In middle school, Benjamn (BJ) Northington discovered that he enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together. Because of his interest in understanding how things work, Northington decided to pursue a degree in engineering.
"I want to be a life changer. I want to be successful. I want to be better than what people expect," Northington said of his lifetime goals.
Northington studies engineering with a concentration in mechanical engineering, and with his degree, he hopes to help improve the lives of others. He said, "I really want to one day build something that will make life easier."
While he aspires to make life simpler for others, he says that his coursework does not come without challenges. He sites time management skills and a desire to learn as essential considerations for anyone wanting to study engineering.
"It's one of those things that you can't lollygag, you can't half way do it. If you don't put the time into it, you're not going to do [well]. So, you need time and dedication."
Northington is active in a fraternity in addition to being a part of a new organization on campus. The new student organization, Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB), is a Brother-to-Brother chapter at UT Martin. The purpose of the group is to unite male minorities on campus and create an atmosphere of support and encouragement among its members.
"It's a thing where we can bond, create a brotherhood... it's like a mentoring group for each other," Northington said of the group.
Northington's interests range from art to technology to sports, and at UT Martin, he has been able to participate in a number of activities that help support his interests. Specifically, Northington enjoys participating in intramural sports.
"Sports have always been my life," Northington said. "Basketball is my favorite." He has also participated in ultimate Frisbee and soccer.
Northington has had a well-rounded college experience already and as he looks ahead at his future plans, he is considering graduate school for a master’s degree in engineering.
"You've got to have a passion for it. You have to love it, " Northington said about studying engineering. He continued, "It's not something you should do because of money or because your parents want you to do it. Be an engineer if that's true to what's in your heart as you would for any other major."