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Undergraduate Student

Jeremy Withers

Senior, Wood Science and Forest Products

My life has been dedicated to the outdoors in one form or another, from teaching myself to build tree houses as a child to hiking many miles of trails on the East Coast and in New Mexico. I have had the enjoyment of planting thousands of plants and many trees with my previous landscaping company; I still proudly see many of them around my hometown. From there, I expanded the landscaping company into a wood-based construction company. While in the construction industry, I noticed a lack of environmental concern from many local builders. My journey through life and the outdoors has led me to discover that programs in the College of Natural Resources and Environment would offer me the necessary educational opportunity to benefit my community and beyond. As a nontraditional student, I have my sights set on developing ways to improve current wood waste policies and practices.

As an undergraduate student in the forests products business option, I have been fortunate to work with two local environmentally conscious organizations. With Builderscrete and a team of three classmates, I tested the modulus of rupture (MOR) and modulus of elasticity (MOE) of their products containing concrete with wood fiber mixtures. And working with the Office of International Research, Education, and Development and a team of four classmates, I designed an arched-covered bicycle shelter made from treated GluLam-wood for potential implementation throughout the Virginia Tech campus and the Town of Blacksburg. I served last year as president of the Wood Enterprise Institute and am working on an undergraduate research project to determine the potential utilization of poplar bark for use as a natural home siding product. I have a strong desire to learn more about natural resources by attending graduate school, as well as to develop Spanish as a second language to better communicate with the predominance of Hispanic workers in the field.

Honors and Awards

  • Member, Phi Sigma (Biological Sciences Honor Society), spring 2012-present
  • Victor Clay Barringer Endowed Scholarship, 2012-13
  • Steven A. Sinclair Scholarship, 2012-13
  • Top five finalist in the Virginia Tech-ICTAS innovation competition for two sustainable bicycle shelter designs, fall 2012
  • Virginia Tech packaging cardboard competition, first runner up, fall 2011
  • Dean’s List, fall 2011

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