Ruthie Lyle-Cannon
Dr Ruthie Lyle-Cannon
Patent Engineer - Asset Protection & Licensing, IBM
Durham, NC

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Close Up
  • 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.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    Ruthie was the first African American woman to earn an electrical engineering doctoral degree in the 145-year history of Polytechnic University.
  • 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.
Latest Questions
  • INeka , white castle, la asked Ruthie Lyle-Cannon, IBM

    Added Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Hi, I am currently a senior at White Castle High school. I was wondering what encouraged you to go into engineering and why? I am asking because I am going into the career of engineering, but I can't get my math score up, and I know that sounds crazy, but what would be the best suggestion for me other than just studying? I am mainly asking about what was your motivation for going into engineering.
    Answers 0
  • Sarah, San Marcos, Texas asked Ruthie Lyle-Cannon, IBM

    Added Friday, March 30, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    Hi, I am a junior in college and just transferred to another university. I have made the decision to be an engineer but because I am in my junior year switching my current major (communications) to engineering and finishing on time would be impossible. I am thinking about majoring in physics because my school has a program that is designed for students who wish to enter an engineering program elsewhere and I would still finish within a reasonable time frame. I have always liked figuring out how ...
    Related to Self Doubt
    Answers 1
    Answered Friday, March 30, 2012 at 7:05 AM
    Hello Sarah It's never too late to pursue your interests, even if it means extending your time in school. Of course, I think you should not make a decision without investigation. You might consider taking a science course for non science/engineering ...Read More
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