A bus carrying 31 SUNY-ESF students left campus on Friday, January 16th. Sixteen hours later they pulled into the parking lot of the Hyatt Regency in Savannah, Georgia where they joined their colleagues from other campuses for the TAPPI Student Summit. This annual event is an opportunity to network with industry professionals and other students interested in the pulp and paper industry. There are companies interviewing to fill internships, co-ops and full-time positions and the days hold seminars, engineering competitions, and plant tours.
Seminar topics covered the state of the industry, new technology, how to work with vendors in the mill and how to approach generational differences. A panel of young professionals shared their experiences and a series of round table discussions had students discussing relevant topics like how to transition to the work world after graduating and how to negotiate a salary. The engineering competition was a hit again, with students creating and competing with catapults they constructed using materials including a take-out food carton, a take-out menu and chopsticks.
Wrapping up the weekend, students went on a tour of a Solenis plant on Monday, January 19th. Solenis is a specialty chemical supplier and their Savannah, Georgia plant creates ADK, a sizing used in papermaking. After the tour it was back on the bus for the long ride home.
Charlie Hodges, the welcoming speaker, said it best. “Never stop learning. Avail yourself of continuing education resources. Figure out what you love to do and try to do it.”We would like to thank TAPPI and all the sponsors for a weekend of learning, networking, and fun!