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Jesse Swanner graduated from NC State in 2015 with degrees in Pulp and Paper Science Engineering and Chemical Engineering.  We recently reached out to Jesse to find out about her experiences here at NC State, her career and advice for current students.  Thanks for your time and your willingness to share.

Internship & Co-Op Experiences While at NC State:

  • Domtar – Plymouth, NC Summer 2014
  • International Paper – Campti, LA Summer 2015

Favorite Class:

  • PSE 371, PSE472 and PSE 460

Best Memory at State:

  • Sledding in the Snowpocalypse 2015 on Lonnie Poole golf course with my roommates and friends.

Worst Memory at State:

  • Failing a PSE 415 midterm MISERABLY (Dr. Phillips’ class).


  • NCSU TAPPI Student Chapter Officer, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity – Initiate Advisor and NCSU Intramural Co-ed Soccer (5 years)

Favorite part of PSE Program:

  • The family-like atmosphere. I knew my friends and their families, my professors and their spouses and children. We all spent time together outside of class and it made my time at NCSU so much more fulfilling. Having professors who KNOW you and don’t just scan across your face in the crowd is an amazing thing. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them

Most important thing PSE taught me:

  • NETWORKING. NETWORKING. NETWORKING.  The paper industry is a SMALL PLACE. Building good connections wherever you go and with whomever you meet is so important. You never know when you might run into someone in the future and that person could very well be your boss one day (or vice versa).

Current career information:

  • Georgia Pacific, LLC. Tissue Paper Machine Process Engineer

Years at current job:

  • I started in January 2016.

What is your favorite part of your current job: 

  • It’s very hands on. I spend a lot of time out on the operating floor, working in the manufacturing environment and having an impact on the toilet paper and paper towels people use all over the country, and all over the world. Its a very fulfilling job

Biggest accomplishment in your career: 

  • Being a female in industry is, in and of itself, a huge accomplishment. Even though we have come a long way, we are still a minority in the manufacturing industry. It’s good to be out in the world and proving that “we can do it”, just like the boys can.

Advise for Current Students:

  • Get as much experience as possible and don’t be timid, shy, or afraid! Failure happens to everyone, but without mistakes, you can never learn. Be safe wherever you go, but don’t hesitate to ask questions and jump in on conversations. Introduce yourself to everyone and be personable. After all, other people are just like you, don’t be afraid that they’ll bite

Any other comments or thoughts:

  • Enjoy your time at NC State! That is so cliche, I know everyone says it, but it is the absolute truth. Time goes by much faster than you think. Keep in touch with your friends and make the extra effort to see/meet up with people after you graduate. Don’t let relationships die because of distance. College friends will be friends for life. They were there to see you grow through some of the most important years in your life, don’t ever forget the connection that can build.

Personal Information:

  • Hometown: Waynesville, NC
  • Family: My mother (veterinarian), sister (nurse practitioner), brother-in-law (pastor), aunt (retired NC teacher), and grandmother (retired pediatrician) all live in Waynesville, NC in the Smoky Mountains. My father lives in Raleigh and works in the wood products industry as the Executive Director of the Carolina Loggers Association.
  • Hobbies/interests: I play soccer in St. Augustine on a co-ed, competitive adult soccer team. I spend plenty of time at the beach and travel often for work, but also visit friends, family, and for vacation. I read often, am a friend of the pod, and spend a lot of time doing crafty, DIY things.

by guest blogger Rukmini Arcot