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Undergraduate Student

Zachary Shiner

Senior, Wood Science and Forest Products


Nature is the most beautiful part of the world we live in. Everything comes from it, and it works wonderfully even though there is nothing in control. As an Eagle Scout, I’ve had incredible opportunities to hike in the mountains of New Mexico and canoe in the vast lakes of northern Minnesota. Golfing and snowboarding are two of my favorite things to do. I see them as activities that attempt to work with the natural order of things instead of trying to control it. I believe it is critical that we start to make our society and nature work together as well.

Although I had no idea when I first started college that I would end up as a wood science and forest products major with a focus in packaging science, it has been one of the most rewarding choices of my life. Packaging science has a great mixture of science, business, and creativity. Luckily

all of these interest me. There are so many opportunities for improvement, innovation, and sustainability in the field of packaging. It excites me to be in this field because of how studying packaging can help the world through trash reduction, food preservation, pharmaceutical safety, and innovative technologies we haven’t even begun to think about yet. Today somebody told me about conductive inks that can be used to print microchips!

Being involved with the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IOPP) and the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials has taken me to Chicago, Atlanta, Michigan, and all over Virginia. We will be starting a TAPPI (Technical Association for the Paper and Pulp Industries) student chapter this year that will work in conjunction with the already established IOPP group to provide students with learning experiences, networking, and career advice.

My time here at Virginia Tech has brought me in contact with several other great groups as well. The annual Multicultural Diversity Conference is an event hosted by the Pamplin College of Business, but open to anyone, where we celebrate the benefits of diversity in our lives and in the workplace. Several companies come and present workshops as well as network. Being a student ambassador for the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials allows me to spread the word about what we do to new and prospective students in an effort to make them aware of how special biomaterials are!

Honors and Awards

  • AICC Corrugated Paperboard Scholarship
  • AF&PA Paperboard Packaging Alliance Scholarship
  • G. Scott Francis Scholarship
  • J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship
  • Dean’s List, spring 2012

25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

    1992 through 2017, 25 years

Join us Sept. 15-16 to visit campus and reconnect with alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.

Celebrate with Us

Read the Summer Newsmagazine

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2017


Select a Major

We have 11 majors for you to choose from with over 10 options to specialize in. Select yours now and join us in bringing the future to nature.