Katharine Schmidtke lives in Mountain View, CA with her husband and two teenage children. Originally from the UK, Katharine has a Ph.D. in laser physics and non-linear optics from Southampton University, UK. Her scientific research brought her to California over 25 years ago as a visiting scholar at Stanford University on a stipend sponsored by NATO. Since then she has held a full spectrum of positions in industry ranging from research to business development. She is currently responsible for Infrastructure Technology Strategy, in the Sourcing Operations and Engineering team at Facebook.
Katharine is passionate about empowering girls and young women to attain their full potential in science and business. She has found her voice by encouraging girls to explore careers in science, speaking at local middle- and high-schools, supporting STEM initiatives, and as a panelist at various conferences encouraging Women in Photonics. She is proud to support the work of Girls Leadership in encouraging others to find the power of their voice.