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Job Offers And No College Loans

There are two things that aren't unusual for students in ESF's paper engineering program: graduating with a job already lined up and finishing school with little to no debt.

The frequent early success in the job market stems from a requirement that paper engineering students do co-ops and paid internships, according to Dr. Gary Scott, chair of the Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering.

Students are required to do at least one 12-week paid internship while at ESF, Scott said. Most of those positions pay an average of $20 an hour. "Some even provide housing," he said. Students can also do multiple internships during their summer breaks.

"It's not unusual for students to complete their internships and get offered a job contingent upon their graduation," Scott said.

The department runs its own career placement program. September and October are busy in the department's home of Walters Hall as students dressed in their workplace-best filter in and out of the building for interviews with various companies that recruit on campus. If a company can't get to campus, the department has a Skype-enabled interview room.

"Over the next three weeks we have 10 companies coming in to recruit," Scott said. Some companies come for multiple days, make presentations to the students about the company and conduct interviews.

Stephen Tramposch, PBE '15, credits ESF with ensuring he was well prepared to enter the workforce. "With the co-ops and internships, ESF is, in my mind, the best school to prepare you for the paper industry," he said.

Tramposch didn't have one job offer prior to graduation – he had three. He graduated in May and began his job as a process engineer at Verso Paper in Maine in June.

For Tramposch it was practically love at first sight when he arrived at ESF: "I saw the paper mill (in Walters Hall) and kind of knew I wanted to do it. I love chemical engineering."

Today, he's taken that passion to Verso Paper, a producer of printing papers, specialty papers and pulp. Tramposch said his job changes on a daily basis. "I do an enormous amount of different things," he said. "I come into work with one thing in mind and end up doing 100 different things."

Not only did Tramposch graduate with a job, he also left ESF with no debt thanks to the second avenue of support for paper engineering students: scholarships provided by the Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation SPPF).

The SPPF was created in 1960 by members of the paper industry to "provide a steady stream of engineers for the industry," said Scott. It's a non-profit organization whose endowment exists specifically to provide scholarships in paper engineering at ESF, he added.

Students in the program automatically receive a scholarship, said Scott; there's no application. First-year students receive $500 per semester, sophomores through seniors can receive up to $3,200 depending on their grade point average.

"They can keep the scholarship as long as they maintain at least a 2.5. So if you maintain a 3.25 over the course of four years, it's slightly over $20,000" said Scott.

"It's very possible between the scholarship and internships that students can get through college without taking out a loan," he said.