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Student Profile

Spotlight on Our Alumni: Katie Wassell ’15

The University Honors and Scholars Programs recently caught up with Scholars Program alumna Katie Wassell '15, who now works as a software engineer at IBM.

Katie Wassell on an overlook of the village of San Gimignano in Italy
Katie Wassell visiting the village of San Gimignano while studying abroad in Italy at NC State

By Madison Mueller

Recently, the University Honors and Scholars Programs interviewed several alumni and have been featuring them on their social media accounts. 

One of them is Katie Wassell ’15, a graduate of the University Scholars Program who currently works as a software engineer at IBM where she uses artificial intelligence to improve language processing systems. Wassell loves that the complex technical problems she solves on a daily basis impact people and make their lives easier. While at NC State, Wassell majored in computer science and was also a Benjamin Franklin Scholar — a program for students pursuing majors in both the College of Engineering and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences — and through her work at IBM, she has found a path that allows her to continue to pursue her interests in both subject areas.

Wassell came to NC State as an out of state student, so she was excited that the Scholars Program gave her a structured way to meet new people, such as living in the Scholars Village, and the opportunity to get to know the city of Raleigh. Wassell said the Scholars Program helped her fall in love with the Raleigh community and led her to pursue opportunities in Research Triangle Park that would allow her to stay in the area.

However, Wassell is no stranger to travel. While at NC State, Wassell traveled on a summer study abroad trip to Florence, Italy. Her favorite part was leading a bilingual English/Italian tour of Rome and Vatican City for her peers, and she said the experience made her three semesters of Italian pay off! Wassell’s travel experiences also extend beyond her time at NC State. Recently, she traveled to Colombia to work on a consulting project with IBM’s Corporate Service Corps to establish data management systems for water security.

Katie Wassell and two other people sit at a table and work on a computer
Katie Wassell works with colleagues on a consulting project with IBM’s Corporate Service Corps to establish data management systems for water security

In addition to serving communities abroad, Wassell has also demonstrated an incredible commitment to serving her local community. Through her participation in the University Scholars Program at NC State, Wassell got involved with the Interfaith Food Shuttle (IFFS), an organization in Raleigh that works to provide vulnerable populations with food security and the tools to create healthy meals for themselves and their families. Even after leaving NC State, Wassell has stayed involved with the organization and has now been an IFFS volunteer and donor for 10 years. About this experience, she commented, “It feels good to be tied into my community and working toward a worthwhile goal.”

As students enjoy a well-earned break and prepare for the upcoming semester that is sure to bring new challenges, Wassell offered the following advice: “Hang in there. 2020 has been a strange year, but eventually you’ll go back to campus and learn in person again. While there, take some time to meet your neighbors and the greater community. All sorts of interesting things are right at your doorstep.”

If you want to connect with Katie Wassell to talk about her time in the University Scholars Program, her current job, her favorite Howling Cow flavor (it’s Wolf Tracks, by the way!), or her work with the Interfaith Food Shuttle, shoot her an email at