Student Profile: Jake Thompson — Forest Operations Management

by Elijah Allensworth

For many students, the first major they declare is not always the same major they graduate with; for Jake Thompson, this was not the case. "I grew up always knowing that forestry was something I wanted to study and have a career in," he tells us. And it isn't surprising, either; Jake's family owns a small timber company based out of Philomath, Oregon, and he is the third-generation to attend the College of Forestry (CoF). For him, forestry was in his blood.

Although sure he wanted to study forestry, the OSU College of Forestry was not a shoe-in as the campus where he would pursue his degree. "I applied to other universities as well as OSU because of their [forestry] programs," says Jake, "but after visiting the other schools I knew OSU, and specifically the College of
Forestry, was the place for me." Having heard of the reputation of the College of Forestry as one of the top institutions in the world, Jake was convinced that he would find the best opportunities there. "The College of Forestry is one of the best forestry programs in the world and I am incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to study under some of the leading forestry researchers," explains Jake.

Now finishing his junior year in the Forest Operations Management (FOM) degree program, Jake is showing no regrets with his decision. "The FOM major has strong foundations in forest engineering and business, with an emphasis on forest management. Having this versatility of skills and knowledge was what I wanted out of my education from OSU," says Jake. In addition to his normal coursework, Jake has been involved in various activities and programs around the college and abroad. For a semester, Jake studied abroad in New Zealand, known for its production of Monterey pine. Recently, he has begun working with Dr. John Sessions on a research project aiming to determine the efficiencies of log-trucks when loaded.

Academics are not the only activities, though. Each summer, Jake has been returning to his family's timber company and applying his skills in the field, whether it be working with geographic information systems (GIS), planning harvest layouts or implementing silvicultural treatments. Hands-on experience, Jake tells us, is
crucial to developing a solid skill set in forestry. For this reason, he especially enjoys the outdoor lab aspect of many classes at the College Forestry.

Finally, the community at the College of Forestry has been a real benefit to Jake as well, specifically within the FOM degree program. "With small class sizes, everybody gets to know each other and create a network of friends and study partners," Jake explains. It is this tight-knit, first-name basis community within the College of Forestry that allows students to not only develop academic relationships, but also friendships that will extend beyond their college years and into their
professional careers.

When asked what advice he might give a person interested in the College of Forestry, Jake responds, "I would definitely suggest talking with the advisors in the CoF about the FOM program or any program in the CoF. The advisors are all extremely helpful, open and honest about the programs and courses. It is best to focus on what you want from your education and then find the major that suits your ambitions. If you enjoy what you're studying school will be a blast and will fly by."