Jordon Gregory: Hands-on learning in the pulp and paper industry

Jordon Gregory of Minot, Maine, plans to work as an engineer in the pulp and paper industry, and her two internships with Maine companies confirmed her career choice.

The Pulp & Paper Foundation scholarship recipient has had internships at Verso Paper in Jay, and Solenis at ND Paper in Rumford. Solenis also offered her another internship to continue to learn about the industry, and gain hands-on experience running trials and improving the papermaking process.

Extracurricular activities also have opened engineering pathways for Gregory. The third-year student participates in the UMaine chapters of the American Institute for Chemical Engineering and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. She also is a member of Team Maine, the Campus Activities Board and Alternative Breaks.

“Since coming to UMaine, I really have been able to catch a glimpse into what the future holds for me,” she says.

University faculty have fostered a welcoming and supportive atmosphere by answering any questions and helping her succeed, she says. College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey’s Introduction to Engineering Leadership class stands out for teaching her leadership skills through real-world examples. 

Gregory describes UMaine as “innovative” — from its nanocellulose research and the launch of the world’s largest 3D printer to the pilot paper machine that provides hands-on learning for future pulp and paper industry leaders. 

“The University of Maine engineering program is always on the search for new opportunities for students to help impact the world,” she says. I am very excited to see where my career in the industry is going to take me, whether it is working for a chemical supplier like Solenis or working for a manufacturer like Verso. The need now in the industry is for new engineers.”

Why UMaine for you?
I chose to come to UMaine for the engineering program because it is one of the top programs in New England. I also chose to come here because of the location. For me, it is close to home where I can go back on the weekends, but far enough away where I am able to make new friends and new connections that I couldn’t if I stayed where I was. Since coming to UMaine, I have fallen in love with all aspects of campus — from the academics to the student atmosphere. I am truly grateful to be a part of the Black Bear community.

How would you describe the academic atmosphere and student experience at UMaine?
The academic atmosphere is very welcoming. Professors are always looking out for our best interests and you are able to tell that they want us to succeed, and will do anything to help you. They are willing to answer any and all questions that I have, whether it is in class or outside of class. The overall student experience at UMaine is very inviting. All of the events that different offices and clubs hold on campus make me feel like UMaine is a second home rather than just a place for academics.

Have you had an experience at UMaine — either academically or socially — that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
My first year at UMaine, I had the opportunity to join Alternative Breaks, one of the volunteer organizations on campus. My first year, I traveled to Brick, New Jersey and focused on the social issue of homelessness and disaster relief. My second year, I traveled to Niagara Falls, New York and focused on homelessness in the area. Through my participation in these experiences, I was exposed to parts of the country that I would never have seen growing up in a small town in Maine. This opened my eyes to the issues that are affecting parts of our country’s population, which has motivated me to do more for my surrounding community and to take any opportunities I can to help others around me.

What difference has UMaine made in your life?
UMaine has made a huge difference in my life. Growing up I had ideas of what I wanted to do with my life, but it was difficult to conceptualize those ideas not knowing where I would be or what I would be doing. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Pulp & Paper Foundation, where over the past two summers I have been able to gain experience in my field by working at multiple paper mills in the state. It is crazy to think that just in this small amount of time, this university has opened so many doors for me, and offered me so many amazing opportunities. All of which has led me to where I am now, in my third year of a chemical engineering degree with an internship lined up for the summer and a world of possibilities at my feet.

Contact: Margaret Nagle,