Classroom instruction is great. It provides students with a foundation from which to grow.
And much of that growth comes from hands-on experience.
That’s why we’re excited about our Mission: Packaging program – an educational experience for students. Over the next several months, we’re following three students as they continue their packaging education. We’re giving them themed “missions” that are designed to help them build upon their educational foundation. They’ll be required to explore real-world issues, problems, trends and strategies related to packaging and participate in conversations with industry experts – all in an effort to broaden their horizons beyond the classroom and help them understand the varying aspects of industrial packaging.
They’ll be sharing their knowledge, too, by reporting their findings from each mission right here on TapeUniversity.com.
Yes…it’s going to be hard work. But, it’s going to help them build a network of industry pros and provide a different vantage point for viewing the wide world of packaging. Plus, we’re going to reward them – each student will receive a total of $5,000 to put toward their educational expenses and help prepare them for future employment.
So, allow me to introduce you to our 2016 Mission: Packaging students:
Anna Lorette: Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) student Anna Lorette firmly believes the motto: “love what you do and do what you love,” which is why she chose the packaging field as her career path. Packaging, she says, involves so many different personalities and stories – it’s an ever-evolving field in which she hopes to initiate a new change or trend someday.
But gaining experience in the field is pertinent to her future. So, Anna is absorbing as much as she can while in school. She’s already completed a co-op with Corning Life Sciences, is currently in a co-op with PepsiCo, and is a member of the RIT student and Western New York chapters of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP).
She’s also working hard to prove that having a disability doesn’t mean a person has to be hindered in the future – it simply means, perhaps, finding another way to do something. Anna was born deaf and was implanted with a cochlear implant when she was 4 years old. She grew up communicating with spoken English and has started to learn American Sign Language while in college.
Anna is gearing up to graduate in spring 2017, at which time she would like to work with a consumer goods or food and beverage company on packaging design. And in the future, she aspires to open her own packaging design company in her home state of Maine, giving the locals and small businesses access to specially designed packaging for their products to help them be competitive in the marketplace.
Garrett Peterson: University of Wisconsin – Stout
A busy and hectic lifestyle is what Garrett Peterson lives by…and he loves it! That’s why he constantly searches for ways to better prepare himself for the future workforce, alongside having fun and learning plenty of life lessons.
He’s a packaging student at the University of Wisconsin – Stout (UW – Stout), and is also an athlete on the school’s football team.
When Garrett entered UW – Stout, he knew he wanted to be part of one of the many engineering majors offered by the school. But choosing between Packaging, Plastics and Manufacturing Engineering was difficult. So he sought to learn more about each one from professors, students and industry pros. In the end, he chose a packaging path, wanting a career that promised uniqueness, entertainment, demand and creativity.
And he’s taken every opportunity to get immersed in the field. His official engineering work started the summer going into his freshman year when he worked as a supply chain intern for a leading supplier of sand cores and industrial coatings. Focused on improving the quality and repeatability of painted cast iron parts, and documenting the supply chain process from start to finish, this internship was an eye-opening experience for Garrett. He’s also worked with Kohler Co. as a packaging engineer co-op, during which time he helped design product packaging with various materials, including foams and corrugated, and saw, first hand, the potential material and production cost savings, as well as damage reduction, that could be achieved by making modifications to existing packaging.
When he’s not studying, he’s involved in the community, from participating in the Stout Packaging Club and working in the launder room to working with Special Olympics and mentoring students at the local elementary schools. And as a student athlete, he’s also involved on campus by helping the incoming freshmen move in each year.
Garrett is working toward graduating in May 2018, after which time he says the future is up in the air. By that time, he’ll have worked in a variety of fields, from corrugated packaging to plastics in the food and beverage industry to engineering sales – but regardless of the type of packaging he decides to work with, he wants to master knowledge of the field and become a team leader. And someday, he hopes to produce innovative, sustainable packaging that pops off the shelves and makes consumers say, “Wow, isn’t this package awesome!”
Eric Lausch: Michigan State University
Eric Lausch began his educational career with Michigan State University in 2011, at that time pursuing an engineering career as he came from a family of engineers. A close friend introduced him to the School of Packaging, which prompted Eric to consider packaging as a career path.
A passion for packaging, he recalls, came from his participation in undergraduate research, where he investigated new films for use as active packaging compounds to improve the shelf life of vegetables. This experience led to a co-op assignment with an industry-leading closure company, where he conducted package performance testing on materials and components, prototype designs, and products in order to address customer non-conformances.
As he approached his senior year, Eric chose to take on a second undergraduate degree in Biosystems Engineering, which focuses on the creation of solutions to technical problems with a critical biological component. Whether it’s waste reduction, renewable energy, food quality and safety, or sustainability, it all works in unison with typical roles of a packaging engineer.
And he’s further honing his skills by working as a co-op student for a multinational food and beverage company.
Although busy gaining critical packaging experience, he’s also remained active in many facets of campus life while at Michigan State, including as a member of the Coalition of Packaging Professionals and Academic Connections (CoPPAC), as well as holding a leadership position in Pi Kappa Gamma, the School of Packaging Honor’s Society. Eric was also a member of Michigan State’s Leadership Advantage program, a leadership seminar designed for incoming students interested in an engineering career. Outside of school, you can find Eric hanging out with friends, working on cars, or on the golf course.
Upon graduation in spring 2018, Eric intends to pursue a career as a packaging engineer at an industry-leading CPG company with the hope of working closely in not only packaging design and implementation, but also with packaging sustainability development programs.