Feature Alumni Profile: Gina Deutsch '96! Gina discusses what she has been doing since leaving Rabun Gap, the faculty members that had the biggest impact on her, and her hopes for the school in the coming years.
Tell us what you have been up to since leaving Rabun Gap? college, job, location, family, life changes?
I have been busy since leaving Rabun Gap, thankfully my time there taught me to juggle lots of things at once! While working full time, I earned a MBA from Tennessee, which took me to Boeing in Charleston. I have had the immense honor of building the 787 Dreamliner from the ground up, then moving to Seattle to work on the Defense side of our business. I was the Chief of Staff for the Mobility and Surveillance Division which builds very unique 3 military airplanes in 2 states, so I was on the move a lot. As a Southern, I was eager to get back to milder climates and I now support the Space and Launch Division in beautiful New Orleans at NASA. We are building the next deep space exploration rocket, the Artemis. I also found the time to trek to Mt. Everest basecamp and take this picture with my Rabun Gap pennant!
People often talk about diversity at Rabun Gap? Can you speak to how Rabun Gap’s diverse community impacted your experience?
Living, studying and working with students from all walks of life gave me my sense of adventure and curiosity that I have not yet filled. I know that the time I spent at Rabun Gap 100% influenced my compassion for and interest in other cultures. I may have not even realized it while I was there, but looking back, I know my time there has given me so much perspective and appreciation when it comes to diversity and cultural differences. I want to take advantage of all Boeing has to offer around the globe and live, work and learn in new environments and cultures. I have been to 32 countries, several more than once. I still owe my Rabun Gap friends in Japan a visit!
Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Rabun Gap?
I can’t think of just one – but I have some that might make people laugh! The clean up after Hugo (why on earth they thought it was a good idea to give us heavy equipment?), the crazy Halloween barn we built to raise money...you have to admit, it was epic. I am still terrified of chainsaws, Mr. Rasmeni, because of you. I loved all the sporting events, particularly skiing. Except the ski trip where the bus brakes went out and the buses were hooked together flying down Cataloochee Mountain (I have recent information on this event, but I’ll never reveal my sources). We had some epic air hockey battles, until we got injured too many times and they pulled it out. We were very aggressive with the air hockey! The blizzard, oh that was amazing. I’ll never forget (I won’t mention names) watching two 7th graders going about 60 mph down the hill and crashing head on into the brick sign. We laughed until we cried at some of those horrifying sledding accidents.
Is there a specific faculty member, coach, or dorm parent who had a particular important impact on you?
There is no way to express the gratitude I have for all the people that basically raised me in my 4 years there. The Beale’s, the Loder’s, the Holtzclaw’s, both sets of the Cook’s, Claudette, Mr. Malot, the Darnell’s, Uncle Pete, Mr. Wineman, David Wise, Kelly Frank, Aunt Connie and the Saints of the Dorms – Ms. Mac and Ms. Hatcher. Oh how we owe you both a list of apologies for our nonsense. I miss them so much. I can’t forget the parents of our fellow students either, because Charlene Woods, Sylvia Hiott, Pat Stickney and Carol Worley Swindle always took care of us too.
What advice do you have for current Rabun Gap students that you wish someone told you during your time at school?
Enjoy every minute, because once you graduate, you can’t go back. It’s a very special time in your life. You may not even realize how lucky you are, but you will. Bond with the faculty and staff. You’ll cherish those relationships too.
What are your hopes for Rabun Gap in the next 10-20 years? Anything else you would like to say?
My hopes for Rabun Gap the next couple decades are that it continues to grow and reach more and more students, but continues to maintain small enough to be a family – that is what always made it special. I know I could call up any of my friends or teachers for a visit and it would be like we were never apart.