WSU Ventures Innovation Awards ceremony recognizes innovative faculty, staff, students and partners

October 25, 2017

WSU Ventures at Wichita State University held its third annual Innovation Awards on Tuesday Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. in Beggs Ballroom. At this event, students, faculty, staff, industry partners that have adopted and advanced the innovation university concept were honored. Awardees included the following.

Bright Future Awards

  • Business: Jacob Archer
    As the CEO of Barton International Group (BIG) Jacob Archer, senior in business, has built on the success of past leadership and further established BIG’s outreach and connection with Wichita business community. He has spoken numerous times with business leaders and has clearly established himself as a leader and collaborator.
  • Education: Emily Harrington
    Emily Harrington, senior in education, has brought the ideals and values of the College of Education (COEd) to the attention of the university as a whole by taking a key role in facilitating events that bring attention to people with exceptionalities such as the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign in March 2017. For this campaign, she arranged the participation of the Office of Diversity Inclusion, Honors College, and interdisciplinary support from students from the College of Business, College of Health Professions, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to support the COEd initiative.  She also continues to forge interdisciplinary connections and increase the visibility and value of undergraduates of the COEd by volunteering her spare time to support the work of the Autism Interdisciplinary Diagnostic Team and the Interdisciplinary Structured Learning Program, both of which work out of Evelyn Hendren Cassat Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.


  • Engineering: Austin Nordyke
    Austin Nordyke, junior in engineering, is the team lead for the WSU Koch Innovation Challenge team “Out Cold,” which invented a customizable pillow to reduce sleep discomfort. Nordyke’s team won the grand champion award is advancing to a national level competition. Nordyke was also recently selected for the American FFA Degree. This award requires the recipient to have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience program in which they start, own or hold a professional position.  Austin is an entrepreneur, inventor, co-collaborator and top student.

  • Fine Arts: Steven Powell
    Steven Powell, junior in fine arts, is an animation artist who has taken an active role in helping to envision the project incubators at Shocker Studios. He has also been instrumental with the development of the WSU Animation League and the launch of a monthly movie night at Shocker Studios where media arts students gather outside of the regular classroom to view, analyze and discuss the creative techniques used to produce the films.

  • Graduate: Brad Weber
    Brad Weber, a Ph.D. student in human factors psychology, identified an urgent demand in the market: the education of hazard detection and avoidance among novice drivers. Weber and his dissertation advisor, associate professor of psychology Rui Ni worked together to conceptualize and implement the idea and develop a smartphone-based virtual reality app that provides an immersive, realistic and engaging experience to novice drivers during the education of hazard detection and avoidance. Weber and Ni recently participated in the Shocker Innovation Corps program and are working with WSU Ventures to perfect the business plan. A beta-version of the product is expected by the end of this year.

  • Health Professions: Lindsey Carson
    Lindsey Carson is a graduate student in the physician’s assistant program with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. Carson embodies community, compassion and change; common attributes of innovation in healthcare, which uniquely position her to create change and improve lives.


  • Honors: Andrew Martin
    Andrew Martin, junior in communication, is chair and director of alumni relations on the Honors Student Council and has served as a peer facilitator for the Honors Leadership Challenge course. He poses challenging questions and seeks innovative solutions to build leadership and community in Honors.

  • Liberal Arts & Sciences: Derek Landwehr
    Derek Landwehr is a junior in history who aspires to become a news writer and work for a media outlet. Landwehr believes that the combination of a history degree with communication’s focus will be give him an innovative approach to journalism. Landwehr has distinguished himself from his peers through skilled writing and recently published a paper in the history department’s Fairmount Folio, a journal for undergraduate and graduate majors.  He is also an active member of the Fairmount College Student Advisory Council.  

Creative Works Award: Joel Suss
Joel Suss, assistant professor of psychology, is committed to supporting law enforcement through his use-inspired research.  He created two video series. His first series on firearms safety and functioning has led to effective strategies for preventing accidents resulting from inappropriate firearm safety practices. His second project was in cooperation with the Wichita Police Department for the optimal positioning of Police body-worn cameras.  Both of these areas of research are of great benefit to law enforcement and have outside companies seeking use of these materials.

Patent Award: Bill Groutas; Ramazan Asmatulu/Vamsidhar Patlolla
William Groutas, WSU Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, is the most prolific inventor at Wichita State. His most recent patent relates to broad-spectrum anti-viral compounds for treatment and prevention of multiple types of viruses. He has created a compound and a method or treating and preventing such infections. 

Ramazan Asmatulu, professor of mechanical engineering, and Vamsidhar Patlolla, WSU alum, recently received a patent for their work in composite recycling.  Currently, there is a significant amount of cut-off waste from the manufacturing of parts or objects from costly pre-impregnated fibers. This waste typically goes into landfills. Asmatulu and Patlolla have have created a method for recycling these fibers using sound energy to remove resin from the fibers.  This innovation is licensed to Vamsidhar’s start-up business, Shocker Composites.

First Dollar Award: Fairmount Technologies
The First Dollar Award is given to a company that has received revenue from their innovation, either from customer sales or technology license. Over the last several years, the Fairmount Technologies team has developed a patented process and prototype that creates metal extrusions, at any length and curvature.  Fairmount Technologies’ process uses computer numerical control (CNC) programs, instead of the part-specific dies typically used in roll forming, in an effort to cut manufacturing costs and boost part accuracy and production speed.  In late September, Fairmount Technologies produced and shipped their first revenue producing parts. 

Catalyst Award: GoCreate, A Koch Collaborative
The Catalyst Award is given to individuals and departments that encourage, engage, and collide with other departments on multi-disciplinary projects.  GoCreate is a makerspace that brings people and ideas together – a launch pad for innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and technology, and a catalyst for business creation and economic growth.  Their 18,000-square-foot space, located in the WSU Experiential Engineering Building, is part manufacturing plant, part design studio and part garage workshop that incorporates sophisticated equipment and tools, training, shared workspaces, and a supportive community to help make prototypes, projects, and dreams come true.  GoCreate is a membership-based makerspace open to creators of all ages and experiences.

Innovation Partner Award: Dassault Systèmes
The Innovation Partner Award is given to an entity that engages with university faculty, staff, students and organizations to accomplish university goals.  Dassault Systèmes is recognized for their commitment to advancing the university, city and state by locating on the Innovation Campus.  Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE Center, a unique partnership with Wichita State's National Institute for Aviation Research brings together students, researchers and industry using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and industry solution experiences to enable 3D advanced product development, virtual simulation, and next generation manufacturing.

SBIR Award: Bill Carey
Bill Carey is the owner of ARC Technology, which provides custom product development and consulting services.  He is also a consultant for the Kansas Small Business Development Center. Bill has received multiple Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards from the Department of Energy and Department of Defense. Carey is always willing to share his knowledge and expertise regarding SBIR/STTR with individuals interested in pursuing these programs.  He is a valuable asset to the WSU and Wichita community in promoting SBIR and sharing his insight and knowledge.

Philanthropy Award: Bill Lucas
Bill is a WSU alum and who has donated funding for students working on high potential technologies that show promise of commercialization.  Students can apply for these funds on a competitive basis to assist with development toward commercializing their idea.

Shocker Innovation Corps Mentor Award: Kara McClusky
Faculty acting as academic leads are an essential component to the success of the teams in Shocker Innovation Corps, a National Science Foundation program. Kara McKlusky, engineering educator for the College of Engineering, has served as the academic lead for multiple teams and regularly promotes Shocker Innovation Corps and encourages students to learn about and apply to participate in the program.

Shocker Innovation Corps Breakout Award: Vytal
Jared Goering and Spencer Steinert, both WSU sophomores, participated in the Fall 2016 Shocker Innovation Corps program for their technology start-up, Vytal. Vytal is a wearable sensor tracking system that captures cardiac and movement profiles. The technology, which is marketed for athletes, took second place in the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge and fourth place in the Shocker New Venture Competition. Vytal will start clinical trials in mid-November.

Community Partner Award: GoBabyGo!
GoBabyGo is a program initiated by the College of Engineering under the direction of Samantha Corcoran, engineering educator and Nathan Smith, electrical engineering lab manager. The program brings together College of Engineering students and partners them with College of Health Professions physical therapy students to design and modify cars for children who have mobility issues. Many of the children who benefit from this program lack the ability to move on their own and have to rely on others to move them from one location to the other. These modified cars allow the children – for the first time – to gain independence and move on their own from one location to another without any assistance. GoBabyGo recently became a recognized student group in an effort to involve more departments at Wichita State – to truly make this a collaborative program that benefits the Wichita Community.

Newsmaker Award: Innovation Campus
The Newsmaker Award is presented to an innovator or project that is recognized and featured on multiple occasions by the media. WSU’s Innovation Campus has been a subject of media interest since the day it was announced. The Law Enforcement Training Center and the Pizza Hut Museum will be completed soon, and construction is underway for Partnership II and Braeburn Square.

Trailblazer Award: Shocker Studios
A Trailblazer makes, does or discovers something new and makes it acceptable or popular. Shocker Studios is home to WSU’s new Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Arts Degree.  The degree merges arts, science and technology, creating opportunities in emerging creative technologies that to improve students’ career competitiveness. It is one of only a handful of such degrees in the United States. This new state-of-the-art facility is designed to maximize collaboration and creative collisions between students, faculty and industry professionals. Students get hands-on applied learning experience in these facilities which include audio, video and computer labs; a motion capture studio; green screen; recording studios; art, clay and design studios; classrooms and meeting spaces.

Pioneer Award: George Bousfield
The Pioneer Award is given to an individual or department who makes things happen and isn’t afraid to do something different. George Bousfield, Lawrence M. Jones Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, conducts research focused on investigating the possibility of determining a woman’s true reproductive age based on the variations of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) found in the pituitary gland. Because a woman’s chronological age is not always a true indicator of her reproductive age, Bousfield’s research has the potential to provide key pieces of information to women with respect to childbearing. Bousfield is the director of the Protein Chemistry Core Lab, which provides applied learning opportunities for students to train in specialty activities such as radioimmunoassay and primary cell culture techniques. In 2015, Bousfield and his wife, Helen Haskin, formed GlycoFormA in order to further his research efforts.

Ambassador: Gary Brooking
The Ambassador Award is given to individuals and departments that embrace the Innovation University concept and reach beyond departmental boundaries to develop interdisciplinary relationships critical to successful innovation. Gary Brooking, director of engineering technology, is involved in interdisciplinary ventures such as being a mentoring and advising for the Shocker Startup student entrepreneurship organization, facilitating for Shocker Innovation Corps and judging the Koch Innovation Challenge.  He routinely works with the Center for Entrepreneurship to bring startup programs and ideas to campus. His capstone class is jointly taught with the Barton School of Business and works in concert with the entrepreneurship capstone class to create multi-disciplinary teams that enter ideas and products into the Shocker New Venture Competition.  

Visionary: WSU Facilities Planning
The Visionary Award is given to those who think about and plan for the future with an imagination or a creativity that usually changes the status quo in a dramatic fashion.  Eric King, associate vice president for facilities and Emily Patterson, director of facilities planning, have tirelessly worked to encourage WSU faculty, staff and students to examine how each can play a role in the building of a new innovation university. Facilities Planning is a vital piece of ensuring the Innovation Campus is an active part of the WSU community.  The Facilities Planning team has overseen the construction or renovation of approximately 620,000 square feet of space associated with Innovation Campus.  From building to landscaping and interior design, the team works to ensure that the importance of each building’s function is reflected in its presence.

President’s Innovation Award: College of Education
The President’s Innovation Award recipient is selected by WSU President John Bardo. The College of Education’s Teacher Apprentice Program (TAP led by Dean Shirley Lefever; Assistant Dean Ashlie Jack; Kim McDowell, department head of curriculum and instruction; and Danielle Hollas, online academic advisor, developed a new program to help produce more teachers faster and reduce the teacher shortage in Kansas.
 TAP is an online program to prepare para educators for Kansas licensure as early childhood unified / elementary education teachers. Through real-time web conferencing, TAP allows people who are already working as para educators to earn college credit for their experience in the classroom and reduces the time needed to become eligible to be hired as a classroom teacher. The program includes collaboration with local community colleges and technical schools to offer general education courses at lower tuition rates. The TAP curriculum uses an inverted approach, prioritizing initial course work on critical teaching skills necessary to transition the individual from a para educator to a classroom teacher without ever having to quit their job. All course work is delivered via an online blended approach and includes a comprehensive support system throughout the program.