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Paula S. deWitte

BS ’74 Mathematics, Purdue University
MS ’75 Education, Purdue University
PhD ’89 Computer Science, Texas A&M University
JD ’08 Law, St. Mary’s University

"Purdue provided me with the ability to solve problems creatively. No, I'm not asked to solve differential equations, but much of my business success comes from seeing things differently -- albeit data or decisions."

Paula S. deWitte started at Purdue University to become a mathematics teacher. At the time, she knew of no other career options. A few months into high school teaching made her wonder what other opportunities existed. deWitte was hired as a "programmer/analyst" and enjoyed several years of working in that role with engineers on structural problems on large airframes (e.g., Air Force) at the University of Dayton Research Institute.

Her life changed when she moved to College Station, Texas. deWitte could not locate a similar programmer/analyst position. She applied for the PhD program in Computer Science at Texas A&M University. deWitte’s dissertation work was on natural language processing – the first dissertation on that topic to come from A&M. She won the research grant and worked with doctors and epidemiologists at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, on extracting useful text from physician dictated patient records for epidemiological studies. She was one of a few founders of a research lab at A&M that later became the basis for her first business, Knowledge Based Systems, Inc., which is still in business conducting applied research and technology development projects.

After passing the Texas Bar, deWitte moved to Houston where she is part owner of three start-ups in the oil and gas industry. With co-inventors, she received a patent in drilling fluids optimization and she submitted another in cybersecurity for her work with Norwegian company, Secure-NOK AS.

deWitte's career goal has not changed to be a teacher as she most recently accepted a part-time position as research professor at the University of Houston in the School of Technology to do further cybersecurity research.

deWitte has no plans to retire as she spends considerable time mentoring entrepreneurial students through the University of Houston’s RedLabs and Rice University’s OwlSpark Accelerators.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2013-present - Continuing to be a contributing entrepreneur with three start-ups
  • 2014 - Received a patent with co-inventors in drilling fluids optimization
  • 2003 - Named Austin Business Journal “Top 25 Business Women in Austin, Texas
  • 1990 - Started first company, Knowledge Based Systems, Inc.; received U.S. Air Force-funded research project

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