OXFORD, Ohio -- The Paper Science & Engineering Foundation at Miami University was founded in 1960 through the donations of several local paper mills and corporations who wanted to ensure the education of future paper engineers.
The foundation continues to actively work with students in the paper science and engineering program at Miami University. Paperitalo Publications was able to catch up with Rebecca Wolf, who will graduate in May 2022. We asked her a few questions about her experiences at Miami.
What attracted you to the Paper Science and Engineering program?
On my first tour to Miami, my tour guide was in the Paper Science and Engineering program. He briefly mentioned his experience in the program, but was very passionate and excited about it, so I looked into it further. During my first year, I was unsure about what type of engineering I wanted to do, but once I talked to my adviser about the combination of Paper Science and Chemical Engineering, I felt like the puzzle pieces fell into place.
Were you looking into pulp and paper when you were in high school?
No, I had never heard about pulp and paper before I visited Miami University. Even after hearing about it, I still did not consider it completely until after I started my first year.
Tell us about the internships and/or co-ops you have had.
My first internship was after my sophomore year. I was extremely lucky, as I had lost my first offer due to COVID but was able to quickly find another internship. I was a process engineering intern at ND Paper in Biron, WI. My main project was to help develop a better training program and standardize System Equipment Descriptions and Operating Procedure documents.
My second internship was after my junior year, where I worked for Enzymatic Deinking Technologies in Norcross, GA. In this position, I primarily conducted testing to observe the difference in strength properties against different pulps and treatments. I also was able to travel to customer sites for field data collection and testing.
What does this program mean to you?
The Paper Science and Engineering program at Miami has revolutionized my college experience. This program has helped me develop as an engineer and helped me determine what I would like to do in industry. The financial and career support has been extremely beneficial, as I have been able to explore many different locations and types of careers. I've also been able to optimize my involvement at Miami by being involved with TAPPI and other organizations. However, my favorite part about the Paper Science and Engineering program has been the professors and fellow classmates that I have spent the past years getting to know. I leave this program with a group of friends and colleagues that have a shared drive and passion.
Where do you see yourself in five and 10 years, and what are your career aspirations?
After graduation, I will begin a full-time position with Georgia-Pacific as a process engineer in Wisconsin. This position will allow me to gain a greater understanding of the paper industry and to continue to develop as an engineer from project work. Working in this research-based position will allow me to conduct a variety of projects. I see myself in this position for the next 5 years. The next 10 years is still undetermined. The knowledge and experience I gain from this position may lead me to another passion or location. At some point, I would like to move back to Chicago to be near my family. All I know for the next 10 years is that I want to be pursuing something that I am passionate about, wherever that is.
What would you recommend to anyone who might be interested in getting into pulp and paper?
To anyone interested in getting into the pulp and paper engineering, I would recommend speaking a student in the program. There are many programs throughout the country, and a good way to find which one would be best for you is by seeing it from the perspective of a student. For example, Miami's paper science and engineering was best for me because I was able to study Chemical Engineering and Paper Engineering together.
Please tell us what year you are in the program, your hometown, and anything interesting you might do in your free time.
I am graduating from Miami University in May 2022 with a major in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Paper Engineering. I'm from Palatine, Illinois, which is a northwest suburb of Chicago. On campus, I am also involved in Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity, and Best Buddies, an international organization that connects adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with college students for one-to-one friendships. In my free time, I like to stay active by playing on tons of intramural sports teams, including volleyball, broomball, and soccer.
Editor's Note: Click here for more on the Miami PS&E foundation.