Alumna Establishes the C&C Probett Excellence in Aerospace Endowed Fund for Senior Design Projects

December 19, 2023
Christine Probett (left) joins Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Professor Joseph Katz in his Senior Design class (Courtesy of Taylor Slane)
Christine Probett (left) joins Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Professor Joseph Katz in his Senior Design class (Courtesy of Taylor Slane)

Christine Probett (‘85, ‘87, ‘97) has established the C&C Probett Excellence in Aerospace Endowed Fund for Senior Design Projects in honor of her late husband, Chris Probett, who also led a successful engineering career. 

Her gift will offer engineering students access to resources necessary to excel in the Senior Design Course, currently led by Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Joseph Katz.  

Fundamental for every senior to complete, the course provides students with the communication and presentation skills that give engineers a competitive edge.

“Christine's gift is raising the educational bar for our graduates, clearly helping them in their future career,” said Katz, who was just beginning his professorship at SDSU when Probett was a student in his class.

Probett believes this course also allows students to apply the engineering principles they learned throughout their studies, giving them the opportunity to understand what it means to be an engineering professional.

She finds the exploration aspect of the design course is critical to the success of aspiring engineers. Now, students can take their experiments to the next level, enabling them to test out new ideas without as many financial constraints. 

“Christine's gift allows the students to undertake these high-tech projects without hesitation (because most of them cannot afford that). By developing modern sophisticated projects, their resume looks much more promising and they can immediately fit into desirable engineering jobs,” said Katz.

With a background as the President of the Aircraft Interiors Division of the Goodrich Corporation, Probett understands what skills are sought after in the professional space. She credits her success to the hands-on experience she had during her studies, and is thrilled to offer the same opportunity to upcoming engineers.

Additionally, she personally experienced the benefit of this type of course. While earning her aerospace degree, she completed a four-year co-op at NASA (cooperative education student that works full time for one semester, then studies full time for the second semester each academic year) which offered her intriguing hands-on opportunities. 

“That’s where I not only realized that I liked engineering, but I liked aerospace engineering! We were crawling all over the aircraft and doing flow visualization tests and all kinds of cool, cool stuff. To me, that really brought it home,” said Probett. 

As one of three women in the aerospace engineering department at the time, it was during her co-op that she gained the confidence she was searching for going into the workforce. 

“In my case, because they never pushed girls in that direction, I realized that I am a good engineer and I have done great things. I had tremendous success in my career because of my education,” she said. 

A Lasting Impact

Since earning three degrees in history, aerospace engineering, and business, Probett has left her mark on campus by teaching for the Fowler College of Business and acting as an adviser to numerous student organizations.

Through Probett’s various roles, she has not only given back monetarily but also intellectually, in many ways. In December of 2022, SDSU’s philanthropic arm, The Campanile Foundation, appointed her to serve on the board as the faculty representative and she is excited to experience yet another aspect of the university.

Probett’s unique vantage point on campus is valued by many, especially students, who recognize how her versatility contributed to her and Chris’ success. Through this fund, she looks forward to continuing to give back as a mentor for students in the course. 

Moving forward, she is optimistic that the fund will expand, benefiting more and more students as time goes on. “I like the fact that it will go on forever,” she said. 

Even as the student population enlarges, there will always be the C&C Probett Excellence in Aerospace Endowed Fund to provide support. 

To provide a philanthropic gift to support the College of Engineering, contact Senior Director of Development Kate Carinder at [email protected].

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