Sarah Webber was offered her full-time dream job five months before graduation. She will be a sustainable packaging engineer at Plastic Ingenuity in Cross Plains, a custom thermoforming company that serves the health care, food and consumer packaging markets.
“I will be working to help customers meet and/or exceed their sustainability goals,” she said. “It is safe to say that my Stout education has prepared me for entering the workforce. My story epitomizes why Stout is so different from other universities. An experience like this simply would not have happened if I had gone somewhere else for my education.”
Webber graduated from UW-Stout with her bachelor’s in packaging on Dec. 17. She received the Cooperative Education and Internship Program Student of the Year award for her internship with Smiths Medical in 2021. She was offered the co-op during UW-Stout’s Career Conference, which she encourages other students to attend.
How did your Stout experience help you land your career?
The unique experience I had that changed the trajectory of my future as a packaging engineer was in my senior packaging research seminar class. The objective of this course was to conduct valuable research on an impactful packaging topic. My group chose to research new avenues for achieving sustainability in the health care packaging industry.
Our professor, Dr. Min DeGruson, facilitated guest speakers to come work with each group throughout the semester. The guest speakers for my project were Jenn Goff of Oliver Healthcare Packaging, Kiley Djupstrom of Plastic Ingenuity and Zach Muscato of Plastic Ingenuity.
Connecting with these industry professionals brought our research project to the next level.
We were able to conduct an in-depth survey of more than 100 health care packaging engineers and connect with industry groups such as the Healthcare Packaging Recycling Council, Kilmer Innovations in Packaging and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
During that time, I began working for Jenn as an intern on her product strategy team at Oliver Healthcare Packaging, and also began assisting Jenn and Kiley as they created a new health care packaging conference called thePACKout. As a member of the sustainability agenda committee, I worked with some of the best and brightest in the industry to facilitate engaging sustainability sessions at the conference.