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

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  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.

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

  • Why did you choose engineering?

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

  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?

    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. 

  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your 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.

  • What do you like best about being an engineer?

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

  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?

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

  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?

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

  • Please tell us a little about your 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. 

  • What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?

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

  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?

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

  • What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?

    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. 

  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.

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

  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?

    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.

Biography
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.
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