OXFORD, Ohio -- The Paper Science & Engineering Foundation at Miami University was founded in 1960 through the donations of several local paper mills and corporations who wanted to ensure the education of future paper engineers.
The foundation continues to actively work with students in the paper science and engineering program at Miami University. The program boasts 100% placement for graduates, with some of the highest starting salaries across campus. Currently, 86 Miami students have a Paper Engineering minor, and more than $270,000 in scholarships have been awarded through the foundation to 57 students for the 2018-2019 academic year. The foundation will host its annual banquet Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at the Armstrong Student Center on the Oxford campus.
Paperitalo Publications was able to catch up with Riley Docherty, a senior in the program. We asked him a few questions about his experiences at Miami.
Paperitalo: What attracted you to the Paper Science and Engineering program?
Docherty: What originally attracted me to the Paper Science and Engineering program was the scholarship opportunities and the 100% job placement. However after arriving at Miami, I quickly realized it was more than that and the small community within the Paper Science program was exactly what I was looking for.
Paperitalo: Were you looking into pulp and paper when you were in high school?
Docherty: I was not looking into pulp and paper when I was in high school until I had toured Miami University and found out about the program here.
Paperitalo: Tell us about the internships and co-ops you have had.
Docherty: Both of my internships have been on the converting side of the industry with Avery Dennison. I spent the Summer of 2017 in Peachtree City, Georgia working with their EHS team. I spent this past summer with them in Mentor, Ohio, completing a wide variety of projects including being a part of a Quality Control Blitz project. It was in the Quality Control meetings where I was able to apply the paper knowledge learned in the classroom to potentially identify defects and where in the process they may have occurred.
Paperitalo: What does this program mean to you?
Docherty: This program means the world to me. Without this program, I would not have developed into the person I was striving to be. It gave me the small community and friendships I was hoping to obtain at Miami. It also let me step out of my comfort zone with unique career and networking opportunities that I would not have gotten in any other program. The Paper Science program was the reason I chose Miami University and it was the smartest decision I have ever made.
Paperitalo: Where do you see yourself in five and 10 years, and what are your career aspirations?
Docherty: In 5 to 10 years I hope to be a manager at Avery Dennison, applying the leadership skills I have learned in my 3.5 years at Miami. My career goal has always been to find a company that recognizes hard work and rewards it with opportunity. I aspire to be a Director of Operations at some point in my career while also giving younger engineers opportunities and chances, just as others have done for me now.
Paperitalo: What would you recommend to anyone who might be interested in getting into pulp and paper?
Docherty: I have multiple opportunities to speak with students who might be interested in the pulp and paper industry and what I tend to focus on is what they are looking for in a career as an engineer or anything beyond that. Most engineering students strive to be a manager some day and I tell them that there is no other industry that can give them the opportunities so early on. I was told the same thing when I joined the program by graduating seniors who are already managers and being able to speak about this fast of a turnaround with new students seem to resonate with them.
Paperitalo: Please let us know of anything else of interest about your experiences in the program.
Docherty: Without this program, I would feel lost with my Chemical Engineering degree. The Paper Science program has such a unique way of teaching and our two professors teaching the program adapt to the industry so well. We are given direct experience whether it is through special lectures from industry experts or tours of local facilities. It is nice to be able to see the physical things we are learning about in the classroom and that the knowledge we have obtained is going to be used potentially every day.
Paperitalo: Please tell us what year you are in the program, your hometown, and anything interesting you might do in your free time.
Docherty: I am a senior in the Paper Science program from Avon, Ohio. In my free time I play a lot of golf, am a diehard Cleveland Browns fan, and I am also getting married this June after graduating.
Editor's Note: Click here for more on the Miami PS&E foundation.