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Distribution Packaging Internship Program

Distribution Packaging Internship Program

The Distribution Packaging Internship Program (DPIP) is the most hands-on, college-level, training program offered in the United States. Every year, four students are selected based on their academic performance, professionalism, and personal skills to be part of the program. The program includes a three-month, full-time summer internship, two academic classes, and two semesters of part-time work experience as a laboratory technician at the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design.

2019 interns and faculty leaders

2019 interns and faculty

What are we looking for in an intern?

The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design’s pallet testing laboratory hires four undergraduate students into its Distribution Packaging Internship Program each year. Our lab assistant interns are involved in many aspects of the laboratory’s day to day operations and are expected to be professional and driven as they are often independently responsible for high precision testing and continuous improvement projects. We are looking for candidates who:

  • are sophomores or juniors in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, majoring in Packaging Systems and Design.
  • have an interest in distribution packaging.
  • thrive on performance-driven teams.
  • have strong interpersonal and organizational skills.
  • can work independantly and have a detail-oriented personality.
  • enjoy working with their hands and are excited to learn new skills.

This internship is open to anyone in the Packaging Systems and Design major and it requires a full-year commitment including:

  • Full-time summer internship (40 hours per week - from the Monday after graduation in May through the Friday before classes start in August)
  • Part-time laboratory assistant work throughout the fall and spring semesters (8 hours per week minimum)
  • Two 3-credit courses - one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester (SBIO 3005 and SBIO 3006)

If you are an undergraduate student:


Interns inspecting stretch-wrapper data.

interns 1

Interns aligning box for drop-testing.

interns 2

Our interns get to work on real-world issues that matter! During DPIP, interns will:

  • Operate the various testing equipment found in most packaging testing labs.
  • Interpret the various ASTMISTA, and ISO packaging standards.
  • Develop experiments that can evaluate the performance of packaging shipped through the physical distribution system.
  • Design sustainable packaging solutions for a variety of applications by reducing weight, optimizing shipping, and using earth friendly materials.
  • Implement continuous improvement projects based on the principles of Lean Management.
  • Manage projects effectively.
  • Prepare high quality reports and presentations.

Our interns balance work and fun!

When they aren't learning standards, developing experiments, and running industrial equipment, our interns spend their time:

  • On an annual start-of-the-internship retreat to Mountain Lake, VA.
  • Doing team-building exercises.
  • Taking tours of plants and facilities.
  • Having fun hiking, doing ropes courses, experiencing escape rooms and other group activities!

Interns after team-building exercise.

interns 3

Intern girls at hiking overlook.

interns 4