Paper tech association bestows awards to WMU student, professor

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Photo of Western Michigan University sign.

Awards were bestowed during the annual TAPPI PaperCon event.

KALAMAZOO—A Western Michigan University student has won the best paper award from the world's foremost pulp and paper industry association, becoming the first WMU student to be so honored, while a professor is the first recipient of the association's new education award.

Zheng "Rachel" Wei, a graduate student from China earning a master's degree in paper and imaging science and engineering, has won the TAPPI PaperCon 2013 best student paper award.

TAPPI—Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry—is the largest global organization of pulp and paper industry professionals. Each year, the TAPPI Coating and Graphic Arts Division selects one student-authored-and-presented paper at PaperCon, the industry's largest annual meeting and exhibition, as the outstanding student paper.

"TAPPI is extremely proud to recognize Rachel for the work that she put into her entry in the best student paper category," says Larry N. Montague, TAPPI president and CEO. "She is a dedicated student and represents WMU and our global industry in a very professional manner."

Over the years, this award has most often been won by graduate students from Finland and Sweden. The award is based not only on the technical content and significance to the industry of the written paper, but also the oral presentation at the conference.

A second important award went to Dr. Margaret Joyce, professor of paper and chemical engineering. Joyce won the TAPPI Coating and Graphic Arts Division's Education and Mentoring Award and MeadWestvaco Prize. Joyce is the first to be honored with the newly established award. The honorarium is endowed by MeadWestvaco Corp.

"Dr. Joyce epitomizes professionalism in education," Montague says. "She is an extremely caring and hardworking individual, who demonstrates her passion on a daily basis with her university and her students. I was thrilled to hear that she and WMU were honored by her receiving this new award. This is one more achievement that demonstrates the best coming out of Western Michigan University."

Both awards were presented at the PaperCon conference, which took place April 27 through May 1 in Atlanta, Ga.