BOONE, N.C. — When he was in high school, Appalachian State University’s Wendell Addy had a strong interest in science and technology and even had the opportunity to meet astronaut Buzz Aldrin and other Nobel Prize winners. Now, this graduating senior — who has been selected as the undergraduate speaker for App State’s Fall 2020 Commencement — has earned several academic honors as a computer information systems major (CIS), plus secured a job for after he graduates.
“Wendell is an amazing CIS major with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He has completed internships with several companies to help prepare for the workforce,” said Dr. Scott Hunsinger, professor, internship director and interim department chair in the Department of Computer Information Systems.
In addition to the scholarship award for the top CIS student honor, Addy also earned merit-based scholarships when accepted to App State, which he said enabled him to focus on his coursework and professional development. In the 2019–20 academic year, he earned a spot on the Chancellor’s List — awarded to full-time students with a grade-point average of 3.85 or higher — and was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, a national honor society for business students.
Addy’s achievements as a Mountaineer have occurred on a fast track, as he transferred to App State in summer 2019. He started his college career at Lone Star College in Houston and then moved to Raleigh, where he earned an associate degree at Wake Technical Community College.
Born in Liberia, Addy was raised by his grandparents, who instilled in him the value of education. “I was always told that in order to take advantage of all the offerings the world had for me, I needed to attain an education at the highest level possible,” Addy said.
He moved to the U.S. when he was 10 and lived with family in Texas — and his grandparents’ influence propelled him to “keep his head in the books,” he said. After high school, Addy studied mechanical engineering at a community college but was unsure of his next step.
“One day in class, my instructor asked us where we saw ourselves in five years, and I struggled to come up with an answer. That prompted me to reevaluate my field of study,” Addy shared.
He said he researched four-year institutions online and found App State. While exploring undergraduate degree programs on the university’s website, he read about student and alumni experiences in computer information systems and knew that was the field he wanted to pursue.
Addy’s transfer to App State went smoothly, he said, as he began taking classes and connecting immediately with CIS faculty. “Many professors have helped me since my first day and have become mentors. They had a profound effect on my time at App,” Addy said.
Addy said he accelerated his acclimation to App State by joining the Transfer Residential Learning Community (RLC) — a university housing opportunity in which transfer students live together and are offered resources and networking opportunities to help them succeed.
“Coming from the outside and not knowing anyone, it was the best way to integrate and connect with others,” Addy said of Transfer RLC. “We all lived together in Belk Hall and had lots of meetups and parties. Our RA showed us around campus and around Boone, and I made lots of good friends during that time.”
Addy frequently visited Amy Odom, associate director of WCOB’s Business Career Services, who helped him develop his resume and define his career search. Hunsinger further guided him through internship searches and applications, and Addy was able to secure three virtual internships this summer with the following companies:
- Audit, tax and consulting service RSM US LLP, where he collaborated with a team to evaluate current technology threats and impact from COVID-19 on the health care industry and formulate recommendations.
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), where he completed a training module in social engineering and digital investigation, gaining an understanding of some of the securing issues faced by corporations worldwide.
- Deloitte Technology Consulting, where he gained understanding of technology applications that various organizations use to ensure business continuity and generate the most revenue.
His internships yielded a job offer from RSM as a technology risk consultant in Texas, but Addy accepted another offer from Citrix Systems Inc., a multinational computer software company. After he graduates in December, he will begin his job there as a technical analyst based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“Looking back, I feel I made the right decision coming to Appalachian,” Addy said. “The many opportunities to network with different employers prepared me for success. Being able to live out my dreams — I will attribute that to App State.”
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About the Department of Computer Information Systems
At Appalachian State University, computer information systems (CIS) students gain valuable professional skills and capabilities that prepare them for careers in a wide variety of technology-related industries. Students learn how to successfully interface between the technical and management aspects within organizations. Part of the Walker College of Business, the Department of Computer Information Systems offers two of 13 undergraduate business majors at App State, all of which promote solid business acumen and technical fundamentals. Learn more at https://cis.appstate.edu.
About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at https://business.appstate.edu.
About Transfer Admissions and Engagement
Transfer Admissions and Engagement at Appalachian State University supports students through all stages of their transfer journey, including admission counseling and pretransfer advising, credit evaluation, transitional assistance as they begin at App State and through involvement and retention efforts during their App State education. The office serves undergraduate transfer students studying on the main campus in Boone as well as App State Online students who complete their classes fully online or at an off-site location. The services and resources provided by Transfer Admissions and Engagement ensure the university’s transfer student population finds academic and social success at App State. Learn more at https://transfer.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.