ICPF Partners with Students and Recent Graduates for Campus Outreach

Over the years, and throughout the months of the pandemic, ICPF has continued to leverage outreach, education and the recruiting of students and new graduates into the industry through unique partnerships. One of the most significant partnerships has been with students and new hires in the industry who have attended ICPF events and used ICPF resources to acquire internships and full-time positions.

For example, ICPF’s student advisory board members have provided valued input on the establishment of ICPF’s “virtual” student/executive dialogue dinners and assisted with plans and implementation for converting ICPF’s Teleconference on the Business of Corrugated Packaging & Displays and the Careers to a virtual format.

ICPF additionally continues to recruit and work with designated ICPF student representatives on18 campuses who promote corrugated packaging careers, participation in ICPF’s initiatives and the utilization of ICPF resources among their fellow students.

ICPF’s industry mentoring program that matches ICPF selected students with students who are seeking internships or full-time positions has proved successful as well.

ICPF also recruits exceptional students to serve as student program manager interns to provide assistance with its outreach to students. More on ICPF’s current student intern, Emily Anderson, follows.

Emily Anderson – Clemson University

“My name is Emily Anderson. I am from Tampa, and just entered my senior year at Clemson University. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science major in Packaging Science with a Minor in Business Administration with plans of graduation this coming December 2022.

For as long as I can remember, I have possessed a creative mind and a curiosity about the inner workings of different systems. I love hands-on experience to see how a product is developed from start to finish. So in my sophomore year after taking an Introduction to Graphic Communications and Packaging Science class for fun, I became fascinated by the elective. I immediately joined the Clemson Packaging Science Club to participate in club meetings and to network with professionals. I then applied to change my major from industrial engineering to packaging science, and was accepted.

Coming into the game a year late, I learned a co-op rotation was required to graduate. I quickly started following industry trends and encountered Richard Flaherty, the president of the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation, through Clemson's packaging program and on LinkedIn. His encouragement and concern for students to succeed in the industry were very reassuring and supportive. After being introduced to the ICPF, I was invited to ICPF’s virtual Student Dialogue Dinner over winter break where I had the opportunity to speak with a dozen representatives from corrugated packaging companies that had earlier posted openings on ICPF’s career portal. Zoom breakout rooms made it possible to speak to multiple executives and gain direct insight from each after asking my questions. I was amazed by some of their display rooms and campaigns they had shared there online. I learned about the business side of packaging, the sustainability of corrugated packaging, and career opportunities, while connecting with roughly 35 students across the country who had a diversity of majors from different schools. All of the students’ various majors and interests meshed with the corrugated packaging industry.

Following the event, Richard Flaherty called me to personally follow-up about my being nervous in being able to secure my first co-op/internship rotation. He gave me advice as he shared his knowledge about finding that first professional role and where to search. He reminded me of the career portal on the ICPF website and made me aware of dozens of corporate partners that recruit from the ICPF. I decided to post my resume and profile and get started with the job hunt. Kelsea Potthast, ICPF’s student program manager intern, was a huge help as I looked for co-op positions and talked me through her personal ICPF application experience. I applied to several of the many corrugated packaging solutions internship programs through the ICPF career portal and was grateful to hear these companies had an interest in me as well. I could sense these corrugated companies were genuinely intrigued in getting to know me and provide me with a solid foundation for the corrugated and displays industry and each department involved. I scheduled interviews and was able to tie down a co-op with the WestRock Corporation in South Carolina.

My co-op at one of WestRock’s sheet plants was a great introduction to corrugated packaging. I learned about the production and sales side and worked beside the design team editing CAD files and running the CAD table. The business unit quality manager taught me so much about the quality side of corrugated, and I was able to participate in continuous improvement projects. I worked on over 12 customer issues independently and qualified $12,000 in immediate savings, with a forecasted savings of $15,000 a year. I traveled to Georgia and had the opportunity to see a full-scale corrugator along with shadowing sales reps on clients’ plant tours.

My summer co-op would not have been possible if not for the ICPF career portal. I am so thankful for my experience there, as it meant so much more to me than just checking off a box to get my degree.

Following my co-op, I emailed Richard Flaherty expressing thanks and asking if there were any other ways I could get involved. The president invited me to be a part of the ICPF Student Advisory Board and an ICPF representative for Clemson University. Two special opportunities to expand student engagement and participation at events, share the resources the ICPF has to offer for undergraduates and recent graduates and to help brainstorm ways to recruit students and new graduates into the industry.

This past year I ran for leadership in Clemson’s packaging science club, and was elected secretary. I now am proud to represent the club this year as its president. My passion for this packaging major and the people in it continues to grow, and I want to be able to share it with fellow students.

Over the past six months I have been serving as ICPF’s Program Manager Student Intern. My principle work has been in coordinating and assisting in campus outreach including working with ICPF’s student representatives on individual campuses, scheduling and participating in ICPF presentations on the industry at college student packaging clubs across the country, the creation and update of industry promotional information, scholarship and other ICPF web content for students, and assisting in the coordinating various elements of ICPF’s student advisory board meetings and upcoming Teleconference. I look forward to working with the ICPF over the next year, spreading the word about its resources, and gaining more exposure to the corrugated and displays industry!”

Emily is seeking a corrugated packaging student internship in Florida for summer 2022 and a full time position upon her graduation in December 2022. She is interested in sales, design and production internships. Emily’s resume is available by visiting ICPF’s career portal.