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Season’s Greetings from the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials,

Nov. 11, 2012 – It is hard to believe that the semester is about over and students are studying for final exams. We have had a beautiful fall in Blacksburg and now it is starting to feel like winter will be coming just in time for the holidays. This is always a great time of the year to reflect on how fortunate we are to work and live in this great country. Every one of us has the potential to be successful and benefit from our individual efforts. And that is what our department and its faculty try to instill in our students. It has been said many times and many ways, the future is in the hands of our young people. We know with a good education in the wise management and use of our natural resources we all will have a great future. The department had some changes this semester. I have been asked by Dean Winistorfer to be interim department head after Dr. Barry Goodell stepped down early last fall. I have served the college for six years as the associate dean for engagement and prior to that was in the department of Wood Science and Forest Products (now SBIO) for 13 years as extension specialist in forest products business/marketing. It is a great pleasure to be able to work with my colleagues again on a regular basis. The breadth of our teaching and research efforts has always amazed me. Our faculty work ranges from traditional wood science issues of moisture and manufacturing to nanoparticles from cellulose for new plastics/polymers or chemicals that assist in drug delivery. The department is growing on many fronts. We have 70 students in the program and we are moving forward with two new degree platforms in the department. The Wood Enterprise Institute (WEI) is working on a number of different products this year with its 18 students. These students presented their business plan for their products under Dr. Earl Kline’s mentorship this past week. He had them present it as they would to a board of directors. We were fortunate enough to have our university Provost, Dr. Mark McNamee and Dean Paul Winistorfer attend. WEI is a great example of how the university is growing its experiential learning efforts. The Packaging Science Program continues to grow with over 20 students. We have had some major equipment/software gifts that will greatly benefit our students’ learning experience. We will have over 25 students looking for full time jobs by the end of spring semester as they graduate in May. This issue of our newsletter will bring you up to date on a number of exciting items that our faculty and students have been up to this fall. We have visiting scholars from China, we will be building and breaking cross-laminated timbers, and the packaging science program has a number of efforts to expand students learning experiences. If you have any questions about our program or contents of this newsletter, please feel free to contact me at or 540- 231-7679.

Bob Smith
Interim Head, Department of Sustainable Biomaterials



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