Virginia Tech® home

Capizzi named outstanding master's student

H.E. Burkhart Award announced for Spring 2024

Seth Capizzi

Seth Capizzi at the globe in front of the Brooks Center.
Seth Capizzi at the globe in front of the Brooks Center.

Seth Capizzi was named the recipient of the H. E. Burkhart Outstanding Master’s Student Award for Spring 2024.He is a master’s candidate studying under Associate Professor Laszlo Horvath. He also won the Career Start Award from the International Association of Packaging Research Institutes.

Getting to know Seth Capizzi

I am originally from Charlotte, N.C. I joined the SBIO department in May of 2022 to pursue my Master of Science degree in forest products, while also working and conducting research in the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design. I expect to graduate in May of 2024. I came to Virginia Tech after finishing my B.S. in forest biomaterials at NC State. I was excited to move to Blacksburg for the opportunity, but also because we are so close to the Appalachian Trail, Jefferson National Forest, Blue Ridge mountains, and Alleghany mountains. I love to backpack and camp and spend time on the water fly fishing.

Why Virginia Tech? Why Sustainable Biomaterials?

I came to Virginia Tech due to the connections my current advisor, Dr. Laszlo Horvath, has with the NC State Department of Forest Biomaterials, where he finished his Ph.D. While visiting, I was really interested in the research project that was presented to me. I was also interested in joining this program because working in the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design gave me the opportunity to learn an entirely new industry, which was packaging. I really enjoy how packaging combines the use of forest biomaterials with hands on applications. It provided a completely new perspective for me.

I became interested in Forest Products because of my family and childhood. I was always hiking or visiting forests and parks when I was younger and always had an interest in this subject. As I got older, I had some construction experience that combined what I loved about wood with hands on experience. I enjoy packaging and unit load design because it is all closely connected with sustainability and mechanics of biomaterials.

What knowledge and skills have you found to be the most useful? What advice would you give to future students

My time at Virginia Tech has certainly refined my time management skills and I have grown leaps and bounds as a researcher under Dr. Horvath’s guidance. The most useful skills I learned while in this program are time management and adaptability. Graduate school is full of surprises. The best part of being in SBIO is the strong community. From the faculty and staff, to the undergraduates, everyone knows one another and there is a real sense of community in the department.