Forest Biomaterials Supports Consortium for Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Education (CABLE) Spring Conference

CABLE Conference Attendees at Novozymes in Franklinton, NC.

In April, Forest Biomaterials helped host CABLE student delegates and faculty mentors for their spring conference. CABLE is a nationwide organization of 20 universities led by The Ohio State University and supported by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA). It aims to provide students with a year of leadership development in the bioeconomy. Our own Sustainable Bioproducts and Bioenergy Program, led by Dr. Richard Venditti, and also USDA NIFA-funded, continues to collaborate with CABLE to promote the shared mission of increasing awareness and promoting the bioeconomy. During the conference, Venditti and Shana McAlexander, distance education program manager, welcomed the group to NC State, shared the ongoing work in the department, and encouraged students to consider forest biomaterials for their graduate work.

Kaitlin Brӓtt, a sustainable materials and technology student, and Dr. Stephen Kelley represented NC State as CABLE delegate and mentor this year. Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, Brӓtt worked with peers from Oklahoma State University, West Virginia University, and the University of Missouri to investigate the impact that higher-priced petroleum could have on the future of bioplastics, biochemicals and biomaterials. John Johnson, environmental science ‘18, and Dr. Sunkyu Park represented NC State as delegate and mentor during the 2017-2018 school year.

In Kaitlin’s Words

(Left to Right): Melinda Lloyd Leadership Training Program Lead, Kaitlin Brӓtt NC State SMT student, Dennis Hall CABLE Program Director.

“Although I don’t quite know what I want to do once I graduate, I do know that I want to bring more sustainability into wood science. Currently, there is some research on using bio-based and non-toxic resins. I would be interested in adding to this research (or other sustainability-related research) in graduate school. CABLE has already helped me add to my professional network. In addition, CABLE has given me a wealth of knowledge on the bio-economy. This has been of huge help, as my career aspirations aren’t fully set in stone. I have been incredibly lucky to be a part of this program, and I look forward to the rest of my time with CABLE.”

During the conference, several Forest Biomaterials undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff met with CABLE members and industry professionals representing Novozymes, Syngenta, BASF, Stephen Gould, and BioFuels Digest. CABLE student groups presented their final reports on issues currently affecting the bioeconomy and took tours of Novozymes enzyme facility in Franklinton, NC, and the Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) on NC State Centennial Campus.