September 2021
Digital transformation at Wichita State
The hustle and bustle of the fall semester is upon us, and it’s uplifting to see a campus full of students hurrying to get to class, faculty members teaching in our new outdoor classrooms, and the Shocker spirit at Wichita State University.

One initiative that’s driving much of the excitement on campus is digital transformation. While the term itself might sound like something that belongs in a sci-fi movie or a computer lab, it’s a thriving field of study that Wichita State has been prioritizing as a means to serve our students and our state.

First, what is digital transformation? In a nutshell, it’s taking physical practices — for example, printing out airline tickets, checking fingerprints at a crime scene or evaluating aircraft components— and transferring them to a digital format to streamline processes or manufacture obsolete parts.
In the News at Wichita State
WSU-NIAR WERX receives 777 aircraft for Kansas Modification Center passenger-to-freighter conversion
WERX at Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) has received its first Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft.

As part of its rapidly growing Maintenance Repair and Overhaul program, WSU-NIAR WERX, in conjunction with the Kansas Modification Center, will convert the passenger aircraft into a freighter that will be transferred to an external client to meet the growing needs of the e-commerce and express cargo market.
Shocker Promise will cover tuition and fees for eligible Sedgwick County freshmen
Starting fall 2022, any qualified high school senior who is a resident of Sedgwick County will be eligible to receive a scholarship covering unmet tuition and fee costs to attend Wichita State University.

That’s thanks to a new scholarship created by Wichita State called the Shocker Promise. Previously available to qualified students who live in the Shocker Neighborhood, this scholarship has now been extended to all eligible incoming first-time freshmen living in Sedgwick County.
Long-lost sundial finds new home on WSU campus
A precious piece of Wichita State University’s story was almost lost to the dusty shelves of history — if not for the historical instincts of a faculty member.

In 1934, the class of 175 graduating seniors purchased and dedicated a sundial to Wichita State, which was then known as the Municipal University of Wichita; and it was placed at the southwest corner of Jardine Hall.

According to the Sunflower student newspaper, “The dial was made of white granite and is about 3 feet in height. Brass comprises the material of the top, which is approximately 16 inches in diameter.”
T-Mobile internship led to career options for WSU student
When Truc Nguyen interviewed for her internship with T-Mobile For Business, she highlighted her experiences with Barton International Group at Wichita State University.

“I came into the interview with T-Mobile with tangible projects I had already worked on,” Nguyen said. “That was one of the very first things they asked ‘Tell me more about Barton International Group. What projects did you take on?’”

Those projects and interview prep from her Barton International Group advisor Kate Kung-McIntyre paid off. A few months later, Nguyen stood next to T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert at corporate headquarters for a picture during an event for interns.
Scholarship aimed at underrepresented students welcomes inaugural class
As the fall 2021 semester begins, the 21 students in the inaugural class of Adelante Scholars have begun their careers as Wichita State University students.

The Adelante Scholarship was established in 2020 through a gift from Gene and Yolanda Camarena. It’s geared toward incoming freshmen and new transfer students. Preference is given to students who are of Black, Hispanic and Latino heritage with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and demonstrated financial need.

“We are excited to have this inaugural class of Adelante Scholars join Wichita State,” said Sheelu Surender, executive director of financial aid and scholarships at Wichita State. “The financial support and mentoring this scholarship provides should help these promising leaders focus on academics and campus involvement rather than being burdened with working full-time to pay for college.”
NIAR helps South Kansas earn Defense Manufacturing Community designation
The Department of Defense (DoD) has designated South Kansas as a Defense Manufacturing Community (DMC), making the region eligible for $5 million through the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation’s Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program. The initiative is led by Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR).

As one of 11 U.S. Defense Manufacturing Communities, South Kansas will strengthen the national security innovation base by expanding ultra-high and high-temperature material characterizations, capabilities, process tools, sustainment planning, technical workforce, and engineering competencies to enhance the defense industrial base capabilities and accelerated weapon system prototype development.
WSU researcher awarded $100K NEH grant for accessibility app
The National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) has awarded a Wichita State University researcher $100,000 for his work on developing an app that allows visually impaired people to read comic books and graphic novels.

Dr. Darren DeFrain, associate professor of English and director of the Wichita State writing program, has been working with former Wichita State student Aaron Rodriguez (who is currently a graduate student at Florida State University) to create Vizling.

Vizling is an app will allow people who are visually impaired to read and understand comics, graphic novels, or anything that's got a visual component along with a text component so they understand the page layout, flow, and movement in addition to just getting told what's happening.
Wu Crew Reads promotes literacy at Wichita school
Shocker Nation is taking the university’s mission of “being an educational driver” to heart through an outreach initiative aimed at the growing literacy rate among area elementary schoolchildren.

Wu Crew Reads is a pilot program between Wichita State University and Gordon Parks Elementary School. Members of the Wichita State community spend 20 minutes every week reading to and with third-graders via a virtual platform.
$125K grant will assist WSU in boosting businesses in underserved communities
For the eighth consecutive year, Wichita State University will receive a $125,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration for specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research- and development-focused small businesses under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.

FAST seeks to improve outcomes in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs for underserved communities by increasing participation from women-owned, rural-based, and socially or economically disadvantaged small business owners.

“Supporting all our nation’s innovative startups and increasing equitable access to federal research funding is a priority for the SBA — not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it will build a stronger future for all of us,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman.