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Luke Blandford

Mechanical Engineering


    My name is Luke Blandford, and I am a mechanical engineer and the Engineering Representative of the 2025 Cohort of the Heath Integrated Business and Engineering Program. I have loved the outdoors from a young age. Two of my favorite activities are rock climbing and cliff jumping. Both exercises have taught me valuable lessons and helped me develop important skills that I’ve carried over into other facets of my life. I believe that the key to success lies within oneself. Research, study, and practice are important but ultimately success is dependent upon personal motivation and fortitude. The outdoor activities that I enjoy have shown me the satisfaction of hard work, grit, and have increased my understanding of what it takes to be successful. In addition, they have taught me about failure. Instead of viewing failure as a deterrent, it should be learned from, adapted from, and utilized in a way that enables finding different paths to success.

    I discovered the Heath IBEP program prior to my application to the University of Tennessee (UT) and the program was a huge draw for me to apply to UT engineering. I believe the creative freedom that comes with being an engineer needs to be balanced with a knowledge of business principles so that design is grounded in realistic expectations for marketability, cost effectiveness, and production constraints. I believe that learning core business principles as well as speaking with professionals in both engineering and business fields will serve me through my career by making me a more versatile employee. My experiences in IBEP courses have been incredibly unique, with various projects connecting my cohort and I with real world companies who need real world solutions. Learning system and design thinking through the completion of these projects is a distinctive experience that can be translated to other projects in the industry. The experiences IBEP offers cultivate both business and engineering skills that members can implement in their professional life to assist in reducing silos in companies.

    My immediate professional goals are to graduate with a bachelor of mechanical engineering and, in addition, gain experience through various types of internships. I completed an internship during the Summer 2023 term working with the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center (RTC) in the Environmental and Components Test Directorate as a Dynamics Division intern, which yielded me a secret security clearance. This experience was incredibly insightful, allowing me to employ both the skills that I have learned as an engineer and as a member of the IBEP program. Recently, I accepted a position for the Summer 2024 term with Burns & McDonnell as an Aviation & Federal intern. I am enthusiastic about the experience I will have working with them and the opportunity to experience another facet of the industry in a private sector setting. Long term, I would like to perhaps start up my own company. My tentative career interest lies in the national defense industry, as I want to give back to my country through my career work.



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