Meet a Shocker: Richard Whitehill

Through his applied learning experiences at Wichita State, Richard Whitehill has built a network among in the nuclear physics community with professionals who have mentored him in physics research and publishing. 

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


Goddard, Kansas


Bachelor of Science degrees in physics and mathematics and a minor in computer science

What made you want to attend Wichita State?

I chose to attend Wichita State primarily because of the financial aid I was offered.

How are you feeling leading up to graduation?

I am feeling a mix of emotions: stressed about what remains to be done before the end of the semester, but mostly excited about and looking forward to taking the next steps in my life and career.

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

I am naturally quite introverted and comfortable keeping to myself. During these past few years though, I made a point of pushing myself to go out of my way and talk to peers and faculty to maintain a social circle that connected me to the university and ensure that I was forming relationships with people who could mentor me as a budding physicist.

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

Throughout these past couple of years, I have participated in theoretical nuclear physics research with staff at Jefferson Lab, a Department of Energy National Lab, initially through the Research Experience for Undergraduates internship program. During this time, I have had many invaluable opportunities — publishing an article as first author in a scientific journal earlier this year, giving seminar talks here at Wichita State, delivering a conference presentation at the DIS2023 conference at Michigan State, and developing close and meaningful relationships with people in the nuclear physics community.

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be attending graduate school at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, working toward a Ph.D. in physics.

What advice would you give other Wichita State students?

Take opportunities and work hard. Learning can be an uncomfortable process, but the experiences are worth it and can open doors to other future opportunities.

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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