Approaching graduation with a plan to keep learning

Contact: Cindy Wagner

Senior Andrew McCabe is approaching graduation but has no intention to stop learning. “Just because I haven’t learned it yet doesn’t mean I don’t want to or won’t seek it out in the future,” he says.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—With a mission to keep learning his entire life, paper engineering senior Andrew McCabe approaches graduation knowing his education at Western Michigan University has set him on the path to achieving that goal.

“When I first toured the paper facilities, the complexity of everything was fascinating,” says McCabe, explaining how he found his major. “Paper mills are very complicated and include all types of engineering. I’ll never stop learning and never be bored and never be doing the same design. It’s very exciting.”

McCabe’s love of learning is evident in all his actions—he even capped off his undergraduate education with an Outstanding Senior Award from the WMU Paper Technology Foundation, a tribute to his academic success and leadership. According to the award, McCabe was recognized for his success in the classroom and his leadership with WMU’s Ts’ai Lun/TAPPI student chapter as well as his positive and professional engagement with industry representatives and students.

That culminating award followed nearly $75,000 in scholarships to fund his 196 credit hours over 11 semesters at the University where his dad, Michael McCabe, B.S.’91, graduated from the Haworth College of Business’ renowned food marketing program and his grandfather, William M. McCabe, served as professor of electrical engineering.

“I chose Western because of its paper engineering program and great scholarships—which made It possible for me to pay for my education on my own,” says McCabe. “I’m frugal, and I want to be financially independent.”

Throughout his college career, McCabe has accumulated more than three years of industry experience through internships with OMT-Veyhl, Expera Specialty Solutions, USG, Wieland Construction and Graphic Packaging International. He has since accepted a full-time position as a foreman with Graphic Packaging International in Kalamazoo.

“I chose the management route because I want to learn about people,” says McCabe of the easy choice to accept the offer from Graphic Packaging.

Always looking forward to new experiences and learning new things, McCabe also leaves his mark on the past. As president of the WMU chapter of Ts’ai Lun, he helped lead a successful blood drive, organized conferences and secured a virtual tour of a paper mill with the help of Jen Johnson, student mentor and board liaison at the Paper Technology Foundation. “We call her paper mom,” says McCabe. “She is so helpful and a great resource for students.” 

Once he settles into his career, this lifelong learner hopes to pursue a graduate degree. “There is value in more education of technical details—either in a graduate engineering program or from an MBA,” he says.

Follow McCabe’s learning and his career on LinkedIn

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