Illinois Shocker Spotlight: Jon Peterson


Jon Peterson, a senior from Illinois, considers Wichita a hidden gem with many opportunities to get involved and learn. He is diving into the world of finance and venture capital with his internship with the University Venture Fund Crossroads Program.

Shockers come from all over, and students from selected major metropolitan areas in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas may be eligible to receive regular in-state tuition at Wichita State. Read what some out-of-state students have to say about why they chose WSU — and Wichita — as their new home.


Columbia, Illinois


Business administration and real estate finance



Why did you choose WSU? 

I chose Wichita State for the opportunities that the school and community offers. I was looking for a way to differentiate myself from other students in other schools and WSU seemed like a good fit for me. I had some connections to the university as well, which helped facilitate my decision.

What would you tell someone who's considering Wichita State? 

I would tell someone that Wichita has a lot of hidden gems to it. If you get involved in the community and are actively working, your eyes will be opened up to all the opportunities this community has to offer.

What is your job title, the company you work for, and your duties during your applied learning experience?

I am an intern with the University Venture Fund Crossroads Program (UVFC). The program consists of two sections for this school year.

The fall semester is all about learning and starting to understand venture capital, giving students the baseline knowledge in order to grow. The spring semester is meant for implementation of what you've learned. UVFC is standing up its own fund, allowing the class to use what they've learned in the fall to facilitate investments out of it.

How did you learn about this opportunity?

This opportunity was brought to my attention by Rob Gerlach (executive director of Tech Transfer and Commercialization at Wichita State) and by a student in the program (Jacob O'Connor). They understood the value and opportunity for growth this program offers and highly recommended it to me.

How is this experience helping you build your resume and prepare you for your career?

This program allows students to immerse themselves into the world of venture capital and private finance. It provides networking opportunities and gives students a hands-on learning approach to the space. I have been able to meet students from other schools with the same mindset and ideas as me, as well as connect with industry professionals. 

How have your classes and experiences at Wichita State prepared you to succeed in this applied-learning opportunity? 

I work at the Tech Transfer and Commercialization office at Wichita State. This job has allowed me to progress my professional skills and transfer what I have learned to the UVFC program and beyond. 

What advice would you give other students who are looking for hands-on experiences in their major while they finish college?

Get involved in the community/area you are interested in. I found that people at Wichita State and in the community want to help students succeed.

They will make introductions, look for opportunities, and give advice that will put you miles ahead of others. Use the fact that you are a college student to your advantage. 

What were your perceptions about the city of Wichita before you visited for the first time? And how do those perceptions compare to your current perception of the city? 

I was not expecting a whole lot when I came to Wichita. It didn't seem like there was a lot to do and just didn't look very exciting. However, after being at the university and in the city of Wichita, my perceptions have changed. There are great things to experience and get immersed in. I tell people who come to Wichita that this is a place to learn and get things done. 

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