The Spirit Strong First Generation Scholars program is an academic success and scholarship program for College of Engineering freshmen who are first generation college students and have financial need. Spirit Strong Scholars have the opportunity to earn up to $1,000 in scholarships for their freshman year. Learn more about this program below.

First Strong

Spirit Strong Scholars

A first generation college student is a student whose parents did not complete a bachelor's degree. As a first generation student in the College of Engineering, you are paving a new path for your future and future generations in your family. We want to help you finish first, and finish strong. The Spirit Strong Scholar program provides freshman students with skills and resources to set them on a path to success. We are proud to partner with Spirit AeroSystems, our sponsor of the Spirit Strong Scholar program!

Spirit AeroSystems


Spirit Strong First Generation Scholar Program

Spirit Strong is an academic success program for freshmen College of Engineering majors who are first generation and have financial need. The program takes place during the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters. Through academic success workshopspeer and professional mentoring, one-on-one coaching, and tutoring, the Spirit Strong program can help you develop skills and habits for personal and professional success. Spirit Strong Scholars also have the opportunity to earn up to $1,000 in scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year.

To learn more about the Spirit Strong program, check out the Q&A section below. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Jason Bosch, Assistant Dean for Student Success, at Jason oversees the program and works closely with both the scholars and mentors.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the Spirit Strong program, you must:

    • Be a incoming freshman in Fall 2023 with a declared College of Engineering major.
    • Be a first generation college student, meaning your parent(s)/guardian(s) did not complete a bachelor's degree.
    • Have financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who are not eligible for federal financial aid may submit a financial need statement in place of filing a FAFSA.
    • Enroll in and plan to complete at least 12 credit hours in both the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters.
    • Commit to participating in Spirit Strong program activities during the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters.
What is the selection process?

Spirit Strong Scholars are selected through an application process. We encourage any student who meets the eligibility criteria to apply. From the applications we receive, 25-30 students will be selected to be Spirit Strong Scholars for the 2023-2024 academic year.

One of the criteria to be eligible for the program is that students must have financial need. This will primarily be determined by your FAFSA results. If you have not yet filed a FAFSA for the 2023-2024 academic year, please do so ASAP so we can determine your financial need. To begin your FAFSA, visit and click the "Start Here" button. 

If you are not eligible for federal financial aid, there is a space on the Spirit Strong application for you to type a financial need statement so you can be considered for the program.

Applications are due July 1. Review of applications will begin on July 2, and all applicants will be notified by July 14 indicating whether they have been selected for the program.

Students not selected for this program are encouraged to join our ACE Mentoring Program, which offers several of the same benefits and resources as the Spirit Strong program.

What do Spirit Strong Scholars do?

Spirit Strong Scholars participate in a retreat, academic success workshops, one-on-one coaching, and tutoring throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. Additionally, scholars will receive peer mentoring from a current College of Engineering major and professional mentoring from a practicing engineer at Spirit AeroSystems.

Spirit Strong Scholars Retreat

All scholars selected for the program must participate in the Spirit Strong Scholars Retreat on Saturday, August 26, 2023, from 9:00am - 5:00pm on the Wichita State campus. The retreat will include teambuilding activities and a special orientation to the College of Engineering.

Academic Success Workshops

Scholars will participate in workshops throughout the academic year. Workshops will focus on topics such as setting and achieving goals, identifying ways to use your natural strengths to be successful, financial management, and career planning. Specific dates and times will be set at the beginning of each semester.

One-on-One Coaching

Spirit Strong Scholars will receive individual coaching on personal and academic success throughout the year. Coaching sessions will be tailored to each scholar's needs, and may include topics such as time management, study skills, or self-care. Scholars will receive coaching from the College of Engineering's Success Coach and/or Assistant Dean for Student Success.

Peer & Professional Mentoring

Spirit Strong Scholars will be paired with two mentors. One mentor will be a current College of Engineering student (your peer mentor), and the second will be a practicing engineer at Spirit AeroSystems (your professional mentor). These mentors can provide advice, support, and encouragement as you navigate your first year at Wichita State.

GEEKS Tutoring Sessions

The College of Engineering has a free, drop-in tutoring center called GEEKS. Scholars will be required to spend at least two hours per week receiving tutoring from GEEKS throughout the fall and spring semesters.

How can I earn up to $1,000 in scholarships?

Students selected to be Spirit Strong Scholars will automatically receive a $500 scholarship for the Fall 2023 semester. Scholars who meet the criteria below will earn an additional $500 scholarship for the Spring 2024 semester:

  • Participate in the Spirit Strong program activities in the fall,
  • Are committed to continuing the program in the spring, and
  • Earn at least a 2.00 WSU GPA for the Fall 2023 semester.
What other resources are available to me at WSU?

Wichita State has many resources available beyond the College of Engineering to support both first generation and limited income students. We encourage you to check out these opportunities. Let us know if you would like help getting connected with any of these resources.