Lillian Nieman learned how to find confidence and advocate for herself while attaining a degree in biomedical engineering from Wichita State University.
Nieman 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 Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering with a minor in biological science and Spanish.
What is your hometown?
I am from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
What led you to Wichita State?
I loved the community and when I toured it felt like everyone wanted me here. Wichita is also a similar size to Colorado Springs, and a good enough distance that I can travel home when I need to, but I also have the distance from my family to become my own adult.
How are you feeling leading up to graduation?
I am excited to start this new part of my life, but I am also sad to leave some of the communities I found here in Wichita and at Wichita State.
What has been your most helpful learning experience while a student at Wichita State?
My biggest learning experience was my whole college career as I stepped out of my introverted shell and learned that I have something to share with the world and I am going to speak up to do it.
What has been your biggest challenge as a student, and how did you overcome it?
Again, I think my biggest challenge was my confidence. I came from a very small school with a graduating class of 32 people. I had the same two best friends from kindergarten and every teacher knew me. Coming to Wichita State I had to learn to speak up to be heard. Not everyone is going to pick you out unless you make yourself known. One way I was able to grow my confidence was finding a program or group on campus that I liked and fit in with. For me this was TRIO Disability Support Services. I happened upon their program, and it became one of the best things for me. The support from my advisor was a constant reminder that I am not just a paycheck for the university. There were people here who wanted to watch me succeed and help me along the way. They pushed me to reach out to my professors about research, shadow a professional in my field, apply for internships, and most of all have confidence in myself. I have always been a hard worker and achieved great things, but now I can see that success and greatness too, and that is the important part!
What are your plans after graduation?
I am currently applying to jobs in several different areas of medical devices. I plan to move to a new city to explore more of the world and work to help others with my knowledge of biology and engineering.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your time at Wichita State or your post-graduation plans?
Obviously, my classes being online was a big shift. I have done classes online before and they were a challenge, so being forced to was not ideal. However, I learned that I do not like working from home, but also that it is okay to need to change plans and that I can figure it out.
Post-graduation I think COVID-19 made it harder for me to find an internship. Because of this I am still not sure what part of my field I want to work in and do not have much experience. However, neither do the rest of my fellow graduates. The large amounts of open jobs on the market have given me plenty to choose from and I will soon figure out where I fit best!
What advice would you give other Wichita State students?
There are so many great programs on campus to help you. Find where you fit best and use its resources to your advantage, you are already paying for them anyways. You are obviously here for a reason so keep that up and don’t forget to speak up for yourself and ask for help.
Also, if you are thinking about joining a program, internship, or research opportunity, just do it. You never know what will happen if you don’t try.