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Nathaniel Curtis ’98: Engineering Antennas for the Armed Forces

Jared Scott Tesler
Upon completing a conceptual physics course as a junior at Shipley, Nathaniel Curtis ’98 was left wanting more. “Physics made sense to me in a way no other science course had before,” he recalls. “I finally felt at home.”
 
The decision to enroll in a summer precalculus course—a prerequisite for advanced physics during his senior year—would mark the beginning of the rest of his professional life, propelling him into a high-flying career as an engineer at Fortune 500 aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman.
 
“You know how there are certain things in your life that you can absolutely trace back to one defining moment where a decision was made or a path was chosen? Who I am professionally can be traced back to such a moment,” says Curtis, who holds three degrees—bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral—in electrical engineering. “I didn’t know it then, but that decision to take the next step in physics set me on a course from which I ultimately received a lot of benefit.”
 
These days, the 39-year-old Radio Frequency Microwave Design Engineer is busy designing antennas for government-contracted applications—radar, electronic warfare, and communications—used within aircraft, seafaring vessels, and land-based vehicles by members of the military.
 
“What I do directly impacts the survivability of our Armed Forces,” Curtis says. His work also relies heavily on mathematics: “I use geometry every single day. Everything I do involves math.”
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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.