By Debbie Willmschen

When you talk with Sophie Guevel and ask what she likes most about her job, she will tell you that she especially enjoys the hands-on experience of conducting testing and getting involved with clients and students by discussing the details of their projects. Working behind the scenes, Guevel is a research associate who manages the fabric and comfort evaluation laboratory in the Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC), in the Wilson College of Textiles. In technical terms, she oversees and participates in fabric testing according to standard test methods for moisture management and hand properties of textile materials. But her day to day activities involve helping students and clients accomplish their design or research projects by attending to the needs of each individual. 

“Sometimes my job is straightforward, and other times it is more challenging,” Guevel says. “It can involve anything from modifying a method and adapting it to the material to finding the best possible way to obtain meaningful data.”

Guevel is in direct contact with students and industrial clients, which requires anticipating and attending to unique perspectives and needs. She also offers technical support for testing needs and advises on testing methods.

I find my work fascinating,” Guevel says. “There is a lot of diversity, because of the variety of end use applications and the numerous methods used to evaluate materials. And I work with a variety of people in the industry as well as students throughout NC State. It is interesting to be involved in their projects, to learn more about the application of the product and to see how it evolves.”

NC State recently recognized Guevel for her contributions that helped TPACC to remain on the leading edge of comfort testing technologies. Guevel received the 2020 Outstanding Extension Award, which recognizes faculty and staff for their contributions.

“Sophie’s role in making the TPACC laboratories the choice of industry in North Carolina and throughout the country for testing comfort enhanced textile products cannot be overstated,” colleague Roger Barker, Burlington distinguished professor and director, TPACC, says. “Sophie’s approach is always on target, innovative and delivered to meet the highest professional standard.”

As an NC State alumna, who received her Master of Science in textile engineering at Wilson College, Guevel is thankful to receive an award for her work.

“There are many deserving people in the university, and I am grateful to the colleagues who thought of me for this award,” Guevel says. “This recognition is an encouragement, a driving force to go further, to keep improving and finding solutions for each unique project that comes to us. It shows we are doing something good and impactful.“