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Jake Ward

Jake Ward

  • Major: Civil Engineering
  • Company: Duke Energy
  • Graduation Year: May 2021
  • E-mail:


I did my first rotation with Brasfield & Gorrie—General Contractor in Atlanta and worked mainly on renovating the Obstetrics and Women's Health floors at Gordon Hospital in Rome, Georgia. My second rotation was also with Brasfield & Gorrie  and I worked as a Project Management Intern on the full build of twenty story Twelve24 Tower in Dunwoody, Georgia. I actually had a third rotation with a different company:  Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina, working in a Transmission Line Engineering role where I designed transmission line structures across North Carolina and South Carolina using Geotechnical and Structural software.

I chose to co-op because I wanted to give myself the best chance to experience what all my degree had to offer. I felt going into the workforce was the best way to do that. I was fortunate enough to co-op with two separate companies, and I did so because I wanted experience. I wanted to make sure my interests were fully recognized and applied while in college, and co-op gave me that opportunity.

Organization was a personal struggle of mine, and my second and third semester truly felt more productive because that first semester was me learning how to properly succeed in a work environment. Writing down information, keeping up with deadlines, and setting myself up correctly for the next item assigned were all soft skills that I would not have learned until post-grad.

The co-op experience has given me variety. Before, I only had one perspective of life outside the classroom, and it was in my own head. Now, I've experienced three semesters of completely different engineering work that showed me just how many options and routes my career can go. My network will only continue to grow as well, and I'm ahead of the learning curve for being productive in a work environment because of my co-op experience.  

I am a YoungLife leader at a local high school in Knoxville, and I am obsessed with racket sports! Tennis, Ping-Pong, Pickleball, you name it. I'll also play just about any sport you'll invite me to play; ultimately just love being outside. I am also a transfer student! I came to UT after my freshmen year, so those of you who want to talk about that transition feel free to each out!

Pro-tip: If you are anxious or worried at all about if engineering or whatever work you're interested in is not for you, then the best way to overcome that fear is to give yourself a chance to experience it before you're a full-fledged adult. Take advantage of a fantastic opportunity that gives you a better understanding of what you want your career to be!     

Jake Ward

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