Packademics: Packaging program is growing at University of Wisconsin-Stout

David Bellm

January 29, 2014

3 Min Read
Packademics: Packaging program is growing at University of Wisconsin-Stout

The University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, WI, has one of the oldest packaging education majors in the nation, but with new faculty, new ideas and more students the program might best be labeled “new and improved.”

The number of packaging majors at UW-Stout this fall is 210, almost double the number a decade ago. The program combines general education with technical and professional studies, and students can choose from eight emphasis areas.

They get hands-on experience through extensive lab activities and co-op opportunities. Nearly a quarter of this year’s packaging majors, 43, and faculty were scheduled to attend Pack Expo International 2010 beginning Oct. 31 in Chicago. The Bachelor of Science program also has proved to be recession-proof with a long and continuing track record of nearly 100 percent job placement of its graduates. Overall, the university has enjoyed strong enrollment, reaching a record 9,312 students enrolled this fall.

The university named Mike Lorenzen program director in September. A member of the faculty for 11 years, he has several goals, including bringing health and medical packaging into the curriculum and re-establishing the packaging center in the campus manufacturing outreach program.

Other new and recently added faculty include:

Joongmin Shin, new this fall. He specializes in the control of antimicrobial agent release and packaging permeability control. Shin is conducting research on the shelf life of foods, on mechanisms in food that cause deterioration and on how to prevent deterioration. He has a doctorate in packaging science from Michigan State University.

Kereilemang Khanah Mokwena, new this fall. She earned a doctorate in food engineering from Washington State University and has a master’s in postharvest and food preservation engineering from Katholieke University in Leuven, Belgium. Mokwena specializes in polymer materials for food packaging and is conducting research on effects of food processing on material properties, including moisture effects, long term shelf life, and bio-based materials.

•  John Scheffler, new in 2009. He previously worked in the industry for 20 years. His areas of expertise are distribution, data recording, logistics, testing, industrial packaging, design, paper and corrugated materials.  He is working to add case studies to his curriculum and is researching sustainability, via a grant from the Partnership for Innovation in Wisconsin’s Packaging and Printing Industry.

Robert Meisner, who joined the faculty in 2007 after 13 years in the industry. He specializes in packaging methods, distribution and dynamics.  He has upgraded the computer lab and secured donations of key software and hardware. He initiated an overseas co-op for Stout and has worked with students on real-world industry problems. Meisner is faculty adviser to the Institute of Packaging Professionals campus chapter, which has more than 120 members.

Jack Vaughan, new in 2006. He has worked in packaging for 52 years and been an industry consultant for 25 years. He specializes in food; household and personal care products; and medical devices and pharmaceuticals. He was part of an industry advisory board that helped start the program at UW-Stout in the mid-1960s.

This article was written by Jerry Poling of the University of Wisconsin-Stout  News Bureau. For more information about the university’s packaging program, please visit


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