Wallace Invitational for Scholarships in Engineering

Friday, November 20, 2020 | Wichita State University


The Wallace Invitational for Scholarships in Engineering (WISE) is an exciting competition held each fall for high school seniors interested in studying engineering at Wichita State. Ten $28,500 Wallace Scholarships will be awarded to the winners of the 2020 Wallace Invitational. These students receive the prestigious designation as a Wallace Scholar. The Wallace Scholarship is made possible by the generosity of the late Dwane and Velma Wallace. They left a legacy at the WSU College of Engineering spanning over 40 years. Read more about the Wallace legacy.

To be eligible to compete, you must:

  1. Be a 2021 high school graduate
  2. Submit Wichita State application materials by Oct. 15, 2020
  3. Declare an engineering major on your WSU Admissions application
  4. Meet one of the following criteria:
    • Have a minimum unweighted 3.5 GPA, or
    • Have a minimum ACT composite score of 27, or
    • Have a minimum SAT composite of 1280, or
    • Rank in the top 10 percent of your class at the end of your junior year

Registration for the 2020 Wallace Invitational will open in early fall of 2020.

The Q&A section below pertains to the 2019 Wallace Invitational. This information is provided to give you an idea of what the competition day entails, but any information below is subject to change for the 2020 Wallace Invitational. Please check back in early fall 2020 for updated information for the 2020 event.


What is the schedule for WISE?

Check in will open at 9:00 a.m. on the third floor of the Rhatigan Student Center. Coffee will be provided. The event will kick off at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome session, followed by the competition and parent/guest information session. Students and their parents/guests will reconvene after the competition for a closing lunch. Following the lunch will be an optional tour of the John Bardo Center. Below is a snapshot schedule for the day. You will receive a detailed schedule at check-in on November 22.

Time Activity Location
9:00 a.m. -
9:30 a.m.
Check In  Rhatigan Student Center, 3rd Floor
9:30 a.m. -
10:00 a.m.
Welcome Session  Rhatigan Student Center, 3rd Floor
10:00 a.m. -
11:45 a.m.
Students: Competition
Parents & Guests: Parent & Guest Information Session
Competition: Rhatigan Student Center, 2nd Floor
Parent & Guest Information Session: CAC Theater
11:45 a.m. -
1:00 p.m.
Lunch with Guest Speaker  Rhatigan Student Center, 3rd Floor
1:15 p.m. -
1:45 p.m.
Optional Society of Women Engineers Panel
(no registration necessary)
Rhatigan Student Center, Harvest Room 142
1:30 p.m. -
2:15 p.m. 
2:15 p.m. -
3:00 p.m.
Optional Tour of the John Bardo Center
(formerly the Experiential Engineering Building)
 John Bardo Center
What does the actual competition entail?

There are two competitive elements students will participate in on the competition day -- a group design challenge and a written essay. Participants will complete both of these elements during the competition portion of the day, which will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

While students are completing the competition elements in the Rhatigan Student Center, parents and guests will attend an information session in the CAC Theater that will include presentations from the following offices and departments: Engineering Student Success Center, Student Involvement, Financial Aid, Housing and Residence Life, Career Development, Student Success, and OneStop.

Group Design Challenge

Participants will be placed into small groups of 4-5. Groups will be issued an engineering problem to solve, and will have a specified amount of time to work together as a team to come up with a solution. Groups will pitch their solutions to a two-person judging team. Participants will be scored based on their leadership, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

Written Essay

Participants will individually compose a written essay in response to an essay prompt that will be provided at the competition during the essay writing portion of the day. At the beginning of the essay session, participants will be provided with the prompt and an essay form on which to compose their response. Students will have approximately 30 minutes to write a response.

Do I need to do anything special to prepare for the competition?

Nope! We will provide you with all of the information, materials, and instructions you need on the competition day. The best advice we can give you is to relax and have fun! A lot of students are nervous when they arrive to WISE because they do not know what to expect, which is completely understandable. Although you are competing for scholarships, we want to you to have fun and enjoy learning more about Wichita State University and the College of Engineering.

Do I need to bring anything with me on the competition day?

Nope! We will provide you with all of the materials you need for the competition. In fact, we encourage you to bring as few items with you as possible. You will be moving around the Rhatigan Student Center quite a bit, so the less you bring, the less you have to worry about keeping track of throughout the day.

Students often ask if they should bring copies of their resumes; this is not necessary. Resumes do not factor into our scoring process. You can learn more about how we select winners in the How are the winners selected? section below.

I'm coming in from out of town. What lodging options are available?

If you need lodging for Thursday and/or Friday night, you are welcome to stay at the hotel/motel of your choosing. We unfortunately do not have lodging on campus, but there are a lot of great options within a 10-15 minute drive to campus.

For a listing of options, visit www.visitwichita.com/hotels. Most of the hotels listed in the Downtown and East Side options in the Regions section will be a short drive to campus.

What should I wear?

Professional business attire is expected for students participating in the competition. Business casual or casual attire is acceptable for parents and guests.

Where do I park?

Park in Lot 16S on the southwest side of campus near Hillside Avenue and 17th Street. This lot has been reserved for WISE participants, so please park in Lot 16S to avoid receiving a parking ticket.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of the map below.

Click here on your smart phone for a Google Maps pin for easy navigation directly to Lot 16S on your mobile device.

WISE Parking Map

How are the winners selected? 

The winners of the WISE competition earn the prestigious distinction of Wallace Scholar and are each offered a scholarship package worth $28,500 to study engineering at Wichita State. Wallace Scholars are selected from WISE through a scoring process using five sub scores. The five sub scores are derived from participants' unweighted high school cumulative GPA, ACT composite score, ACT math score, Group Design Challenge score, and Written Essay score. If you took the ACT more than once, and have multiple sets of scores on file with Wichita State, we will use your highest composite score and high math score from any test scores submitted to Wichita State. If you took the SAT instead of the ACT, we will convert your SAT scores to the equivalent ACT scores.

Please be sure to submit your official high school transcript and ACT/SAT test scores to the WSU Office of Admissions by the competition date. We need your official GPA and test scores in order to calculate your overall WISE score.

When do I find out the results of the competition?
All participants will be notified of the outcome of the competition in early January. The winners, who will be named Wallace Scholars, will be publically announced at the Wallace Scholar Announcement and Reception held in February on the Wichita State campus. Winners and their families will be invited to this event to be formally introduced to the campus community.

Click here download a copy of the Parent & Guest Information Session presentation from the 2019 Wallace Invitational.

Do you have a question that wasn't answered here? Contact Jason Bosch, Director of Student Engagement and Scholarships, at (316) 978-3400 or jason.bosch@wichita.edu.