Three internships and participation in the Mission: Packaging program is giving Anna Lorette the experience to successfully launch her career as a packaging professional when she graduates in the spring of 2017.
Lorette is a packaging science major at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and was one of three students selected for the Mission: Packaging program, sponsored by Shurtape Technologies LLC, a leading producer of pressure-sensitive tapes.
Packaging Digest recognizes her as a Rising Star in packaging and gives you the chance to get to know her a bit in this exclusive interview.
Tell us about yourself.
Lorette: I grew up in Maine with my three brothers and my parents. I am a fourth year student at RIT, majoring in packaging science with a concentration in advertising and public relations.
I completed my first co-op with Corning Life Sciences in Tewksbury, MA. My second co-op was with PepsiCo in Chicago and I will be going to ACCO Brands in Lake Zurich, IL, for my third internship. I will be graduating in the spring of 2017.
What does participating in Shurtape’s Mission: Packaging program mean to you?
Lorette: Participating in Shurtape's mission is an incredible experience because it allows us to network with packaging professionals, share experiences and challenges us to think about different situations. Working with Shurtape also allows us to raise awareness of packaging and packaging-related topics and how packaging plays an important role in our everyday lives, whether we know it or not.
[Editor’s note: You can read Lorette’s Mission: Packaging blogs at www.tapeuniversity.com/tag/anna-lorette/.]
What segment of packaging interests you the most and why?
Lorette: The most valuable thing I have learned in packaging is relationships. Relationships with your peers, co-workers, suppliers, management and customers are absolutely critical in a successful company. Packaging is a small field in comparison to other engineering fields and, because it is, we have to work hard to maintain mutually respectful relationships with everyone. It’s also a great advantage to packaging because you can move to a different company and, years down the road, you can run across someone you worked with before.
What real-world packaging experiences have you had and what did you learn from them?
Lorette: My friends and family were surprised when I switched from biology to packaging because they had never heard of it and they had no idea what the major entailed. They believed I would be making boxes for the rest of my life. While some aspects of that are true, a seemingly simple box is quite more complex once we dive into the technical aspects of the design and structure.
My family and friends are all very supportive of what I am doing because this career has a lot of opportunities. In fact, most of my friends today are fellow packaging engineers—it's just one big family!
How can/should social media be used to advance packaging?
Lorette: Social media is becoming more and more popular and several companies are starting to join the bandwagon. With so many companies out in the market place, there is a lot of overlap and competition for them to sell their products. Because of this, packaging has to be able to sell itself on the shelf and stand out from the crowd. Using social media can help with the selling of a unique package because it raises awareness and can be a fun initiative. Take the "Share a Coke" program or the #puppymonkeybaby for example. Social media played a huge role in getting these products into customers’ hands.
What piece of advice would you give other packaging students or students who are considering packaging as a career choice?
Lorette: I would suggest students looking into packaging to go for it. You will not regret taking the chance on a major that nobody thinks about until they are trying to open that frustrating clamshell package!
Packaging provides so many opportunities both on a national and global scale because every company needs packaging engineers to help ensure safe delivery of their products to the store shelf and into the customers’ hands. Since every company needs packaging engineers, the job placement and opportunities are limitless.
Advance your continuing education by attending the conferences and expo at MinnPack 2016 (Sept. 21-22; Minneapolis).