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Nicole Byrnes working in the lab. She is wearing safety glasses and holding a conical flask

Mighty Oak Monday: Nicole Byrnes

Double Major: Chemical Engineering & Paper Engineering
Hometown: Brewster, NY.
Class of ‘24

You might have seen Nicole leading the Paper Engineering Club, or at Chemistry Club, or making posters for the bass fishing team, or at an Open House. It sounds like she’s tried many things, and she has. “When I first came to ESF, I sat in Gateway scared and nervous. Getting involved in clubs built my confidence.”

Her confidence shows; when she’s not building up clubs from four to 50 members, she’s working on earning two degrees, Chemical Engineering and Paper Engineering. Her favorite parts about academics at ESF are the class sizes and professors. “You’re not sitting in a big lecture hall; you’re developing a personalized relationship with your professors.”

She also loves the unique experiences available through the programs. She spent the summer in the Adirondacks working at Sylvamo, a paper mill where she completed her internship requirement. “I loved it! I was working in the mill during the week and hiking on the weekends.” She also participated in a business competition at Syracuse University. Her team, comprised of two ESF students and one Syracuse University student, came up with the idea of turning lignin from trees into threads to create clothing. They advanced to the Boston competition and won second place!

As for Nicole’s future, she’s thinking globally. She is applying for grad school in Germany. The Munich University of Applied Sciences has a relationship with ESF’s Chemical Engineering department. It has an accelerated program where she will earn her graduate degree in a year and a half.

Her advice for anyone attending ESF, “Get out there and take opportunities.”  Well said, Nicole.