Kathleen de Paolo
Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Class of 1987, B.S.
Kathleen de Paolo was inspired by her high school math and science teachers to study engineering, and by her father, a pilot, to focus on aerospace engineering. “Virginia Tech encouraged me to work for a deep understanding of every single topic and discipline,” said de Paolo. “It wasn't enough to be able to apply a formula and solve a problem — I learned to retread the path of the great minds who had first discovered and derived the insights.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace and ocean engineering from Virginia Tech in 1987, de Paolo moved on to work on guidance and control systems at General Dynamics Convair, followed by a 22-year career with Qualcomm and her current role as vice president of engineering at the Walt Disney Company. De Paolo is passionate about the work of the Fistula Foundation, the Animal Welfare Institute, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, and the Alzheimer’s Association.