Joy Mendoza found an unexpected career path in packaging.
Joy Mendoza is a new alumna of the Department of Packaging Systems and Design, having graduated in December 2022.
Originally from Union, N.J., Joy wanted to venture out of state to see what life is like outside of New Jersey, so she came to Virginia Tech. She enrolled “as an engineering major, having my eyes set on the mechanical discipline. However, later on, I realized that I was not enjoying myself in engineering as much as I thought I would be. My advisor at the time suggested that I look into the packaging program as it still touches base with engineering, but with the addition of other areas such as design and sustainability. I didn’t know that one could even major in packaging, and was surprised to see that there was a creative/artistic aspect to it as well. So, after extensive research on packaging and the program, I figured I would give it a shot and transfer, and I haven’t regretted it since.”
Joy appreciates the small class sizes that have helped her develop relationships with her classmates and professors. “On top of that, the hands-on learning embedded in the curriculum has always been super helpful, providing that opportunity for real-world application and working with professionals for class projects,” she says.
Her favorite class so far has been Wonjung Jung’s Design Fundamentals Packaging class, which focuses on the graphics side of packaging. She feels that taking that class revived her love for art and solidified her decision to pursue a career in design.
"The most interesting aspect I experienced in the Sustainable Biomaterials Department was attending Pack Expo for the past two years. It was in Las Vegas and Chicago," Joy said. "It’s great exposure to the packaging industry in the real-world and a good opportunity to network with industry professionals and students from other packaging programs. This was also when I got to bond with my classmates, some of whom I consider my closest friends. Being involved in the Packaging Club has also been helpful towards my future career goals. The club provides students so many opportunities to get involved in the program and develop your career/skills. Because of the club, I was able to obtain an internship.”
Joy hopes to pursue a career in package engineering/design. “Eventually, I would like to end up at a design firm or with a creative team for a company and help start-up/rebrand clients, big and small. At some point, I plan to attend graduate school as well.”
What's her advice to future students?
"The SBIO Department offers so many great opportunities for you to get involved in school, so definitely take advantage of that. Don’t be afraid to try new opportunities because you never know if you’re going to end up enjoying it. Those opportunities may help you learn more about yourself and open the door for more opportunities that are catered to your interests," she said.