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Caitlin W.

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering

Caitlin knows that putting in hard work can really pay off in the end, both academically and outside of the classroom. After being inspired by her Intro to Materials Science class with Professor Chrys Demetry her freshman year, she earned her BS and her MS at WPI simultaneously in just four years. Now she hopes to have her PhD in materials science and engineering by the time she’s 25 and become a college professor so she can also inspire others to join this developing discipline.

These days, when she’s not working on her US Army Research Lab–sponsored project on developing a model for the cold spray process (which can be used to repair machine parts in minutes), you can probably find her improving her racing times. An occasional runner in high school, she has shown real dedication on the cross country and track and field teams, and now she has her sights set on the NCAA Championships.

Caitlin Walde

Edmonds, WA

Faculty Mentor

Chrys Demetry, Director, Morgan Teaching and Learning Center and Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

  • Completing her BS and MS at WPI concurrently in just four years
  • Competing at regional meets with the NCAA DIII Cross Country and Track and Field teams
  • Track and Field
  • Pi Tau Sigma and Sigma Xi 
  • President of Material Advantage Committee
  • Advisor for Tau Beta Pi
  • Hiking, camping, cooking, and baking

Caitlin was recently interviewed by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for a news feature story about the past and future of manufacturing in Central Massachusetts—including important perspective from WPI.


Hit the Rec Center for some cross-training and weight-lifting before heading to the office


Work day in the lab in Washburn Shops on my cold spray process project, sponsored by the US Army Research Lab. 


Track practice. My main event is the 10km, though I run the 5km occasionally, and will probably have a go at one 1500m at some point this season.


Time to relax for the evening. I love making gluten-free recipes for my friends, and I’ve also been attempting to learn German so I can converse with my Swiss grandparents in their native language!

WPI's project-based curriculum has taught me to learn not only from my professors, but from my peers. What sets WPI graduates apart is their ability to work in groups, to know where to find necessary resources, and how to apply what we have learned.
I think inspiring people through your own actions is the best way to change them, and I always hope that I can live in such a way that inspires others.
My favorite thing about WPI is the sense of community. As a whole, the population is large enough that there are always new people to meet, but small enough that I see familiar faces frequently.