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Christin Datz '06

Technical Integration & Engineering Operations, Boeing

3-2 Dual-Degree Engineering Program

Physics Major & Dance Minor

Time flies and so does Christin Datz '06.

With her world in constant motion, Christin says she was a physics major from the get-go. Born in Japan, then moving to Texas and then to Germany, accumulating frequent flyer miles has been her pattern. "I've always been interested in aerospace, and I was hoping to work with Boeing or NASA, or something related."

By her estimates, her post Knox career is soaring. "My actual job title is "747/767/777 Technical Integration and Engineering Operations: Studies," she adds.

Boeing employs more than 150,000 employees worldwide. Located near Seattle, the Boeing 747, 767, and 777 airplane manufacturing site is the company's largest. The Studies team handles changes made to existing large body aircraft.

"We help direct the different engineering organizations (such as propulsion, airframe, interiors, and systems) to  'study' the impact that their group will have on a change, which can include four to eight hour test flights," she says. "A far cry from coffee and studies at the Broadview at all hours of the day or night."

Through Knox's 3-2 Dual-Degree Engineering program, Datz studied three years at Knox, then two years at Washington University in St. Louis, earning both a B.A. from Knox and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Washington University. "I came back to campus for the '06 graduation though. And I got my picture taken with Stephen Colbert!"

A physics major and dance minor, Datz flew to and from many responsibilities at Knox. During her three years, she was an RA, worked in the Campus Life Office, and conducted research in the physics department. When she was offered an internship Boeing, she was told her dance minor was a highlight on her resume and played a role in the decision to hire Datz.

"My manager said that, as a dancer, I had an awareness of motion that provides a unique perspective in engineering design decisions. There are very few schools that would allow a physics major to minor in dance," she says.
Christin Datz '06 on the job at Boeing.
Datz's summer internship at Boeing led to four job offers from the company -- two in St. Louis and two in Seattle.

"My internship [there] was a big help in preparing me for what to expect with my job," she adds. "I think that the small class sizes and frequent interaction with professors at Knox really prepared me for the human interaction aspect of my job, which plays a huge part!"

Attending high school in Germany, Datz did not visit any colleges while making her decision. "Despite the seven hour time difference, Knox did an amazing job of arranging phone calls with student workers, physics students, and Coach Heimann (who was coaching tennis at the time). Unlike other schools, I was able to hear multiple perspectives of the campus. I felt like I was at home at Knox before I even entered Illinois!"

Since graduating, Datz has enjoyed having her evenings and weekends to herself, without the chains of gravity or homework that hold one in place. "Between the all-nighters in the physics lab and Terpsichore rehearsals, I remember being ridiculously busy at Knox."

But equally visible are Datz's memories of Gizmo breaks, experiencing her first snowstorm, and Jazz Night at Cherry Street. "I lived in Post my first year and am still close to most of my first-year suitemates. I really appreciated how dedicated Knox's professors are. They're at Knox because they care about the students," she says.

Flying on the wings of her own skillfulness, Datz is committed. "I'm more confident now and maybe more outgoing," she says. "This is an opportunity most people with entry level jobs don't get."