MCS Alumni Profile: Helen Wauck Posted on March 3rd, 2016 by

Helen1Helen Wauck graduated from Gustavus in 2014 with both a Mathematics and a Computer Science degree.

Where are you currently working and what are you doing?

I’m currently a PhD Student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign doing research in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. My research focuses on the use of video games to train spatial reasoning skills in children. Spatial reasoning skills are one of the strongest predictors of a person’s future success in STEM disciplines – math, computer science, architecture, chemistry, and so forth. By determining the best ways for kids to learn spatial reasoning, we can open the door to STEM for kids who might otherwise not give it a try.

How did the MCS department help you get where you are today?

I came to Gustavus not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, and decided to give computer science or math a try. The further I got in school, the more the department lured me in. Computer science OR math became computer science AND math. The department provided me with resources to pursue Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) and internships, which helped me decide what I wanted my path to be after graduation, and the combination of Computer Science and Math majors provided a strong foundation for my graduate research. My advisors helped me navigate the graduate school application process, providing support and advice at every step of the way.

What is your favorite memory of the MCS department?

Probably the end of year picnic in the Arb. My classmates plus my professors, outside of Olin and enjoying Korean barbecue! Or maybe that one time we actually beat the Physics department in our end of the year Ultimate Frisbee match.

Anything else you would like to add or mention?

If you’re a CS or math student considering graduate school and you have any questions about life as a graduate student or how to decide if graduate school is right for you, feel free to contact me at

Thanks for the update Helen.  It’s good to hear from you.

If you would like to let the MCS department know what you are up to you can do so by clicking here.


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