About Contact Careers News Financial Aid
Public Relations
MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES PREPARE WORKFORCE FOR FORESTRY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES

11/5/2019 - Jackson, Miss.

The forestry and energy sectors are important pieces of Mississippi's economy. According to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture, Mississippi has 19.7 million acres of forestland and 65 percent of the state is covered in timber. With a value exceeding $1 billion annually, timber is the state's second largest commodity and gives us a #1 ranking in the nation for Certified Tree Farmers under the American Tree Farm System.

With diverse energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal, and biomass, Mississippi has strong energy sector that includes substantial power generation and distribution infrastructure. The Fraser Institute's 2018 Global Petroleum Survey, the annual ranking of oil and gas investment potential, ranked Mississippi in the top five of small reserve jurisdictions and number 11 on the list of all jurisdictions without regard to reserve holdings. Mississippi is home to three oil refineries and the nation's largest single-unit nuclear reactor.

Mississippi Public Universities are preparing the workforce to keep the forestry and energy industries thriving.

Mississippi State University's sustainable bioproducts major is a multidisciplinary program, which encompasses wood and non-wood composites and other contemporary engineered products, as well as lumber, chemicals, fuels, medicines and much more. Many products are derived from wood, making it a top renewable resource. The curriculum prepares students to work in the forest products field, finding new ways to extend forest and natural resources by utilizing relatively low value trees and agricultural residues. Graduates will have a strong foundation in products, manufacturing, sales, trading and fundamental aspects of timber-derived products, materials and structures.

Mississippi State University offers the state's only petroleum engineering degree program in response to a high demand from industry for graduates with experience in drilling, production, petroleum economics and reservoir engineering.

Mississippi State students get hands-on experience developing the Car of the Future® – a lighter, greener, more cost-effective hybrid built on technologies that will lead to energy independence and environmental stewardship.

With 30,000 acres of forestland throughout the state, Mississippi State students in the College of Forest Resources also receive real world experience and hands-on application in our working forest. Accredited by the Society of American Foresters, the forestry major prepares students for skills and knowledge to manage renewable, natural resources, and graduates are qualified to become Registered Foresters. Students passionate about the environment will develop skillsets for career opportunities in natural resources through the Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation major. Graduates from Mississippi's only four-year accredited program in forestry and natural resources are in high demand with a large percentage matriculating to pursue advanced degrees at MSU and elsewhere.

The Environmental Health undergraduate program at Mississippi Valley State University is the only program in the state and among the very few programs that are accredited in the nation. The program develops professionals who are knowledgeable in the concepts of prevention and control of environmental hazards and enables students to broaden and expand their knowledge and skills in industries like forestry. Graduates of the program have continued on to have successful careers with city, state, county and federal health agencies; environmental consulting companies, private corporations and non-profit organizations.

University of Mississippi students have the opportunity to work with Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute (MMRI), which gives them hands-on training to work in the oil and gas industry. MMRI conducts geospatial analyses and data processing for offshore and on-shore energy exploration and production and environmental analysis and monitoring, uses remote sensing to monitor energy production and distribution and oil spills and their effects, analyzes and explores the potential of gas hydrates as an alternative energy source and the hazards related to gas hydrates in the deep Gulf of Mexico, and explores new energy reserves in MS.

University of Mississippi students planning careers in the energy sector also have the opportunity to work in the Renewable Energy Research Lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The lab's research explores converting solar energy into more readily usable energy forms. The Lab has two main focuses for accomplishing this goal: the generation of electrical energy and the generation of chemical energy.

Delta State University prepares students for careers in environmental sciences, including land management, conservation, and governmental agencies. Alumni have served in positions at the U.S. Geological Survey; Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks; Army Corps of Engineers; and the Public Service Commission of Yazoo City, among others. Students also received summer 2019 internships at the USDA ARS in Stoneville and Ducks Unlimited, plus more. Spring 2019 graduates were accepted to graduate programs spanning ecology to bioengineering. And Aaron Sassenrath-Cole, an environmental science major (wildlife concentration) and a BAS-geospatial analysis and intelligence major, was a Congressional Fellow in Sen. Roger Wicker's office last spring.

# # #

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

News Archive

The Pathway to Growth for Our State

Caron Blanton
Director of Communications
Telephone: 601.432.6333

Sophie Wolf
Digital Media Manager
Telephone: 601.432.6651