land specialized jobs in the industry.
For this feature we spoke with Reagan Howard and Patrick Leasure, two senior students in the Paper Science and Engineering program.
What are you studying?
Please tell us about some of the internships or work-study experiences you’ve had while in the college.
RH: The summer after my freshman year, I interned for the chemical supplier Eka. During this internship, I worked in a paper mill in Catawba, SC, as a sales management intern. This meant that I was responsible for conducting laboratory tests, assisting with the chemical program, and helping research the new and improved chemistry for the mill.
The next three summers, I interned with International Paper in Georgetown, SC. I worked in both the paper and pulp mills within the plant. I was able to obtain experience with management, troubleshooting, teamwork building and process controls.
During each of these internships, I worked in every area of the mill. I especially enjoyed working on the paper machines because of the fast-paced nature.
What do you plan to do with your degree after graduation?
RH: I plan on obtaining my professional engineering license in automation and working in the process controls industry.
I will be working for Avid Solutions in Peachtree City, GA, as an Automation Systems Integrator and will be working in all different types of industries including paper, chemical, power, food and beverage.
PL: I will be returning to International Paper in Augusta, GA, as a REACH process engineer.
How have your classes influenced your post-graduation career choice?
RH: I took a process controls class, which furthered my interest in the subject.
PL: The paper science classes have grown my passion for this industry and allowed me to develop the necessary skills to succeed. I enjoy the practicality of the class material and its direct relationship to the career paths available in paper.
How do you feel that the College of Natural Resources has prepared you to succeed after graduation?
RH: The College of Natural Resources allowed me to obtain work experience before graduating. These experiences allowed me to develop a better idea of what I wanted to do after school, taught me valuable lessons, and created opportunities for me to get hired.
The College of Natural Resources has also taught me how to learn quickly and efficiently. My professors have expected me to pick up material quickly in classes and apply those lessons immediately. These skills will allow me to adapt better to my work environment.
PL: The College of Natural Resources kicks off freshman year with professional development and focuses on expanding the comfort zones of students.
From day one, I had a edited resume to help land my first internship and was given the opportunity to develop close relationships with my classmates during the freshman retreat.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while at the College of Natural Resources?
RH: Work Ethic. I have had to overcome many obstacles in my classes and internships and I have learned to work as hard as possible to push through those issues.
PL: The most important thing I have learned while at the College of Natural Resources is that relationships with people, colleagues, friends and family are greater than any degree that one can earn. During my time here, the College of Natural Resources has become a family to me, and it’s one of the best families anyone could ask for.
To learn more about the Paper Science and Engineering program, please visit their site.