Paper engineering students meet industry leaders

Tappit student group

Paper engineering students involved in the TAPPI student organization on their visit to Maine.

After traveling 2,000 miles – with seven flights, six buses and one flight delay – WMU paper engineering students returned from Portland, Maine, where they recently attended a student summit held by TAPPI, the technical association of the pulp and paper industry. The 41 students had a whirlwind trip that involved hearing from notable speakers whose topics included leadership and the importance of personal branding and networking. They also had a chance to interview with leading companies in the industry.

The eventful weekend wrapped up with a trip to Somerset, Maine, to tour a 2,500-acre mill owned by pulp and paper company Sappi, and which housed three paper machines producing coated paper, grease-proof packaging and bleached chemical pulp.

 “It was a great chance to hear from industry leaders,” said sophomore Rielle Walker “The information they shared really emphasized the need to develop strong interviewing, networking and communication skills with peers and potential employers.”

Lance McCauley, president of the WMU paper engineering student organization Ts’ai Lun, attended an invitation-only president’s luncheon held by Larry Montague, president and CEO of TAPPI. Senior Jake Marshall was part of a panel discussion on how to get the most out of summer internships and shared his work experiences with global chemical producer Kemira.

The largest number of Western students to attend this annual event, the participants also braved harsh weather and explored the city of Portland and attended a Portland Pirates professional hockey game.

Students also participated in an engineering competition that involved safely sending a raw egg down a ramp of increasing angles using only a piece of cardboard, sticky labels, tissues, a Dixie cup, a small Ziploc bag, and four wheels. With a lot of brain power and a bit of luck, Western students Evan Ericson, Matthew Muhs and Nathan Rozegnal were a part of the winning engineering team.