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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Engineering Award Recipients

Young Alumna of the Year Award


Cary, Ill.

In most lines of work, customer satisfaction means meeting the needs of those one is striving to serve. In the case of Katherine, it means saving their lives.

The Guardian System program Katherine leads at Northrop Grumman protects U.S. military aircraft against guided missiles, a serious and growing threat, according to the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. government is considering extending Guardian protection to commercial aircraft. 

“My favorite part of my job is getting positive feedback from the users of my product,” she says. “Hearing that they were protected on a mission and returned home to their families because of the work I do is what motivates me every day.”  

A lover of travel, Katherine regularly visits the Philippines, where for the past five years she has sponsored the education of two children. “I am very proud to say that one of the students will be graduating from high school next year,” she says. Her other volunteer activities include mentoring local high school students and middle school teachers on engineering projects, working with disabled children, and coordinating a Northrop Grumman team to participate in Chicago’s Dragon Boat Race for Literacy.          

“I live the Marquette mission every day and in all aspects of my life,” she says. “At work, I strive to be the best leader I can while incorporating the highest standards of excellence and faith.” 

What’s next for this extraordinary young alumna? Says Katherine: “My long-term plan is to grow into a position of senior management and leadership at a vice president level within Northrop Grumman.” 

Get to Know: Katherine Litkowiec Medalle

Hometown:  Cudahy, Wis.

Favorite quote: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.”  Abraham Lincoln

Someone past or present she’d like to have dinner with: United States Sen. John McCain

The Marquette faculty or staff member who had a great impact on her:  Dr. Allen Duncan

In grade school Katherine wanted to be an archeologist like Indiana Jones. 

Most influential in Katherine's life:  Her mother.