Ruthie Lyle-Cannon

Current Position: Patent Engineer - Asset Protection & Licensing at IBM
Ruthie Lyle-Cannon
Highlight Ruthie was the first African American woman to earn an electrical engineering doctoral degree in the 145-year history of Polytechnic University.
December 4, 2005Her job: Patent Engineer - Asset Protection & Licensing, IBM
Describe what you do in your current work situation? I currently work as an Patent Engineer in IBM's IP Software Asset Protection & Licensing Group. I am also a IBM Master Inventor.
Why did you choose engineering? A engineering preparation program in high school sparked my interest in engineering. I thought it was interesting to be able to think about problems and found math and science rewarding subjects.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have? Northeastern University, BS in Electrical Engineering Polytechnic University, MS in Electrophysics Polytechnic University, Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work? In my current role, I'm responsible for helping to leverage IBM's Patent Portfolio from a business perspective.
What do you like best about being an engineer? The best thing about being an engineer is thinking analytically. I also like being able to solve problems logically.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of? I am very proud to have achieved Master Inventor at IBM.
Please tell us a little about your family. My dad never had an opportunity to go to college, but he did join the AirForce and went to school while in service. My mom is an educator and has achieved several graduate degrees and currently is in seminary school. My parents believed in education. They sent their kids to private Christian schools, before it became the popular thing to do. I appreciate them for doing this because it meant working extra jobs and cutting out "extras". Both my sisters are also Educators, even though I'm the baby and got my Ph.D. first they are both completing their Ph.D.s in education.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals? Short Term Goal is to maintain a good "work life balance". My long term goal is to become a technical executive.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices? I feel that my relationship with Jesus Christ has had the largest influence on my choices. At a time when friends did not chose "stretch" or meaningful endeavors, I always found myself wanting to "be somebody"... despite peer pressure.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering? Any young woman considering a career in engineering is on the right track. I'd want her to know that if she decides to pursue law, medicine or some other career that having an engineering background is the best preparation that she can get.  The final comments I would share is that we live in changing times, be flexible in your careers, and work hard to develop and maintain a balance between work and life. If you start out early achieving, it makes everything easy down the road.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book. Outside of work, I've taken up long distance running. I've run two marathons (26.2 miles races) and several half marathons. I'm very active in the NC Godiva Track and Field Club, serving as the co-director of their "Running Start Program". Godiva has 400 + members in the RTP area.