Intern Spotlight: Colby Cheatham

June 27, 2024

Colby Cheatham, a driven and talented structural engineering intern, is currently in his second year with SMF. Recently, Colby shared insights into his passions and experiences in an intern spotlight interview.

Colby Cheatham

Engineering Intern

Richmond Office


M.S. Civil Engineering, The University of Virginia, est. 2025

B.S. Applied Mathematics, Mary Baldwin University, 2023

When asked what drew him to structural engineering, Colby explained that his talents and interests in math and science from a young age, combined with his father's influence as an engineer, led him to research the field. He discovered his passion for architecture and buildings, eventually finding SMF in Richmond where he began his internship.

Reflecting on his first year at SMF, Colby expressed that he came into the internship uncertain of what exactly a structural engineer does, carrying with him a background steeped in mathematics. Undeterred by his initial unfamiliarity, he quickly discovered a profound love for the discipline. This newfound passion emerged as he found the multifaceted realm of building design both challenging and appealing, differentiating it from his prior perceptions of the careers of architects and engineers. Colby learned the basics of the knowledge and skills required to construct a building, only furthering his interest as he pursues a master’s degree in civil engineering at UVA.

SMF Sophomore

In terms of his second-year internship goals, Colby is passionate about learning drafting, CAD, and other software to enhance his skills as an engineer. He enjoys being part of the SMF team and has found a rare combination of both loving what he does and being in an ideal team environment.

When discussing the most valuable thing he has learned thus far, Colby stressed the importance of structural engineers in the construction field and how much they contribute to the safety and integrity of the end product. For other students pursuing an internship in structural engineering, Colby advises that if it's a passion, then it's worth pursuing.

Baseball and Beyond

Beyond his achievements as an intern, Colby's tenacity and drive are reflected in his passion for playing collegiate baseball. He played for Mary Baldwin University and recently represented UVA at the College World Series held in Omaha. His experiences on the field have undoubtedly contributed to his teamwork and resilience, which translate seamlessly into his work as an intern at SMF.

Outside of work, Colby enjoys indulging in outdoor activities, hunting, fishing, and concerts. He is also looking forward to getting married next June and spending time with his large extended family. Juggling wedding plans, academic pursuits, and professional growth certainly keeps life interesting – but isn't engineering all about finding harmony in complexity? His ability to approach life's demanding balancing act embodies the spirit of adaptability that defines our team members.

Overall, his experience working with SMF has been informative, supportive, and challenging, cementing his desire to pursue a career in structural engineering. SMF is proud to have such a talented individual on our team and we look forward to seeing what accomplishments are ahead for Colby.