From paper mill to library, with food research in between—and post college

CSE student embraces opportunities to grow and learn

October 24, 2022

College of Science and Engineering (CSE) student Lauren Stach took sophomore year away from the classroom to work at a pulp and paper mill. Then she added two summer internships with a natural foods company and positions with the University of Minnesota Libraries and Raptor Center to her résumé.

This month—about 60 days ahead of her December graduation—Stach, a bioproducts and biosystems engineering (BBE) major, accepted a full-time position at SunOpta’s new Texas plant.

“I am thrilled to have accepted a job with a company I had the opportunity to spend two summers with as an intern,” said Stach, who will join the Eden Prairie, MN–based natural foods company as a quality engineer.

“I am confident that I will be able to jump in and make an impact right away.”

“My path in college was somewhat unconventional,” Stach added, “but I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences my extra year provided me. Landing this job a few months ahead of graduation is a testament to the value of paving your own way in college!”

In her time at CSE, Stach—a recipient of multiple University of Minnesota scholarships, including CSE’s Frederick McKinley Jones Scholarship—also served as a teaching assistant (TA) for three classes and helped BBE director of undergraduate studies Ulrike Tschirner with recruiting new students. She appears in CSE’s latest viewbook for prospective students as well.

Stach said the BBE major was a draw for her because of its broad application.

“There were many different directions I could take in my career with this program,” she said.

“I am also grateful for the number of research opportunities in BBE. I was able to complete two UROP [Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program] projects.”

When asked what she enjoys about her major, she replied the feeling of community. 

“I love how close-knit it is,” she explained. “I have formed close relationships with a number of professors and the classes are very collaborative. Everyone looks out for one another and is happy to help fill gaps and explain tough concepts.”

Although the Minnesota-born-and-raised Stach will miss her home state when she begins her career with SunOpta, she’s excited about life in a new city. 

“I think it is valuable to move away from home and have new experiences,” she said. “I am also looking forward to the warmer weather."

Read more about Lauren’s college experiences in “An unusual path to an engineering degree” on the UMN Libraries website.

If you’d like to support students in the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, visit our CSE Giving website.