Planting Ideas and Packaging Higher Education

Monica Rozman, Clemson University

As an admissions counselor, one of my favorite things to share is how some of my alma mater’s niche programs showcase the university. Landscape architecture is a program that takes advantage of Clemson’s strong agricultural heritage and architecture program. Landscape architects often work closely with architects and city planners to help find creative, plant-based design solutions to a variety of practical and aesthetic challenges faced by both rural and urban areas. Clemson’s program offers students the opportunity to get both a bachelor’s of landscape architecture as well as a master’s of landscape architecture. When I was a Clemson student, I experienced our beautiful campus, botanical gardens, and 17,500 acre experimental forest. Our landscape architecture students can utilize each of these locations as an opportunity to expand their education. Clemson also has a European partnership that allows students to study landscape architecture in Barcelona, Spain, a city with one of the strongest architectural reputations in the world. Home to World Heritage Sites such as Park Güell, students can gain valuable cultural experience while working toward their degree. Recent graduates of Clemson’s landscape architecture program are employed in the public and private sectors worldwide in addition to being enrolled in graduate programs across the country at institutions like the University of Colorado, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard University.

Another cool major Clemson offers is packaging science, which is offered by very few universities across the United States. It is a program in which students study packaging design, product marketing, and materials science. Clemson offers degrees in packaging science at both bachelor’s and master’s levels, with the opportunity for students who begin their undergraduate degree at Clemson to graduate in five years with their master’s. With the help of corporate partnerships with companies like Sonoco and Fujifilm, the university provides students six labs that cover topics such as food packaging, package design, and package transportation for research. Students have access to many innovative facilities around campus, including Clemson’s eye-tracking lab, where the efficacy of package design and placement can be tested with volunteer subjects from the campus community. It is essentially a true-to-life store setup that the subjects are asked to browse. Companies will come in to test new products and designs, and students can learn from those encounters as well as their own research. Students must complete at least one co-op placement in order to graduate, a requirement that can easily be met through resources such as Clemson’s Michelin Career Center.

Working in admissions at Clemson, I love to use my experiences as an alum to excite prospective students about the possibility of attending not just Clemson, but college in general. Seeing students light up when I share about seeing my friend Emily 4,500 miles away from campus while she studied landscape architecture in Barcelona, and when I represented Clemson at an international Model United Nations competition, is as exciting for me as it is for them. Letting a student know they can combine their passion for STEM, business, and design through a degree like packaging science the way my friend Jenny did makes some students aware of new possibilities. I love that I am in a role to use my experience to help set students up for success—no matter what school they may attend when they start their college journey.