Chemical engineering alum shares passion for diversity in engineering

By Cassie Montgomery

Published: Feb 12, 2021 1:04:00 PM

Diversity in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering is something Metrick Houser, ’93 chemical engineering, is passionate about. 

“Having graduated in 1993, a lot of things have changed, but what I do see is that the Auburn spirit and the Auburn Family continues to remain,” he said. “The campus looks a lot different and it was really fun to have the opportunity to witness the naming of the Harold Melton Student Center – I thought that was a great dedication to him. You can really see the fingerprints of diversity starting to reach out across campus and I’m very excited about what the administration is trying to do to increase the number of diverse students at Auburn.” 

Houser holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and earned an MBA from Auburn in 2001. His successful career in the pulp and paper industry began soon after graduation with Union Camp, which later merged with International Paper, and he has held positions with the company in Prattville, Alabama, Decatur, Alabama and Murfreesboro, Tennessee He is currently the director of energy and raw materials, responsible for the procurement of both raw materials and energy for all International Paper facilities in North America and for strategy development globally.

Houser spent his college years actively involved with various student organizations, including  secretary of the Black Student Union, a member of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE),  a member of the Auburn Pulp and Paper Foundation and president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He remains involved as an alum, serving on the Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Department of Chemical Engineering Alumni Council.

“The diversity numbers were a little bit smaller [when I was in school] than they are today so it gave us a chance to bond with members of NSBE and within the Black Student Union, but it also encouraged us to reach out to people who weren’t like us to find different people to study with,” he said. “That grows into your career. Being able to network, talk with and do team projects with people who aren’t like you – that’s what companies look for and I think my time at Auburn helped develop that for me.”

Houser urged students to use their time on campus to help Auburn remain a welcoming place for students of color. 

“Whatever you do in your time at Auburn … use some time to help other students understand the importance of Black History Month and the importance of the Black student experience at Auburn. Help them understand that so that we can continue to make it a great place for students of color who want to attend Auburn University,” Houser said.

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery, cmontgomery@auburn.edu, 334.844.3668

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