College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ECpE alum takes flight

Alum in airplane

Right around dusk, Philip Schmitz, a 2010 Iowa State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate, coasted through the clouds. Flying over Mount Fuji in Japan, Schmitz’s wingman snapped a photo of Schmitz and his pilot showing some Cyclone pride with a Cyclone flag present in the plane window.

From Midwestern Iowa to Japan, Schmitz has been all around the world. He graduated from high school about 15 minutes north of Ames, class of 2001 at Roland-Story High School. Schmitz later enrolled in school at ISU.

In 2002, Schmitz enlisted in the Marine Corps. A strong motivator for him to join the Marines were the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I was attending ISU in the fall of 2001 when the attacks happened. I decided it was time to join then,” Schmitz said. He remained in active duty for some time while attending Iowa State.

After leaving Iowa State to serve his country, Schmitz returned in 2006 to earn his electrical engineering degree and a commission in the Marine Corps. He achieved both of these goals in May of 2010.

Schmitz and his family are currently living in Japan and have been for the past four years. With a wife of 15 years and five daughters, he and his family love Japan.

“I would gladly live here forever,” he said. “The gracious people and the historic culture make this place a great home; not to mention the food!”

Schmitz is now a captain in the Marine Corps and a weapons systems training officer. While neither of these positions revolve around electrical engineering, Schmitz said that he still uses the skills he learned as an engineer.

“I would say that the mindset of an engineer in general fits the field I am in directly,” Schmitz said. “There are always problems to be solved, and that’s what engineers are good at. Putting together a process, refining it and generating effective results efficiently.”