By guest blogger Stanton Wiggins
Excellent Experience for All
The 2015 TAPPI Student Summit in Savannah, Georgia was an excellent experience for under- and upperclassmen alike. There were numerous, informative presentations about topics including the state of the pulp and paper industries, new and emerging technologies, and industry sustainability.
Several industry professionals also spoke on the importance of teamwork to young professionals, emphasizing the industry’s need for people that communicate well despite the generation gaps they will inevitably face when starting work in the paper industry. Communication was branded one of the key skills facilitating the advancement of young professionals, and speakers gave a lot of thought-provoking advice on how to better work with people of all backgrounds in the mill setting.
Interviewing, Competing and Winning
Although it may sound as if the Student Summit was three full days of presentations with little chance for fun, this was not the case. There were a variety of opportunities to network with industry professionals and students from other schools. Interviews took place on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and Sunday and there was a career fair and networking reception Saturday evening.
There was an engineering competition designed to get people from different schools to collaborate and think critically together as well as a scavenger hunt with cash prizes (and NC State took home first and third prizes!). Official Summit events ended at around dinner time each night, which left a lot of time for us to explore Savannah, eat delicious food, meet people from other schools, bond with NC State classmates, and generally just have a good time.
Invaluable Industry Insight
I would encourage everyone to attend at least one TAPPI Student Summit before graduating. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect, the industry insight, networking, and overall experience were all memorable and well-worth the trip.
Each of the presentations was pertinent both to upper- and underclassmen and the professionals were inviting of questions and feedback. This year, with nearly 40 NCSU students traveling to the Summit, we represented – make it happen again next year!