We could talk about our students’ experience in our program all day (and we often do), but today we handed the mic over to a student to share for herself!

Caroline Hammond, CHE ’24

We sat down with Caroline Hammond, a high-achieving senior and an avid lover of the outdoors, to tell us about her experience as a Chemical Engineering student who is part of the UMaine Pulp + Paper Foundation. 

Let the candid conversation begin…

UMMPF: Let’s start at the beginning. Why engineering?

Hammond: I was drawn to engineering by the opportunities. Growing up, my parents talked to me about the metaphor of building a strong foundation in order to build a stable house. I applied this to my education and wants in life. After learning about the engineering program and watching my older brother go through it, I knew it would be a great opportunity to build a strong foundation for myself to grow.

UMPPF: There are many degrees out there, even within engineering. What drew you to study chemical engineering in particular?

Caroline attending Consider Engineering as a junior in high school.

Hammond: I fell in love with the community that chemical engineers in the pulp and paper industry have formed. I was introduced to it at Consider Engineering and again when my brother entered the industry. The strong community that drew me in has only grown to be more meaningful to me as I get ready to graduate this spring with no debt and a great job lined up—all thanks to the foundation.

UMPPF: We’re so glad you found community within the industry! For other students learning about UMPPF, can you share more about your experience?

Hammond: Sure! The Pulp and Paper Foundation has been so influential on my collegiate career in the very best ways. After my freshman year, through the foundation, I was given the opportunity to do a first-year internship as well as two terms of co-op. I was able to get a taste of what my career could look like, and it inspired me to succeed academically, especially when classes were difficult. The support from the foundation is something I will never be able to express my gratitude for. It is truly such a special organization that anyone would be lucky to be part of.

UMPPF: Tell us more about your internship and co-op experience.

Hammond: All of my experience was at Sappi Somerset! I completed a first-year internship and two terms of a co-op there. From my experience, I believe co-op is 100% the effort you put into it. If you show interest, people will always be willing to teach you. I was lucky to be challenged with work that a full-time process engineer would be tasked with. It was so rewarding to push myself and see what I could accomplish, and I’m grateful for the experience as I was able to grow as an engineer, leader, and person.

UMPPF: Can you pick a favorite memory or a favorite part of the program?

Hammond: My favorite part is Paper Days. The experience of being part of the community of industry members and growing your professional network is invaluable.

UMPPF: Now a fun question. Where do you hope your career takes you?

Hammond: My dream engineering job is working towards continuous improvement and inspiring others to learn while learning myself. I want a job I don’t dread going to in the morning and one that keeps me on my feet. I can confidently say, I will be starting a full-time job after I graduate that checks those boxes.

UMPPF: So, all in all, is the program what you expected? 

Hammond: The program was nothing I expected – it was so much more. The support, network, and personal growth are unmatched.

If you’re interested in learning more about the UMaine Pulp and Paper Foundation, we’d love to get in touch and answer your questions!