Unpacking a Bright Future

Packaging Engineering Career Fair connects students with industry professionals and alumni 

 When the 11th Annual Rutgers Packaging Engineering Career Fair and Banquet brought all sectors of the packaging industry together to connect with Rutgers Engineering packaging major students and with one another.  

“The event is not only great at connecting current students with industry professionals to learn about the packaging industry and opportunities in the field, but also at keeping alumni engaged,” says Hao Lin, packaging engineering program director and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. “Thanks to the wonderful support of the industry, our packaging engineering program has an impressive 100% job placement rate for students seeking internship and co-op opportunities that serves as a pipeline to full-time employment in the field.” 

This year, 23 companies – several represented by packaging program alumni such as Tyriek Bryant from Mondelēz International, Johnson & Johnson’s Fanoula Dimarhos, Joyce Chang from Merck, and Scott Soleiman from Bayer Healthcare – attended the fair as exhibitors and met with students. Other industry leaders attending included Apple; Batallure Beauty; Berry Global; Church & Dwight; Colgate Palmolive; Estée Lauder; Haleon; Inncrereal; L’Oréal; Mars; Merck; Procter and Gamble; Shiseido; Unilever; and the U.S. Army Packaging Division.  

An event highlight, during the sit-down banquet following the fair, was an informative keynote address given by Ronald Yakubison, executive director of global packaging at Merck. He provided insights about pharmaceutical packaging operations, specifically addressing how Merck handled urgent and emergent pandemic demands.  

Following the keynote, scholarships were presented to packaging engineering students. New Jersey Packaging Executive Club (NJPEC) presented eight students with scholarships. Additional scholarships were awarded to 15 students by the Rutgers School of Engineering.  

A Full Circle Experience 

Johnson & Johnson packaging development engineer Fanoula Dimarhos, ENG’21, was among the packaging program alumni who came to the fair to represent their companies. “I attended the Packaging Career Fair to help my team discover new talent,” she recalled. “It was important to me to give back to the packaging program since I was able to benefit from it so much as a student.” 

“My favorite part about the experience was connecting with the students. As a Rutgers packaging graduate, I understood the stress related with their job searches,” she said. “It was truly a full circle moment to be able to attend the career fair as a recruiter and offer my wisdom and advice to students.”