FRANKLIN QUIN, JR. has been at home in the forest for much of his life. A Tylertown native, he grew up spending much of his time outdoors, from working in his family’s garden to participating in 4-H activities. Quin graduated from Alcorn State University in 1992 with a bachelor’s in industrial technology and enrolled in MSU’s wood science master’s program that fall. After graduating with his master’s in 1994, he went to work at a sawmill in Louisiana but returned to MSU two years later when a research associate position opened in the forest products (now sustainable bioproducts) department.
After almost 25 years, Quin decided to return to the classroom while continuing to work as a research associate under DR. JILEI ZHANG. In 2020, he enrolled again as an MSU graduate student, this time to work on a doctoral degree in forest resources with a sustainable bioproducts concentration. “As a research associate, you’re always learning through hands-on work, but I was ready to work on other aspects of the research process, such as writing grants and proposals and working with students,” he said.
While Quin feels that his years of work as a research associate prepared him well for his doctoral studies, he is also enjoying making the transition back to the academic side of his field and the new challenges that graduate school brings. “It’s exciting for me to be involved in all aspects of the research, from pitching ideas to developing a complete project,” Quin said.
Over the last two years, he has contributed to three major projects related to his graduate studies. In a study directed by DR. JASON STREET, an associate professor, Quin has been analyzing the strength and stiffness of the post-to-rail connections in hardwood stairway handrails. He presented the progress of this research to the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association Structural Task Group via video conference in 2020.
Quin is also working under DR. TAMARA FRANÇA, an assistant professor, on several projects. One examines the development of preservative-treated cross-laminated timber, or CLT, specifically assessing the bonding performance and durability of a southern yellow pine CLT panel when post-treated with a copper-based preservative system. He and França are also studying the flexural properties of visually graded Southern pine structural lumber. In this project, they are taking 2 x 8 and 2 x 10 planks and evaluating how various characteristics of the lumber influence its flexural properties, such as bending strength and stiffness.
Two years into his program, Quin is pleased with his mid-career transition and is living proof that you can thrive in a doctoral program even when you’ve been out of the classroom for a couple of decades. “I’m enjoying my studies and being on this end of the research process. Seeing the research from all perspectives makes you think about the larger picture and why that research is significant,” he said.