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Freshmen Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to these CEE students for earning superlative grades during their freshmen year and receiving departmental scholarships! Read more about who they are and why they picked CEE at UT.

 

Emma Parks

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

Although both of my parents are from Memphis, I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life overseas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the place I call home. However, coming to Knoxville to go to UT was not a difficult decision. The biggest draw to Knoxville was the character of the city and the proximity to the Smokey Mountains. Having grown up in a desert, I was excited about the prospect of experiencing the changing of the seasons and the overwhelming presence of greenery.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

In high school, my favorite subjects were my calculus and physics courses. As I considered possible areas of study, engineering seemed to be the perfect union of both of the subjects I enjoyed and my love for problem-solving.  I settled on civil and environmental engineering because of the variety of engineering paths you can take within the field of study.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

If I were to look back on my career 40 years from now, I would hope to have contributed to any number of engineering projects that tangibly served and benefited local communities. My greatest desire is that my career is one filled with personal and memorable relationships.

 

Eric Vercellone

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Springfield, Virginia which is around 15 minutes south of Washington D.C. When applying for college I knew that I wanted to go to a big school that was out of state so that I could have a lot of new experiences. I also wanted to go to a school that was great for engineering. After I applied to a few schools, I went and visited each one that I was accepted into and when I came to the University of Tennessee I immediately fell in love with the campus and decided that this is where I wanted to spend my college career.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

At first when I came into college I wasn’t sure which type of engineering that I wanted to do. Through my physics class, which talked about all the different types of engineering, and some research I decided on civil and environmental engineering. What appealed to me most about civil and environmental engineering was the fact that I have the opportunity to have more of a hands-on job out in the field and that my job would influence lots of people in everyday life.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

In 40 years I would love to have many different great experiences and accomplishments. If I could only choose one though, it would have to be that I oversaw a project that seemed impossible to most that was also for a really good cause. No matter how amazing something looks, I believe it is all about the reason behind it that gives it value. I want to be responsible for projects that have the ability to impact so many people in a positive way.

 

Brady Nutt

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I’m originally from Knoxville, and it just felt right to choose UT Knoxville. I did not want to be too far from home, and about a year later, I feel like I made the right decision.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I chose to study civil and environmental engineering simply because it is such an intriguing area of study. Civil engineers are literally involved in almost everything, and I would love to one day contribute to my society with new ideas and improved infrastructure.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

In forty years I would love to look back on all my of projects that I had a hand in, whether it be structures, water distribution, or something unexpected. Also, I think it would be cool to have started my own engineering firm.

 

Holly Hagood

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I chose UT Knoxville for several reasons. Not only am I part of my family’s third generation of attending UTK, but I realize an education at UTK is a good value that offers diverse and challenging fields of study recognized in the community as providing a quality education.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I chose civil and environmental engineering because of my love of math, my enjoyment in using logic and analytics to solve complex problems, the fact that this particular profession has tangible issues and solutions, and due to my exposure to this particular field from my father and brother being civil and environmental engineering graduates from UTK.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

I feel I will have been successful if I can look back many years from now to determine that I provided value and I was truly relevant in life in my profession, community, and personal life.

 

Francis Nunez

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Franklin, TN. I decided to go to UTK after my friend’s dad, Jim Williamson set up a tour with the College of Engineering. Mr. Williamson graduated from UTK with a degree in Civil Engineering. I was thoroughly impressed by the tour and I enjoyed seeing the Tickle building.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I became interested in studying engineering after joining an after school club, ACE. The club allowed high school students to interact with industry professionals and learn about the day to day tasks of architects and engineers. I decided to study Civil Engineering after I toured BCC Engineering, a Civil Engineering firm in Miami. I enjoyed watching the engineers interact and collaborate to complete a project.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

In 40 years, I want to be able to point at an iconic building or structure and have the ability to say that I played a major role in the completion of that project. I also hope to be finically stable enough to give back to the university that has given me many opportunities.

 

John Rymer

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Athens, TN, which is a small town about an hour south of Knoxville. I chose the UT Knoxville because of its strong academics and in particular the engineering program. The vast network that the alumni form also makes the job prospects for after school very appealing. It also just has a feeling of home about it that made me feel welcome.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

Civil and environmental engineering is my choice of major because I fell in love with the work that goes along with it the past two summers at J.S. Haren Company. I was able to work and see what a firm does with water treatment plants and found it very interesting. I see CEE as a field that is growing and that allows for people to be able to do rewarding work that benefits people around them.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

I want to make a difference. When I look back at my career, I want to be a diligent worker who always did their best, but I want to be more than that. I desire to be able to look back in 40 years to see that I have made a impact on my community and that I have been able to help people in need. I want to be most proud of the impact that I have made on others.

 

Nicholas Naifeh

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Ridgely, Tennessee. I chose Tennessee Knoxville because it was the best education i could get for the best price.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I decided to study environmental/civil engineering because I had two members of the family who were doing it and I felt like it would be something I would enjoy and excel at.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

When I look back over my career forty years from now, I want my most outstanding career achievement to be that no matter who I worked for or what job I was assigned, people remember me as being an efficient engineer who always got the job done.

 

Pierce Anderson       

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Powell, Tennessee. I was born at Fort Sanders right here in Knoxville! I have been a Vols fan my whole life, and both my parents graduated from UT, so attending UT felt right for me from a young age. Furthermore, UT’s outstanding college of engineering only made my decision more clear.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I decided to study civil and environmental engineering after exploring my options as a high schooler. I researched different engineering disciplines, and civil engineering caught my attention. I’ve always been interested in construction and structures, and I also enjoy learning about hydrodynamics and water flow and quality, so civil seemed like the right place for me.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

I have not decided which focus I’d like to pursue, so I don’t have a specific project or grand idea in mind for my career. However, no matter where I decide to focus my career, I want to use my skills to improve the lives of others. In 40 years, I’d like to have improved the infrastructure of a developing city or country in a way that positively impacts all of its residents and improves their quality of life. This could be done through access to clean water, safer housing, better transportation systems, or any number of innovations. As I continue my education and pursue my focus of choice I hope to come closer to finding what I want my impact to be.

 

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