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WSU’s College of Engineering names 10 Wallace Scholars

The Wichita State University College of Engineering has nominated the latest group of high school students to participate in the Wallace Scholar program.

  • Georgia Bacher: Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma; undecided engineering
  • Miranda Cordova: Maize South High School; mechanical Engineering
  • MayaDouglas: Sachse High School in Sachse, Texas; mechanical Engineering
  • Cliff Hosea: Wichita Heights High School; mechanical Engineering
  • Breanna Leach: Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Biomedical Engineering
  • Liz Mueting: Eudora High School, Eudora, Kansas; Aerospace Engineering
  • Xander Niblack: Wichita Eastern High School; Aerospace Engineering
  • Viviana Salazar: Maize South High School in Wichita, Kansas; mechanical Engineering
  • Jenna Vilkas: homeschool in Wayne, Nebraska; Biomedical Engineering
  • Jace Watson: Frederic Remington High School in Whitewater, Kansas; informatics

The 10 Wallace Scholarship recipients will each receive $28,500 to attend Wichita State for four years.

Wallace Scholars comprise a community of more than 45 College of Engineering students, representing every class and nearly every major in the college. Wallace Scholars are involved with the College of Engineering, the Wichita State campus, and the Wichita community.

Selection for the Wallace Scholarship is based on high school GPA, ACT scores, and recipient performance at the annual Wallace Invitational for Scholarships in Engineering (WISE), which was held in November and attracted 175 students from 10 states.

The Wallace Scholarship is made possible through the Dwane and Velma Wallace Endowment, created in 1976, which supports scholarships for engineering and computer science students and provides funds for the College of Engineering. Since 1980, the endowment has benefited more than 360 engineering and computer science majors at Wichita State.

Giorgia Bacher

Tulsa, Oklahoma Bishop Kelley High School Undecided Engineering

Georgia chose to major in an engineering field due to her passion for math, science, and problem solving. She is a National Honor Society Fellow, National Indigenous Scholar and National Merit Semifinalist. In addition to her academic pursuits, Georgia is a competitive athlete and has participated in both club and school volleyball. During her club volleyball career, she earned spots on some of Oklahoma’s most competitive teams and was named team captain four consecutive years. When she played for her high school, Georgia was named team captain in her sophomore and freshman years and received All-Tournament Team honors twice in her sophomore year. Off the field, Georgia has a passion for reading and the arts. She has volunteered with the clothing ministry of First Baptist Church of Tulsa for many years, as well as spending time as a cat socializer at the Tulsa SPCA to help homeless cats acclimate to humans to facilitate adoption.

Miranda Cordova

Wichita, KansasMaize South High SchoolMechanical Engineering.

Miranda’s grandparents inspired and encouraged her to pursue engineering. She excels in math and physics and is involved in orchestral, debating and is a member of the National Honor Society. While in the orchestra she competed in both large and small ensemble competitions during her high school years and finished her senior year as first chair. Entering the Sunflower District Debate tournament, Miranda and her partner earned their eighth medal overall. Outside of school, every Wednesday, she volunteers to teach for her church, preparing fifth and sixth graders for confirmation. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys reading, practicing martial arts, running and listening to music.

Maya Douglas

Sachse, Texas Sachse High School Mechanical Engineering

Maya’s choice of mechanical engineering came from seeing the inner workings of watches. Maya is Mu Alpha Theta’s secretary at her her school and has also been involved in the Beta Club and the National Honor Society since her senior year. Maya has been a member of the Daughters of our Lord and Living Savior since her first year and is the current president. She is heavily involved in her church youth group and is part of the youth leadership team. Her hobbies include watching movies and TV shows, hanging out with friends and family, and reading.

Cliff Hosea

Wichita, Kansas Heights High School Mechanical Engineering.

Cliff chose his major because he’s always loved building things. He was into Lego robotics in elementary school and enjoyed helping others learn how to program and build robots. Later in high school, Cliff was able to take Principles of Engineering, which further piqued his interest in the field. He is involved in the choir and was president of his high school’s National Honor Society. Cliff is also a member of a community group called Peer Leaders. He likes to play and hang out with his friends whenever he can and is always willing to try new activities.

Breanna Leach

Tulsa, Oklahoma Union High School Biomedical Engineering

Breanna was inspired to choose her major by her participation in Medical Detectives in the eighth grade. She is the captain of her high school soccer, a member of the National Honor Society and participates in Sustainable U. Breanna has also received the African American Recognition Award from the College Board. In her free time, Breanna enjoys playing video games, completing puzzles, and watching sports.

Liz Mueting

Eudora, KansasEudora High SchoolAerospace Engineering

Liz has been active in cross country, football, basketball and the Cardinal Clays. Currently, Liz is the co-chair of her Science Olympiad team and competes in engineering-related events. She is also the president of her local 4-H chapter and an officer of her school’s National Honors Society. In her spare time, Liz enjoys hanging out with her sisters, playing cards and building things.

Xander Niblack

Wichita, Kansas Wichita East High School Aerospace Engineering.

Xander is a curious and driven individual, who was inspired to pursue an engineering education after starting an internship at the National Institute for Aviation Research in Wichita State before his senior year of high school. At NIAR, Xander gained experience using CAD programs and working in an engineering environment. Xander is also involved in debate and forensics and has competed nationally. He is an International Baccalaureate student at his high school and has completed numerous STEM-related projects, including writing an extensive research paper on basic quantum physics. In his spare time, Xander enjoys watching movies and TV, spending time with his friends and listening to music.

Vivian Salazar

Wichita, KansasMaize South High SchoolMechanical Engineering.

Vivian was inspired to major in mechanical engineering by her love of hands-on work involving math and science. She likes to take things apart and understand their different uses and components. She is a member of the Art Club, Coding Club, Mu Alpha Theta Club, National Honor Society, Football Club and Pep Club. Vivian is fluent in Spanish and has also been a Spanish Club Official since her first high school year. Most recently, she pioneered her school’s Vote Ready team, in which she and her friends encouraged more than 200 people to register to vote in the 2022 general election. She was also a Distinguished Scholarship semi-finalist Invitational. In her spare time, you can find her volunteering at Lord’s Diner, reading books or playing club football. She also likes spending time with her family and traveling in the summer.

Jenna Vilkas

Wayne, Nebraska Homeschool Biomedical Engineering.

Inspired by the concept of 3D organ printing and prosthetic design, Jenna is eager to start a career in biomedical engineering. Jenna demonstrated leadership during her high school experience through speeches and debates, Mock Trials, and as president of her 4-H club. She enjoys being a lifeguard, working at a local restaurant, babysitting, volunteering at her church, and playing violin in a string ensemble and on her church worship team. Moving across the country, from urban Arizona to rural Nebraska, she has sparked a passion for seeking unique opportunities through travel. This involved visits to all 50 states and a study abroad course in Italy. In her free time, Jenna enjoys writing creative novels, drawing and swimming.

Jace Watson

Wichita, Kansas Frederic Remington High School (Whitewater, Kansas) Computer science

Jace became determined to pursue computer science after seeing his little sister struggle with math, and he decided to create a program on his computer that would enable it. He is passionate about building technology that will improve people’s lives and our world. Going forward, Jace intends to use the expertise he gained at WSU in the energy sector to improve the use and efficiency of existing renewable energy resources and explore new ones. Jace attended the National Honor Society and Scholar’s Bowl in high school and was a member of its student council, debate, basketball and golf team. He enjoys playing volleyball and basketball with his family and discovering new music in his spare time.

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas’s only urban public research university, enrolling nearly 22,000 students between the main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the United States and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student-centered and innovation-driven.

Located in the state’s largest city with one of the highest concentrations of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs in the United States, Wichita State University offers unique, distinctive, and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of Wichita State University’s main campus, is one of the largest and fastest growing research/innovation parks in the nation, encompasses over 120 acres and is home to numerous global businesses and organizations .

For more information, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wichitastate and Facebook at www.facebook.com/wichita.state.

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