Women in Ag Award Presented to FPL Researcher

Roderquita Moore, a research chemist at the Forest Products Laboratory, received the Inspiring Woman in STEM award as part of the 2018 USDA Women in Ag award program. The winners represent a range of career paths from various agencies across USDA and they are located all around the world.

FPL research chemist
Roderquita Moore

Read more about Moore’s career journey and highlights written in her own words below. Congratulations, Roderquita!

Tell us about your career journey and what brought you to USDA.

I was recruited by the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory while I was working on my Ph.D. at Clark Atlanta University. The program was described as a scientist’s initiative program for the next generation of young scientists. When I was selected I entered under the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) which is now called Pathways. While I was matriculating, I would spend my summers in Madison, WI working with researchers learning about wood chemistry. I graduated and started working towards developing research to isolate and characterize high-value tree-derived chemicals which can be used for drug delivery and design.

Highlight the major contributions of your career.

I have been with the Forest Service 14 years and 9 of those years as a research chemist. Before joining the Forest Service I have always created programs that reached into the community. Working for the Forest Service has allowed me to reach back and give chemistry students a place to sharpen their laboratory and research skills for graduate school or industry. In 2010, I started training students in my labs to develop scientific and laboratory skills while developing my research investigating tree derived high value chemicals. Because of the work with University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) chemistry students, I received an honorary fellow appointment in the UW chemistry department. Also, because of my research and outreach to students in STEM, I received the National Organization of Black Chemist and Chemical Engineering (NOBCChE) Presidential Award.

I am really excited with the next phase of my career because now I am extending my research support to Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) junior faculty where one third are women. I have six collaborations utilizing nanocellulose materials and extracting chemicals for drug delivery. The HBCU collaborations are interdisciplinary relationships that reach across biomedical, regenerative, medicinal, and environmental areas.

I have consulted and supported international researchers/colleagues interested in my area of research. Female students and faculty are hard to find. Four out of 15 of my student researchers are female and 3 out of 9 of my faculty collaborations are female. I anticipate this number to increase in the next phase of my career.

What advice would you give to women, in particular, trying to break into STEM-related fields?

No matter how much the area of STEM evolves, there is a place in STEM uniquely designed for you to make an impact, innovate, and inspire.

World Wildlife Fund Features Work with FPL

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, featured a partnership with the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in their 2018 Annual Report.

The World Wildlife Fund’s 2018 Annual Report featured their partnership with FPL.

Since 2016, FPL’s Center for Wood Anatomy Research, in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute, and Simeone Consulting, LLC, has been working to establish data on product misrepresentation in the American consumer market for forest products.  In addition to asking questions about the presence and prevalence of product misrepresentation, the partnership also sought to document the availability, willingness, and capability of forensic wood expertise in the United States.  The full results of the study are under review by a peer-reviewed journal, and it is hoped that this pioneering work will be published soon.  In addition, WWF and FPL are looking to the future for further collaborative projects.

A link to the full WWF Annual Report can be found here. The project with FPL is featured second on the web page.

Wood-Infused Concrete Put to the Test

Repaving a parking lot isn’t generally something we’d get too excited about here at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL). That is, unless the project incorporates wood, in which case, we’re totally stoked.

Test site for cellulose nanomaterial-enhanced concrete in Greenville, S.C. Photo credit: Michael Goergen

And that’s exactly what happened in Greenville, South Carolina, at the headquarters for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment). A parking lot there has become the largest test site in the world for cellulose nanomaterial (CN)-enhanced concrete, which FPL researchers and partners at the Endowment, Oregon State University, and Purdue University have found to have improved properties over traditional concrete. Continue reading

Celebrate National Forest Products Week! October 21-27, 2018

Happy National Forest Products Week!

For the past 58 years, the third week of October has been deemed National Forest Products Week by Presidential proclamation. Here at the Forest Products Laboratory, every week is Forest Products Week, but we’re extra happy to celebrate this particular week with partners and the public, sharing all the good things trees provide.

To kick off the week, you can read a blog post below featured on the U.S. Forest Service and USDA blogs. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @fsWoodLab and #ForestProductsWeek to keep up with all the fun facts supporting what we already know: Wood is Good!

Continue reading