Meet a Shocker: Mary Elizabeth Thornton


Mary Elizabeth Thornton is ready to put her education at Wichita State University into practice and begin teaching mathematics to middle school students in North Carolina.

Mary Elizabeth 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.


Denison, Texas


Bachelor of Arts in education – mathematics (middle)

What made you want to attend Wichita State?

I chose Wichita State because from the moment I took my first step on campus, I knew I was supposed to be here.

How are you feeling leading up to graduation?

I am feeling nostalgic about all the memories I’ve made and experiences I have had at Wichita State these past four years but excited for the future and my career as an educator.

What has been your most helpful learning experience at Wichita State, and biggest challenge as a student, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge and most helpful learning experience as a student at Wichita State was navigating being a student leader. I knew I needed to be an advocate, but I didn't know how to be an advocate when I first stepped into leadership roles on campus. I overcame this challenge by leaning on the students and staff that I had around me. Had I not had these mentors to learn from and to guide me, I'm sure my path would have been much different.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I am moving to North Carolina to teach middle school math and explore a new part of the country.

What advice would you give other Wichita State students?

Lean into what is uncomfortable. Continue to learn, grow and challenge yourself in every situation you come into. Make the most of your time while you are here and never let anyone tell you that you can't do anything you set your mind to.

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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