This week’s brief news — May 26

Summer meal plans available

Shocker Dining Hall is now offering summer meal plans for university students, faculty and staff looking for accessible, pre-made meals. Summer standard, gold and platinum plans and swipes are available on the Dining Services website underneath the spring semester tab. The plans include Shocker Dollars, which can be used in the Dining Hall and most of the Rhatigan Student Center restaurants, while the swipes allow entry into the dining hall.

WSU to launch bachelors program for American Sign Language

A new bachelor of arts program will enable WSU students to earn a degree in American Sign Language (ASL).  Beginning in the fall of 2023, students can enroll in the degree program and select one of three ASL tracks to study: The Structure of Language, Language and Culture in Context, or Interpreting Methods. Wichita State will become one of only two locations in Kansas that administers the necessary Certified Deaf Interpreter Exam for ASL degree-seeking students. More information regarding the new program can be found on the WSU American Sign Language website

NASA grant enables professors, students to study possibilities of extraterrestrial life

After being awarded a $377,000 grant from NASA, WSU professor Mark Schneegurt and his team have announced that they are working with the funds to examine microbes on spaceships as they explore the universe. 

Some microbes carried by spaceships have adaptive capabilities that may allow them to survive the extreme cold of space and immense pressure changes. This creates the risk of microbes traveling and surviving on other planets. Schneegurt and his team are exploring if microbes and bacteria currently on Earth have the ability to survive outside on other planets, especially Mars.

WSU and NASA will exchange important data as both facilities continue to examine microbes in spacecraft assembly facilities and their inter-planetary potential.

WSU awarded $50,000 in Small Business Administration competition

Wichita State recently received a $50,000 prize from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of its annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The SBA aims to help business owners and entrepreneurs by creating lasting relationships between small businesses and a successful national ecosystem.

The funding will enable the university to support the SBA’s goal by creating partnerships to uplift STEM and Research and Development (R&D) businesses. As a Stage One winner, WSU will go on to compete for an additional $50,000 – $150,000 prize later this summer. 

Heidi Cornell named as associate dean, accreditation officer for applied studies

Former associate professor of special education Heidi Cornell has been named the new associate dean and accreditation officer for the College of Applied Studies (CAS). Cornell has worked for the university since 2016 and has served as a program chair for the master’s in special education certification program and the founder/director of ARISE Research Collaborative. Cornell is credited as a frequent grant writer and was welcomed into the position by CAS Dean Jennifer Friend.

Cornell will supervise program standards and enact improvement practices to support faculty and program chairs in her new role. 

WSU hosts national Science Olympiad

WSU welcomed more than 7,000 middle and high school competitors from across the country to participate in the annual science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Expo and Science Olympiad competition hosted on campus last weekend. 120 student teams competed Saturday in the Olympiad, one of the most prestigious STEM competitions in the country. Five high school seniors were each awarded a $10,000 Founders’ Scholarship, and many others were recognized for the 2023 Science Olympiad Spirit and Corteva Agriscience Enterprise awards. A complete list of recipients can be found on the 2023 National Tournament Science Olympiad website.

Keeping up with the Crime Log:

The Wichita State Police Department (WSUPD) maintains a daily log of incidents on the WSU campus and surrounding area. Each case and its details can be accessed via the Crime Log website on the WSU homepage.

This week, some notable entries were:

Multiple motor vehicle accidents

WSUPD are accustomed to handling minor auto accidents – parking lot scrapes and fender benders are typically a weekly occurrence on campus grounds. However, this week, officers were called to report or assist in five separate motor vehicle accidents, with one resulting in notable injuries. On May 18 and 19, two reports were taken for motor vehicle accidents without injuries. Both incidents occurred on campus on lots nearby the Preferred Health Systems Multi-Purpose Center and Koch Arena. Then, on May 20, another non-injury accident occurred in the same lot. WSUPD officers were called to another accident at 1940 N Perimeter the next afternoon. On May 22, a rollover accident on Washington and Murdock, nearby but outside of campus, garnered assistance from WSUPD in assessing injuries on site and managing traffic control.

In a Jam: Two trapped inside Shocker Hall elevator

During the afternoon hours of May 20, WSUPD officers received an elevator call alert, rung by two individuals trapped inside an elevator in Shocker Hall. Officers responded to the call and, once the captives were freed, filed a report of the incident.

Barricaded subject and suicidal subjects

WSUPD was called to assist WPD with two separate incidents this week, one with a barricaded subject and another with a suicidal subject. On May 21, WSUPD officers were called to 202 N Rock to assist with a barricaded subject. While the standoff outcome is unknown, responding officers filed a report of the incident.

On the morning of May 22, officers were called again to assist in locating a suicidal subject from the WSU Catholic Student Center.