Brianna Smith, a computer engineering junior, is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is applying her student skills as a research analyst at FirePoint. While there, Brianna has led development of STEM education programs where she can use her coding and leadership experience.
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.
More than 5,000 Shockers each year take what they’ve learned in the classroom and transfer that knowledge into real-world environments. Applied learning — which is required for every Wichita State student — happens in offices, factories, laboratories, nonprofits, industries and companies across the globe. Students work side-by-side with seasoned professionals to ensure that they’re fully prepared to make meaningful contributions to their employers and their communities when they graduate.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
How did you first hear about Wichita State University?
I first heard about Wichita State University when they visited my high school during my junior year. My older sister also attended WSU with a major in aerospace engineering. She recently graduated.
Why did you choose WSU?
The main reason why I chose WSU was the various applied learning opportunities that it had, and how it can help we prepare for my future career.
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?
Originally, I did not know much about Wichita. During the past couple of years, I have really liked exploring the city and trying new things including restaurants, and also hanging out with my friends. It’s a very unique experience.
What is your job title, the company you work for, and your duties during your applied learning experience?
I am a research analyst at FirePoint. During my experience, I have been a project leader for the research and development of STEM education programs. I have also had opportunities to use my coding and leadership experience.
How long do you expect to work in your current position?
I started my internship as a freshman in 2020. I plan to continue at FirePoint through my senior year.
How did you learn about this opportunity?
I learned about this opportunity during my freshman year when I visited a job fair. After the job fair, I was able to get an interview and eventually the job.
How is this experience helping you build your resume and prepare you for your career?
The main thing that I learned at FirePoint was soft skills such as communication and leadership. Communication and leadership really helped me when it came to leading and working on projects with others, which is especially important for any career.
How have your classes and experiences at Wichita State prepared you to succeed in this applied-learning opportunity?
My classes and experiences have taught me various problem solving skills that have helped me succeed and efficiently complete job projects.
What advice would you give other students who are looking for hands-on experiences in their major while they finish college?
My advice would be to be open to trying new things. Through my experiences at FirePoint, I have been able to take on leadership roles and gain more confidence in my work. Without taking on these new experiences, I would not be where I am today.
What would you tell someone who's considering Wichita State?
Wichita State provides unique opportunities for you to excel. Whether it be through applied learning or other various programs offered here, there are always opportunities to try new things and make friends.