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Getting Ready for the Real World

Jasmine Wang in graduation cap and gown
Photo by Audrey Roh.

Jasmine Wang is graduating from NC State this week and will be right back on campus in January.

The Wilmington native receives her degree, a Bachelor of Science in computer science, but is enrolled in the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s degree program, which allows undergraduate students at NC State to complete the requirements for both degrees at an accelerated pace. She expects to receive a master’s in December 2020.

She chose NC State for several reasons. Wang said she was first attracted to the practical, real-world nature of the computer science program, housed within the College of Engineering.

“I like that computer science is part of engineering,” she said. “I got a lot of real-world and industry experience that I don’t think you can get at other schools.”

The other driving factor in her decision to attend NC State was the receipt of the prestigious Park Scholarship, a four-year scholarship covering tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, travel and personal expenses. Park Scholars also are eligible for grants to fund professional and personal enrichment experiences.

Since the Park Scholarship covers eight semesters, and Wang will graduate with her undergraduate degree in seven, the scholarship will cover the first semester of her master’s program this spring.

“I really didn’t think that I would get it,” Wang recalled of first learning she’d received the Park Scholarship. “I was super excited – it’s a full ride.”

Since then, the community and mentorship within the Park Scholars program have made a significant impact on her NC State experience.

“It’s a community that I know that I can always rely on, whether it’s for networking or just finding someone to hang out with when I came to campus that first year,” Wang said. “The mentorship has been really great – I’ve been able to talk with alumni who wanted to go into product management, like I do.”

Where many computer science majors choose to pursue software engineering or academia, Wang is moving down a different path, focusing on a career in product management. Access to a mentor who had chosen that same path allowed her to envision that future, and to get feedback on career options, resume building and other areas.

Next summer, Wang has plans to intern with Microsoft. That follows past summer internships with Allstate, Red Hat and Willow Tree.

“Pursuing computer science at State prepared me well for my internships in the industry, which in turn has helped me figure out the career path I want to pursue and am passionate about,” she said. “That will hopefully happen somewhere that I’m really passionate about what we’re working on.

“I want to know that what I’m building has an impact and is positively contributing to society.”

That passion for making a positive impact has been evident during Wang’s time on campus as well. She spent the past three years in an active role with Feed the Pack food pantry, serving as the brand coordinator on the group’s executive board. She served as a Computer Science Ambassador and participated in computer science outreach to high school students through the NC State chapter of STARS Computing Corps

To those who support the university, whether through the Park Scholarship or in other ways, or those who are considering giving, Wang offers encouragement to continue supporting causes important to them. It’s something she does herself, as a volunteer and by making financial gifts to campus efforts including the Student Emergency Fund.

“When you give to things you care about, you will definitely see a return on your investment,” Wang said.

Though she has enjoyed numerous positive experiences at NC State, Wang said the preparation that her major has given her for the real world has been most impactful.

“I knew pretty early on that I did want to go into industry and not do research,” she said. “Having the space to understand, before going into industry, the types of things that I would be expected to use and expected to do, and the types of projects that I would be working on, has been really amazing.”