October 2021
Dr. Rick Muma, president of Wichita State University, chats with students at his alma mater, Eisenhower High School, in Houston.
Going home and growing Shocker Nation
More than once, I’ve said that I didn’t come to this presidency alone or overnight, but recently I had the pleasure of visiting a place that was a foundational stepping stone along the way: my alma mater, Eisenhower High School in Houston.
Last month, First Gentleman Rick Case and I accompanied a team from the Office of Admissions on a recruiting trip to some of our Shocker Cities in Texas, and the Eisenhower students and staff greeted us with overwhelming warmth.
Like all of Houston, Eisenhower was diverse when I was a student, and today almost 95% of its students come from diverse backgrounds, mostly Latinx students. Like at Wichita State, that diversity is celebrated as a means to excellence.
We were enthusiastically welcomed with the pep band’s rendition of the traditional fight song, as well as performances from the cheerleaders and flag team. I can’t describe how touched I was with this awesome welcome.
In the News at Wichita State
FAA awards $7.3 million to NIAR for additive manufacturing, advanced materials research
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently awarded $7.3 million to Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) for advanced materials research, providing significant funding for additive and other advanced manufacturing research programs, ranging from qualification and characterization to specialized programs that address specific technical challenges.

The funding, which was awarded through WSU’s Center for Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials (CECAM) includes $3 million for Additive Manufacturing Guidance for Aircraft Design and Certification.
New clinic offers free counseling for Wichita community
A new Wichita State University mental health clinic is helping its clients take a positive and proactive approach to their mental health. The WSU Integrated Support and Empowerment (WISE) Clinic offers comprehensive counseling services to everyone in the Wichita community, and all services are free of charge.

The purpose of the clinic is twofold: First, it engages the community and neighborhoods surrounding Wichita State and empowers people to take control of their mental health; and secondly, it gives WSU counseling students the opportunity for real-world applied learning through their work with clients.

“We wanted to be able to reach out to the community and try to break down the stigma around seeking mental health services,” said Dr. Jody Fiorini, chair of Intervention Services and Leadership in Education for Wichita State’s College of Applied Studies.
WSU chosen to host 2023 National Science Olympiad
Wichita State University has been chosen to host the 2023 Science Olympiad National Tournament, bringing national STEM notoriety to the university and up to 7,000 visitors and tourists to Wichita.

Approximately 1,800 students from across the United States, Canada and Japan will travel to Wichita State May 18-20, 2023, for the Science Olympiad National Tournament.

“Science Olympiad is a team competition that allows middle school and high school students a chance to learn about STEM areas that they might not get a chance to in their regular classroom setting,” said Jill Fisher, community outreach coordinator for Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the national tournament director. “Competitions involve device-building, testing, lab work and written exams.”
1,200 COVID tests later, Music Theatre Wichita stays open thanks to WSU's MDL
The show must go on, and thanks to Wichita State’s Molecular Diagnostics Lab (MDL), Music Theatre Wichita (MTW) has been able to keep its doors open to audiences.

MDL has registered, partnered with, and trained more than 500 organizations, schools, health care facilities, and businesses throughout the region to collect COVID-19 specimens for PCR testing. Test results are generally available within 24 hours, allowing for quick and precise quarantine and treatment for those who test positive. The testing provided through MDL has been critical to the pandemic fight in Kansas.

And it’s proven particularly important to MTW.
Wichita State chemist partners with area universities on $3.7 million COVID-19 research
A Wichita State University scientist is part of a team that has been awarded a five-year, $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further research a treatment for COVID-19.

Dr. Bill Groutas, medicinal chemist at Wichita State University, is working with Dr. Kyeong-Ok “KC” Chang, a virologist at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Yunjeong Kim, a veterinary virologist at Kansas State; Dr. Stanley Perlman, professor of microbiology and immunology from the University of Iowa; and Dr. Scott Lovell, a structural biologist at the University of Kansas. Chang is the principal investigator.

On Aug. 30, the NIH announced the award for the project, which aims to complete development of a drug for preclinical studies, which will ultimately lead to a COVID-specific antiviral therapeutic treatment. It is led by principal investigator, Kyeong-Ok “KC” Chang, a virologist at Kansas State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

 “We have identified a series of compounds that are effective in an animal model of SARS-COV-2 infection, working in collaboration with research groups at KSU, KU and the University of Iowa,” Groutas said. “A drug candidate is being advanced along the development pipeline by CoCrystal Pharma as a COVID-19 parenteral therapeutic.”
Storytime Village, WSU partner to drive educational achievement
What started as one woman’s passion project has flourished into a literacy empire that serves thousands of children in schools across the Wichita area — helped along the way by the people and services of Wichita State University.

Prisca Barnes founded Storytime Village in 2009 with a mission “to inspire a lifelong love of reading for underserved Kansas children from birth to age 8.”

“It’s where my heart and passion lie,” said Barnes, who holds a master’s degree in communication from Wichita State and is working toward a doctorate in educational leadership.
Engineering student becomes 'pro' through summer internship

A Wichita State University student has wielded her love of nature into an internship with one of the nation’s leading outdoors companies.

Maria Jimenez — a junior studying industrial engineering in Wichita State’s Industrial, Systems and Manufacturing Engineering Department — spent her summer interning with White River Marine Group, a co-op of Bass Pro Shop. For her, the chance to work for the company was an extension of not only her skills but also her love of all things outdoors.
Widener Global Leaders Program announces advisory board
The Widener Global Leaders Program, a new, year-long, interdisciplinary program housed in the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, has compiled a dynamic and diverse group to serve on its industry advisory board.

“We’ve assembled an amazing team of women who have climbed to the top of their fields and revolutionized their industries,” said Dr. Larisa Genin, dean of the Barton School of Business and co-chair of the advisory board for the Widener Global Leaders Program. “Tapping into their knowledge and having them be formative members of this program will help transform the lives of our students.”
Heskett Center adds pickleball courts during outdoor renovations
As interest in pickleball grew, John Lee’s Campus Recreation staff drew chalk lines on tennis courts to modify the space for the sport.

Later this fall, pickleball becomes permanent on campus at the Heskett Center’s Outdoor Sports Complex.

When it became necessary to resurface six tennis courts, Lee, director of Campus Recreation, decided to do something different. The complex will feature four pickleball courts, two courts for tennis and two existing courts for half-court basketball and one for futsal.