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.

FPL Researchers Honored by Forest Stewardship Council

The Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s leading forest certification system, announced its 2017 FSC Leadership Awards in a celebration at Greenbuild. Recognizing enduring commitment to forest conservation, the award shines a light on people, companies and buildings that are breaking new ground and promoting responsible forest management.

The Forest Products Laboratory’s Center for Wood Anatomy Research was honored with a FSC Leadership Award “for applying state-of-the-art forensic wood science to verify the accuracy of FSC claims on more than 1,000 products annually.” Continue reading

A Golden Achievement

Linda Lorenz, a chemist at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), is celebrating an incredible 50 years of service to the Federal government this year. Amazingly, every one of those years was spent right here at the Lab.

Linda Lorenz (right) accepts her 50 years of service certificate from Acting Director Tony Ferguson.

Linda Lorenz (right) accepts her 50 years of service certificate from Acting Director Tony Ferguson.

“I have enjoyed working at FPL and being a part of the great research that is done here, because I have the challenge of helping to solve problems with chemistry,” Lorenz said.

While she has held several different positions and worked on various projects over the past five decades, currently Lorenz is studying wood adhesives in the Forest Biopolymer Science and Engineering research work unit.  She also regularly coordinates FPL’s robust volunteer and fundraising efforts.

Lorenz was honored this week along with many colleagues during FPL’s annual Length of Service ceremony.

Congratulations, Linda, and (since there is no talk of retirement, yet) keep up the good work!



FPL Assistant Director Wins 2016 TAPPI Award

Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) Assistant Director Ted Wegner recently received the 2016 TAPPI Nanotechnology Division Leadership and Service Award.

FPL Assistant Director Ted Wegner

FPL Assistant Director Ted Wegner

Wegner’s experience in leadership, pulp and paper, and nanotechnology sprouted decades ago and continues to grow as his knowledge does.  Wegner started his scientific career at E.I. Dupont in 1972, and joined the USDA Forest Service some years later, in 1977.  In 2004, he co-chaired the inaugural U.S. Conference on Nanotechnology for the forest products industry.  Wegner helped organize and lead the association’s International Nanotechnology Conferences from 2006 until 2011.  That year, he was elected Secretary upon the launch of TAPPI’s International Nanotechnology Division. Wegner added another achievement to his repertoire, when he received the Andrew Chase Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, also in 2011.  He was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in 2013.

As the leading association for the worldwide pulp, paper, packaging and tissue industries, TAPPI provides networking opportunities and resources for members of the scientific community.  The nonprofit organization strives to connect experts in science and education with innovative and groundbreaking information, and each other.  Along with pulp and paper advances, TAPPI also explores bioenergy and biofuels, renewable chemicals, sustainability and nanotechnology.

TAPPI will honor Wegner and his most recent award in June, at the 2016 International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials in Grenoble, France.

Congratulations, Ted!

Blog post by Francesca Yracheta