MSU Packaging student chose packaging for its unique combination of art and science

Packaging senior Lily Kirkman decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in packaging for its design-based learning and science.

Lily Kirkman with her father Bob Kirkman standing in front of a window. In the background, construction is taking place to renovate the School of Packaging building.
Lily Kirkman, packaging senior and president of CoPPAC, with her father, MSU alumnus Bob Kirkman, at the Packaging Building Groundbreaking Ceremony in April 2022. In the background, construction is taking place to renovate the School of Packaging building.

Lily Kirkman, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, is a senior in the Michigan State University (MSU) School of Packaging and is expected to graduate in spring 2023. Her packaging pursuit began in high school with a passion for both art and science. At the time, she didn’t imagine she could combine them both into a profession.

“While on my college search, I stumbled upon this amazing degree called packaging," Kirkman said. "It is the perfect mix of design-based learning and the science I longed for. From freshman year to now, I have fallen in love with this program and all the opportunities it brings.”

“I believe this degree will give me the best of both worlds with a good mix of both design-based learning and science,” she added.

Through the School of Packaging in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, students learn to create innovative solutions that enhance or maintain product quality, increase efficiency and reduce waste. In doing so, students contribute to the economic development and quality of life of people across the world through highly relevant, educational experiences and cutting-edge research.

Lily Kirkman on the ice in hockey gear at Munn Ice Arena.
Lily Kirkman is member of the MSU Women's Club Hockey team.

Outside of her studies, Kirkman is a member of the MSU Women’s Club Hockey team and serves as president of the MSU Coalition of Packaging Professionals and Academic Connections (CoPPAC). This club provides a platform for companies and packaging professionals to network and engage with MSU’s packaging students. In fact, she says her involvement with CoPPAC has been one of her best experiences at the School of Packaging.

“Through my service on the board for MSU CoPPAC, I have become even more immersed in the program, gained close packaging friends and made close ties with our outstanding packaging professors.”

As president of CoPPAC, Kirkman represented the packaging student body at the Packaging Building Groundbreaking Ceremony in April 2022. She shared her enthusiasm for the much-needed renovations to the packaging building.

 

Lily Kirkman speaking at a podium with the Michigan State University wordmark on the front.
Lily Kirkman, packaging senior and president of CoPPAC, spoke at the Packaging Building Groundbreaking Ceremony in April 2022.

 

“With the new facility, we are not just getting a new building but a new home to create connections, to collaborate and to explore professional opportunities,” she said. “Having a facility that promotes this will be so exciting and will enrich all future packaging students.”

“I am beyond excited about all the new equipment and labs in the new facility. They will more closely match what is being used in industry and will better prepare packaging students for their careers,” she said. “I am thrilled to see the School of Packaging turn from an outdated building to a hub for connections and learning. This program is amazing and having a state-of-the-art facility to match it will only increase our value for the packaging industry.”

Kirkman completed an internship with Nestle Coffee Partners in the summer of 2022. She plans to explore as much of the packaging industry and continue learning as much as she can before graduating in May 2023.

“I want others to know that packaging is such a great degree because there is so much you can do with it in your future career and the sense of community in this major is so strong.”


 

Lily Kirkman headshot
Lily Kirkman

Name: Lily Kirkman

Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Major/Concentration: Packaging Science, B.S.

Expected graduation date: May 2023

Why did you choose your major and why MSU?
I chose packaging as my degree at MSU because I always had a love for art and science. I believe this degree will give me the best of both worlds with a good mix of both design-based learning and science. 

Who or what inspired your interest in the major you selected?
My parents inspired my interest in Packaging. When I went for college tours, they always spoke so highly of the Packaging Program at MSU. They encouraged me to take a tour of the building to learn a little more about packaging.

What has been one of your best experiences within your major so far?
I think the best experience in my major has been being involved in the packaging club, MSU CoPPAC. It has been a great way to meet others in my major and connect with people in the industry. I also love how our major gives us an opportunity to have hands-on experience with our amazing lab classes. 

What do you want others to know about this major?
I want others to know that packaging is such a great degree because there is so much you can do with it in your future career and the sense of community in this major is so strong. 

What are some of the best things about being an MSU student?
I love being an MSU student because of our programs, sports and great people that go here.

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities or committees? If yes, please list.
MSU CoPPAC and MSU Women's Club Hockey.

Also, what is your favorite activity and why is it important to you?
I can't pick a favorite they both are important to me!

Any thoughts or advice for current or new students?
I think some advice I have for new and current students is to take every opportunity you can through MSU. Michigan State has so many clubs, activities and so much more so try to take advantage of that.

What are your future plans? (Internships, future job aspirations, etc.)
Currently, I am on an internship with Nestle Coffee Partners. My future plans are to explore as much of the packaging industry and learn as much as I can!

 

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