Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- June 12, 2002

Cal Poly Graduate To Receive Italian Packaging Technology Award - In Milan

I-Kon Chen will miss commencement ceremonies at Cal Poly June 15, but for a good reason: she'll be in Italy along with six other June college graduates from the United States and Canada, receiving the inaugural Italian Packaging Technology Awards.

Chen completed her master of science degree in industrial and technical studies this spring, after earning her undergraduate bachelor's degree in Industrial Technology at Cal Poly in 1999.

Chen, of Laguna Hills, was selected as a winner based on a report she researched and wrote about bottle-capping technology. She is one of six students chosen to be flown to Italy, for the awards ceremony and a two-week educational forum on packaging to be held in Bologna, Florence and Milan.

The competition was open to seniors in 14 North American universities and colleges with packaging science programs. Students were asked to discuss either "Technological Innovation in the Packaging Machinery Manufacturing Industry" or "Innovations in Packaging Materials" in a written report.

In her winning report, Chen compared several different types of capping machines, in terms of how many bottles capped per minute, energy use, what the caps look like, cost and other factors.

"Dr. Gay really encouraged me," said Chen, crediting Cal Poly's Industrial Technology Department leader Lawrence Gay. After spending additional time in Italy, Chen will return to California and seek a job in international trade and packaging.

In addition to her Italian award, Chen was chosen as the Arthur Andersen Scholar in the Industrial Technology Department, receiving a $1,000 grant. She was also named Outstanding Student of the Year in Cal Poly's packaging program and was active in the Cal Poly Packaging Association and Poly Pak club.

The Italian Packaging Technology Awards are sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission (ITC) and UCIMA, the Italian Association of Automatic Packing and Packaging Machinery Manufacturers, and the Packaging Education Forum.

The Packaging Education Forum is an organization working to promote packaging education programs at U.S. universities. It also provides financial assistance to these programs. The ITC, headquartered in Rome, is a government agency with a worldwide network of offices that promotes trade and industrial and technological cooperation and disseminates Italian economic information. Italy is the fourth-largest foreign supplier of industrial machinery and equipment to the U.S. with exports totaling $1.6 billion in a market of $20.3 billion.

To learn more about UCIMA and Italian packing and packaging machinery manufacturers, visit

Contact: Teresa Hendrix (805) 756-7266

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