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Student profile: Joe


Joe Cozby
Plan II & Petroleum Engineering Honors
Class of 2020

My name is Joe Cozby, and I’m a senior studying Plan II and Petroleum Engineering. Despite my time-consuming engineering coursework, Plan II has been anything but “just my other major” since arriving at UT three years ago. The classes I have taken have been my favorites, pushing my writing and critical thinking skills as well as my interests and curiosities. But what really makes Plan II special are the people; whether it’s interesting teachers or great friends and classmates, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know an amazing group of people with diverse interests and backgrounds, who are also a lot of fun.

Plan II’s varied liberal arts coursework has opened my eyes to many disciplines that were previously foreign to me but has done so in contexts that keep it fresh and applicable to all areas of my life, even engineering work. I’ve studied iconoclasm in the Byzantine era, comparing the debates from many centuries ago to discussions that changed UT statue policy most recently. I’ve studied philosophy and logic, which have shaped the way I approach problems and have even piqued my interest in politics. Most recently, in a Plan II Junior seminar economics class, I analyzed the politically polarizing Big Tech debate through the lens of The New Industrial State and big company efficiencies. These small group discussion-based classes have allowed me to closely engage in Plan II material and also to have a close relationship with the world-class Plan II faculty, many of whom with which I still keep in touch.

In my three college summers, I have worked in the energy industry for a variety of different producers, but while the energy industry might not seem to heavily involve my Plan II degree, I credit my Plan II skillset for much of my success. Before my freshman internship, I had only taken one petroleum specific class, and during my sophomore summer, I was working outside of my comfort zone in data analytics. In those cases, the critical thinking, writing and communication skills that Plan II provides so well helped me far more than any engineering classes I had taken previously. This summer, I have combined my degrees, leaning on the discussions on big business efficiencies in my economics class to look for operational improvements in industry. In my experience, it is most often the prospective engineering students who question the Plan II degree’s possible benefit to their education; however, in my experience and in many ways, Plan II and engineering together have provided me with one of the most impactful academic combinations.

While Plan II has certainly been an important part of my education and success, my favorite part about the Plan II degree are the friends I have made in the program. Especially as an engineering student, I sometimes find myself bogged down in the formulas and repetition. In those situations, I look forward to the lively discussions with my Plan II classmates and hearing about the great things they are doing in and out of the classroom. Overall, Plan II has provided me with a great foundation for professional success and, more importantly, a lifetime of learning. I think everyone should seriously consider joining the Plan II community.

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