Chelmsford High School Alumni Association
Kathleen Edna Chew Howe
Awarding Criteria: Will be awarded to a senior or graduate of Chelmsford High School pursuing a degree in either engineering or mathematics
Bright, independent, adventurous, optimistic, and loyal all describe the woman for whom this memorial scholarship was established. Kathleen Chew Howe was a proud town resident, a 1965 graduate of Chelmsford High School, and a civil engineer and surveyor.
Kathi moved with her family to Chelmsford at the age of 12. She found many new friends through her Girl Scout troop and at school. She often spoke fondly of her teachers, friends and memories made at Chelmsford High School. Following her graduation from CHS, Kathi went on to Tufts University’s College of Engineering and earned her degree there in 1969 with only a handful of other women engineers. A trailblazer herself, she encouraged others around her to take risks and follow their passions.
After a short-lived move to California after Tufts, Kathi returned to Chelmsford, where she would raise her family, and build her own civil engineering and land surveying business. She started Howe Surveying Associates in 1985, as she was determined to pursue her career while finding the flexibility in schedule she needed as a recently divorced parent of three young children. Her firm specialized in doing work for developers, local government and state projects. She later opened an office at Devens and became part-owner of Vermont Surveying & Engineering in Montpelier, Vermont. Two of her great joys as a business owner were nurturing the talents of student engineers through a scholar-intern program and being able to donate some of her company’s time and talents to local projects.
Kathi found happiness in giving back to the town that she felt had given her a strong education and opportunities. She provided design and surveying services for some town projects, and served on town committees such as the Chelmsford Historical Commission. She was also a member of the Rotary Club and Chelmsford Business Association. Not one to forget the social side, she served on her CHS Reunion committees. She took great pride in being inducted into the CHS Hall of Fame in 2001.
Kathi was a loving and devoted mother to her three children: Kristin, Alycia and David, all three of whom are also graduates of CHS. She also reveled in her role as grandmother to her six grandchildren, and as ‘big sister’ to her niece and extended family. She instilled in all of her family a love of home, but also a belief that the world holds great possibilities when approached with positivity. Though she struggled from the age of 12 with Type 1 diabetes and the many physical effects from that disease through the years, she always had a bright smile and a eagerness to meet the world head on.
Nothing would please Kathi more than knowing she might be helping an aspiring young engineer or mathematician from CHS with this award. We know that she’d give this advice to the deserving recipient, “Whatever you choose to do, do it with a smile and with courage, knowing that setbacks are just part of the process of success.”