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Justin Kuxhaus

International relations, German studies provide foundation for alumnus’ work at Boeing

justin-kuxhausAfter an interview with Boeing, Justin Kuxhaus (’05) was at the airport and about to fly back to Michigan when he was asked to return to the aerospace company for an impromptu second interview.

The interviews went well and he landed a job.

justin kuxhaus“I’m still wondering how that happened,” said Kuxhaus, who graduated with a degree in international relations from James Madison College and an additional major in German from the College of Arts & Letters. “I think you learn as a liberal arts field graduate how to read, how to write, how to think critically and you learn how to ask questions and those are great skills in the contract management profession.”

Kuxhaus has lived in Seattle, Washington since leaving MSU, holding jobs within Boeing with progressive responsibilities. He currently is a member of the commercial contracts team for the Boeing global services division. He is also a member of the Seattle MSU Alumni Club.

Noting the Victory for MSU line “fighting with a vim,” Kuxhaus said, “I’m very passionate about the work that I do because Boeing’s products and services truly span the globe.”

Kuxhaus credits the Honors College, which he entered after his first semester at MSU through the campus-based admissions process, for helping him be well-prepared when it came time to find a job.

Through the Honors College, he crafted an individualized academic plan that weaved together his two majors and completed Honors Option projects. These collective Honors experiences allowed him to demonstrate how he was going above and beyond in the classroom as he interviewed for jobs at the beginning of his career.

“That’s a really great benefit of the Honors College, in my opinion; you can personalize your academic program and demonstrate excellence in what you are doing to future employers,” he said.

Having a supportive Honors College adviser also was beneficial, he said.

“She took a personal interest in each of the student’s academic aspirations,” Kuxhaus said of former advisor Sally Spaniolo. “It doesn’t mean she didn’t challenge me, which she certainly did. She helped me develop and execute a rigorous action plan to be admitted to and be successful in the Honors College, which also helped me successfully begin my career.”

Kuxhaus said he continues to challenge himself by learning new skills and improving on the things he’s good at as his career evolves – advice he offers to Honors College students.

“You never know where or when your opportunities will arise,” he said.

This article originally was published in HConnections 2018.

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