After coasting through the clouds on a military jet representing Iowa State, Philip Schmitz, a 2010 Iowa State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate, has now recently received the “Marine Naval Flight Officer of the Year” for his outstanding contributions to Marine Corps aviation.
Schmitz was a weapons systems training officer and assistant operations officer for Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242. He received the “Robert Guy Robinson Award” in honor of First Lieutenant Robert Guy Robinson, a soldier in World War I representing exceptional contribution of a naval flight officer.
Schmitz still lives in Japan because of the Marines and he plans on staying for awhile longer. His wife and five daughters, ranging from ages 5-17, all love Japan, too. His wife tutors English there a couple times a week, teaches cooking classes once a week and homeschools their kids occasionally.
“We all love Japan,” Schmitz said. “We originally had three years required, but we signed up for a fourth year over there, and now we are working on our fifth year.”
From work in Japan to the culture there, Schmitz says he thoroughly enjoys all aspects of it. Whether flying in the sky for his job or to visit family in Ames, traveling is something Schmitz and his family may never give up.
“Something we’ve considered after the military is to move around and teach and share happiness with everybody,” he said.
He just ended a role as a training officer, but Schmitz said that while his career has nothing to do with electrical engineering, what he learned at ISU is still useful in his career and life.
“My experience earning my degree in electrical engineering really just taught me how to learn,” Schmitz said. “Even if I may not directly use the degree, the process of problem solving and team building is the best thing I learned at Iowa State.”
Of all the specific classes, homework assignments and projects, Schmitz recalls one project that still impacts how he does things today.
“The senior year design projects have probably been the greatest contributor for me to what is done in the workforce,” Schmitz said. The team-building lessons Schmitz formed from the senior design project still helps him work in groups today.
In Japan serving the military, it may not seem like electrical engineering classes in the middle of Iowa impact Schmitz at all, but the lessons he took away from Iowa State have certainly paved a path teaching Schmitz how to effectively work in a team, solving problems and receiving an outstanding award for his ability to solve problems and work together as a team.