Undergraduate Research

By guest blogger Doug Moore

Doug Moore


Research as a FRESHMAN

My name is Doug Moore. I’m a freshman in paper science and I do undergraduate research. Doing research as a freshman is certainly a unique occurrence but it doesn’t need to be. There is plenty of work to be done for anyone who has the time and energy to get involved.

Navigating the Research World

The first step is to find a project to work on. I had a very easy time finding my project. I just expressed my interest to my professor, Dr. Byrd, about finding a project and he issued a call to the faculty. Within days I was offered involvement in the Argyropoulos group. In that position, I conducted experiments involving the fractionation of lignin to find a purpose for it that doesn’t involve it being burned for energy. It was some complicated stuff but the more I worked, the better I understood what was going on. That experience has helped me loads in my first paper science class, which I am taking this semester. Doing research also allows you to go deeper in a specific subject and see the real world connections of what you’re doing in the lab to what could potentially happen at a mill. The work can be tedious and frustrating at times, but as a whole I found it rewarding and humbling to be doing something that could potentially make such a huge difference in the industry and the world.

Personal Benefits of Research

When I started doing research last semester I did not have an NC State GPA, any credit in calculus, physics, chemistry, and any idea about the coursework or the research in the forest biomaterials department. When I finished I had learned a lot and had some really exciting new opportunities open up for me in the department and the industry. I have already accepted an internship offer for the summer of 2015. I would encourage anyone and everyone to get involved if they can manage the commitment. The faculty is great and is doing some amazing things that will affect us as students, engineers, and citizens for years to come.