By Kable Young
Heather L. Smyth graduated from NC State in 2004 with a degree in Chemical and Paper Science Engineering. She currently works for Georgia Pacific-Big Island, VA. We recently reached out to her to find out about her experiences here at NC State, her current career, and advise for current students. Thanks for sharing Heather.
Experience at NC State
- Internship/co-op experience: Champion/International Paper, Roanoke Rapids, NC, Summer 2000, International Paper, Roanoke Rapids, NC 2002
- Favorite Class: WPS 360. Loved Dr. Jameel and learning all the calculations behind the process
- Best memory at State: Summer Abroad in Hungary 2003
- Worst memory at State: Differential Equations. I have no depth perception so 3-D calculations were really tough for me to “see.”
- Clubs/Hobbies: Student TAPPI, Student AIChE. Being mom and wife took up a lot of my time. Enjoyed scrapbooking and taking pictures
- Favorite part of PSE program: Small, tight-knit community of people. It is a family, always supporting you, helping you reach your full potential
- Most important thing PSE taught me: Problem-solving. It is a process, one that doesn’t always start with the solution on the first try. It is ok to find ways that don’t work because they bring you closer to the ways that do
Current Career Experience
- Company/job position: Senior Process Engineer, Georgia Pacific-Big Island, VA.
- Years at current job: 4 years
- Favorite part of job: Optimizing and troubleshooting the process. I love figuring out how to fix or correct a problem and also how to make the process more efficient, improving productivity
- Biggest accomplishment in career: Supporting start-up and optimization of $50MM Pulp Mill upgrade project
Advise for Current Students
- Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and experience life. Enjoy college, see new places, participate, and ask lots of questions. Work in the industry to find your fit, finding the job and company that fits YOU!
- Hometown: Roanoke Rapids, NC
- Family: My husband Blair and I have been married 16 years and we have a 15 year old daughter, Melanie
- Hobbies/Interests: Knitting, sewing, reading, watching movies