Co-op! The First Few Weeks
I’m currently in the third week of my 6-month co-op with Ocean Spray Cranberries in Lakeville-Middleboro, MA. I am working at the corporate headquarters in the packaging department. As an intern, I am getting my feet wet with a number of different projects and responsibilities. Everything I have been working on has been helpful to my learning about some of the ins and outs of the packaging industry with in a major corporation and how my education will prepare me for work in the real world after college.
The work environment here is about what I expected as I knew I was going to be working at a corporate office. However, Ocean Spray is a little different in some regards. First of all, the company is actually a cooperative, meaning that the cranberry growers and bog owners actually own the company, and the corporate office works with them. Ocean Spray is one of the world’s largest cooperatives.
Also currently we are on summer hours in the company, with Monday through Thursday being slightly extended in hours, allowing for half day Fridays, which is pretty nice for the summer as it gives me longer weekends in case I want to make fun plans. This can be anything from visiting my brother who lives 2 ½ hours away in Connecticut or even last weekend, when I went to Boston for the Bruins’ Stanley Cup Parade. I am a big hockey fan, so that was pretty exciting to get to experience, even if it wasn’t for my hometown team. However I was cheering for the Bruins to win, despite the fact that Vancouver had former RIT player Chris Tanev on their team.
As far as what can be expected in a day at my co-op, it can be a bunch of different things. Anything from updating specifications on packaging components, to tracking the sustainability levels of new designs, going out to the plants to run tests, learning about different parts of the company, lots of different meetings, or even doing taste tests in the sensory lab. In a couple weeks I get to go on a tour of some of the bogs which should be pretty cool; I mean who doesn’t want to walk around in a pool of cranberries?
It’s still early within my co-op experience, but I am already loving it. When I came to RIT and started learning about packaging, I wondered right away what it would be like to be a packaging engineer for a career and through this process, I am learning just that and so much more. As I get farther along in my co-op I will be sure to get some pictures along the way so be on the lookout for more updates!