Brandon Pierce, senior Packaging Science major, attained a co-op with Burt’s Bees in Durham, NC. His work here focused on research and development.
How did you choose your major?
I chose Packaging Science because of the breadth of course offerings. I have always loved math and science, but the marketing and design aspects of packaging also piqued my interest.
How did you attain the internship you had?
Burt's Bees works with the Cooperative Education Program every semester to hire a student intern for the R&D Department. The program makes it really easy to attain co-ops, setting up interviews and helping students with their resumes.
What is the biggest lesson you took away from your co-op?
The biggest lesson I learned from my position at my co-op was to trust in my knowledge and myself. Being the intern can be a little intimidating because you don't have the experience or authority of a full-time employee, but this can be a positive. You have a new set of eyes looking at problems and coming up with new ways of doing things can be beneficial.
What is your dream job?
Any job that I can be proud of the work I am doing and has an environment that I am happy in. I think finding a company that is a fit culturally and has the right people to help me succeed will lead me to my dream job.
Who in your field do you admire?
All of my co-workers in the packaging group at Burt's Bees were extremely helpful and taught me what it takes to be a successful packaging engineer. I really admire all of them for their expertise and for continuing to innovate, especially when it comes to sustainability. A big part of the Burt's Bees culture is to not only create a healthy business, but healthy people and environment as well. The group really puts a focus on this and it made me proud to be a part of the Burt's Bees team.
What is something you enjoy outside of the classroom?
Ever since I started volunteering at my local hospital, I have enjoyed doing service in the community and helping those less fortunate. At Clemson, the Unity Project is a great experience and allows students to get involved in their community. While in Durham, NC for my co-op, I was able to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to help build affordable housing for those in need.
Any advice to current or prospective students?
My advice to students is to seek opportunities out in industry and to take them seriously because they can lead to full-time positions or provide good networking contacts for the future.
This has been edited for length and clarity.