Carnegie Mellon University

Tartan for Life

By Jennifer Pesci-Kelly

Katherine Kohatsu, principal in the strategy and transaction practice at EY, has a long connection with CMU — from her days as a College of Engineering undergraduate to her time as an MBA student in the Tepper School of Business to her role today as a member of the Andrew Carnegie Society Board.

She was recognized by the Tepper Women in Business Club as Alumna of the Year in 2015. In December 2020, Katherine received a CMU Alumni Award for her outstanding service and commitment to the university. We talked to her about why she is so passionate about CMU.

Can you describe your lifelong relationship with Carnegie Mellon?

I’ve been associated with the university in various ways since I first graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 1997. I started with recruiting students, then moved on to mentoring them on careers and interviewing, to later hosting events and getting involved with advisory boards, including the Tepper Alumni Advisory Board and the ACS Board. Additionally, over the past 10 years, I’ve supported students, specifically women and minorities in our STEM programs.

“I believe in education as a way to improve lives, and I want to pass my experience on to other students, especially those from humble backgrounds.”

Why is supporting Carnegie Mellon students a priority for you?

I was a recipient of the Judith A. Resnik Memorial Scholarship. The financial support allowed me to attend a top-rated university, which profoundly impacted my professional and personal lives. I give because CMU positively affected my life.

What would you say to fellow alumni about getting more involved in CMU?

Think about ways you can help us build our community. You can talk to students, attend an event — even host an event. Every gesture will help us build our community.

What motivates you to make a difference at CMU?

I still think we don’t have enough women and minorities in engineering, so that’s why I choose to support those students in those programs. I also choose to support the Tepper School because it helped me make a successful career transition, and I’ve been grateful for the friends and colleagues I’ve made there.