STEVENS POINT, Wisconsin -- The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Paper Science Foundation was organized in 1974 by the Paper Science Department Staff, along with industrial and business leaders.
The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point's Paper Science and Engineering program is committed to preparing students for successful technical careers in the pulp, paper and allied industries. This mission is accomplished by promoting excellence in instruction, undergraduate research opportunities, industrial internships, and involvement in professional organizations.
Paperitalo Publications was able to catch up with Austin Jackson, a senior in the program, and we asked him a few questions about his experiences at UWSP.
Paperitalo: What attracted you to the Paper Science and Engineering program?
Jackson: Originally I was looking to study Chemical Engineering. After looking for potential programs to attend, I came across UW-Stevens Point's Paper Science and Engineering program. I decided to take a tour of the campus to get a feel for what it was like. During my visit, I was shown the pilot paper machine on campus and knew that this was the place for me. I was attracted to the hands-on activates and learning opportunities the program had to offer.
Paperitalo: Were you looking into pulp and paper when you were in high school?
Jackson: Not at first, I grew up in a very rural area of Fond du Lac County and engineering just wasn't the main focus of my community or school. But I enjoyed math and chemistry in high school, so I knew I wanted to focus in that area at university.
Paperitalo: Tell us about the internships and/or co-ops you have had.
Jackson: My co-op was at Appleton Coated in Combined Locks, WI. I enjoyed the working environment and really got to experience what the paper industry was all about there. I was working on Paper Machine 7 as a manufacturing intern, doing projects related to quality and assisting in trials for improvement. I also interned there as well, working in the Research and Development department while Appleton Coated was trying to convert to making brown paper.
My next two summers were spent in Eau Claire, WI. I worked for Cascades Tissue Group in the Stock Prep and De-inking facility as a process-engineering intern. My projects focused on yield loss, quality improvements and day-to-day tasks. I really enjoyed my stint as Cascades; they gave me a lot of hands on work, which allowed me to really feel like I was a Process Engineer.
Paperitalo: What does this program mean to you?
Jackson: The Paper Science and Engineering program means a future. When I look at the need for young engineers in the paper industry, I see an opportunity to thrive and have a career in something that I have grown to love. The future is bright in this industry and I made the right choice by choosing this program.
Paperitalo: Where do you see yourself in five and 10 years, and what are your career aspirations?
Jackson: I have big aspirations. I want to be a leader and be involved in the manufacturing side of the industry; but to get to that point I have a lot to learn. In five years I want to be able to say I know a process and be able to communicate well enough to be a supervisor or a project lead. After the ten-year mark, I want to a superintendent of my own machine, while hopefully one day having aspirations of becoming a mill manager in the future. It's a lot to look forward to, but I have the ambition to say that I see myself in the industry for a long career.
Paperitalo: What would you recommend to anyone who might be interested in getting into pulp and paper?
Jackson: A simple recommendation isn't enough; I implore people to look into this program. Not only is it the greatest decision of my life, but also the outlook on a career in this industry is just amazing. The opportunities I've had have been so fun and interesting. You get out what you put in into this industry, so if you work hard and pay attention to the mentors that are just waiting to give their knowledge to people who want to learn, you will enjoy everything the paper industry has to offer.