Distribution PACKAGING
Internship PROGRAM

The Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design’s pallet testing laboratory here at Virginia Tech hires four undergraduate students into its Distribution Packaging Internship Program each semester. We look for experienced laboratory assistants who have an interest in distribution packaging, thrive on high performing teams, and can independently be responsible for high precision testing and continuous improvement projects. This position is expected to function with relative independence and high responsibility. Candidates will be expected to have strong interpersonal and organizational skills. The lab assistants will be involved in many aspects of the laboratory’s day to day operations and is expected to have a detail-oriented personality. This internship requires a full year commitment.

What is DPIP about?

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 years of part-time work experience as a laboratory technician at the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design.

Are there any testing fees tied to Member projects?

No. There are no testing fees associated with these projects. If extensive materials are needed, it’s expected that these required materials will be provided by the company who suggested the project.


What are the requirements of the program's projects?

The submitted project needs to:

  • Be academically challenging.
  • Focus on a specific packaging problem.
  • Have a clearly defined goal.
  • Have a time-frame of less than 4 months.

During DPIP, students learn to:

  • Operate various testing equipment found in most packaging testing labs.
  • Interpret various ASTM, ISTA, and ISO packaging standards.
  • Develop experiments to evaluate the performance of packaging shipped in the physical distribution.
  • 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.

More information:

During the term, students work on various industrial projects. These projects are academically challenging and expand students’ knowledge in at least one of the fields of packaging. Each semester, our supporting members have the opportunity to submit a project for consideration as the students’ projects. Our faculty then selects one or two of the members’ projects per semester for the students to work on. At the end of every semester, students will present the results of their work to the supporting companies. Potential projects must meet the program’s guidelines, which are listed previously.


Joining the Center provides you with three main benefits through our program:

Interaction with students

During this challenging experience, the personal and professional skills of the students are tested. The presentations at the end of the program provide an excellent opportunity for interaction with our best students who are potential employees or summer interns.

Learn solutions to existing real life problems

Our students develop and present solutions to real life problems throughout the year. The students’ solutions give our supporting companies a competitive advantage.

Networking opportunity

Our supporting companies are composed of packaging producers, suppliers, and final customers. Our bi-annual meetings provide a great opportunity to network with potential suppliers or clients.

How can I become a supporting company?

If you are an Affiliate Member of the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design, you automatically become a supporting member of DPIP. If you are not currently an Affiliate Member of the Center, then you can become a Supporting Member for a small annual fee and one year of commitment.

If you would like more information, please contact Laszlo Horvath at lhorvat@vt.edu or call (540) 231-7673.

Submit Project Suggestions / Requests Here:

Fill out the attached form and email it to: unitload@vt.edu.