School introduces bioprocess engineering major unique to Northeast
The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry recently introduced a new bioprocess engineering major, which is the first and only program of its kind in the Northeast.
The new major led the faculty of paper science and engineering program to change its title to the faculty of paper science and bioprocess engineering program in order to incorporate the new major. This change began in the beginning of the fall semester.
‘The main difference between the paper science and engineering major and the paper and bioprocess engineering program is that the paper and bioprocess engineering program will look at expanding the paper industry by using wood ethanol,’ said Gary Scott, professor and associate chair of the faculty of paper and bioprocess engineering. ‘If we can make a fairly natural liquid fuel while making paper through bioprocess engineering, then we can benefit from the renewable resources in our environment.’
The new engineering major will train students to work in the emerging bioprocess and biofuel industries. Students in the new program will learn how to produce energy from environmentally sustainable resources.
‘The students who participate in the program will master a variety of subjects that are found in the paper engineering science and chemical engineering program,’ Scott said. ‘But the main difference is that students will focus their studies on the use of wood and other renewable biomass materials that will replace petroleum in industrial processes.’
Students will use ESF’s program to develop technology to produce new means of bioprocesses.
‘The students will learn and work with new technology that will produce the bioprocessing of ethanol, polymers and other chemicals that have traditionally been produced from fossil fuels in our environment,’ Scott said.
Only three students are enrolled in the bioprocess engineering program this semester, Scott said. However, the program looks to enroll 10 new students each year.
‘ESF has just begun advertising the bioprocess engineering major,’ he said. ‘We are trying to attract students who wish to focus on the biological processes, while providing the foundation for engineer practices.’
Freshmen ESF student Alex Dewitt, who is currently a paper science and engineering major, said he likes the idea of the new program.
‘The new (bioprocess engineering) major seems like a great new program,’ he said. ‘Not only will students learn how to become paper science engineers, but now students will be able to do so while protecting the environment.’
In addition to the academic portion of the program offered at ESF, every student must participate in an internship outside of the classroom, Scott said.
Graduates of the paper science and engineering program have had great success when looking for post-secondary jobs.
‘We had 100 percent job placement last year,’ Scott said.
The average starting salary for these graduates is $56,000, he said.
Scott also emphasized that since paper science and engineering students place well upon graduation, he anticipates that bioprocess engineering students also obtain high-paying positions, since the program is the only of its kind in the Northeast.
Overall, ESF hopes that the program will flourish during the next few years.
‘Bioprocess engineering is a big area with a large demand for help coming from paper companies,’ Scott said. ‘There is a lot of room for growth in the industry.’
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