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Forestry Club PSE Students Blaze a Trail

Two PSE students attended the College of Natural Resources’ annual Trailblazers donor appreciate event in April. Gianna Wessler, Senior, and Laiken Edwards, rising Sophomore, not only excel as PSE students, but have found great enjoyment in participating in the Forestry Club and timber sports.

GIANNA WESSLER: I am now a 5th year Paper Science Engineering major with a Forest Management minor. I have always been drawn to sustainability and the outdoors, as well as manufacturing and creating things, so I decided to study paper engineering after gradation from high school. Going on my co-op after my freshman year of college solidified that decision. Because I love to be outside, I really wanted to build onto my engineering degree by learning about the other parts to the forest products industry, in addition to the paper side of the industry. I was always interested in adding in more to my degree on the fiber side of the paper mill, and learning about how to grow and manage lumber has helped me build that knowledge. 

During the forestry summer camp after my sophomore year, I was able to be immersed in the Forest Management part of CNR and build close friendships with those in the Forest Management major, which will serve me well in the industry after graduation, since the paper business is part of a larger industry with the same sustainable initiative. From summer camp, I learned about the Forestry Club, a club within CNR that participates in timber sports competitions against other colleges and universities. Most of my friends in the forestry program were in it, so I joined the club the fall after I came back from my co-op and the rest is history! I have greatly enjoyed the club so far, and it has allowed me to not only be able to compete and have fun in the timber sports world, it has allowed me to further meet and network with students from other colleges in majors like mine and with companies in the industry. Within the club, I have been able to build close friendships and create tight bonds with people that I know will last a lifetime. Our club is a mix of CNR majors, and it is really cool to see all the majors come together for the love of timber sports. Next year will be even more fun, be sure to come to Schenck Forest to watch the club compete in our home competition, Rolleo, in the Fall and cheer on the club! It is a great event to watch NCSU compete against other colleges from North Carolina and other Eastern US schools. Forestry club has a lot of NCSU and CNR pride!

The Trailblazers event is always a fun event to go to. I love meeting the donors who are able to help make my college experience so special within CNR. Being able to tell everyone what I have experienced because of the amazing opportunities from CNR as well as show off the club table and talk about everything that Forestry Club has accomplished this year is something that gives me immense pride.


I am entering my Sophomore year in the Paper Science Engineering program, planning to obtain the dual degree in Chemical Engineering as well as a minor in Renewable Energy Assessment. Growing up in a rural area heavily fueled by the paper industry, I have always known how important the industry really is. Because of this, the Paper Science Engineering program caught my attention when choosing a major. The more I dive into the program, the more love I develop for the industry; and I am so thankful to have landed where I am today. 

At the beginning of my Freshman year, I was connected with Gianna to discuss an internship opportunity. I’m excited to say Gianna and I will both be interning at International Paper’s Riegelwood mill. As this is my first internship, I am so excited to get a real look into the Paper Industry and gain work experience. During our conversation Gianna invited me to join the Forestry Club, and the rest is history! Between practices and competions, learning about and competing in timbersports has been an absolute blast. I have absolutely loved being able to try my hand at different events and compete against other Forestry teams in the east. While the sport itself is amazing to be involved in, the members are what really make our team as great as it is. It was definitely a bit intimidating walking into a new club as a freshman, but I learned very quickly that everyone was more than willing to help me learn and cheer eachother on. The other members of the Forestry Club have become some of my closest friends, and I could not be more thankful to have been presented with the oprotunity to surround myself with such amazing people. 

Attending the Trailblazers event in April was an amazing experience. It was great being able to speak with other CNR students as well as industry professionals and donors. Being able to exchange experiences with industry professionals and the donors that make my education possible was a great honor, and really makes me excited to see what my future holds.