At Summus, we are fortunate to have a diverse team of outstanding engineers who are integral to the development, maintenance, and innovation of our technology platform. Our simple and elegant platform would not be what it is today or allow us to transform access to specialty care without the collective contributions of our Engineering team.
Today, on International Women In Engineering Day, we want to share insights from Kathleen McDaniel and Christine Marete, two exceptional software engineers who help us realize our mission to restore human connection in healthcare.
Kathleen McDaniel, Senior Software Engineer
Kathleen has created her own path to become a software engineer. With a degree in geology, Kathleen started out as a staff geologist for an environmental consulting firm where she was able to tap her creative side and design custom apps. Her app work contributed to greater efficiency and improved employee productivity for monitoring and testing water samples. From there she quickly found her passion and knack for engineering.
“Making apps empowered me to pursue a career in something that would allow me to be creative, but also challenge me. That’s when I enrolled in a software engineering bootcamp and learned everything from front end to back end,” Kathleen says. “Protecting the environment is a fulfilling endeavor, but restoring the human connection in healthcare was something that really got me excited—and still does.”
Kathleen shared that In most organizations, engineers are limited to working on a single aspect of the technology. At Summus, engineers support the breadth and depth of technology from vantage points of clients, physicians, and members. “I really enjoy being able to teach our new developers how to navigate the platform, updating and thinking strategically about code and documentation that benefits the company in both the short- and long-term.”
As for her personal career achievements, Kathleen says that her work incorporating graphs and charts for clients based on their unique specifications is the engineering work of which she is most proud. “It was a lot of work because I had to use one of the most complicated graphic libraries and research topics like Color Theory, but it was a terrific learning experience—and everyone was happy with the final product,” says Kathleen.
Kathleen does not mince words when giving advice to young women interested in engineering careers. “Don’t give up. Keep pushing and pursuing what you want to accomplish. There will be hard and challenging times, but the reward and satisfaction of your successes will be absolutely worth it,” says Kathleen. Her engineering prowess has had a profound impact on Summus’ work to deliver high quality care. For Summus, there is no question that Kathleen has found her calling.
At Summus, we are always in the pursuit of engineering excellence, and recognize the brilliance, ingenuity, tenacity, and unique perspectives that Kathleen and Christine bring to our team. We are a better team and company because of them and their leadership and contributions.— Sanders DeNardi, VP of Engineering
Christine Marete, Software Engineer
With a strong interest in STEM, Christine was set on pursuing a civil engineering degree, but after taking a prerequisite computer science course at the University of Maryland with a passionate and encouraging professor, she changed majors and hasn’t looked back. “From that class, I realized the number of opportunities that existed, and my professor made computer science so relatable, that it was an easy decision,” says Christine. “Women are excellent problem solvers, and that’s what computer science is all about.”
Attending a number of women in STEM conferences, Christine is inspired by the contributions of other women in the field, which motivates her to continue to hone her craft—as do her colleagues. “At Summus, we peer review each other’s code; not only is it a great learning opportunity, but it pushes each of us to be better engineers,” says Christine. She also maintains that learning new things and being able to build something from the ground up is what she enjoys most about her work at Summus. The variety of work at Summus ensures that “there are always new things to learn, do, and build.”
Christine has supported a number of key engineering initiatives at Summus, from workflows to software integrations. “A lot of organizations can tend to have spaghetti code (code that does not follow programming rules, resulting in errors and poor infrastructure), but at Summus our engineering foundation and code are strong—it allows us to be consistent and alleviates production issues that are commonplace for other companies.”
“I think of myself as an engineer, not as a woman in engineering and that has a lot to do with the people, management, and culture at Summus,” says Christine. “Summus is a great place to learn and grow.” We could not be happier that Christine has brought her talents to Summus to help us transform access to specialty care.
As for her advice for young women considering an engineering career, she says “Try. Don’t let the initial projects deter you—it’s part of building the foundation, push through and don’t give up.”
Summus is proud to support and promote diversity and inclusion in engineering, as we do with every department to transform access to the best in specialty care.
If you’re interested in engineering or other opportunities to be a part of our tight-knit team, see our open positions.