Alumni National Awards

Opus College of Engineering Award Recipients


WeissDr. Kathryn Anne Weiss, Eng '01

Pasadena, Calif.

Katie calls Dr. Susan Riedel her role model. The now-retired Marquette electrical and computer engineering professor was the first person to prove to Katie that engineering was accessible to her, as a female. “She was instrumental in motivating me as a software engineer and never once questioned my dream to pursue a career in aerospace,” Katie says. “I am forever indebted to her for that.”

Now, with her master’s and doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, Katie is paying off that debt by encouraging other aspiring female engineers to reach for the stars: “I want to inspire young women to follow their hearts and do whatever their ‘little girl’ tells them to do,” says Katie. “It’s OK to be a strong, vibrant, highly educated woman, independently capable of achieving any goal she sets her mind to, while being centered, genuine and absolutely fabulous.”

After graduating from MIT, Katie spent 10 years as a senior flight software engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She led the Core Flight software effort — JPL’s next-generation software platform — served on NASA’s Software Architecture Review Board, and was a member of the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) systems and software engineering team, helping the rover land on Mars in 2012. With all those responsibilities, she still found time to host several Marquette students at JPL as summer interns as well as a female engineering undergraduate who shadowed Katie as part of the Opus College’s E-Lead program.

Katie recently took on a new role as a principal ride control software engineer at Walt Disney Imagineering. She also is very proud to motivate individuals as a licensed group fitness instructor: “To me, success is living every day to the fullest and enjoying it.”

Fun Fact:
Katie’s favorite Marquette memory is meeting the best friend of her life, Erin Kelly Sandene, Nurs ’01.