Christopher D. Schmitz was born in Pana, Illinois in 1969. A high school valedictorian in 1988, he went on to receive his BS (with University honors, 1993) and MS (in algorithmic fault-tolerant adaptive systems, 1996) in ECE from the University of Illinois. He then worked for TRW Space and Electronics Group (satellite communication and adaptive antenna systems) before returning to the University of Illinois in 1997. There, he completed his Ph.D. (multi-user cellular communication) in 2002.

As an academic professional, he investigated multiple-microphone hearing systems and wireless hearing system links from 2002-2008 and served as a lecturer since 2005 at the University of Illinois. His research interests are in adaptive digital signal processing, digital communications, and education pedagogy. He currently serves the ECE department of the University of Illinois as a Senior Lecturer and a Chief Undergraduate Advisor and is working to improve undergraduate education as an Education Innovation Fellow (EIF) in the College of Engineering. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking and camping, hands-on projects around the home, and beekeeping.