Published: Dec. 13, 2018 By

Society of Women Engineer members with a certificate.

McQuie (center) with fellow members of the Society of Women Engineers

Katie McQuie’s time at CU Boulder is marked by both academic success and selfless service to her fellow engineers. As the winner of the December 2018 Outstanding Graduate for Service award, she exemplifies the kind of service-minded engineer that CU Boulder is known for.

McQuie achieved great things during her time in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering: she majored in both chemical engineering and environmental engineering, was a teaching assistant, conducted research and completed three different internships.

But it was the extra effort she devoted to serving the community and her fellow (and future) engineers through the Society of Women Engineers that helped set her apart.

“To me, it meant a lot to just be nominated for the award,” McQuie said. “I didn’t realize, frankly, how much of an impact I had, or how much people saw how much work I put in with SWE.”

One graduating senior from the College of Engineering and Applied Science is recognized each December and May for their devotion to service. Nominations are submitted by faculty.

“Katie is such an outstanding role model. She has somehow led SWE for two years in addition to her double major, internships, research, studying abroad and being a teaching assistant,” said Wendy Young, senior instructor and associate chair. “Her commitment to helping others in so many ways is inspirational—and she's just the nicest person.”

“It means a lot, because it shows that CU as a whole, the department and the college value the society and promoting women in engineering,” McQuie said. “That meant more than any award.”

McQuie served as president of the CU Boulder chapter of SWE and managed a 14-member executive board for two years.

The chapter has over 200 members and focuses on three main pillars for women engineers: professional development, networking opportunities and building a strong community. Members learn how to navigate the professional world, make meaningful connections and support their fellow women engineers.

McQuie often led educational outreach to K-12 students in the Boulder and Denver areas, where SWE members taught students about engineering through activities like building structures out of toothpicks and marshmallows that could withstand simulated earthquakes. Their goal was to inspire young girls and minority students to consider engineering as a career path.

As chapter president, McQuie also focused on bringing more female students to conferences. She helped organize two local SWE conferences: the 2016 Region I Conference in downtown Boulder and the 2017 Spring Summit on campus at the ATLAS Building.

“Both provided great opportunities for students by networking with professionals and by attending great sessions to learn from and improve their confidence as engineers,” McQuie said. “A lot of students come back inspired to work hard in school after these conferences.”

Following graduation this semester, she will attend a European studies program at Freie University in Berlin, Germany. Afterward she will begin her career with Deloitte in Denver as a business technology analyst.

After an impressive four years here at CU, she’s got some advice for incoming students.

“Chase after what—it sounds cheesy, but—what makes you feel alive, what deeply motivates you,” she said. “Whatever that is, don’t let that go. For me, that’s promoting women and minorities in engineering."


"College is such a unique opportunity to explore and develop yourself. I wouldn’t pass up those opportunities.”


You can learn more about Katie in her interview for the #ILookLikeAnEngineer series.


Learn about the other outstanding graduates from the College of Engineering and Applied Science here.