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Haley Jenkins Analyzes Sustainable Wood Products

Haley poses as she works with wood blocks - Haley Jenkins Analyzes Sustainable Wood Products - College of Natural Resources at NC State University

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.

Haley Jenkins is a junior majoring in sustainable materials and technology at the NC State College of Natural Resources. She is a recipient of the Natural Resources Foundation Alumni Scholarship Award and the Wilson Family Scholarship. 

This summer, Jenkins served as an undergraduate research assistant with the wood science and engineering program at Oregon State University. This is a multidisciplinary university program focused on science, technology and engineering.

Check out the Q&A below to learn more about Jenkins’ experience with Oregon State and how the College of Natural Resources helped to prepare her for the internship.

What kinds of things did you do during your internship?

I primarily assisted in testing a species of wood from Japan called Hinoki. We used different test methods, abiding by the American standards, to test the mechanical properties of wood. In addition, my research served to compare the physical properties of Hinoki to other species of wood like Douglas fir. This ultimately helps to ensure this species of wood can potentially be used in residential and housing applications. 

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

I found out about this internship through an email from the College of Natural Resources. It piqued my interest because of its unique location — and the opportunity to participate in one of the top wood science engineering programs in the United States.

How did the College of Natural Resources prepare you for this internship?

My degree of sustainable materials and technology greatly prepared me for this internship. I felt that everything I had seen on paper was materialized into my internship. My previous knowledge helped me to make better connections and to see how real-world problems are addressed. In addition, this internship allowed me to develop more technical skills such as using a universal testing machine, learning standard test methods, utilizing power tools, learning about Instron, and in general, being exposed to the network of people that work in the sustainability sector.

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

My long-term goal is to further my studies into the global issue of climate change. I major in sustainable materials and technology because I want to be a part of the solution in sustainability efforts and the global warming crisis. I have a passion for science and it’s very important to me to see that the natural resources I encounter every day have successful futures.

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

The most important thing I’ve learned at NC State is the idea of a growth mindset. NC State has challenged me in every aspect of my life, and because of that, I can thank NC State for my new way of thinking. My imagination can only extend as far as my knowledge goes. My imagination is now more complex than ever.