Meet a Shocker: Joyce Chiam

Joyce Chiam, an international student from Malaysia, is earning her degree in industrial engineering with a minor in mathematics from Wichita State. Through the encouragement of her peers, she has learned how to thrive in an academic environment far away from home.

Chiam is one of more than 1,100 students eligible for fall 2021 graduation. Learn more about her time at Wichita State and what is next for the grad.

What degree did you earn?

I am receiving a degree in industrial engineering and a minor in mathematics.

What is your hometown?

My hometown is Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

What led you to Wichita State?

Wichita State is one of the very few colleges in the US that offers scholarships to international students. In another financial aspect, Wichita is known as a city with low cost of living. When I was deciding on which college to attend, Wichita State stood out as the best fit for me as an industrial engineering student.

How are you feeling leading up to graduation?

I feel excited, but not very! I know I will still be continuing my studies at Wichita State for my master’s degree, so I don’t really feel anything significant. But the thought of finishing a degree does feel good and rewarding.

What has been your most helpful learning experience while a student at Wichita State?

I need to give a huge shout-out to the faculty of the Industrial, Systems and Manufacturing Engineering (ISME) Department. Everyone in that department is always ready to help – be it academics or career related, they just want to see students excel and succeed. I would not have ever thought going to graduate school if it wasn’t for the passion I’ve built from taking classes from different ISME faculties.

What has been your biggest challenge as a student, and how did you overcome it?

As an international student, it was exceptionally difficult to transition to a new school, let alone a new country. I had troubles making friends and stepping out of my comfort zone to meet peers of different backgrounds. But with enough encouragement from staff members, faculties and classmates, I was soon involved in several organizations on campus. That really helped make me feel at home and expand my social circle greatly. I was able to connect with many peers of diverse backgrounds when I used to work as an international student ambassador for the Office of International Education.

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be working on a master’s degree in industrial engineering, while focusing on research in quantum computing, as well as an internship at a local manufacturing company.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your time at Wichita State or your post-graduation plans?

When I was a GEEKS tutor for the College of Engineering, I tutored students who were admitted to Wichita State but could not attend in-person classes due to the pandemic. It was very fulfilling to be able to reach halfway across the globe to help a fellow Shocker virtually. This kept me busy during the rough times and shed a positive light to my experience during the pandemic.

I also definitely missed out a lot on the college life and in-person interactions, but I believed I made the most out of it. Wichita State did a tremendous job on keeping students connected despite the circumstances.

What advice would you give other Wichita State students?

Do not be afraid to reach out for help. Wichita State is packed with a ton of resources and opportunities. I realized that whenever I needed something, all I had to do was to ask. I asked many faculty members, classmates and professionals I met at different events about career opportunities. This is what helped me land two internships within a year and prepared me for post-graduation career search.


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