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With N.C. State foundation's annual meeting and banquet nearing, we interview junior Claire Hammontree

Claire Hammontree

RALEIGH, N.C. -- In 1954, the paper industry established a pulp and paper program at N.C. State in part to help man a pulp and paper industry boom in the southern United States.

Students in this program were able to receive a B.S. degree in Pulp and Paper Technology (PPT). The students could also stay for one additional semester and receive a second B.S. in Chemical Engineering, a program feature then not available at any of the other schools offering paper science degrees.

With strong regional support, an outstanding scholarship endowment, and this unique dual degree program, the NC State program began to establish itself as a dominant program in the United States. In 2004, this program became jointly administered by the College of Natural Resources and the College of Engineering, and its name was changed to Paper Science and Engineering. In 2005, the program became ABET accredited.

The foundation's annual Spring Advisory Board Meeting and Pulp and Paper Celebration Banquet is coming up on Thursday, March 26. Deadline for registration is March 19.

Paperitalo Publications was able to catch up with Claire Hammontree, a junior in the program and we asked her a few questions about her experiences at N.C. State.

Paperitalo: What attracted you to the program?

Hammontree: Initially, I was drawn in by the fact that the recent graduating class at the time had 100% job placement, but what really sold me was when I did a tour of the Pulp and Paper Labs. On the tour, (Foundation Director) Mrs. (Jennifer) Piercy told me that in your sophomore year you take a course where you go through the entire pulping process, starting with debarking and ending with bleached pulp, and I'm not too sure why but that really hooked me and I left the tour knowing that this is what I want to do.

Paperitalo: Were you looking into pulp and paper when you were in high school?

Hammontree: Yes, I stumbled upon it at the beginning of my senior year.

Paperitalo: Tell us about the internships and/or co-ops you have had.

Hammontree: I did a super co-op with WestRock in Roanoke Rapids, NC and an internship with Jacobs Engineering in Greenville, SC.

Paperitalo: What does this program mean to you?

Hammontree: This program has basically become my second family, someone is always around to give you a helping hand and the professors and staff genuinely care for the students. For example, there was recently a tornado warning and Dr. (Med) Byrd immediately sent out an email to all the students to make sure we were aware and to know where our nearest tornado shelter was.

Paperitalo: Where do you see yourself in five and 10 years, and what are your career aspirations?

Hammontree: I have really enjoyed my time working in a mill so far and would like to continue my time in one after graduation. Within ten years, I hope to be in a leadership role that will allow me to develop managerial skills while continuing the development of my engineering skills. For my career as a whole, I would like to be in a position where I am able to help the industry recruit more women and minorities, and would like to remain involved with NC State.

Paperitalo: What would you recommend to anyone who might be interested in getting into pulp and paper?

Hammontree: I would recommend reaching out to Mrs. Piercy to do a tour of the labs and to attend the admitted student's day.

Paperitalo: Please let us know of anything else of interest about your experiences in the program.

Hammontree: This past fall, I had the chance to study abroad in Jyväskylä, Finland which is a place I would have never thought to visit without this program. NC State has a collaborative program with Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences and Tampere University of Applied Sciences where students are able to take courses related to the paper industry and see the industry in Finland. While there, I was able to visit Valmet and one of Metsä Fiber's mills.

Paperitalo: Please tell us what year you are in the program, your hometown, and anything interesting you might do in your free time.

Hammontree: I am a junior from Gastonia, NC and I enjoy cooking and hiking in my free time.


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