Katie Smith
Katie Smith
System Analysis Engineer, Appalachian Power Company
Charleston, WV

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Close Up
  • What I Do

    I design/improve underground and overhead electrical systems. These systems range from serving residential to industrial customers.

  • Why Engineering?

    I chose engineering because I liked math and science, but mostly because I had a strong support system of family behind me.

  • School Days

    I attended West Virginia University Institute of Technology and graduated with two bachelor degrees. One is in electrical engineering and the other is in computer engineering. 

  • My Day At Work

    On a normal basis I evaluate load studies, find ways to improve electrical systems to reduce outages for customers, and decide if industrial customers will overload some systems.

  • Best Part

    I enjoy being able to solve problems such as how to get power to rural areas. 

  • Proud Moments

    My career is only a couple years old but I was recently named the lead of a sustainability team of Appalachian Power engineers. 

  • Challenges

    The largest challenges I faced was in college when some students looked down on my ability to learn due to my gender. 

  • My Family

    My parents got married very young and neither have college degrees but we're very supportive. I have one younger brother who is going to school to become a trauma nurse. I'm married to a man who has always been supportive of my career goals. 

  • Dreams and Goals

    My short-term goal is to become a supervisor in my group. My long-term goal is to possibly become a manager.

  • Inspiration

    My grandma and I were very close. She always told me I could do anything, no matter what.

  • Want to be an Engineer?

    If a young woman is considering engineering my advice would be to keep your head up no matter how difficult it is at times. Find some friends, 2 of my best friends are also women engineers and that helps when I'm having a bad day. 

  • Hobbies

    I love to cook, garden, and tinker on cars. I have shelves of books so I can't pick a favorite. 

  • Additional Thoughts

    My best memories from college were from joining IEEE(only club available at my school). I also suggest finding a mentor when entering the workforce.

Hi! I am an electrical engineer at Appalacian Power Company. I graduated from West Virginia University Institute of Technology with a bachelors degree in electrical engineering and a bachelors degree in computer engineering in December 2015. I have been employed with my company since November 2015. I became an engineer because I love a challenge and had a lot of support behind me from family and friends. I love what I do, and couldn't see myself doing anything else.
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Volunteer Opportunities
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to host a field trip to my place of employment.
  • I am willing to be contacted about potential job shadowing by interested students.
  • I am willing to answer written interview questions to be posted on the EngineerGirl website.
Latest Questions
  • Aditi asked Katie Smith, Appalachian Power Company

    Added Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 9:52 AM

    My degree is very similar to yours. I was recently very disheartened when I freaked out after giving possibly the worst coding test for a summer internship. Is there anyway I can prepare better for next time? I'm pretty fine with electrical stuff, I just struggle a lot with the computer science / computer engineering aspect.
    Related to Computer, Electrical, Engineering Skills, Internships & Jobs, Self Doubt, Software
    Answers 1
    Katie Smith, Appalachian Power Company
    Answered Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 3:09 PM
    Aditi, the old saying "Practice makes perfect" is really true. Just keep studying hard and you will excel. Find what you're passionate about and focus on that. If it's not computer related then so be it. My rule I followed until I overcame my self-doubt ...
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  • Shobhita

    Added Monday, December 11, 2017 at 12:40 PM

    I'm wondering if it will be too tough to study because a most people I know say so. Also, I have an interest in aerospace, but it is hard for a an electrical engineering student to study in that field. Any suggestions? I'm in my third year. Also if you have any university suggestions, I'd be grateful.
    Answers 1
    Katie Smith, Appalachian Power Company
    Answered Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 11:38 AM
    If you are interested in aerospace I would suggest you take some mechanical electives. The more diversity in your education the better. If your university offers a renewable energy course as an elective I would also take that. Any education after your ...
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  • Sam

    Added Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 1:30 PM

    I'm two years into my graphic design degree, but lately I think I've realized that I want a little more. I miss working in a warehouse and doing things hands on, but also I love to design and I'm good with photoshop, rendering programs, etc. I love to build things. Are there any degrees/careers that include both? Like I said math isn't my strongest subject but I'm very creative and I enjoy problem solving. I also get along well with people so that isn't a concern.
    Answers 1
    Katie Smith, Appalachian Power Company
    Answered Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 2:57 PM
    There are many engineering careers that are design related, but I might suggest an associate engineering program if your math is weak and prefer a hands on environment. Many careers like the one you are searching for will only require a 2 year ...
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