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Interview with UWSP Paper Science and Engineering Senior Nathan Roth

Nathan Roth
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 Nathan Roth, a senior in the program, and we asked him a few questions about his experiences at UWSP.

What attracted you to the Paper Science and Chemical Engineering program?

I first became attracted to the Paper Science and Chemical Engineering program after the first time I learned how paper was made. It was unbelievable to me (and still is) how much work and dedication are required to produce one of the most common and usable items on Earth. I quickly came to notice the challenges as well as the endless opportunities and possibilities that were presented when it came to paper making. This drew me into this program very quickly. Aside from all of this, I was dedicated to earning a degree in Chemical Engineering, so having the opportunity to earn both degrees seemed like a no brainer to me.

Were you looking into pulp and paper when you were in high school?

I did begin to look into pulp and paper my Junior year of high school. My father is in the industry, so it was in that way I first learned of it and the Paper Science and Chemical Engineering program at UW-Stevens Point.

Tell us about the internships and/or co-ops you have had.

I was fortunate enough to have three outstanding co-ops and internships throughout my college career. My first Co-op was at Ahlstrom in Mosinee, WI as a process engineer. This lasted 8 months and was a great firsthand experience as to how a pulp and paper mill functions. My next experience was a summer internship at Twin Rivers Paper Company in Northern Maine. I traveled far away from my hometown in Wisconsin so that I could step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. This internship allowed me to grow professionally and gain further knowledge and experience in the industry. My last summer internship was a Technical Sales Internship in the fox valley with Nalco Water, and Ecolab Company. This internship allowed me to see another major side of the paper industry, chemical sales. This internship allowed me to grow my interpersonal skills and see different paper mills and how they operate. All of these internship/co-op experiences helped shape me to be who I am professionally today, and I am forever thankful for everyone who has mentored me throughout these internship/co-op experiences.

What does this program mean to you?

This program taught me the disciplines of problem solving and how to work with others. I found that these two aspects are very important when working in industry.

Where do you see yourself in five and 10 years, and what are your career aspirations?

So far, I've really enjoyed seeing the paper machine operations side of things. With that being said, I do see myself being in that side of the industry long term. There is a lot that goes on when dealing with the operations of a paper machine, which makes this side of the industry very exciting. My career aspirations are to continue to work with others to drive the pulp and paper industry forward. This industry has a very promising and positive future, and I would love to be a part of that future.

What would you recommend to anyone who might be interested in getting into pulp and paper?

Get as much internship/co-op experience as possible throughout your college career. These opportunities are the best way to get your foot in the door in industry and allow you to learn what you like and don't like about the job. This is great experience to get because there are endless types of roles you can take on as a Paper Science and Chemical Engineering student. This is also a great way to help pay for tuition.

Please let us know of anything else of interest about your experiences in the program.

I've had the unique opportunity to be president of our Student Chapter TAPPI. It was a great way to be involved in the Paper Science and Chemical Engineering program and help get younger students to learn and appreciate the program and industry.

Please tell us what year you are in the program, your hometown, and anything interesting you might do in your free time.

I am currently in my last semester as a senior. I was born and raised in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Aside from school, I enjoy running, backpacking, and I also currently serve in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.


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