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Hello from the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials:

Dec. 12, 2013 – It is hard to believe that we are in the middle of the semester and students will soon be packing for their spring break activities. With the winter we have had, I imagine many of them will be headed to warmer climates. This semester saw our undergraduate enrollment grow to 80 students and we continue to receive numerous applications for our graduate program. Our packaging science program continues to increase with more than 20 students. Many of them will be headed to the 28th annual Student Packaging Jamboree at Michigan State University in March. The Wood Enterprise students are manufacturing 3 different products this year in their “design to market” experiential learning experience. Companies are starting to set schedules for interviews for full-time employees and summer internships. We will have about 25 students graduating this spring, so please contact the department if you are looking for new employees.

Our faculty are working in numerous research areas. These include energy savings in mills, international marketing efforts, materials use in the pallet industry, secondary manufacturing competitiveness issues, and a variety of topics dealing with cellulosic chemistry. It always amazes me the breadth of our research in the department. But, they all have a common theme: Training the next generation of leaders and scientists to assist the forest products industry in the sustainable development and use of our forest resources.

In this issue of the newsletter you will see where two of our students traveled to the ICPF’s annual career in Corrugated Packaging Conference at Michigan State University, where faculty presented their research in different parts of Asia, one of our Ph.D. students was bestowed one of the highest Graduate Student Awards given by the American Chemical Society’s Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division and the Eastman Symposium on Sustainable Biomaterials Chemistry was held in November on campus. Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the newsletter or anything else with the department at 540-231-7679 or

Bob Smith
Interim Department Head



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