Krista Morris Bix (’12 civil engineering) is currently serving in the U.S. Navy as a Civil Engineer Corps Officer, stationed in Mississippi after previous stints in Rhode Island and California. She says she’s fortunate to be married to her husband, Randall, who is willing to follow her around while she pursues her goals. “I’m not sure where we are headed next,” she says, “but I am always looking for a new challenge!”
Tell us a little bit more about your job.
I wake up every morning excited to go to work and see how the day will unfold. Every day brings new challenges and experiences. I work directly with about 50 Seabees, primarily equipment operators, as part of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ONE THIRTY THREE. We are currently preparing for our upcoming deployment to Europe and Africa. It has been a wild ride this past couple of years preparing for this job.
How did Iowa State help to lead you to where you are now?
During my sophomore year at Iowa State I started speaking to a Navy recruiter at the College of Engineering’s Career Fair. I always made a point to stop and talk to all the services represented because I grew up in a military family and naturally gravitated towards them. That following summer I had the opportunity to be an intern with the Army Corps of Engineers. It was a great experience, but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do at that point in my life. Coming back to Iowa State in the fall I was scheduled to take Project Management for Civil Engineers. Our lecturer for the class was Beth Hartmann, an Iowa State graduate and Civil Engineer Corps Officer. We got to talking about her experiences with the CEC and all the opportunities the Navy had provided for her career over the years. At the next Career Fair I met with her and a Navy Recruiter and just like that I was putting in my package to become an Officer. It was the perfect fit for me: leadership opportunities, project experience, and the chance to serve my country as my father did. I graduated in 2012 with my B.S. in Civil Engineering, got married, then shipped off for Officer Candidate School all in three months.
What makes you passionate about the Iowa State experience?
I had so many great experiences at Iowa State that I couldn’t have anywhere else. I lived with a cousin for a year (also an engineer), and we are still really close to this day. I met some of my best friends at college through different organizations I was actively part of, like DBIA and the Orchesis 1 Modern Dance Company. I also met my mentor, who influenced me to pursue a career as a CEC Officer and introduced me to another amazing female who is very successful in our field. They are now both my role models who exemplify leadership, success as engineers, and success as women in a field still dominated by men. I received a very valuable education from Iowa State that has prepared me for the challenges I have faced thus far in my own career.
How do you continue to be an ambassador for the University?
I loved my time at Iowa State and always encourage my Sailors to attend college and pursue a degree. Of course, I think they should all go to Iowa State, but not all of them want to leave the coast for Iowa winters! I have run into three other CEC Officers who graduated from Iowa State, and it’s amazing how we can connect over our experiences there. It really is a small world. I also have a rivalry going with a Chief Petty Officer in our battalion. He’s a Hawkeye (boo!), and we are both very vocal about supporting our schools! I proudly wear my Iowa State apparel at the gym, even at 0430 in the morning!
What is your favorite Iowa State memory?
That’s easy: Dressing up as the Spice Girls with some other civil engineering students and our teacher for Halloween and visiting our CE306 class! I think there are some pictures on facebook somewhere…