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Meet Bryanna Lawry…the upcoming TAPPI President

Many things changed during the transition from high school to college, especially for me, as I was moving out of state. At the end of my freshman year, I knew I needed to get more involved.  That year had been too solitary, mostly due to COVID restrictions.  I took the jump and became TAPPI’s publicity chair, sending out the weekly emails and running the social media.  I was able to meet upperclassmen and made some new, true friends for the first time since beginning college. Next thing I knew, I was the secretary for the following year and the rest of the people on that executive board became my lifelong friends.  Now, here I am  President for the 23-24 school year.  I am honored, excited and hopeful.  

Meet Bryanna

Let’s start with a little about me – I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA in a suburb about 15 minutes outside of the city with my parents and younger brother, Cayden.  I played volleyball year round and had a graduating class of 300.  My school district was part of a tight knit community.  I enjoyed knowing the people around me, everywhere I went.  Connecting with others always came pretty naturally to me because I grew up in a very large family.  My childhood consisted of running into family members at the local Target, so I love picking up conversations however and whenever I could.  I started my collegiate career at NC State in August 2020, double majoring in ChE and PSE.  I will be graduating this coming May 2024.

TAPPI became a family away from home

I look back now, wondering what gave me the drive to be a part of the TAPPI board my sophomore year and realize the answer is simple: I wanted the means to connect with people, and doing so on campus in a new state was really hard. TAPPI was the best way for me to do this. 

At the time that I made the decision to be on the board two years ago, I was not considering the idea of being president.  I was considering how I could make an impact at a time in my life that was so full of changes.  How could I make an impact while I felt like I barely had my feet on the ground?  To now be here, 2 years later realizing that this community trusts me with the role of president means so much.  It means that taking that step as a sophomore was so worth it, because I got exactly what I needed – a family away from home.  

TAPPI is so important for everyone who is a part of PSE, but especially those who struggle to adapt to college life.  TAPPI is similar to blood related family members (especially since Dr. Byrd gets all freshmen to join!), you have no choice but to have these people in your life.  And many of us want to be part of the underclassmen’s lives, because we were in their shoes not all that long ago. TAPPI and Brittany Hayes are also so important for our development as engineers.  Prenights allow students to learn how to be professional and gives us all the opportunity to connect with business representatives. I am beyond grateful to be a part of continuing these core reasons that TAPPI is key. TAPPI is unlike any other club on campus for these reasons and more. 

TAPPI fosters the family that PSE creates

The years that I have been a part of TAPPI have been about revival.  I give so much credit to the presidents who came before me and started to revive TAPPI to its pre-COVID glory.  COVID tried to take away the thing the TAPPI was best at – creating community.  Interacting with one another, with industry, with faculty and alumni.  TAPPI fosters the family that PSE creates.  COVID may have scraped TAPPI up a little bit, but today we are back and better than ever. Today, we stand together with so much joy for the year we are about to begin. 

It’s not a job, it’s my pleasure

If I have learned anything since I began college, it is that life can really scrape us up, but living life is all about how you deal with those scrapes.  To the members of TAPPI and to the foundation who does so much for us, know that we are going to have the time of our lives this year. To the two sophomores on the board this year, good for you for taking the step.  To everyone on the board, thank you for being a part of this journey that we are about to embark on.  This is your TAPPI president, Bryanna Lawry, reporting for her last year on campus and more importantly, reporting to complete her presidential duties.  See you soon, Wolfpack Papermakers!