Skip to main content

Undergraduate Researcher Emily Ramanata Examines the Potential of Hempcrete

This article is part of the Not Your Average Summer series highlighting the internship experiences of both undergraduate and graduate students from the NC State College of Natural Resources.

Emily Ramanata is a rising junior majoring in sustainable materials and technology in the Department of Forest Biomaterials. This summer, Ramanata is participating in the Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates Program at Oregon State University.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) program offers students the unique opportunity to work on individual research projects, and participate in group field trips, seminars and science colloquia over a nine week period under the guidance of university scientists, who serve as mentors.

Check out the Q&A below to learn more about Ramanata’s experience at Oregon State University and the role of the College of Natural Resources in preparing her for the internship.

What kinds of things have you been doing during your internship?

I am one of many students in the REEU program from all over the country. While we all have our own individual projects, we spend a lot of time exploring Oregon and occasionally helping each other with our projects. The project I am working on is testing different chemical components for an adhesive binder to be used in hempcrete. I spend most of my time in a lab testing different samples to see if they meet the criteria for commercial use.

How did you find out about this internship and why were you interested in it? 

I first heard about this internship through an email with a list of internship opportunities from the Forest Biomaterials Department Career Advisor. I have always been interested in research, and this particular internship seemed like a good fit for me because it was research through a university. This is my first internship, and I felt that a university environment would be a good starting point to ease myself into my field of study. 

In what ways did the College of Natural Resources prepare you?

My original research project through the Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates Program was to test a hemp-based adhesive binder for the commercial use of cross-laminated timber (CLT). Having an understanding of the various measurements for wood products, such as moisture content and relative humidity, from my classes allowed me to comprehend the different CLT tests. Even though this is no longer my research project, I learned a great deal about CLT, its structural properties, and the various factors for testing its commercial use. 

What are your long-term goals, career plans and how does this internship factor in?

My career objective is to create longer-lasting products from materials with environmental impacts and consumers in mind. This internship gave me a broader perspective on the environmental impacts of materials. Sustainability is a goal that can be constantly improved upon in every field. 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while at NC State? 

The most important thing I’ve learned while at NC State is the power of organization. Whether it is physically organizing papers and notes or organizing your time between studying and socializing, organization is the key to a more stress-free and successful lifestyle. 

This story was written by Rebecca McNeill for the College of Natural Resources.