2010 Diversity Achievement Award Winner: Kathy Kitto
Professor, College of Sciences & TechnologyRead the News Release
Throughout her career at Western, Kathleen Kitto has been a leading supporter of gender diversity initiatives for both faculty and students, developing opportunities for women in the sciences, engineering and mathematics.
Kitto was the first female engineer hired in WWU's Engineering Technology department, joining the faculty as an assistant professor in 1988. She rose to the rank of professor in 1995 and served as the Engineering Technology department chair from 1996 to 2003.
Since the College of Sciences and Technology was founded in fall 2003, Kitto has split her time, serving as associate dean for CST and as a faculty member in Engineering Technology. She is also the newly appointed director of the Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC). She actively encourages women students to enter the field of engineering. She serves not only as a strong role model, but through mentorship of female students and working with student groups, encourages more women to enter the engineering field.
In her leadership role as department chair, Kitto helped shape a culture change that led to the hiring of additional women into the Engineering Technology department, which now has more women faculty than most engineering technology departments in the country.
Now, Kitto leads Western's first large-scale effort to address the cultural and structural issues that impact women's career development at WWU. Under her leadership and with the support of several Western colleagues, Western won a National Science Foundation ADVANCE Catalyst grant, designed to focus specifically on the needs and challenges of women in the Colleges of Sciences and Technology.