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Kyle Andersen

Kyle Andersen

The featured student this week is Kyle Andersen, a mechanical engineering major from Gallatin, Tennessee, who worked for Borg Warner in Asheville, North Carolina.

During his rotation, Andersen worked in Innovation and New Concepts, which is the part of the Asheville branch that looks years into the future to create prototype machines for anticipated problems. The group is currently working on 3+ projects and several are being sent to possible customers for testing. When the prototype is finished and goes through a few reviews, the prototype goes to Product Development, where they improve upon it and make it easier to manufacture.

Andersen says he find this group the most interesting because it comes up with new machines for problems many others haven’t thought about yet. The group also does all the work to create the prototype machines (more or less). This includes designing through CAD, finding suppliers for parts, physically building the prototypes, balancing and testing them, and shipping them out

When describing the benefits of his co-op, Andersen says, “I have learned quite a lot about an engineering work environment, and have gotten to peer into what my future might be like. This has helped me ask myself more questions about what I want to do with my life much sooner. I feel like I would not have asked myself these questions without having this work experience. I feel this rotation was essential to opening my eyes on what my life might be like, and helped me to start figuring out a route to get where I want to be.”

EPP Ambassadors at the Awards Banquet

Engineering Vols Get Professional at Spring Banquet


The office of Engineering Professional Practice hosted almost 140 students, faculty, staff, and guests for its eighth Spring Banquet on March 26. The event is an opportunity to applaud students who found success in co-op or internship assignments through the office.

“Our spring banquet provides an opportunity to recognize students that have chosen to add experience to their education,” said program director Todd Reeves. “We are grateful to Mike Stone for providing the resources for the Stone Leadership program which also provides for the funding of this event.”

Special guests for the banquet included Associate Dean Masood Parang, noted alumnus J. Michael Stone, Professor Emeritus John Prados and his wife Lynn, and the keynote speaker for the evening, Interim Dean Mark Dean.

Graduating seniors were recognized and presented with the “orange booklet” titled “Exceed Your Expectations Through Lifelong Learning,” which Stone produced and purchased for the seniors.

After dinner, Dean provided keynote remarks and touched on the points that are keys to a successful career: robust industry experience, the pursuit of lifelong learning, and interdisciplinary awareness and knowledge of engineering and business administration.

Graduating senior Mark Terrones II was presented the Henry C. Goodrich Service Award and Chad Arnold was presented with the Jerry E. Stoneking Co-op Engineering Award.

Xavier Lee, Malcolm Miller, Jacob Reynolds, Nicholas Ross, and Andrew Street each received a plaque for earning the prestigious John W. Prados Chemical Engineering Co-op Scholarship for 2018-2019.

Suzanne Sawicki and Wanda Turpin were each presented with a Certificate of Recognition and an “I will give my all for Tennessee today” sign for their office in recognition of their excellent service in the professional practice office and promotion of co-op program to students.

Two very deserving recipients received the Program Champion award to cap off the evening. This honor goes to those who have spent large parts of their UT career supporting and promoting cooperative education in the college.

Parang, retiring this year as Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, and Prados, Vice-President and University Professor Emeritus, were each presented this award.

“We were honored with the attendance of John Prados and Masood Parang,” said Reeves. “They have been strong advocates for co-op over the years and they were very deserving as recipients of the award this year.”

The two joined last year’s inaugural class of recipients: Stone, Interim Chancellor Wayne Davis, and recently retired executive director of development Dorothy Bryson.

Photo Gallery

Check out some of the photos from this year’s event.

Holly Robbins

Holly Robbins

The featured student this week is Holly Robbins, a mechanical engineering major from Cookeville, Tennessee, who worked for Bayer in Cleveland, Tennessee.

During her rotation, Robbins worked on several projects aimed at process improvement and operational excellence. During her first month, she was tasked with the challenge of redesigning one of the manufacturing rooms, where she worked with representatives in quality, safety, line operators, contracted workers, and her team in manufacturing to redesign the process to meet new consumer needs. The project was ultimately successful, and by taking the lead on it she was able to quickly acclimate to the world of manufacturing.

Another project in which she played a major part was an OAE taskforce. As a part of this project, she designed a new OAE Tracker excel spreadsheet which automatically calculates and saves important production information such as line downtime. Upon the success of this project she was asked to duplicate it for all the other manufacturing lines and it is now reviewed at a daily meetings.

When describing the benefits of her co-op, Robbins says, “I think my most valuable benefit of accepting this coop has been my opportunity to network with and learn from engineers working in the field. I have met so many wonderful engineers here who are more than happy to impart wisdom.”

Heather Haynie

Heather Haynie

The featured student this week is Heather Haynie, a computer engineering major from Knoxville who worked for Siemens Molecular Imaging in Knoxville.

During her rotation, Haynie worked on the Electrical Research and Development team. She had many responsibilities including testing circuit boards, making cable drawings, creating a real time temperature graph, and troubleshooting computers. The biggest project she worked on was creating a program that parsed an XML file for data that was sent to a graphical user interface, which was designed by another intern. This project will allow the engineers on the team to view data from sensors on the PET scanners, which was previously very difficult and not possible to read in real time.

When describing the benefits of her co-op, Haynie says, “The most valuable things I have gained from my time working were an understanding of what it was like to interact in a professional setting and getting advice from engineers of different backgrounds and levels of experience.”

Student Talking to Company Representative at Booth

Engineering Expo Hosted Record Number of Companies


Students from the Tickle College of Engineering met with a record number of companies at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday and Thursday, February 20-21 during the college’s spring expo.

Hosted through the college’s Office of Engineering Professional Practice, the biannual gathering is a chance for engineering students and employers to come together to discuss academically relevant paid co-op and internship opportunities.

This spring’s event included 92 registered companies, helping set a new spring record for the third consecutive year.

Tennessee companies such as Bridgestone, DENSO, Nissan, MAHLE, Radio Systems, Strongwell, TVA, and Volkswagen were among those taking part, as were more nationally known organizations including ABB, Emerson, ExxonMobil, Garmin, PepsiCo, Shaw Industries, and Southern Company.

At the expo, students meet one-on-one with prospective employers, with the second day set aside as an interview day for students to go through a formal interview process with companies that have an interest in them.

The Office of Engineering Professional Practice was founded in 1926 to help engineering students add experience to their education and prepare for the transition from student to employee.

The office maintains relationships with more than 500 businesses and interacts with more than 1,500 undergraduate students each year, helping them achieve more than 500 annual placements with participating companies.

Participation in the program is seen as essential by the Tickle College of Engineering, with 70 percent of eligible students taking part.

Find out more information about the event.

Photo Gallery

Tonya Shortt in front of the EPP office

Staff Spotlight: Tonya Shortt


Tonya Shortt joined the college this month as the new assistant director for the office of Engineering Professional Practice. She will provide guidance and support to students seeking co-op and/or internship work experiences relative to their major.

“I’ll also oversee the logistics of our main events like the Engineering Cookout and Engineering Expos, as well as assist the director with program outreach to students and employers,” said Shortt.

She comes to the role with more than 20 years of experience in engineering industries, specifically in manufacturing. Shortt worked closely with the Professional Practice office in her previous position, and also with UT’s Center for Career Development and other universities across the Southeast.

“I understand what employers are looking for and believe that gives me an advantage when trying to assist students,” she said.

Shortt is an East Tennessee native who graduated from Tusculum University in Greeneville with a BS in organizational management and an MS in human resource development. She lives with her husband in Bulls Gap, Tennessee, and is an avid sports fan.

“I love anything sports-related—specifically football, basketball, and softball,” said Shortt, who also participates in sports via co-ed and women’s softball recreational and travel teams.

Zoe Antonas


Zoe Antonas

The featured student this week is Zoe Antonas, a chemical engineering major from Knoxville, Tennessee, who worked for Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Antonas worked in the Additives and Functional Products (AFP) department doing coatings development, specifically in the applied factory coatings group. Her main project was to synthesize multiple solvent borne polyols at various glass transition temperatures in order to make coatings for easy-open-ends (EOE), or the pop-tops on soda cans.

When describing the benefits of her co-op, Antonas says, “There are so many benefits; it’s difficult to choose just one. But I would have to say the most valuable benefit was the experience of working in a true, 40 hr/week job and seeing what it takes to be a good employee. For me, this experience led to confidence. Just seeing how much I learned and improved over the last 10 weeks has helped me realize that I know I have what it takes to eventually be a successful chemical engineer.”

Ryan Durkee


Ryan Durkee

The featured student this week is Ryan Durkee, a Mechanical Engineering major from St. Charles, Missouri, who worked for Southern Company in Birmingham, Alabama.

During his rotation, Durkee worked in Resource Planning, where he worked in projects related to finding the optimal generation reserve margin as well as the integrated resource plan for the next 30 years.

When describing the benefits of his co-op, Durkee says, “I am now comfortable with the corporate work environment and I realized this is the kind of environment I want to work in after I graduate.”

Suzanne Sawicki

Staff Spotlight: Suzanne Sawicki


Suzanne Sawicki’s position within the college’s office of Engineering Professional Practice is Coordinator II. That simple title only hints at the crisscrossing list of ways that she supports that office’s programs throughout the year.

She assists students with co-op and internship assignments and opportunities, resume writing, ambassador presentations, job-related seminars, and an alphabet of campus organizations including SWE, TLSAMP, ECAP, IEEE, BMES, NSBE, and MABE.

Sawicki’s secret weapons include inside tips on mock-interview success—how to leave a lasting impression.

“I’m a former recruiter in working industry for one of the world’s top defense contractors, Northrop Grumman,” she said. “Coupled with my 20-plus years of technical recruiting and HR experience, that positions me to help students from what we call ‘both sides of the playing field.’ Landing a position in working industry consists of a combination of items.”

Sawicki knows what recruiters are thinking and what they need from engineering students. She has traveled on the same college circuit with many of the recruiters that visit the UT campus.

“It has helped me in my almost 13 years here at UT to assist our students with not only their co-op or intern assignments, but also assist when it comes time to land the permanent job with a company,” said Sawicki. “A solid GPA, hands-on engineering experience, and a standout resume and interview position a student for multiple job offers.”

She is always happy to share her recruiting experience with staff, faculty, and students.

“Recruiting is not as easy as it looks or sounds,” said Sawicki. “You spend not only a large amount of time on the road marketing your company to potential students and future employees, but you learn the art of conversation.”

She guides students toward the key ingredients that potential employers are looking for.

“If you have passion, good communication skills, organizational skills, along with adaptability and—the most important skill—likeability, you are what is termed ‘golden’ in working industry,” she said.

Sawicki was born in Pittsburgh, where her father was a design engineer with US Steel. Her family moved to Columbus, Ohio, when she was young and she later graduated from Ohio University, where she majored in organizational communication minored in marketing. She has traveled—and recruited—around the world thanks to husband Robert’s military career. Their son, Mason, recently graduated from UT and works for FedEx Freight.

She maintains an active lifestyle even when not helping make career connections for students. Running, traveling, and water skiing are some of her favorite activities.

“I used to wakeboard,” she added with a laugh. “But now I’m fairly certain that would end in disaster.”

Landen McDonald


Landen McDonald

The featured student this week is Landen McDonald, a mechanical engineering major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who worked for Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Oak Ridge.

McDonald worked on the instrument development team in the Neutron Science Division at ORNL, where he worked on a number of experiments and projects at both the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). His most involved assignment while working at ORNL has been as the lead engineer on the “High Resolution Validation of New Generation Turbulent Flow Models Using Neutron Beams and Laser Fluorescence in Cryogenic Helium” Experiment (a.k.a. The Turbulence Experiment). This experiment has now run for three cycles on the LARMOR beam line (CG-4B) at HFIR, which is the newest experimental beam line at the facility.

When describing the benefits of his co-op, McDonald says, “Without a doubt, the most valuable thing that I have gained from this internship has been leadership experience. With The Turbulence Experiment, my boss had very high expectations for me and believed that I should be the lead. After nearly seven months on this project, I can honestly say that this has been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I will take the lessons that I have learned from this job with me for the rest of my life.”

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