Katherine Whatley

BS Accounting
Shreveport, Louisiana

Challenging Conventional Wisdom 




Katherine Whatley's arms are tucked behind her body. She wears a bright plaid blouse and her hair is pulled back.

If you associate accounting with solitude and spreadsheets, senior Katherine Whatley would like a word.

“Accounting is wrongfully seen as a field that might not be as interesting or collaborative, but it’s an extrovert’s field. We should really embrace that.”

Katherine learned the importance of communicating and working in diverse teams through her courses and saw those lessons put into practice during an internship at Whitley Penn in Dallas.

“Accounting is all about professional judgment. What good is professional judgment if everyone has the same perspective? As a team, you’re going into the financial data and coming up with different conclusions and then coming together and meshing them as one. That’s the beauty of it.”

Katherine pours her passion for the field into Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), an honor society for accounting, finance, and information systems students. As BAP events coordinator, Katherine was determined to reinvigorate the group with a fresh perspective and experience gained through her role as Phi Mu sisterhood development chair. She instituted theme days and elevated networking opportunities. Katherine now serves as the group’s president. Since she joined BAP in 2022, the group has increased from 20 to 120 members. That growth doesn’t just benefit BAP but also the accounting major.

Katherine identifies a lack of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) as one of the most pressing issues in the field. She says earning the accreditation can be daunting because of the expense and time commitment; however, she is quick to encourage students to stick with it because scarcity creates more opportunities for those entering the field.

Katherine knows firsthand just how far accounting can take you. In the summer of 2022, she traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, where she spent a month helping businesses through the Lead Abroad program. She mentioned her experience and her love of traveling to a recruiter. That conversation and Katherine’s considerable qualifications led to an invitation to visit Brussels, Belgium, to attend KPMG’s Global Advantage Program last summer. Katherine was the first LSU student to take part in this prestigious program, where she gained valuable leadership skills.

“If we don’t have an accountant in the family or don’t know an accountant, you don’t think about the field as an opportunity to help people or travel. Those are things that would normally spark interest. When you’re helping people with their financial health and being able to put food on the table, it is so fulfilling.”

With an experience that highlights the many opportunities available through accounting, Katherine Whatley can be counted on to continue challenging stereotypes and generating excitement about the field, just as she’s done in the E. J. Ourso College of Business.



What are you reading?

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

What's something you can't live without?

My pets and my Google calendar

What was your favorite business course? 

Principles of Microeconomics with Phillip Marx

Is there a faculty/staff member who contributed to your success? 

I have had the privilege of having many professors pour encouragement and support into my college career. Laura Wiley, Zhenhua Chen, and Tracy Morgan are the three faculty members I served under on Beta Alpha Psi’s executive board. Each inspired me through their stories and pushed me to be the best version of myself academically, professionally, and personally. No words could describe my respect and admiration for each of them. The Ourso College and Beta Alpha Psi are so lucky to have such dedicated and compassionate professors.

Honors & Activities

  • Beta Alpha Psi, President
  • Phi Mu Sorrority, Member 
  • LSU Women in Business, Member
  • Dance Marathon LSU, Fundraising Member
  • President's Honor Roll
  • Dean's List

Connect with Katherine

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The 2024 Ourso Outstanding Eight

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