Mary Kathryn Wallace graduates December 2019 at the top of her class with an undergraduate degree in both Paper Science and Engineering and Chemical Engineering as well as a minor in Outdoor Leadership. Throughout her time at NC State, she’s had various work experiences with top companies in the Pulp and Paper Industry. Upon graduation Mary will join ABB as a Systems Engineer in Columbus, Ohio.
What was your favorite class and/or memory at NC State?
My favorite memory is our PIE trip to Spain. I had never been abroad before, and it was amazing getting to have that experience with some of my best friends.
How did you choose your major and what attracted you to the program at NC State?
In high school I knew I wanted to major in some type of engineering, but I wasn’t sure exactly which one to pick. I came to an open house to check out the Paper Science program and was really impressed by what the current students had to say. I was attracted to the close-knit community and hands-on learning PSE has to offer.
What did you enjoy most about being a Paper Science and Engineering student?
The best part of PSE is the people who make up the program. Having small classes allows you to get to know your classmates and professors. You’re always able to see a familiar face in the TAPPI lounge and find someone who’s working on something from at least one of the classes you’re in.
Talk about any hands-on experiences like internships, study abroad, co-ops or undergraduate research you participated in?
I did an internship with WestRock in Westpoint, VA, a co-op with Georgia-Pacific in Big Island, VA, and two internships with International Paper in Eastover, SC. I also did a summer of undergraduate research with Dr. Venditti.
What was the most important thing PSE taught you?
Being a good engineer isn’t just about being able to do well in school. In order to do your job well, you have to be able to share your knowledge by figuring out how to connect with people, being able to communicate well, and knowing when to ask for help.
What is your biggest accomplishment in your academic career?
My biggest accomplishment is being able to complete a minor in Outdoor Leadership on top of the dual degree.
What is your advice for current PSE students?
Get to know your professors! Every PSE professor cares about you and your future. They’re all great people to go to for advice about internships and career decisions or just to talk to about anything.