Chemical Engineering Co-Op Story: International Paper


Lauren Powell

Chemical Engineering

What company did you co-op with and where are they located?

International Paper in Pensacola, FL

How did you identify and apply for your co-op? Are there any specific resources you used to find the opportunity (i.e. Handshake, career fairs, other recruitment events)?

I found out about this opportunity by attending the Fall 2021 engineering career fair. I applied through Handshake.

What was the application process like?

It was relatively straightforward. I applied through Handshake and answered some company-specific questions, including uploading a resume and cover letter.

Tell us about your experience. What types of tasks and projects did you engage in? Was there a particular project or part of the experience you learned the most from?

It was a really positive experience for me. I was able to work on a wide variety of projects in three different departments including quality assurance and control, a cost-reduction capital project, performing lab tests to ensure quality, and leading a new product development trial. My biggest takeaway is the importance of safety in a heavy manufacturing environment, and I had the opportunity to demonstrate safety leadership by leading by example and having good conversations about safety throughout my time there.

In what ways did this experience help you prepare for your next destination after Auburn?

This experience helped me develop professional skills like communication, working with others, and office etiquette. It also gave me the opportunity to experience moving to a new city, budgeting, and learning how to cook.

In what ways did your coursework or other experiences at Auburn prepare you for your co-op? Are there specific topics or skills you learned from classes that you put into practice on the job?

I would say that the most important things I’ve learned while here at Auburn include learning how to solve complex problems, working with a wide variety of other people, and general engineering principles to apply to the real world.

Do you have any advice for other students looking for an opportunity like yours?

I would say go for it! Start looking early for an experience like this, and utilize all the awesome career resources at Auburn.