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Student Spotlight: Jacob Johnson

Jacob Johnson is a junior in Sustainable Materials & Technology double minoring in polymer/color chemistry and environmental science. We caught up with Jacob to share his experiences and advice for incoming Sustainable Materials & Technology students.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My hometown is Kansas City, MO, although I lived in Greensboro, NC before attending NC State. I have passions for sustainable textiles/footwear, green chemistry, and biotechnology!

Why did you choose to major in Sustainable Materials & Technology (SMT)?

I chose my major, after starting my college career in exploratory studies, based on wanting to pursue a STEM degree that allows students to use their hands. It was important to me to commit myself to a program that would set me up for success. I was assured by SMT’s 100% job placement rate and successful team of career advisors. I also wanted a program that would set me up to help make a difference in the world, which I feel SMT does well.

What do you enjoy most about being a student in SMT?

I love the opportunity to work with my hands, as well as the opportunity to branch out and try many different career options. For instance, SMT gave me the chance to take an introductory woodworking course through the NC State Craft Center, which was an interesting and enjoyable experience. I love that it is easy to translate what is learned in the classroom into the real world, and that I can do whatever I choose with my career. Also, the faculty is incredible. They are supportive, engaging, and make serious effort to make sure their students succeed.

Tell us about your involvement on campus.

On campus, I am an involved member and leader with Cru. I also am on the NC State club fencing team, and hold a position at Hill library and with CASL (Chemical Analysis and Spectroscopy Laboratory).

What has been your favorite class at NC State?

CH 220/222 (Intro to Organic Chemistry) with Dr. Gallardo-Williams and SMT 301 (Chemistry of Sustainable Materials) with Dr. Dave Tilotta. While these classes have been challenging, I find organic chemistry very rewarding, and SMT 301 has been a wonderful link between chemistry and the tangible world. I also really enjoyed SMT 200 (Intro to Sustainable Materials) with Dr. Perry Peralta.

How has COVID-19 affected your approach to classes and finding professional opportunities? What have you done to overcome it?

COVID-19 has, much the same as others, been a time of rethinking and reshaping my education. I have found myself enjoying online classes, and embracing the scheduling that comes with it. Through COVID-19, however, I was plugged into my SMT internship, a position manufacturing COVID-19 test kits with Thermo Fisher Scientific. So I am trying to make the best of the circumstances!

How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time doing a lot of reading, especially studying philosophy. I enjoy cooking, and pretend I am Gordon Ramsey about half of the time. I love basketball (NBA and pickup) and disc golf. I also enjoy nature, and love to hike trails in the mountains!

Anything else you’d like to share? Final comments.

I absolutely love the SMT program, and am very happy that it is where I landed at NC State! Please feel free to reach out with any questions about my experience in the SMT program, or just to talk about life!