Seattle, WA, United States
Seattle, WA, United States

Seattle University , commonly referred to as Seattle U, is a Jesuit Catholic university in the northwestern United States, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.SU is the largest independent university in the Northwest US, with over 7,500 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools, and is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. In its "Best Colleges 2015" edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Seattle University the 5th best school in the West, a category for institutions that offer a full range of programs up to master's degree and some doctoral programs. Seattle University School of Law has the #1 legal writing program in the nation, a rank held for six consecutive years. In 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Seattle University #1 in the nation for macroeconomics.Among all colleges nationally, Seattle University graduates, with a degree in either the Liberal Arts or science, are the 10th highest paid in the country. Wikipedia.

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Martin B.L.,Seattle University | Kimelman D.,Seattle University
Genes and Development | Year: 2010

Formation of the early vertebrate embryo depends on a Brachyury/Wnt autoregulatory loop within the posterior mesodermal progenitors. We show that exogenous retinoic acid (RA), which dramatically truncates the embryo, represses expression of the zebrafish brachyury ortholog no tail (ntl), causing a failure to sustain the loop. We found that Ntl functions normally to protect the autoregulatory loop from endogenous RA by directly activating cyp26a1 expression. Thus, the embryonic mesodermal progenitors uniquely establish their own niche - with Brachyury being essential for creating a domain of high Wnt and low RA signaling - rather than having a niche created by separate support cells. © 2010 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: ADVANCE | Award Amount: 917.19K | Year: 2016

The ADVANCE program is designed to foster gender equity through a focus on the identification and elimination of organizational barriers that impede the full participation and advancement of women faculty in academic institutions. Organizational barriers that inhibit equity may exist in areas such as policy, practice, culture, and organizational climate. The ADVANCE Institutional Transformation (ADVANCE-IT) track supports the development of innovative organizational change strategies within an institution of higher education to enhance gender equity in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.

Seattle University (SU) will implement an ADVANCE-IT project that will align institutional core values of teaching, service, and engagement with the standards for faculty evaluation and advancement. SU is a predominantly undergraduate institution and a university whose values emphasize service and community engagement. They plan a number of initiatives to ensure alignment of these values with faculty related programs, policies, and practices. These strategies include: assessing and revising the current standards for promotion including options for multiple tracks to success; working with faculty leaders and university administrators in the articulation of the central themes of the project and strategic communication; implementation of formal training programs for faculty mentors; and training for promotion committees by adapting the Georgia Tech strategy called Awareness of Decisions in Evaluating Promotion and Tenure (ADEPT).

The project is grounded in a theory of change that views gender as a part of organizational structures, and that aims to change university policies, practices, and culture in ways that foster equity for faculty. The focus on the connection between institutional mission, evaluation practices, and gender equity is innovative. This project could provide a model for restructuring standards of academic advancement in ways that recognize the work of institutional service that often falls disproportionately on women and underrepresented faculty. The project includes a research component that will contribute to the literature on the relationship between gender equity and standards of faculty evaluation and promotion.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: WORKFORCE IN THE MATHEMAT SCI | Award Amount: 280.00K | Year: 2015

The Department of Mathematics at Seattle University will host the Seattle University Mathematics Early Research (SUMmER) REU site. Ten students will participate in an eight-week summer research program each year. The students will work in groups of five on one of two major research projects each summer. Each research group will be led by a pair of mentors who will meet regularly with the students to provide guidance and feedback. The SUMmER program will encourage non-traditional, early career students to consider majors and careers in STEM fields. The research projects will not require significant course experience so that research opportunities are made available to students from community colleges and primarily undergraduate institutions. The diverse body of student participants will be reflected in the faculty leadership as well. In addition to having experienced faculty researchers from Seattle University and Pacific Lutheran University, groups will be led by instructors from local community colleges and high schools. Each project will be led by two mentors in a team consisting of a less experienced research mentor and a more experienced mentor. As such, this program will have the added benefit of training less experienced mentors to lead research groups at their home institutions.

The primary goal of this REU is to empower student researchers who do not have access to research at their home institutions by providing a community of support that will stretch beyond the eight-week duration of the summer program. Students will investigate original research problems in the areas of Combinatorics, Graph Theory, Knot Theory, or Geometry. In addition to developing their technical mathematical skills, students will gain experience in presenting their work through both oral and written communication. They will give regular presentations to the group to share their research progress, and the research mentors will support students as they prepare to present their work at conferences or at their home institutions after the REU program has ended. Both research and communication skills will be invaluable to the participants as they become part of the mathematical community.


Collaborative Research: Experimental and Computational Studies of the Role of Effluent Organic Matter in the Sensitized Transformation of Organic Contaminants

The role of effluent organic matter (organic matter contained in treated wastewater that is discharged to the environment) in the photochemical processing of microcontaminants is relatively unexplored. The overall objective of this project is to evaluate the photochemistry of aquatic pollutants, specifically focusing on the measurement of photochemically produced reactive intermediate production and quenching from effluent organic matter and the prediction of micropollutant rate constants using computational chemistry techniques. The innovative aspects of the proposed research are: 1) the focus on aquatic contaminants with specific functional groups susceptible to indirect photolysis; 2) the side-by-side comparison of photochemically produced reactive intermediate production/quenching from effluent organic matter and from natural organic matter; 3) the relation of photochemically produced reactive intermediate production/quenching by organic matter properties; and 4) the use of computational chemistry to predict reactivity with photochemically produced reactive intermediates, evaluate specific structural details in contaminants that influence reactivity, and distinguish which compound classes merit attention with regards to processing via indirect photolysis. The goals will be met through a combination of field sampling, laboratory experiments, and computational studies via collaboration between a major research institution (University of Minnesota; UMN) and an undergraduate institution (Seattle University; SU). The project emphasizes research as an important component of the undergraduate learning experience and has been designed to have a major, substantive contribution from undergraduate researchers. The PIs will continue to recruit female, minority, and first-generation college students into their research groups, thus broadening their impact on the scientific community. The relationship between SU and the UMN will establish connections between these two institutions and between science and engineering.

A major impetus for this work is that effluent organic matter and micropollutants are co-located in the waters downstream from wastewater treatment plants, and it is hypothesized that the role of effluent organic matter exerts substantial control over the fate of these contaminants. Photochemical half-lives for a series of contaminants in role of effluent organic matter solutions will be measured and related to the steady-state concentrations of photochemically produced reactive intermediates determined from molecular probe and quenching experiments. In this way, an understanding of the photochemical processes controlling the fate of contaminants emanating from wastewater treatment plants and the role of role of effluent organic matter in contaminant transformations will be developed. Additionally, the role of effluent organic matter plays in quenching photochemically produced reactive intermediates and its role as an antioxidant will be elucidated. The computational chemistry studies will lead to new predictive tools and insights into potential reaction mechanisms. Thus, the experimental and computational findings of this work will be critical in modeling pollutant fate and predicting contaminant reactivity in effluent-dominated surface waters. Information regarding photochemically produced reactive intermediates in role of effluent organic matter -impacted waters is also relevant to pathogen inactivation and carbon/nutrient cycling, making the results of interest to the broader scientific community.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Combinatorics | Award Amount: 163.31K | Year: 2016

Simplicial complexes are discrete objects that are used to approximate familiar geometric spaces. They are rooted in the historical development of many branches of mathematics, dating back to work of Euler in the 1700s. Over the past fifty years, the field of geometric combinatorics has experienced tremendous growth. The discrete nature of simplicial complexes makes them well-suited to computer implementations, and they continue to have practical modern applications in the fields of mathematical biology, optimization, statistical data analysis, and computer graphics. This project also encompasses mathematical outreach with middle and high school students, along with a commitment to involving undergraduate students in research projects. This grant will support these endeavors by providing students with technical training and exposing them to the excitement of engaging in original scientific research.

The objective of the research is to further our understanding of the interplay between the topological and combinatorial structures of certain families of simplicial complexes. Specifically, we seek to understand how certain conditions, such as graph colorability or matroidal structures, affect the combinatorial structure of certain families of simplicial complexes. The problems are based in combinatorial geometry, but employ tools from, and have had applications to, the fields of commutative algebra, discrete geometry, algebraic topology, and algebraic geometry.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 611.41K | Year: 2013

This project is awarding scholarships to academically talented and financially needy junior year students who plan to transfer to the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at Seattle University (SU) from two- and four-year colleges. The main goal of the SU ECE Scholars program is to enhance the number of skilled electrical and computer engineers in the State of Washington. SU ECE scholars receive financial, academic, and professional development support to ensure their successful progression toward the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree. Student support services include peer tutoring and mentoring, study partners, industry mentorship program, professional development seminars, and social activities. An innovative feature of this program is a recruitment plan that targets academically-talented students who do not have the necessary preparation to be admitted to a highly competitive program at one of the states research-intensive universities. Because of the S-STEM financial support, instead of abandoning their plans to study electrical engineering, such students are able to continue their education in SUs nurturing environment which balances academic challenges with individual attention. The project also recruits students from the extensive network of Washington States community colleges. This project is contributing to a broad understanding of how to recruit, transition, and support academically talented and financially needy electrical and computer engineering students at a small, private, liberal arts college. The proposed program will also serve as a model for collaboration between large research institutions and small teaching universities to ensure that capable students, who do not have the necessary preparation, can still major in their chosen field of study and successfully enter the STEM workforce.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENGINEERING EDUCATION | Award Amount: 58.33K | Year: 2015

Non-Technical: This award by the Cultivating Cultures of Ethical STEM program in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences is managed by the Biomaterials program in the Division of Materials Research. The goal of this collaborative project at University of Colorado at Boulder, Tufts University and Seattle University is to evaluate the various ways in which macroethics is taught in STEM topics (both in and out of the classroom), and determine the most effective methods that can then be adopted by others. In order for STEM areas to reach its full potential to benefit society, students must be prepared to engage in broad considerations of the ethical issues that face the profession. Established codes of conduct describe standards for professional behavior, but these largely relate to individual actions associated with individual projects, so-called micro-ethical considerations. But engineering and other STEM areas fall short of its societal duties, if it ignores macro-ethical challenges - ethical issues that must consider societal implications of technology as well as the collective responsibility of the STEM profession. Macroethics includes issues such as sustainability, poverty and underdevelopment, security and peace, social justice, bioethics, nanoscience, and social responsibility. The extent to which STEM students graduate with an understanding of macroethical issues is unclear, and is in need of organization. The research will start with a large survey of STEM faculty across the U.S., followed by interviews of selected faculty who are effectively using a diversity of methods to teach a range of macroethical issues. In addition, a set of case studies that can serve as models for others will be developed. Best practices that are identified will be propagated through STEM education via a faculty training workshop and online resources.

Technical: There is a need for STEM education to prepare students to address macroethical issues such as social responsibility and sustainability. The extent to which students graduate with an understanding of macroethical issues is unclear and in need of organization. The goal of this research is to evaluate the various ways in which macroethics is taught in STEM topics, examining variations in pedagogy and content between different STEM disciplines and institution types. Macroethics educational practices will be examined through Vanasupas Four-Domain Development Model, which includes both cognitive and affective outcomes, as well as the impact of social context. The methods that are most appealing and successful for educating women and minority students in STEM will be determined. The research goals will be achieved through: (1) a national survey and targeted interviews of ethics instructors; (2) a case study approach to identify effective macroethical instruction settings based on student surveys and interviews, rubric assessment of student work, ethnographic observations, and surveys/interviews with alumni regarding the impacts of ethics education in their practice of STEM topics; and (3) propagate and scale the best practices of macroethics education using approaches similar to that of NSFs I-Corps-L model. Instructors at Seattle University and the University of Colorado will adapt effective methods in their teaching. Dissemination will include a faculty workshop, project website, and publications.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENGINEERING EDUCATION | Award Amount: 106.66K | Year: 2015

The relationship between engineers and their ultimate client, the often-invisible public, lies at the heart of the engineering professions identity and mission. Today, the over 2 million practicing engineers in the US routinely make complex and critical decisions with significant implications for the publics health, safety, and welfare in a relational vacuum, where publics are imagined rather than engaged with. Postulating that different conceptions of the public reinforce different professional ideologies, identities, and forms of practice, this research seeks to examine how engineers see their relationship to the public, what formal and informal mechanisms form those views, and how existing conceptions are expressed in interactions with diverse publics. This work constitutes a first step toward deeper insight into how the belief structures created by engineers conceptions of the public enhance or weaken engineering practice and, ultimately, how they support or undermine the professions aspiration to promote the social good. Results will provide a basis from which engineering education and the engineering profession at large could shift to include a reimagined view of the public that renders publics visible, underscores the technical and moral relevance of their voices, and gives them a well-defined role in the engineering enterprise. By extension, this research will make possible a revised understanding of engineers role in society.

This research is driven by the hypothesis that engineering education promotes conceptions that distance engineers from the publics they serve and compromise their ability to promote the social good in locally desirable and socially just ways. The proposed study initiates research in engineers conceptions of the public - what these conceptions are, how they form, and how they are expressed in interactions with diverse publics during boundary work - through a single case study methodology. The research design includes the following data sources: 1) official engineering documents that frame the professions discourse around engineers relationship with society, 2) interviews with engineering students, faculty, and practicing professionals, and 3) interviews with members of mobilized publics who have extensive experience - positive and/or negative - interacting with engineers. The analysis will involve two qualitative research techniques to identify prevalent engineering conceptions, and will culminate in data triangulation to determine points of convergence and divergence between how engineers view the public and how members of diverse publics view themselves. This work is exploratory, aiming to build a deeper understanding about engineers conceptions of the public. The goal is to set a foundation from which educational interventions that foster mutually edifying collaborations between engineers and society can be explored, developed, and implemented.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 171.31K | Year: 2013

The objective of this TUES Type 1 project is to develop an instructional framework that promotes self-directed learning and enhances problem-solving skills in undergraduate engineering students. The instructional framework uses an Inverted Classroom (IC) to facilitate Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and is implemented in a Heat Transfer course at Seattle University. Material traditionally covered in a lecture format is moved outside of class time and made available in an online repository of learning resources. During class time, students solve authentic engineering problems presented in a PBL format. These real engineering problems are co-developed by the project team, academic partners from Montana State University and the University of Washington, and industrial partners. The instructional framework is being created through collaboration between faculty in mechanical engineering and psychology at Seattle University and evaluated by academic partners.

Intellectual Merit: The development of the IC-PBL pairing has the potential to be a transformative pedagogy that capitalizes on the growing interest in inverted (flipped) classrooms. A model for academic and industrial partnerships in learning is created that allows faculty to teach students using real world engineering problems while providing an avenue for industrial partners to help prepare better engineers for the workplace. To evaluate the effects of this IC-PBL framework on student learning, control-treatment experiments are conducted on (1) student problem-solving performance, (2) self-directed learning performance, (3) retention and understanding of fundamental engineering principles, and (4) student motivation and attitude towards engineering studies and degrees.

Broader Impacts: The proposed instructional framework could fundamentally change how undergraduate engineering students are taught, creating engineering graduates who are better self- directed learners and problem-solvers. The engineering education community have access to an adaptable educational framework, including curriculum materials, online resources, and authentic engineering problems, facilitating future wide-scale adoption.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: NUCLEAR THEORY | Award Amount: 127.49K | Year: 2015

The proton is a particle that is central to our understanding of matter in the universe. It is found in the nucleus of every atom and contributes to the fusion reactions that fuel the stars. Protons are constructed from basic building blocks of matter called quarks, antiquarks (the antimatter counterparts of the quarks) and gluons, but the ways in which these constituents contribute to the properties of the proton are not completely understood. For example, the proton has a property called spin, which is used in medical applications such as MRI scans, but detailed knowledge of how the spins of the quarks and gluons combine to give the spin of the proton is still missing. In this project the investigator will use theoretical models to study the contributions of strange quarks and antiquarks to the properties of the proton and compare the results to experimental measurements from facilities such as the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. Undergraduate students will participate in the project, receive training in nuclear and particle physics that is complementary to their undergraduate coursework and gain experience in research methods and scientific communication. The students will present their work at professional meetings and to the broader public.

The goal of this project is to determine the strangeness distributions of the proton and the contribution of strangeness to the protons electromagnetic properties. Strangeness in the proton refers to its strange and anti-strange quarks, which are created by fluctuations of the proton into meson-baryon states or by quark and gluon interactions. Strangeness distributions describe the share of the protons momentum that is carried by the strange or anti-strange quarks, which may differ from one another (strangeness asymmetry). Strangeness distributions are important both for our understanding of the structure of the proton, and because they affect the cross sections predicted for dark matter searches. The PI and her students will develop a meson cloud model to represent the fluctuations of the proton into pairs of strange mesons and strange baryons. A statistical model will be used to describe the strange distributions that are created in the mesons and baryons by quark and gluon interactions. Comparison will be made with experimental results for total strangeness and strangeness asymmetry. A light cone model of strangeness wave functions will be used to calculate strangeness electric and magnetic form factors, from which limits on strangeness in the nucleon can be determined from experimental measurements.

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