The Fairmount College newsletter is published two times a year. For information, contact Cheryl K. Miller, writer and coordinating editor, at 316-978-6659 or

Photo credits: Cheryl K. Miller; courtesy photos; Wichita State University Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

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ATF Center to Provide Research, Applied Learning Opportunities Dean's Message Youngmeyer Ranch Building Serves Researchers, Withstands Prairie Environment Communication Student Wins NASA Challenge Regents Distinguished Professor Named Student Accolades  Faculty and Staff Accolades  In Memoriam New Faculty Hires 

ATF Center to Provide Research and Applied Learning Opportunities

Wichita State’s School of Criminal Justice faculty and students will soon have another federal agency to partner with on campus. The new Crime Gun Intelligence Center of Excellence, established by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is slated to open in spring 2023 on the Innovation Campus.

Andrew Hippisley, dean of Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, sees many possibilities flowing from the historic relationship with ATF, especially with regard to applied learning and applied research for liberal arts and sciences students and faculty. 

“This exciting partnership is history in the making, extending our community engagement to the next level,” Hippisley said. “The Center of Excellence will provide new applied learning opportunities for our students through internships, locally and nationally, using the network of federal connections that will be created." 

The CGIC will also create a domain for applied research in the sciences as well as sociology, psychology, anthropology and ethics.

“This center will not only serve as a national model for the use of crime gun intelligence in support of law enforcement agencies across the country, but it will also bring unique applied learning opportunities to Wichita State students,” Kristin Brewer, co-director for the Wichita Crime Gun Intelligence Center, said. 

Photo of Kristin Brewer.
Kristin Brewer

ATF’s goal, Brewer said, is to work with Wichita State collaboratively, to access the academic and research components ATF doesn’t possess.

“There are opportunities for research and collaboration on specific topics. Going further for faculty, maybe creating textbooks and curriculum or some better practices that could be applied to the front or back end of crime gun intelligence,” Brewer said.

There will be opportunities for business analytics, computer science and engineering students, too, Brewer said.

One of the facility’s most important features is the National Correlation and Training Center for the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. NIBIN plays a central role in solving gun crimes by providing 3D imaging and comparison of ballistic evidence recovered at crime scenes. 

“The National Correlation and Training Center will be an opportunity for students to have internships and co-ops in paid positions as well,” Brewer said. 

The NCTC at Wichita State is the first to be associated with a university. The only other correlation and training center is in Huntsville, Alabama. 

What attracted the ATF to Wichita State 

ATF Logo.

Two main factors contributed considerably to the ATF partnering with Wichita State. 

  1. The university’s reputation in crime gun intelligence is based on its long-standing relationship and collaboration with the ATF and local law enforcement agencies to educate, train and innovate crime gun intelligence on a national stage, Brewer said. 
  2. Additionally, Wichita State was the first university in the country to house a NIBIN acquisition station, and the BrassTraxHD3D forensic equipment.

The Crime Gun Intelligence Center of Excellence

The Crime Gun Intelligence Center of Excellence will house the following entities:

  • NIBIN National Correlation and Training Center
  • ATF Intelligence Research Specialist Academy
  • Offices for the ATF Crime Gun Intelligence governing board
  • Space for crime gun intelligence training for law enforcement officers and crime gun investigators 
  • A ballistics analysis center

To learn more about the CGIC, visit

External photo of the Crime Gun Intelligence Center of Excellence.


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Dean's Message

Dear Fairmount College alumni, faculty, staff and friends:


At a time when a four-year degree’s value proposition is under intense scrutiny, one thing we should be doing as a college is demonstrating our relevance to the community, both local and extended. 

Photo of Dean Andrew Hippisley.
Dean Andrew Hippisley

The partnership between the School of Criminal Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a great example of extended community outreach. 

Closer to home, the Psychology Clinic offers a crucial service for underserved and disadvantaged populations, and the School of Social Work on average annually partners with more than 140 social service agencies in the region, contributing 97,220 clinical hours representing a $1,869,540 in-kind contribution to social services. 

Very recently we have launched an industrial math clinic to help business and industry solve math-based problems. Our first client is Emprise Bank, and the problems to be solved belong to the predictive analytics domain. 

All these partnerships, of course, are arenas for applied learning — a win-win for our partners and for us. This speaks directly to one of Wichita State’s major goals, to provide relevant applied learning experiences that match the needs of industry, agency and community partners. 

Featured in this newsletter is one of our most recent hires, who we believe will have an outsized impact on Wichita and Kansas. As the Regents Professor of Public Finance, David Guo will use research on municipal revenue forecasting in Florida to inform decision making by local elected municipal officials, managers and finance directors. Moreover, he will include this project as an applied learning opportunity for students in the public administration program to use the methods, play the role of manager and make their own predictions.  

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, we remain engaged with the area middle and high schools, arranging college courses for high school students and helping teachers have enough graduate credit hours to teach AP and concurrent enrollment classes. 

Fairmount College hosts the state Science Olympiad competition every year, a STEM-oriented team competition for middle and high schoolers. And we won the bid for the nationals in May 2023, thanks in no small part to our outreach coordinator Jill Fisher.

We take seriously a key part of Wichita State’s mission, to help create a talent pipeline for Kansas by engaging with the community in meaningful ways, sharing our expertise, equipping students with hard skills as well as the power skills of a liberal arts education, and always listening carefully to the workforce needs of our community. 


Andrew Hippisley, Dean

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Youngmeyer Ranch Building Serves Researchers, Withstands Prairie Environment

Photo of the Youngmeyer Ranch Building.

The 3,400-square foot research facility at Youngmeyer Ranch is ecologically friendly and weather durable. Land-scaping will be finished in the spring and will feature native plantings and seedings from the ranch. 

Krista Ward, Wichita State alumna and field biologist, frequently rises early for her work and drives long distances to get to her outdoor sampling sites. For the past two years, she has conducted research at the privately-owned Youngmeyer Ranch in Elk County, about an hour from Wichita. 

Recently, Ward’s experiences there became much more comfortable when the newly dedicated research facility was completed. 

Photo of Krista Ward holding the 1,000th largemouth bass she sampled at Youngmeyer Ranch.
Krista Ward holding the 1,000th largemouth bass she sampled at Youngmeyer Ranch. 

"The building at Youngmeyer Ranch provides the opportunity to make our research safe, time- effective and cost-efficient," Ward said. "The building includes a storm shelter, restrooms, changing areas, and sleeping spaces, which provide both safety and privacy for all researchers and volunteers included on a research project at this site." 

The privately funded 3,400-square-foot building also includes a large garage and storage space where researchers can park vehicles and stow equipment. This feature permits a considerable amount of time and effort to be redirected to research work.  

"The large garage will allow for the storage of aquatic sampling equipment such as fyke nets and seines, and for ATVs — all of which we had to transport back and forth every day previously," Ward said. "Since housing is provided in the building, researchers are enabled to stay multiple days in a row at the field site without driving back and forth, and that significantly cuts down the number of hours spent on commuting."  

The facility not only accommodates multiple researchers, but also allows for applied learning and teaching. 

“A major feature of the new building is the research lab with multiple workstations," Andrew Hippisley, dean of Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said. "This gives our faculty and our students new and deeper paths to access the massive research and applied learning potential of the ranch’s diverse ecosystem, providing the space and resources to analyze and reflect on their discoveries.”  

Youngmeyer Ranch is owned by the Youngmeyer Trust, which has granted Wichita State research and educational access to the property. The research facility cost approximately $2 million to build and was paid for entirely by donors. Hutton designed and built the structure.  

The low-profile facility blends in well with the ranch’s landscape, with two sides surrounded by berms. Its location far inside the ranch makes it difficult to see from the township road and from various parts of the property.  

Photo of Krista Ward conducting an enclosure sample with a trashcan trap and a dipnet to sample for biological organisms within a stream pool at Youngmeyer Ranch in 2020.
Krista Ward conducts an enclosure sample with a trashcan trap and a dipnet to sample for biological organisms within a stream pool at Youngmeyer Ranch in 2020. 

Making the building ecologically friendly and weather durable was a priority in its construction, Emily Taylor, lead architect, said.  

“The field station is completely off-grid," Taylor said. “Primary power for the building is generated by an array of 30 solar panels on the roof and is stored in four Tesla batteries. All plumbing is served by well water, with 2,000 gallons of storage for general use and 450 gallons for the sprinkler system. 

"The building’s form, appearance, and interior details are inspired by the stratified stone underneath the Flint Hills and other natural marvels," Taylor said. “The finish materials are all natural tones, organized in patterns to evoke layers of sediment, heads of grain, or even the night sky, such as in the bedrooms.” 

The entire structure is made of cast-in-place concrete and the exterior cladding is all stone or concrete. Four varieties of limestone are used, Taylor said, harvested from Kansas quarries and fabricated in Herington. The prairie shell variety includes many fossils, providing a glimpse of prehistoric eras and material for informal scavenger hunts.  

Mike Lamb, vice president of the Wichita State University Foundation, is grateful for Earl Youngmeyer’s foresight to preserve the ranch in a conservation easement and to the donors who made the building possible.   

“The gift of access to the 4,600-acre Youngmeyer Ranch for use as a research station has been transformational for WSU students and faculty,” Lamb said.  

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Communication Student’s ‘Reading Solar Probe’ Captures Hearts to Win NASA Challenge

by Cailen Bragg, media intern

Photo of Jacob Workentine pitching his ideas to a panel of judges.

Jacob Workentine pitches his ideas to a panel of judges.

Jacob Workentine, a senior majoring in electronic media, recently took home a first-place victory win at the Wichita division of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge.

Space Apps is an annual, international hackathon for developers and creatives of all backgrounds. The goal of the event is to bring together individuals from various backgrounds to help solve problems in space and back home on Earth.

“I felt very lucky,” Workentine said, when he was told he won first place. “Like, I stumbled upon this and got caught up with dumb luck, but I’m very happy and very excited.”

The challenge Workentine took on was “On the Way to the Sun.” His objective was to tell a creative story about the Parker Solar Probe’s mission to the Sun in a way that would be engaging to young audiences. The NASA challenge took place over two days, with roughly 36 hours available for participants to work on projects.

He took inspiration from the PBS children’s show, “Reading Rainbow” to create an illustrated video that humanized Parker as it sailed across the cosmos to touch the Sun’s surface.

“You never know where your next opportunity will be,” Workentine said. “Even if you don’t think you’re qualified, just give it your best shot. I was thinking to myself the whole time ‘Even if I lose, I get six free meals and something to add to my portfolio.’ So just keeping an optimistic mindset when you’re trying to be creative and create projects is really important.”

After completing the project, Workentine was required to give a presentation to a panel of three industry professional judges from Flint Hill Resources, Solvay and Dassault Systèmes. They weren’t the only ones he impressed. 

“Jacob won it by being the best at pitching his idea and being the best at starting from zero and ending up with a product which the judges loved and wanted to hear more about,” Andrew Hippisley, dean of Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said. “So, am I surprised? In some ways not because this is what Fairmount College does for their students.”

Photo of Jacob Workentine posing with Lee Encapera, a competition judge representing Dassault Systèmes.
Jacob Workentine poses with Lee Encapera, a competi-tion judge representing Dassault Systèmes.

Participants at the event were encouraged to work in teams, but Workentine took the challenge on his own to clinch the first-place finish.

“The regret in some ways is that Jacob could have been in some other team and helped them win,” Hippisley said. “We have great engineers, we have great scientists, but we also have Jacobs as well who can enhance and enrich the experience for all and help a team go from second place to first place.”

Alongside a chance to pitch his idea to Dassault Systèmes in Waltham, a suburb of Boston, Workentine won a $500 gift certificate and a pair of Apple AirPods. 

You can view Workentine’s final video project and his entire project submission online. Workentine will graduate in May 2023. 

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Regents Distinguished Professor Named

David Guo was named Wichita State’s Regents Distinguished Professor of Public Finance by the Kansas Board of Regents at its September meeting. 

“I am enthusiastic about this opportunity to help Kansas families, support Kansas businesses and advance economic prosperity,” said Guo. “I pledge to be a good steward of the prestigious position to bridge academics and practice and make a meaningful impact in the real world.” 

The purpose of the Regents Distinguished Professor program is to attract and retain established scholars in Kansas whose research projects augment the state’s economic and industrial development.

Photo of David Guo.
David Guo

“I am extremely pleased that Dr. Guo has been named Regents Professor,” Andrew Hippisley, dean of Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said. “As an expert in public finance, an experienced community connector, and a champion of applied learning and applied research, he will have a significant impact on the region, the state and beyond.”

Prior to joining the Wichita State faculty, Guo held an associate professor position at Florida International University, where he researched and taught courses on public budgeting and finance. As part of his commitment to the community, he conducted research to forecast Florida municipal revenue impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Policy makers have used his work to guide municipal finance decisions. 

Guo anticipates conducting similar research here, investigating the long-term impact of the pandemic on local governments and their financial conditions. He’s already met with the finance and budget directors for the City of Wichita. His graduate student, Salman Alam, has begun studying the county and city budgets to help Guo forecast revenue. 

Guo’s other research projects include work on disclosure of tax expenditure in the state budget. Kansas is unique in that tax abatements are categorized by local governments, not by programs.

Guo holds a doctorate in public policy, earned jointly from Georgia Tech and Georgia State University; a master of public administration from Iowa State University; and a bachelor of arts in English from Beijing Foreign Studies University.

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Student accolades

Graduate student Ann Marie Murray was awarded the 2022 Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. 

The paper "Newly Identified C-H---O Hydrogen Bond in Histidine," published in PhysChemChemPhys, has been selected as a 2022 HOT Article by Royal Society of Chemistry editors. Authors are current graduate students Ryan Steinert and Micah Heikes, alumna Chandana Kasireddy, and Katie Mitchell-Koch, associate professor of chemistry.

The creative work of communication students won recognition in the 2022 National Federation of Press Women communication contest. Their national entries had won first place in the 2022 Kansas Professional Communicators communication contest. The students were enrolled in Comm 662T, Shocker Ad Lab, taught by Madeline McCullough

  • Honorable Mention, advertising campaign for “Off the Grid with Gridiron,” a Society of Professional Journalists fundraiser. Anita Chokbengboun, David Diaz, Raquel Diaz, Trey Greening, Joey Nichols, and Madeline McCullough
  • Honorable Mention, public relations campaign for “Valley Center Vietnam Moving Wall.” Melissa Tran, Dawsyn Long, Lori Froehlich, Jessica Oldenettel, Spencer Hynes, Theresa Tran, Jeannie Qualls, Mariah Relph and Madeline McCullough.

In October, The Sunflower was one of 18 college newspapers in the country named a Pacemaker for print newspapers by the Associated Collegiate Press. It was also one of 17 college media organizations named a Pacemaker for online content. This marks The Sunflower’s second and third Pacemakers in program history. Amy DeVault, senior educator in communication, is the advisor.

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Faculty and Staff Accolades

Photo of Kaytie Brozek and Angela Scott.

Kaytie Brozek and Angela Scott presented "Put Me in, Coach! I'm Ready to Advise!" at the 2022 annual Kansas Academic Advising Network Conference. Their presentation was voted by peers as the Best of Conference. They will present again as "Best of Kansas" at the NACADA Region 7 Conference in spring 2023.

Photo of Jeffrey JarmanJeffrey Jarman, Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Director of the Elliott School of Communication, was inducted into the Kansas Speech Communication Association Hall of Fame. It honors his contributions as the former director of the Wichita State University competitive debate team.




Photo of Cheryl MillerCheryl Miller, senior assistant dean for academic and staff operations, won second place for newsletter editing and second place for personality profile in the 2022 Kansas Professional Communicators communication contest.





Photo of Enrique NavarroEnrique Navarro, associate professor of Spanish, has been named the new associate dean of the Graduate School.






Photo of Jay Price“Images of America: Mexican Americans of Wichita’s North End,” by Anita Mendoza, community member; Enrique Navarro, associate professor of Spanish; and Jay M. Price, professor of history, won the Gold Medal for Best History Book, presented by the International Latino Book Awards.




Photo of Rheanna Pierce

Rheanna Pierce, assistant clinical educator of social work and associate director of field practicum, is serving as board secretary for CASA of Sedgwick County.





Photo of Rachel ShowstackRachel Showstack is president of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest.






Photo of Susan G. SterrettSusan G. Sterrett, Curtis D. Gridley Distinguished Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science, gave the keynote address "The 'Why' of Methodology in Scale Modeling” at the  International Society for Scale Modeling 9 conference held in Napoli, Italy.




Photo of Rannfrid I. Lasine ThelleRannfrid I. Lasine Thelle was an invited respondent at a book review panel on "The Betrayal of the Humanities: The University During the Third Reich," edited by B.M. Levinson and R.P. Ericksen, at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature.





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In Memoriam

Photo of Dorothy "Dotty" K. BillingsDorothy "Dotty" K. Billings, 89, emerita professor of anthropology, died Aug. 12. She retired in 2012 after 44 years of teaching. Memorials may be made to Global Learning Center, 2712 N Beacon Hill Court, Wichita, KS 67220; or Cultural Survival Inc, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140.




Photo of Sherry ChapmanSherry Chapman, 73, former instructor of social work, died Aug. 21. Memorials may be made to the School of Social Work through the Wichita State University Foundation,1845 Fairmount St., Wichita, KS 67260-0002.





Photo of Dan CloseDan Close, 63, associate professor of communication, died May 28. Memorials may be made to the Elliott School of Communication or KMUW, through the Wichita State University Foundation,1845 Fairmount St., Wichita, KS 67260-0002.




Photo of Philip GauntPhilip Gaunt, 86, professor of communication and former department chair, died July 30. He retired in 2016 after 26 years of teaching.





    • David Groot, 61, former assistant professor of social work, died June 19. Memorials may be made to Victory in the Valley, 3755 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67218.
    • Hari Mukerjee, 88, professor of statistics, died April 27. He retired in 2016 after 34 years of teaching.

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New Faculty Hires

Raj Logan, assistant professor of biological sciences 

Jason Allen, assistant professor of English

Daniel Grady, assistant professor of mathematics, statistics and physics

Mohamed Nasser, assistant professor of mathematics, statistics and physics

Maria Victoria Veliz, visiting assistant professor of Spanish 

David Guo, Regents Distinguished Professor of Public Finance 

Mercy Umeri, assistant teaching professor of public affairs

Alyssa Lynne-Joseph, assistant professor of sociology

Burcu Ozturk, assistant professor of social work


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