Cathleen Pete knew she wanted to become an engineer after attending her first "Career Day" in high school. Her mother, a nurse, hoped Cathleen would pursue a career in the medical profession, but a summer working at a local hospital caused her to think about another career path. After talking to several people, she found that the engineering profession would cultivate her interest in mathematics and problem solving. "I wanted to know what made things work," she says. "I'd always try to fix the things that didn't!"
With a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Cathleen has had the opportunity to solve many problems during her ten years working for IBM. She has developed complex algorithms to model computer chips, designed software systems to generate test data, and developed test processes to test PC monitors. In her current job, Cathleen works with a team of engineers in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Greenock, Scotland, to develop manufacturing test processes and design the equipment required to implement them for various PC monitors. Cathleen enjoys her work. "I find it extremely gratifying when my team is able to meet the many technical, financial, and scheduling challenges in the highly competitive PC industry," she says.
Most of her jobs at IBM have required some computer programming, which Cathleen finds very interesting. Although she has learned a great deal on the job, Cathleen began graduate work in computer engineering part time to enhance her skills in the area. "It's important to keep abreast of new techniques, especially in high-tech fields such as engineering and computer science," she notes.
Cathleen, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, attended Washington High School and went on to Southern University, where she received her bachelor's degree. During her time at Southern, Cathleen did two internships with IBM: in Westlake, California, and Charlotte, North Carolina. "These experiences were extremely beneficial," she says. "In addition to enhancing my technical skills, I got an early look at being a professional in corporate America. I would highly recommend that young women deciding upon a career path take advantage of internship programs."
A woman who believes very strongly in community service, Cathleen volunteers as a tutor/mentor. "It's important for young people to understand that each of their goals can be achieved through hard work and determination," she declares. "Most young people just need a little encouragement!" Cathleen feels that her parents' support helped her accomplish many things and hopes she provides the same kind of support for others.