Alexander Sterzing is a member of Wichita State’s rowing team and involved in other activities such as the International Buddy Program and Christian Challenge. Alexander, from the Houston area, majors in aerospace engineering and works in the NASA Jump Start 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.
Cypress, Texas, a town about 35 minutes to the northwest of Houston.
How did you first hear about Wichita State University?
The first time I heard about Wichita State was through mail. Incidentally, that is the same way I first heard about the rowing team.
How did Wichita State compare to the other universities you considered attending?
It is the only state school I applied to. It is cheaper than the others I applied to, and I really love the in-state tuition. WSU also really specializes on engineering, aerospace in particular, which is great for me because that was the major I really wanted to do.
Why did you choose WSU?
I chose WSU for a few reasons. Cost was a big factor; the Shocker City Partnership program really makes going to an out-of-state public school appealing.
Without it, I likely would’ve ended up at Texas A&M or Texas. Again, the prestigious aerospace engineering program played a large role. That was the only major I was really looking for when applying to schools, and Wichita State is one of the best in the nation.
From that, WSU is one of the leaders in undergraduate research. As I have been planning on going to grad school, the research opportunities here really stood out to help me succeed with my goals.
What are some of the opportunities and activities you've participated in at Wichita State?
I have really become involved on campus. My freshman year, I joined Shocker rowing. Now I am a varsity collegiate athlete, something I never would have thought possible back in high school, and I am the captain of the men’s team.
From the start, I also played intramurals. My favorite events have been sand volleyball and softball.
I am a member of the Cohen Honors College. Through them, I get early enrollment and the opportunity to take exclusive classes like Big Bang, Black Holes, and the Fate of the Universe and the upcoming War and Strategic Studies. It is a fun time where you can hang out with friends and have some friendly competition.
I joined the International Buddy Program through the study abroad office last fall. The program pairs international exchange students with WSU students to help show them the ropes for living and attending school here. Through the study abroad office and their Garvey Scholarship, I also spent this past summer abroad in Greece, where I got my international sailing license and got credit for Engineering+. It was really cool to meet up with some of my international buddies while I was overseas.
Last year I also joined Christian Challenge. It is a great community that has really allowed me to grow in faith and meet a lot of amazing people.
I also started a job through NASA in Kansas with the NASA Jump Start Program, designed specifically for aerospace students. This gives me the opportunity to work with Dr. James Steck in his General Aviation Flight Lab on state-of-the-art research.
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?
Wichita has a great community with some hidden gems, and it is an amazing place for someone from a small town looking for an upgrade or someone from a big city looking for something a little toned down, but it really depends on the person.
I love the pride natives have for their city, coming from Texas I certainly know a thing or two about that. It’s really cool walking around seeing people supporting the Wind Surge (Double A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins), especially when you love baseball like I do. It’s great to see how the community and alumni gather for Wichita State sports.
The local government is great in working with the university and local organizations.
As far as rowing goes, I love seeing people who went through the program decades ago continuing to support it, and it is quite nice seeing the local community support us and help us to grow. As a side note, one of the founding members of Shocker rowing came by the boathouse recently and it was humbling to talk to him and his days at the start.
There are some spectacular restaurants in the area and there are always some gems to be dug up around the city like the Farm and Art Market downtown on Saturdays. I also enjoy Bomber Burger, and Vintage Stock for music, games and videos.
What would you tell someone who's considering Wichita State?
Once you get here, there is a lot of opportunity.
As a leader in research, WSU is the perfect option for those looking to the future with grad school. It is a mecca for aerospace engineering and there are numerous state-of-the-art facilities. I just started my Experimental Methods class and the hands-on time I get to spend in the numerous wind tunnels and water tables is unique among university programs.
The global footprint here is monumental. There are plenty of opportunities to meet and befriend international students, and there are numerous study abroad programs and scholarships available.
The Shocker baseball, basketball, and volleyball games are electric. Surprisingly enough, the bowling and rowing teams are widely renowned, as well.
On-campus gyms - Heskett Center and the Steve Clark YMCA - provide plentiful classes, programs, and equipment for working out.
Wichita State also offers fun activity courses. I am taking horse-riding lessons from a local stable and next semester I am hoping to get scuba certified.
For the most part, class sizes are small. This really allows for personal interaction with the professors. I really feel like many of them got to know me as a person. The faculty and staff will make every effort to help you succeed and they are extremely kind.
In college, I found myself to be more of an extrovert. The student community here is quite friendly with a varied population that offers a lot of different perspectives. Through student organizations, events and intramurals there are lots of fun opportunities to get involved around campus.