Barrett Houchen is a disc golf enthusiast from Wichita who will start work on his master’s degree at Wichita State in biological sciences this summer.
Barrett is one of more than 3,500 students eligible for spring 2021 graduation. Learn more about his time at Wichita State and what is next for the grad.
What degree did you earn?
Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences with a concentration in environmental, ecological, organismal.
What led you to Wichita State to begin?
I have lived in Wichita my whole life, and to be able to go to WSU while having the opportunity to still be around friends and family was a no-brainer.
How are you feeling leading up to graduation?
I feel accomplished. It has been a large investment of time and energy into earning this degree.
To finally see the payoff that I have earned makes me realize I can give myself a pat on the back for this. This is a huge milestone to recognize and celebrate, and it motivates me to keep pushing forward..
What has been your most helpful learning experience while a student at Wichita State?
My most helpful experience has been the year I have spent in Dr. Greg Houseman's lab, performing undergraduate research. From this, I have given multiple presentations, gained real-world experience in the world of science, and built lasting work relationships.
What was been your biggest challenge as a student, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was motivation. College is simply a challenge for any and all people who embark on it.
We are all working towards the same goal of graduation and taking in as much experience and knowledge as we can while here, but we all have those moments sometimes where we just need to take a step back and even take a little brain break from the lectures, homework, and exams to mentally reset. I think any student faces moments like these.
It's hard. It really is, but from this, we can all learn to be tenacious, which can be one of the biggest takeaways from our time in college.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be embarking on obtaining my master's degree at WSU in biological sciences. I will be a graduate research assistant in Dr. Houseman's lab, heading research on the presence and potential impact of a fungal plant pathogen in native tallgrass prairie.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your time at Wichita State or your post-graduation plans?
The pandemic has been a very difficult thing to live through for all of us.
I am thankful for the health of my friends, family, and myself, and I am hopeful for the return to normalcy. Being on campus for class was the part of my experience most affected, so online lectures led to an adjustment period.
I am excited to resume in-person classes this fall.
What advice would you give other Wichita State students?
Enjoy this experience and this phase of your life. During this period, learn to grow into yourself.
Learn what works for you. Establish connections. Take up new hobbies along the way. Do what is best for you, but at the same time, recognize that you need to push yourself.
Life is about growth and change, but this time here can amount to a lifetime of positive habits and experiences. Appreciate the people that love and support you, for they support us along the way more than we realize.