WSU engineering awards $28,000 each to Wallace scholars


Wichita State University’s College of Engineering has named the latest group of high school seniors to be awarded Wallace Scholarships worth $342,000.

The 2019 Wallace Scholars were announced Friday, Feb. 22, at a ceremony in the Experiential Engineering Building. Wallace Scholarship recipients will receive $28,000 each to attend Wichita State for four years.

Wallace Scholars are a community of more than 40 engineering students, representing every class and nearly every major in the College of Engineering. Wallace Scholars are involved on the WSU campus and within the Wichita community to promote engineering, math, science and community service.

Selection for the Wallace Scholarship is based on recipients’ high school GPA, ACT score and performance at the annual Wallace Invitational for Scholarships in Engineering (WISE), which was held in November and drew 233 students from 14 states.

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

The 2019 Wallace Scholars include:

  • Ashley Bland, Muriel Williams Battle High School, Columbia, Missouri, biomedical engineering
  • Cameron Cropper, Topeka West High School, Topeka, aerospace engineering
  • D. Alexander DeWerff, homeschool, Wichita, aerospace engineering
  • Logan Mauch, Western Plains High School, Ness City, Kansas, aerospace engineering
  • Josh McConnell, Summit Christian Academy, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, aerospace engineering
  • Amanda Mudra, Wichita Collegiate School, Wichita, aerospace engineering
  • Trent Oberlander, Raymore-Peculiar High School, Raymore, Missouri, aerospace engineering
  • Jessica Orchard, Northeast Magnet High School, Wichita, mechanical engineering
  • Richard Oswalt, Central Christian High School, Hutchinson, Kansas, undecided engineering
  • Connor Rockey, Goddard Senior High School, Wichita, aerospace engineering
  • Sabrina Saathoff, Northeast Magnet High School, Wichita, undecided engineering
  • Esmeralda Sanchez-Torres, Wichita North High School, Wichita, aerospace engineering
  • Kyle Walter, homeschool, Wichita, biomedical engineering
  • Kourtney Zwiener, Andover Central High School, Wichita, computer science

Wallace scholar biographies

Ashley Bland
Columbia, Missouri
Muriel Williams Battle High School
Biomedical engineering

Ashley is a member of National Honor Society, National Society of Black Engineers and is a valuable mentor to high school freshmen under the Link Leader program at her high school. She is also a very frequent volunteer at her local Humane Society and Food Bank. In her free time, Ashley enjoys being a team captain for her basketball team and throwing shot put and discus for her high school. At one time, she even held the school record for girls’ javelin, an accomplishment Ashley is proud of. At her high school, she will be graduating sixth in a class of 326, with her 3.98 GPA and 32 ACT score to show for her work ethic.

Cameron Cropper
Topeka, Kansas
Topeka West High School
Aerospace engineering

Cameron is a member of his school's baseball team, the Scholars Bowl team and participates in Math Club. He also participates in Robotics Club at the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers, where he has earned a certification for programming and handling an industrial robot. Cameron is a Kansas Honor Scholar and has been on the academic honor roll in every semester during his high school career. In his free time, Cameron works part-time at a Sonic Drive-In and also enjoys playing pool and table tennis.

D. Alexander DeWerff
Heritage Academy Homeschool
Aerospace engineering

Alexander has always been homeschooled and is the oldest of four siblings. He participated in the Kansas BEST Robotics competition for three years. During his senior year, he was a leader on his team and helped them win first place at state and second place at regionals. Alexander has performed in many musicals and stage productions, played piano in numerous festivals and recitals, volunteered with a local ESL program, and participated in his local AWANA club for the past nine years. He enjoys reading a good book, playing the piano, throwing yo-yos and learning Latin.

Logan Mauch
Ness City, Kansas
Western Plains High School
Aerospace engineering

Logan is the student body president at Western Plains High School. He is the captain of the school’s varsity scholars bowl team. He also participates in forensics, basketball, track, KAYS, band and robotics. Logan is passionate about math and computers. He loves to watch physics documentaries as well as play pool and video games.

Josh McConnell
Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Summit Christian Academy
Aerospace engineering

Josh McConnell is the second oldest of six kids. He is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is the National Honor Society president at his high school. He has played varsity football for four years and was a national finalist for private school player of the year. He also made the all-state football team as a junior and senior. Along with football, Josh also enjoys playing the piano. He enjoys serving his church in many ways including playing the piano in the youth worship band. He has been an International Buddy, a math tutor and part of the Junior/Senior Ensemble at his high school. In his free time, Josh enjoys playing sports, reading Harry Potter and hanging out with family and friends.

Amanda Mudra
Wichita Collegiate School
Aerospace engineering

Amanda is a three year Kansas All-State musician and participated in both the 1234A band as the first chair French horn and the orchestra and is a four-year district musician as well. She has performed at Carnegie Hall as a member of an international band in the Honor Performance Series and been a part of another international band that performed at the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary. She is the 2nd chair French horn in the Wichita Youth Symphony Orchestra and participates in her school's jazz band as a trumpet player. Amanda is also a captain of her school's cheer team and partakes in both cross country and track. In her free time, Amanda enjoys sketching and building lots of Lego sets.

Trent Oberlander
Raymore, Missouri
Raymore-Peculiar High School
Aerospace engineering

Trent is involved in his school's Student Leadership Team, National Honor Society, Technology Student Association, Wind Symphony and swim team. He was named Outstanding Senator at Missouri Boys State for his role as Majority Floor Leader in the Senate, Student of the Month by the Sunshine Optimist Club, All-Conference and All-State Honorable Mention for two years, and has nine varsity letters across academia and athletics. He is second chair tenor saxophone in the Raymore-Peculiar High School's Wind Symphony and also plays the flute. When not trying to learn something new, Trent enjoys working out, playing and attempting the composition of music, and playing strategy games.

Jessica Orchard
Northeast Magnet High School
Mechanical engineering

Jessica Orchard has been the president of her school’s Christian Club for two years and is a member of the National Honor Society. At her school’s magnet project fair, she has won first place in the science magnet portion two times and second place in the art magnet portion once. Outside of school, Jessica is involved in her church, where she sings for her youth group’s worship team and is a part of the Students as Leaders Team. In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, playing the piano and singing.

Richard Oswalt
Hutchinson, Kansas
Central Christian High School
Undecided Engineering

Richie has played football, basketball and track each year in his high school career. Richie was recently recognized as one of the top eight-man football players in the state of Kansas, and has been selected to participate in the eight man all-star game later in the year. He has been president of his class twice. He also placed first at the Academic Olympics in both pre-calculus and chemistry. He has volunteered over 100 hours of his time helping at organizations such as the food bank and youth programs. Richie enjoys playing sports, lifting weights and spending time with friends.

Connor Rockey
Goddard Senior High School
Aerospace engineering

Connor is an alto saxophonist and was the section leader for the saxophones during the 2018 marching band season. He is also fourth chair in the Kansas All-State Band. He is a member of Tri-M and National Honor Society and participates in the Science Club at Goddard High School. He helped with Goddard’s entry for the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition. His role was to model and print a 3D-printable case for the project. He enjoys practicing his saxophone and playing any kind of game with his friends and family.

Sabrina Saathoff
Northeast Magnet High School
Undecided engineering

Sabrina is the vice president of Tri-M Music Honor Society. She is also involved in National Honor Society, Student Council and Christian Club. She has been a percussionist for District Band and All-State Orchestra. Sabrina is currently an intern at High Touch Technologies and is a National Merit Commended Scholar.

Esmeralda Sanchez-Torres
Wichita North High School
Aerospace engineering

Esmeralda is a member of Wichita High School North’s National Honor Society and has been a recipient of Honor Roll since her freshman year. Aside from academics, she has been a part of the choir department for four years and is currently one of the 24 Madrigals. Esmeralda was also selected for the 2019 All-City choir. She was a member of North High’s Varsity Scholars bowl team since her junior year. She was also a proud participant of the Gilder Lehrman Saturday Academy for four years. In her free time, Esmeralda enjoy playing board games, reading, baking pastries, exercising at the gym, gardening and walking her dog Coco.

Kyle Walter
Walter Academy Homeschool
Biomedical engineering

Kyle is the oldest of three brothers and a small business owner in Wichita. He is a licensed UAV pilot and founded the drone photography company Gemini Sky LLC with his twin brother last summer. Kyle is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys volunteering to teach classes at the YMCA. He has competed in BEST Robotics with the Wichita Homeschool Warriors and went to regionals last year. His hobbies include biking, working out, model building, gaming and growing his company.

Kourtney Zwiener
Andover Central High School
Computer science

Kourtney is the daughter of Drs. Kevin and Kassie Zwiener, born and raised in Wichita. She is involved with Marching Band, which she has had the pleasure of being a section leader for two years, Symphonic Band, Pep Band, Scholar's Bowl, National Honors Society, and Tri-M Music Honors Society. Last summer, she was given the amazing opportunity to attend the Bob Dole Youth Civic Leadership Institute at the University of Kansas. Whenever there is time to spare, she prefers to spend it spoiling her dog, playing video games or watching movies (preferably Marvel). 

The mission of Wichita State University is to be an essential educational, cultural and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good. Wichita State is a doctoral research university enrolling nearly 15,000 students and offering 59 undergraduate degree programs in more than 150 areas of study in seven undergraduate colleges. The Graduate School offers 45 master's and 12 doctoral degrees that offer study in more than 100 areas. Wichita State's Innovation Campus is an interconnected community of partnership buildings, laboratories and mixed-use areas where students, faculty, staff, entrepreneurs and businesses have access to the university's vast resources and technology. For more information, follow us on Twitter at and Facebook at