Abigail (Gianis) Kiratzis ’19
Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
Current city and job
Silicon Valley, CA | Technical Program Manager of iPhone, Apple
What first interested you in your career? How did you discern your calling?
I was first exposed to engineering by my high school robotics team. My physics teacher offered extra credit if we joined the robotics team, and I ended up really enjoying it. I learned basic coding with Java and Python and helped prototype our robots for the first Robotics Competition. This set the foundation for my interest in engineering, but I still wasn’t sure I wanted to be an engineer.
Once I made it to Covenant, I learned about the pre-engineering dual-degree program and felt the Lord pointing me in that direction. After the introductory engineering classes with Dr. Stern, I knew it was the right decision for me. As I progressed in my schooling and later into my career, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with me during the most challenging moments. Before exams, preparing for interviews, and negotiating offers, I asked God to direct my steps. Sometimes it really is as simple as trusting His plans and taking the next step.
What has your career path looked like since graduating from Covenant?
After Covenant, I attended Georgia Tech, recognized as one of the top engineering colleges in the nation, through Covenant’s dual-degree program. While there, I worked at the Invention Studio as team lead and prototyping instructor where I used advanced manufacturing equipment in order to prototype using water jets, laser cutters, CNC, 3D printers. I also got to help with a PBS feature segment where I taught students about 3D printing and laser engraving. Over the summer before I graduated from Georgia Tech, I had an internship opportunity with Boeing where I worked with mechanical, electrical, equipment, and tooling engineers to manage, track, and implement projects in order to support production of 787-9 and 787-10 aircrafts.
Now, I work at Apple Park on iPhone, specifically final assembly, test, and packaging. This means I manage the factory and automation that actually puts together the new iPhones each year. I work closely with product design and our factories in Asia to refine every little detail about our phones and ensure that they are assembled and shipped to our customers with the highest level of quality! While I work on all our new iPhones, I focused most of my work so far on the launches of iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Mini. I love my team and the opportunities I’ve been given in my current role. If anyone in the Covenant community is interested in working at Apple, please reach out!
Looking back now, how did Covenant prepare you for doctoral work and your career?
The engineering courses at Covenant are no joke; in fact, many of them were more rigorous than the engineering courses at Georgia Tech. Dr. Stern and the physics professors were incredibly helpful and supportive; they always took the time to help me through challenging topics and supported all my wild ideas. I couldn’t be more happy with my engineering preparation at Covenant—I felt fully prepared for Georgia Tech. I wouldn’t change a thing.
In what ways does your faith inform your career?
The Tech Industry is notoriously secular. I recently read an intriguing piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “Silicon Valley’s Secret Christians” that went into detail about how there is a lot of hesitation and hostility toward Christianity in Silicon Valley despite the many calls for tolerance of different belief systems.
So for me and where I work, being a Christian does not necessarily mean evangelizing my coworkers, it means faithfully demonstrating the love of Jesus even when it feels hard to do so. I have also been able to connect with an amazing PCA church called Grace Silicon Valley where the congregation is made up of almost entirely engineers! It has been an incredible blessing to connect with other Christians through the Church and to see what God is doing in Silicon Valley.
What advice would you give students who are considering pre-engineering at Covenant?
First of all, I think there’s a misconception that engineering is all math. This is a very small piece of it. If you are interested in improving things, whether they are processes, products, or systems, then you will probably enjoy engineering! There are a lot of different routes you can take with engineering. Becoming a technical expert might require more expertise in high level math, but becoming a project manager will require softer skills—and both of these engineering roles are essential.
Secondly, I have never been a straight-A student. I have always occupied my time with social events, extra-curriculars, and things other than school, and this inevitably had an affect on my GPA. Thankfully engineering schools place a lot of value on being well-rounded, so even despite my occasional Bs and Cs, I was still able to get into Georgia Tech, but I was waitlisted at first! To any students worried about GPA, just make sure you are studying hard, learning the material, and giving yourself the freedom to relax and have fun outside of school! Life is all about balance, and engineering schools and future employers will value this.
Why did you choose Covenant?
All of my siblings graduated from Covenant, so I had known about Covenant for a while.
What are some fond memories or a favorite story from your time at Covenant?
My favorite memory at Covenant was launching a high-altitude weather balloon into outer space with the robotics club that my now husband, Nick Kiratzis ’20, and I founded. The weather balloon launch was an amazing challenge and brought the whole team together. We were able to capture video footage of the curvature of the Earth and had to drive hours away and hike deep into the forest to recover our payload—it was an incredible time that I’ll never forget.
Undergraduate Departments, Majors, Minors, Certificates, Concentrations, and Programs
- Arts Administration
- Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability
- Journalism and Society
- Medical Ethics Consultation
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
- Art, 2-D Concentration
- Art, 3-D Concentration
- Art, Art History Concentration
- Art, Graphic Design Concentration
- Art, Photography Concentration
- Art minor
- Art History minor
- Biblical & Theological Studies
- Biblical & Theological Studies, Missions Concentration
- Biblical & Theological Studies minor
- Biblical Languages minor
- History of Christianity minor
- Missions minor
- Youth Ministry minor
- Biology, Biomedical Concentration
- Biology, Environmental Concentration
- Biology, General
- Biology, Health Professions Concentration
- Biology minor
- Business, Accounting Concentration
- Business, Finance Concentration
- Business, Marketing Concentration
- Sport Management
- Business minor
- Sport Management minor
- Chemistry, Biochemistry Concentration
- Chemistry, General
- Biochemistry minor
- Chemistry minor
- Computer Science
- Computer Science minor
- Community Development
- Community Development minor
- Economics minor
- Education Studies
- Elementary Education (P-5)
- Secondary Education Certifications through MAT program
- Education minor
- Natural Science, Pre-Engineering Studies Concentration
- English, Writing Concentration
- English minor
- Writing minor
- Coaching minor
- History, Art History Concentration
- Political Science
- International Studies
- History minor
- Political Science minor
- Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations
- Mathematics minor
- Music, Church Music Concentration
- Music, Creative Studies Concentration
- Music, General Music Concentration
- Music, Instrumental Performance Concentration
- Music, Music Education (Pre-MAT) Concentration
- Music, Organ Performance Concentration
- Music, Piano Pedagogy Concentration
- Music, Piano Performance Concentration
- Music, Vocal Performance Concentration
- Music minor
- Philosophy minor
- Physics minor
- Pre-Law Studies
- Pre-Medical Studies
- Pre-Nursing Studies
- Pre-Physical Therapy Studies
- Psychology minor
- Sociology, Family Studies & Social Work Concentration
- Sociology minor
- Theatre minor
- French minor
- Spanish minor