Cat Childers specializes in fire protection engineering and leads Tetra Tech’s New York-based code and fire protection engineering group. She joined Tetra Tech in 2016 and applies her experience to the buildings market. Cat has a Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park. We spoke with Cat as part of our #INWED19 campaign to not only celebrate our brilliant women engineers but also to raise their profiles to encourage those who aspire to become engineers and to work in STEM. Follow #WomenInSTEM on social media for more stories.

What do you like about working at Tetra Tech?

Being at Tetra Tech, a large, well-branded company, gives me access to projects and people that are first in class.

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I was always more interested in math and science than the arts. I attended a summer program in high school geared toward young women interested in engineering and never looked back.

How can engineering firms be more inclusive and inviting to female engineers?

Mentorship. I’ve had several mentors over the years who have helped me to develop my technical skills, and also become more confident in those skills.

What is the greatest advice you could pass onto girls/female students who aspire to have a career in engineering?

Ask questions. In a technical field, there’s going to be a lot you don’t know. You need to ask questions and take it upon yourself to understand the answers.

How do you define your success as an engineer?

Repeat clients. We’re in the business of offering solutions. When an end user comes back with a new project, we know that we’ve offered them a solution that works for them and a positive experience along the way.

Do you have any advice to pass along to male mentors?

Check-in. Being the odd woman out can feel like we don’t belong. A little encouragement goes a long way in making sure she knows she deserves a spot at the table.