Amber Zapatka, Plastics Engineering, Business minor
“I’m ready to step into any position in the industry.”
Amber credits her classmates and professors in the plastics program
with making her UMass Lowell experience such a good one. “Engineers are fun people,” says Amber, who describes her department as a group of high achieving students and supportive faculty who are all very approachable. “Our professors have worked in and are well connected in the industry,” she says. “They feed us job and internship opportunities, and they feed us pizza at 3 a.m. when we’re waiting for labs to run.” Amber enjoys the combination of chemistry and hands-on practice in plastics, and since the field is an area of growth and innovation, she likes the job prospects, too.
Since the summer following her freshman year, Amber has worked as a scholar-intern at Nypro, a company that manufactures medical devices and other consumer products at more than 50 plants in the U.S. and abroad. “The internship really pays since my scholarship is matched by the state and I earn a salary,” says Amber, who is paying her own way through school. “It means I’ll graduate with far less debt than I might have and it allows me to be focused on my school work instead of on earning money.” Her work experience also pays off in her classes. In fact, her colleagues at Nypro provided Amber and her senior capstone project partner with a real business challenge to tackle.
Beyond plastics, Amber has enjoyed taking classes in other subjects, especially the popular English class “Monsters, Apes and Nightmares.” She is minoring in business and planning to do a one-year bachelor’s to master’s program, which will allow her to earn two degrees in five years. “It’s a great opportunity, plus I love the school and the staff in my department,” she says.
“I can run the machines, design a part and analyze the molecular structure of a material. I’m ready to step into any position in the industry.”