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. Paperitalo Publications was able to catch up with senior Bailey Feeney. We asked him a few questions about his experiences at Miami.
What attracted you to the Paper Science and Engineering Program?
I was initially attracted to this program because it was something that I had never heard of before. It was super interesting to me because paper products are all around us, but we never really stop to think about how many different types there are and the manufacturing processes that go into producing them. Another reason I was so attracted to the program was the amazing scholarships offered by the Paper Science and Engineering Foundation here on campus.
Were you looking into pulp and paper when you were in high school?
I actually was not! I really had no idea what I wanted to do with chemical engineering, and I had no idea that the pulp and paper industry was as large and connected as it is.
Tell us about the internships and/or co-ops you have had.
The first internship I had was a process control internship with PCA in Jackson, AL in the Summer of 2021. I found this internship through the SASI (Systems Automation Springboard for Internships) workshop that was just started up at Miami University. This program was started up due to the demand for process control engineers, specifically within the paper industry. The SASI workshop took place in January over the 3-week J-term where students received process control training and participated in lab activities. Each student had this training sponsored by a company, and then they would go work for that company over the summer. During my internship, I dealt a lot with function block programming, and I was able to help develop control logic for some new boiler feedwater pumps. I also created diagrams of PCU (process control unit) cabinets which specified the location of different control modules, I/O modules, and terminating units so that they could be easily referenced from a computer as opposed to going all over the mill. Lastly, I was able to cross-list multiple P&ID's with an instrument list for the new OCC plant to make sure that all of the instruments on the P&ID's were accounted for in the instrument list.
The second internship I had was with Axchem in Rumford, ME during the Summer of 2022. Here, I gained a lot of experience with the chemical supplier side of things including account managing, routine testing, creating reports, and participating in chemical trials. I put together multiple spreadsheets to help forecast when we would need to order chemicals based on current usage rates, tank sizes, and load sizes. I also carried out routine wet-end testing to create a baseline that could be referenced for future chemical trials or general troubleshooting. I also really enjoyed getting to know the operators, managers, and material handlers. Lastly, I learned a ton about different chemical applications.
What does this program mean to you?
This program has essentially shaped my college experience and my career path. It has allowed me to find an industry that is interesting to me and that I am extremely passionate about. The fact that this program exists just shows how much people in the industry care about the students that will be working in is industry someday.
Where do you see yourself in five and 10 years, and what are your career aspirations?
After graduation, I will be working as a Technical Sales Engineer for Axchem, and I plan on learning the most I possibly can. In five years, I would hope to see myself still working in a chemical supplier role with many more responsibilities than when I first started. I also think it would be really interesting to specialize in controls related to chemical applications. In 10 years, I could see myself owning a home and starting a family. I'm sure my overall career aspirations might change as time goes on, but someone who has really inspired me has been Chris Tatman. Eventually, I hope to have a similar level of knowledge about chemical applications and the industry overall as Chris does.
What would you recommend to anyone who might be interested in getting into pulp and paper?
I would honestly say to just try it if you're unsure! I was unsure if it was right for me at first, and then I took the first class (CPB 201), and I found it fascinating. When you start learning about the industry, you're able to see how many levels there are, and you're able to see down past the tip of the iceberg.
Please let us know of anything else of interest about your experiences in the program.
I became super involved in our student chapter of TAPPI. I started out in the position of the underclassman liaison where I created the mentorship program. This program put students new to the program in direct contact with students who have been in the program for some time. This was done in order to bridge the gap between the newer and older students to make TAPPI more connected. I am now serving as the president of our chapter, and it has been amazing getting to know the speakers and go on mill tours.
Please tell us what year you are in the program, your hometown, and anything interesting you might do in your free time.
I am a senior in the program, and I am from Defiance, OH. In my free time, I love to go outside. Over the summer in Maine, I learned that I absolutely loved hiking! I also enjoy being active whether it be playing sports or just working out.
Editor's Note: Click here for more on the Miami PS&E foundation.