"As a technical, rather than a design-oriented program, Rutgers’ packaging program is the nation’s only packaging program in an engineering school. Since it’s unique in that aspect, it gives us an edge with potential employers who come to us first for tech-oriented jobs."
Tyriek Bryant is from Teaneck, New Jersey who is studying packaging engineering. Here he talks about his experiences and hopes for the future.
Why did you choose Rutgers?
Going into college, I knew I wanted to be an engineer, so I wanted to go to a school with an amazing engineering program. Rutgers has a good program and as a state school, an affordable tuition.
What interested you in engineering as a high school student?
I’ve always been good at math and science and knew I wanted to go into some kind of STEM field. I’d always been a problem solver and I knew with engineering I’d be able to apply my strengths well.
Why the packaging engineering program?
Within packaging, there are a lot of ways to be dynamic. It’s a broad field with a lot of industries – such as cosmetics and food and beverage – and departments – such as design and project management – to go into.
I don’t want to be bogged down doing one thing my entire life: I want to be constantly growing and changing and doing different things. Packaging seemed like the best opportunity to do that as it is consumer-centric and responds quickly to trends and change.
Have you had any internships?
Right now, I’m working through the School’s co-op program at the global food and beverage company, Mondelēz International. I’ve been assigned to the productivity team, which focuses on finding cost-savings opportunities and pushing sustainability initiatives. I’m really excited about the work I’m doing.
Do you have a favorite course?
I’m an extremely experiential learner, so I would say the CAD for Packaging elective. In the first hour and a half of this weekly, three-hour class, the professor walked us through how to be able to create 3D renditions of objects, then we were able to explore software and actually use it during the rest of the class.
What about a favorite professor?
Michael Pinchiaroli, who teaches the Packaging, Printing/Decoration class. He’s engaged in our learning process and really invested in our learning. That makes me feel really good.
What do you hope to do after you graduate?
I’m still kind of figuring that out, although I want to stay in packaging and can see a lot of creative opportunities down the horizon in food and beverage packaging.
Are you involved with any extracurricular organizations?
I’m in the Skateboard Club. I’m also in the university-wide Scarlet Honor Council that reviews high- and low-profile cases of student misconduct – from housing violations to academic integrity – where an on-campus rule is violated.
This semester I have a show on 90.3 The Core, one of Rutgers’ radio stations, where I primarily play indie pop, indie rock and bossa nova. My show on Valentine’s day was a love-themed show.
What do you do for fun?
I skateboard and love to solve Rubik’s cubes. I own over 40 different Rubik’s cubes and have been solving them since middle school. I entered some competitions when I was younger, but I’m not fast enough. When I competed, at 16 seconds, I was dead last. The winner solved it in 9 seconds.
Do you have any advice for new students?
As a technical, rather than a design-oriented program, Rutgers’ packaging program is the nation’s only packaging program in an engineering school. Since it’s unique in that aspect, it gives us an edge with potential employers who come to us first for jobs that require a technical background. I think our school gives us a unique opportunity to get a little bit ahead in that aspect.
Does the packaging program offer special opportunities?
I really value the opportunity I had to go to the south of France last summer on a two-week, three-credit exchange with a school, ESEPAC in Le-Puy-en-Velay. We go there in the summer and in the fall semester, French students come to Rutgers.
It was great to see how students learn there and also work with creative software like Photoshop and Illustrator that we don’t normally work with here.
How do you hope to give back to future SoE students?
Rutgers packaging has invested in me with scholarships, including one that helped me go to France – so I want to give back and help however I can and make sure the program continues to grow.