Seaver News

Christine Bertero Landis, A trailblazer from Seaver College

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Alumni

In 1969, 37 Loyolans graduated with engineering degrees, all but one — Christine Bertero Landis — were men. Although Loyola was known as an all-male university, a professor told Landis that she could attend Loyola if she chose a major that wasn’t offered in nearby Catholic women’s colleges. Although U.S. society was changing, Landis had prepared herself for a career in a profession that remained a male province. In 1969, women received less than 1 percent of the nearly 42,000 engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States. (In contrast, in 2005, they received more than 18 percent of the more than 78,000 engineering degrees conferred in 2003-04, according to the most recent research presented from the U.S. Department of Education.)ChristineBerteroLandis Nevertheless, Landis’ future was bright. Landis accepted a position at Rocketdyne, the aerospace company now known as Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. After 37 years with the company, she is a prestigious associate technical fellow — a guru of sorts. Landis analyzes socalled high-frequency data, which determines how much a rocket vibrates during flight and testing. She also developed space shuttle rocket engines and the Delta disposable launch vehicle program. For a time Landis’ duties included hiring, and she brought in a greater percentage of women engineers than was the then-industry standard. In 2003, she was honored by LMU when her name was added to the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering Wall of Fame.