With all the splendor of a peacock displaying its feathers, Rutgers Day gave the Packaging Engineering Program an occasion to exhibit its’ recent growth and all the opportunities it offers prospective students.
Music blared and grilled BBQ steam filled Busch campus’ air as aspiring engineering students eagerly asked questions at each table. Toddlers signaled their presence with bright red Rutgers balloons while parents guided their children through tutorials offered by engineering students.
Various professors, alumni and students stood under the Packaging Engineering tent providing games, testimonies and hands-on activities to explain what a packaging engineer really does.
“This is the first time packaging engineering participated in Rutgers Day,” said Dr. Hae Chang Gea, director of the Packaging Engineering Program. “It is wonderful to see such a great turn-out!”
Packaging engineering students designed engineering T-shirts and lead recycling games to teach the public more about packaging manufacturing through hands-on activities.
Dave Nesi, an alumn from the class of 1982 said “I graduated with seven people. It’s exciting to see that now the program has grown to 120!”
When Nesi first joined the Rutgers Packaging Engineering Program, it was only a masters program.
Today, he has experience working as a packaging engineer for General Kraft foods helping make cutting edge design and improving their packaging processes. His position there began as internship offered by fellowing packaging alumn Jeff Willey.
Inside the packaging engineering tent were displays of nearly century old chocolate and toothpaste packages.
Dr. Gea said “We would like to thank Bayer HealthCare and Mars Chocolate for sharing and displaying their historical packages, like the very original aspirin package and the 1920s Milky Way package from Mars Chocolate.”
Willey, another alumn, spoke of his experience making designs for Kraft, Nestle and Cadberry demonstrating that a packaging engineer can employ creativity under a variety of companies that create versatile designs.
Paul Bowers, who was a classmate of Nesi’s in the class of 1984, said “[Packaging Engineering] is fun and creative…from tech marketing and the operational community to food, pharmaceuticals and industrial applications- you can do everything!”
Bowers, Willey and Nesi affirmed from personal experience that successfully landing a job in the packaging engineering field is not a challenge as the market will always be in high demand of packages.
Kumar Nanavati, who graduated from Rutgers packaging engineering in 1975, is now the director of Global Packaging Technology at Bristol Myers Squibb Company.
His time studying packaging engineering at the University was a springboard for his time at companies like Pfizer, Novartis and Revlon.
Quinn Trin graduated in May of 2013 joined a pharmaceutical company in under a year.
The various stories of these alumni ranging in all ages could offer regarding packaging engineering work demonstrate how promising the field is.