Jackson Schrickel, junior packaging science major, attained an internship with American Sugar Refining Inc. in Baltimore, Maryland last summer. Her work focused on logistics regarding food packaging lines.
How did you choose your major?
I’m a Packaging Science major, but I started out as a Graphic Communications major. I ended up taking an introduction to packaging class and was really interested in the industry. Even though the class was at 8AM class I was always excited to go and really wanted to learn more about the subject.
How did you attain the internship you had?
I went home for the summer and was determined to get my foot in the door into the packaging industry, so I started searching for internships. Luckily, I stumbled upon the American Sugar Refining, Inc. website, and they were hiring a summer intern right in Baltimore, 30 minutes from my hometown. I applied, completed a phone interview and then was asked to come in for an in person interview and facility tour. A few days after, I was offered the internship position.
What is the biggest lesson you took away from your internship?
I spent a lot of time looking at downtime on various machines and packaging lines, trying to figure out why the same issues were popping up repeatedly. I started to notice how important it was to pay attention to even the smallest details. Things that seemed so insignificant, such as a bag of sugar being a tenth of an inch too long, could cause major problems down the line, when the bag doesn't fit properly in the carton and falls out, creating a backup on the line and stopping production.
What is your dream job?
I want to work in the food packaging industry. I'm interested in the sustainable packaging that has started to become more prominent in the industry and important to the consumer. My emphasis area is in Food and Healthcare Packaging, and I plan on taking an assortment of Food Science classes during the rest of my time here at Clemson. Hopefully, my next summer internship and future co-op will also be in the food industry so that I can get even more exposure and experience with the process and the way that food packaging is progressing.
Who in your field do you admire?
I look up to all of our professors here at Clemson. Since the majority of them have industry experience they are all incredibly knowledgeable and genuinely want to help students get where they want to be. I enjoy learning from them since they are all so passionate about their field and can give real world examples and personal experiences. This just reinforces how important the information we're learning today will be helpful in our careers later on.
What is something you are passionate about outside of the classroom?
I've been riding and competing horses since I was 5 years old. I compete in "3 Day Eventing" competitions, which are essentially a triathlon of horse sports. It's such an adrenaline rush and so much fun. I’ve been able to continue this in college as a member of the Clemson Intercollegiate Eventing Team so I'm still around horses and other girls who ride.
Any advice to current or prospective students?
Apply to internships even if you don’t think you are completely qualified. Trying never hurts and you never know what connections one application can get you. I wish I knew how to study coming into college. I struggled for a little bit to figure out how I learn best, but once I discovered what studying habits worked best for me my grades improved and my studying was more productive.
This had been edited for length and clarity.