Meet a Shocker: Irene De Giacomi Leite


Irene De Giacomi Leite persevered through the challenges of being far from her home in Paraguay and learning through the COVID-19 pandemic. Now she's ready to take what she's learned at Wichita State and apply it to her career as a mechanical engineer. 

Irene is one of more than 2,200 students eligible for spring 2023 graduation. Learn more about her time at Wichita State and what's next for the grad. 


Ciudad Del Este, Paraguay


Bachelor's of science in mechanical engineering

What made you want to attend Wichita State?

I chose Wichita State because of its engineering program, the opportunity to work on campus in the engineering field while studying, and the affordability of Wichita State compared to other universities. 

How are you feeling leading up to graduation?

It is a mix of feelings. I am feeling great knowing that in a month, I will be graduating and accomplishing the goal of obtaining my undergraduate degree after all the hard work of four years of engineering. At the same time, I am a little nervous about the change and the new lifestyle. Nevertheless, I am excited for what the future brings me and the new goals to accomplish in the future. 

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

The biggest challenge I had as a student it was maintaining a balance and a set schedule — a balance of studying, working, socializing, exercising, etc. My failures or mistakes on that made me learn how to set a schedule and be organized and more determined in every aspect. Another big challenge I had was when COVID-19 hit and everything went online. It was a big challenge for me to not be able to see my friends, not socialize at all and be far away from my family. I had to get used to the online life (classes, exams, etc.), which it wasn't my preferred way of learning. Since nobody was prepared for COVID, technology problems happened more often than we would expect. I had to learn how to teach myself in some very hard classes. Nevertheless, professors were always trying to be as helpful as they could. From the struggles, we grow and learn to overcome, and it makes us appreciate what we have. 

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

I think my most helpful experience would be the faculty members at WSU who are always willing to help with classes, work experience and research. No wonder we are top 20 in research and development. Professors are always taking the time to help their students and are willing to give them the opportunity to take part in research projects. Also, I had the opportunity to work on campus in the engineering field because WSU has a lot of partnerships with engineering companies. In my case, I worked with NIAR. I am very appreciative for the experience I had being a student assistant at the National Institute for Aviation Research throughout my college. Being able to apply subjects that you learned in class to the actual work field was a gratifying and definitely a fulfilling experience.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to apply my knowledge from my degree to the engineering field. Eventually, I am planning on pursuing a graduate program in the mechanical engineering field.

What advice would you give other Wichita State students?

To enjoy their college time. To fully enjoy your college experience, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Get involved with organizations, be part of events, and meet new people. Make connections, make friends, and enjoy every little thing that college life can offer you. Don't give up just because you've have fallen with one obstacle. Get up again and keep going. We all know college can be hard sometimes, but what makes us learn and be strong is the journey and how we overcome the obstacles. 

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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