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Darrin Rhines stands in front of the Office of Engineering Professional Practice in the first-floor hallway of the Zeanah Engineering Complex. The walls of the hallway recede in soft-focus behind him, with a light gray section followed by a light green section, a reddish-orange section, and then light gray again as it disappears down the hall.

Rhines Chosen as New Office of Engineering Professional Practice Director

Darrin Rhines has been named the new director of the Tickle College of Engineering’s (TCE) Office of Engineering Professional Practice.

He comes to UT after a nearly 30-year-career with KUB, where he served a variety of roles including analyst, team leader, and manager, most recently with the organization’s communications and external relations team.

“I am honored by this selection and am eager to get started in this position,” Rhines said. “The challenges and opportunities presented by this office excites me, and I look forward to helping move it forward and to connect students with real-world work opportunities that match their areas of study.”

The Office of Engineering Professional Practice maintains relationships with more than 1000 businesses and interactions with more than 1,500 students each year, helping them achieve more than 700 annual placements with participating companies. Whether co-op or intern in nature, those placements are both paid and educationally relevant to the student.

It was founded at UT in 1926, making it one of the oldest such programs in the United States, and it has been seen as a key part of the engineering education experience in the college since.

“Gaining practical experience in the field in which you are studying before graduation can have a transformative impact on students career trajectory, both because they have training that other applicants for the position might not have, and because the knowledge they bring with them can mean an accelerated advancement into their new role,” said TCE Dean Matthew Mench, the Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair of the college. “I am happy to have Darrin joining us in such a key position, and excited to see his vision for the office.”

A UT alumnus, Rhines earned his bachelor’s in creative writing in 1998, following his associate’s degree in general studies from Pellissippi State in ’95. He would later go on to earn his MBA from Liberty University in 2014.

Prior to college, he spent four years as a US Army team chief in signals intelligence, with a focus on Czech and Slovak languages.

He is a licensed SHRM Senior Certified Professional, and volunteers with the Optimist Club of Knoxville and tnAchieves.