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Student Spotlight – Varun Atree

Varun Atree


  • Raleigh, NC

High School Graduation Year:

  • 2019


  • BS, Paper Science and Engineering, 2024
  • BS, Chemical Engineering, 2024
  • Minor in Business Administration

Work Experience:

  • International Paper, Georgetown, SC, Summer 2021
  • International Paper, Loveland, OH, Fall 2021
  • RTI International, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Summer 2022
  • Eastman Chemical Company, Kingsport, TN, Summer 2023

Why did you choose Paper Science and Engineering (PSE)?

  • As a freshman entering NC State, all I knew was that I wanted to study something related to sustainability. Despite having zero PSE knowledge as an incoming freshman, one thing was clear about the PSE program: their strong commitment to sustainability. Ultimately, this was the main reason why I chose PSE!

What is your favorite thing about Paper Science and Engineering?

  • The practical mindset. While college is an important time to build on foundational concepts in the classroom, it’s also a time to gain practical experience outside the classroom. NC State places a strong emphasis on encouraging and aiding students with gaining real-world experiences, whether it be summer internships or semester-long co-ops. With the help of the PSE department and NC State’s Career Fair, I have been fortunate enough to take advantage of internship and co-op opportunities, and these experiences have been extremely valuable for my professional and personal development.

What advice would you offer to an incoming freshman?

  • Stay curious. With new classes, relationships, and lifestyles starting at once, it can be easy to get mentally bogged down during your freshman year. One thing that I always reminded myself of was to stay curious. I entered NC State with Civil Engineering intent, and ultimately learned about the PSE/CHE dual program during my first semester at a career development seminar. Going out of your comfort zone and keeping an open mind about different opportunities will ultimately give you the best chance at finding what’s best for you!

What would people be surprised to know about you?

  • I played ice hockey growing up… and I was a goalie. Loved every second of it!

What is your favorite extrapcirriculare activity?

  • I really enjoy playing golf in my free time. The lifelong challenge of trying to get your score as low as possible is one aspect of the game that keeps me coming back, but the real fun is being outdoors with friends and having a good time!