Jennifer Parr Piercy graduated from NC State in 1994 with degrees in Pulp & Paper Technology and Chemical Engineering. She currently works at NC State as the Executive Director of the Pulp and Paper Foundation. We reached out to Jennifer to find about her current career, and advice for current students.
Experiences at NC State
- Internship/Co-Op: Owensboro, KY; Willamette, WillCopy (converting operation), Summer 1989; Willamette Bleached Pulp and Fine Paper Mill (now Domtar) in Hawesville, KY summer 1990 and 91; Procter and Gamble Co, Albany GA summer 1992 and 93.
- Favorite Class: Dr. Heitmann’s papermaking class; I actually took, and enjoyed a History of North Carolina class, relatively speaking, but not as much as my paper classes!
- Best memory at NC State: There are so many, but most center around the faculty, staff and classmates. I was also part of Dr. Richard Felder’s longitudinal study, so every Chem E class I had, but Thermo 1 and 2 were taught by Dr. Felder. Our group contained a lot of paper students and we had fun. Gratzl rapidly shuffling into class every day, with his hair sticking up on top of his head like a “mad scientist” and teaching with gusto and passion even though I rarely comprehended what he was saying!
- Worst Memory at NC State: The workload! But life throws this workload at you anyway! This was one of the worst memories, but could now qualify as one of the best, since time has separated us from it. . . . my papermaking team was on stock prep the week we did red paper, the first run of the year. Roger Norton, Paul Palmer, Larry Offill and I had been group members, by virtual of the alphabet, for years. They tended to have tons of fun wherever they went and this lab was no different. Suffice it to say, somehow I was the ONLY one that ended up with red hands and arms for three weeks after “someone” (who shall remain nameless) dumped a 1000 ml graduated cylinder full of concentrated red dye all over me, my jeans, arms and shoes and into the drain! Of course, this was leading into Valentine’s weekend and I had plans with friends and a blind date, which promptly got cancelled!”
- Clubs and Hobbies: “TAPPI/PIMA (President Senior Year), Flag Football championships in New Orleans. Football games, Xi Sigma Phi, Chi Omega Sorority (Pledge Educator and VP) Intramurals – all kinds, but especially flag football and track meets (NOT basketball), Order of Omega Honor Society
- Favorite part of PSE Program: Hands down, the people! I loved all my professors and classmates. We have a great community that still, to this day, cares about everyone in the department.
- Most important thing PSE taught me: How to work hard, manage time and problem solve!
Current Career Information
- Company/Job Position: NC State Pulp and Paper Foundation, Executive Director Since June 2012, Proctor and Gamble process engineer, machine manager and department manager; all in Tissue Papermaking, Self-employed in the health and wellness industry focusing on corporate consulting and coaching of youth athletes.
- Favorite part of current job: PEOPLE! Like above, not much has changed. I work with great faculty, staff students and alumni – it does not get much better than this!
- Biggest accomplishment in career: I would not say there is one, but I am so blessed that my current job came open at the right time and I was lucky enough to get it. So I would say that has made me the most satisfied. We are doing great things here, but this is a total team effort by our board, alumni and department.
Advice for Current Students
- This is so cliché, but take in as much as you can. Most will say “college is the best time of your life”. However, I think it is “one of”, because each stage of life has it’s “bests”. Learn, make friends and contacts, have fun and work hard. Always seek to make yourself just a little unique by pursuing what interests you in your professional and personal life.
- Husband, Jerry, NC State Chemical Engineer Class of 1991, our daughter Gabrielle, born 2000 (now 17), and our son Ryan, born 2002 (now 15)
- Hobbies and Interests: our dogs, Athena and Apollo, with teen-age kids, you don’t get much time to yourself; so I tend to watch a lot of baseball, attend a lot of choir concerts and “musician gigs” with the kids. I love to boat, be outdoors, read and do hot yoga!