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2020 Graduates and Interns Remain Available Through ICPF

By AICC Staff

July 15, 2020

“As I write this column’s introduction in early June, it is clear that the 2020 hiring season for student interns and new graduates has to be the most tumultuous and uncertain one in well over 60 years. Student internships in some regions have been eliminated or reduced in duration to ensure safety and health. For the same reasons, the hiring of new graduates in some areas has been postponed. However, throughout the country our corrugated packaging corporate partners have been creative by making modifications to continue recruiting the next generation of managers and executives.

When I think of the resilience of our industry, it brings to mind the banner currently posted at the entrance of the WestRock paper mill in Hopewell, Virginia:

“TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST, TOUGH TEAMS DO.”

ICPF continues its mission to promote the corrugated packaging industry to students. The talent pool for the next generation continues to grow. The stories of a cross section of students recently recruited by the industry through ICPF so far this season follow.

Emily VanderMoere, Michigan State University (packaging science major, May ’20) has accepted a position with Green Bay Packaging as a structural designer. “I feel very fortunate to have a job right after graduation, and that’s thanks to ICPF. The Student/Executive Dialogue Dinners in 2019 and 2020 were extremely beneficial to me by hearing advice from industry leaders and expanding my network. At ICPF’s dinner this past February I met a Green Bay Packaging executive, which led to being hired as a designer. I strongly encourage fellow students to utilize ICPF’s resources and check out their Career Portal at careersincorrugated.org.”

Sophia Luettke, Clemson University (packaging science major and sustainability minor, December ’19) is a management trainee at Packaging Corp. of America (PCA) in Salem, Oregon. “While studying packaging at Clemson University, I became interested in sustainability, material use, optimization, validation, design, and transportation. My education taught me about the applications of corrugated packaging and showed me a career path that would align my interests and knowledge. After joining ICPF’s corrugated packaging career network on social media, I uploaded my résumé to ICPF’s Career Portal, where I applied for a PCA GIFT position that gives new graduates experience in various positions within corrugated manufacturing to ensure well-rounded employees. By using ICPF’s Career Portal, I was able to jump-start my career and connect with the employer in a more personal manner. The trust we built allowed me to take a leap of faith and accept a position across the country, knowing I’d have a second family excited to welcome me in.”

Kelsea Potthast, University of Florida (business administration/marketing major and packaging science minor, May ’21) has acquired a student sales internship this summer at Hood Container Corp. “I am passionate about developing synergy between the engineering principles of corrugated packaging and the innovative marketing strategies of business. The ICPF Student/Executive Dialogue Dinner and ICPF’s Teleconference on the Business of Corrugated Packaging & Displays allowed me to surround myself with students and executives who pursue creative thinking and diverse perspectives. Not only did this ICPF experience introduce me to internship opportunities within the corrugated industry, but it is the first time my interest in combining marketing with packaging science has been encouraged. While many career fairs and networking events try to fit students into a keyhole position, ICPF has given me the professional support and personal confidence to achieve my own goals. Since working with ICPF, I have been elected president of the UF Packaging Club, become the official ICPF student representative at UF, secured a corrugated packaging sales internship through ICPF, and am looking forward to returning to Michigan next year to moderate ICPF’s 2021 Teleconference.”

Alvin Naduparabil, Rutgers University (packaging engineering major, May ’20) has been hired as a GIFT management trainee at PCA in Burley, Idaho. “ICPF has played a big part in my education on the corrugated side of packaging and in preparing me for the workforce. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Michigan to attend ICPF’s Student/Executive Dialogue Dinner as well as participate in ICPF’s Teleconference on the Business of Corrugated Packaging & Displays from WKAR’s broadcast auditorium. The teleconference and dinner were a great experience and gave me a lot of exposure to the corrugated industry. Being able to speak with students and executives from across the nation opened my eyes to the wide range of directions it could take my career. ICPF has helped me sharpen the tools I need to be a successful packaging engineer, and I will always be grateful for the experience I was lucky to have! Thank you for all your help and for giving me exposure to PCA before I even knew I wanted to work for them!”

Makayla Sarkis, Virginia Tech (packaging systems and design major, May ’21) is a junior seeking a summer 2020 student internship. “I

have had the pleasure to get a taste of the packaging world, through labs, projects, competitions, and ICPF’s recent Teleconference on the Business of Corrugated Packaging & Displays. Using ICPF’s Career Portal, I have been able to discover many different job types and companies. I recently was elected the event planner for the packaging club at Virginia Tech and hope to continue to learn and get the opportunity to gain more experience in all aspects of corrugated packaging. Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on student internship possibilities, I am working with ICPF to find a shortened, six- to eight-week student design or sales internship in the corrugated packaging industry for the remainder of this summer.”

Annie Schaubel, Michigan State University (packaging science major, August ’20) has accepted a position with Hood Container Corp. as a sales trainee in Chicago. “I originally started out as a biology major, but after learning about the School of Packaging at MSU, I was intrigued. I couldn’t be happier with my decision after making the switch. I first attended the ICPF Teleconference on the Business of Corrugated Packaging & Displays in 2018, where I learned about the abundant opportunities in the corrugated industry. In 2019, I completed a co-op with PCA. After attending ICPF’s teleconference again in 2020, I signed up for ICPF’s Career Portal because I knew that I wanted to continue my career in the corrugated industry. The Career Portal is a great tool to use for getting exposure to corrugated companies, whether it is for internships or for full-time positions. I want to thank ICPF for all of the help in my job search. I am very grateful for this opportunity as a recent college graduate, and I am eager to start at Hood Container Corporation!”

Cameron Stowe, Michigan State University (packaging science major, May ’20) has been hired as a management trainee at WestRock. “In February of 2019, I was fortunate enough to be nominated to attend ICPF’s Student/Executive Dialogue Dinner, where I had the opportunity to meet phenomenal executives from many companies, including WestRock. As a result of the dinner and my new contacts, I ended up completing a WestRock summer internship. Upon graduation this summer, I will be starting an 18-month WestRock management training program, where I will learn from various departments and branches in the greater Chicago area. Without my experience from the ICPF dinner, I would have never gained such valuable opportunities from such an incredible company. I am looking forward to meeting other packaging professionals and making a difference in the corrugated packaging industry!”


Richard Flaherty is president of the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation.