Boeing

US Air Force pride connects intern to Boeing

The Iowa Air National Guardsman who currently supports the KC-135 gets the opportunity to check out its replacement.

August 22, 2023 in Our Community

Hannah Christensen, an Iowa State University student, interned in Boeing Engineering this summer.

Hannah Christensen, an Iowa State University student, was thrilled to intern at Boeing for 10 weeks this summer for several reasons.

For one, her Industrial Engineering studies are a perfect fit for her internship. She applied for the role during a career fair at her school, where she met another Iowa State alum, Kim Pastega, vice president of the 767 program.

In addition, Christensen has another special connection to Boeing. She serves in the U.S. Air Force as a flight line crew chief on the KC-135, as part of the Iowa Air National Guard. This connection naturally led to an interest in the KC-46 tanker, a replacement option for the aerial refueling workhorse.

Hannah Christensen, a staff sergeant in the Iowa National Guard and Boeing Intern, in front of the KC-135. Christensen was excited to see the potential replacement for the KC-135, the KC-46 Tanker

Photo provided by United States Air Force

“I wanted to come to Boeing because I work on their airplane,” Christensen said. “I wanted to see the KC-46 since it’s replacing KC-135, and there’s a possibility I can work on that, too, whether with the military or working for Boeing. It was amazing seeing it because there is so much technology on it.”

The KC-46 Pegasus is a 767-based, multi-role tanker that can refuel all U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures. With multi-mission capability for aerial refueling, cargo and passenger transportation, aeromedical evacuation support and data connectivity at the tactical edge, the KC-46A enables rapid air mobility, global reach and Agile Combat Employment.

Christensen interned with the Commercial Airplanes Engineering workforce strategies planning team, learning how Boeing puts “the right person, in the right place, at the right time.” The team works on sourcing and placing various skill codes throughout engineering.

She also worked with the team to apply Lean concepts and make its processes more efficient.

“I was surrounded by a ton of people with different mentorship styles, and collectively they all made me feel so welcome,” she said. “Everyone was welcoming and excited to help you learn if you had any questions.”

Staff Sgt. Hannah Christensen, a Crew Chief with the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing and full time student at Iowa State University, reads a book during a flight on a KC-135.

Photo and caption provided by United States Air Force

Christensen also got the opportunity to visit the Everett, Washington, factory with Lola Herrero-Minguez, 767-2C Tanker program director and Stephan Lacy, 767 Final Assembly manager.

“The first time coming into the factory, I could not believe it,” Christensen said. “Working on the flight line, we have hangars that fit one airplane - to see a building with so many airplanes and moving parts in one place was awesome.”

Christensen will continue working part-time for the team while returning to school in the fall and plans to graduate in 2024.

Go Deeper: Applications for Boeing’s 2024 internship are now open. Click here to learn more and apply.