SU Voice Alumni Blog

Fall 2020 Reopening

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on August 5, 2020 at 6:08 PM PDT

A screenshot of a zoom classroomIn March 2020, Seattle University was among the first universities to begin remote instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were initially plans to broadly reopen campus in the fall, the unexpected evolution of coronavirus in Washington State continues to change plans.

Provost Shane Martin, PhD is working with university leadership, faculty and staff to create a safe and healthy student experience. “As we consider reopening, first and foremost for Seattle University is the health and safety of our community – our students, our faculty, staff, and alumni,” says Provost Martin. “That is always going to be the bottom line in making decisions.”

In Seattle U’s current reopening model, residence halls will be single -occupancy, masks will be required indoors and all classrooms and public spaces will be de-densified to ensure six feet of social distancing. In addition, every student who returns to campus will be required to complete a nasopharyngeal PCR test within ten days of arrival. For detailed information about safety measures and enhanced cleaning procedures, visit the COVID-19 website.

For fall, 80-90% of courses will be entirely online and 10-20% of courses will offer a mixture of virtual and in-person coursework. Hybrid classes will include laboratory- , clinical- and performance-based courses. All students, regardless of their degree field, will have the option to study 100% remotely. “The notion of choice is important,” says Provost Martin. “We don’t want to force anyone to return to campus. We’re in an alignment process of trying to adjust faculty desires for mode of instructions with the courses we’re offering and with what students are looking for.”

The quality of mission-driven, holistic learning remains a top priority at Seattle U. SU’s spring quarter student satisfaction surveys scored significantly higher than the institutional average for previous in-person quarters. Faculty and staff consistently pursued innovation in order to create a robust, highly engaging distance learning environment.

“We will build on the success of our spring quarter,” says Provost Martin. Faculty are currently engaging in professional development workshops to increase and strengthen skills for virtual and hybrid learning. With access to new creative teaching methods, platforms and technologies, students will have an improved and enriched experience in the fall quarter.

“I’m confident that by our actions, we are meeting our students where they are,” says Provost Martin. “We are offering a high-quality, impactful education that’s just as strong as anything we’ve ever offered and will help form the next generation of leaders.”


Connected by Community

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on August 5, 2020 at 5:08 PM PDT

Profile photo of SetarehWhen Setareh Mahmoodi, ’11 was searching for a law school, she was looking for a personalized law program that provided hands-on experience through a social justice lens. When she was accepted and enrolled in Seattle University Law School, it not only met but exceeded her expectations. It instilled in her the importance of community, relationships, social justice and leadership. These guiding principles continue to drive her as she uses her law practice to help her clients be proactive about their future.

Established in 2015, Mahmoodi’s private practice focuses on a holistic approach to law as she helps her clients through some of the toughest events in their lives. “Despite the fact that some of what I do is transactional law, I personally decided not to take a transactional approach with my clients and instead build long lasting relationships with them. I wanted a relationship-based client experience and practice, and to get to know my clients’ stories, to understand and help them,” said Mahmoodi. This unique perspective was fostered through the education and leadership skills she received from the SU School of Law.

Mahmoodi is a powerful advocate for justice and deeply values nurturing and giving back to her community. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, she has continued to volunteer and provide pro bono legal services for the King County Bar Association, Neighborhood Legal Clinics and volunteer legal services by helping individuals experiencing debt issues. “We all have had to make adjustments. This has been a thought-provoking time, and I am trying to offer support and assistance where I can,” she said.

Giving back and building community also includes being an active alumna within the Seattle University Alumni Association. She is a co-leader of the Business Owners Alliance, a group of alumni business owners.  Having a community where people can bounce ideas off of and learn best practices and continue to educate themselves motivates Mahmoodi and provides value to members. Mahmoodi is looking forward to connecting and learning with alumni, staff and student business owners at future online and in-person events.

As she reflects on her motivation for staying connected to Seattle U throughout the years and especially during these turbulent moments in society, Mahmoodi focuses on the value of deepening connections she began during her time as a student. “I enjoyed the fact that a lot of the alumni were so open and willing to help when I was a student at SU. They were so gracious with their time and this is a way that I can give back to SU and the community at large,” said Mahmoodi.

“More than ever, it’s important to take advantage of the community that you built and rely on for support, brainstorming, networking or just making new connections. As soon as you say ‘I’m an SU alum’ [to someone], they are immediately willing to talk or help. It’s almost like, you’re instantly friends!”

Connect with the Business Owners Alliance and register for Beyond the Nest: Redhawk Business Owners Alliance’s upcoming September event. Make new alumni connections today!

Launch Your Career with Redhawk Landing

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on June 4, 2020 at 9:06 AM PDT

Career mentorship can be pivotal in helping recent graduates launch their careers. The new Seattle University Redhawk Landing (RHL) platform connects our newest alumni—the Class of 2020—with more experienced alumni, helping to build mentorship relationships.  

Redhawk Landing is valuable to the Class of 2020 in a number of ways: 

  • Connect with global network of Redhawk alumni
  • Find both short- and long-term mentors 
  • Seek professional advice from diverse industry professionals 
  • Keep the peer connections you currently have and want to maintain 
  • Join affinity groups based on interests, geographic areas, involvement at Seattle U and more 

With RHL, both mentors and mentees indicate the type of mentoring relationship they are interested in—from a short phone call to a longer-term engagement—and their specific interest areas to advance their professional journey. RHL suggests alumni to contact based on the answers and participants can search the full directory. 

"As a recent graduate, I wish I had some type of program like this when I was in school to be able to reach out and build a network with  alumni to be able to get mentorship. I think this is going to be a good thing for students," said R.J. Realubit , ’17.

Engaging on Redhawk Landing can be as easy as connecting over coffee, answering a few questions over email or video chatting. Mentees gain fresh perspective, answers to questions, specific advice based on their needs and connections to help them grow in their career.

Building community and supporting each other is more important now than than ever. Register now and find your mentor.

Real-time mentorship in Redhawk Landing

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on June 3, 2020 at 4:06 PM PDT

Career mentorship can be pivotal and some of the most transformative relationships involve one-to-one interactions. The new Seattle University Redhawk Landing (RHL) platform helps you build these relationships. Alumni serve as mentors for students and other alumni or find mentors of their own. Redhawk Landing provides opportunities for alumni to connect with alumni in a city or industry of interest, join interest groups or browse career resources and programs.  

With RHL, both mentors and mentees indicate the type of mentoring relationship they are interested in—from a short phone call to a longer-term engagement—and their specific interest areas to advance their professional journey.  

With the Class of 2020 graduating and entering the workforce, it is the perfect time for mentors to help them find a professional pathway and accelerate their career trajectory. Mentees gain professional development, specific advice for their needs and a new perspective.  

"The connections that I've built with fellow SU alumni have been pretty strong. And so, to me this is another way to be able to have that type of connection with people that have had the same type of Jesuit education as I have," said Scott Newton, ‘16.  

Engaging on Redhawk Landing can be as easy as connecting over coffee, answering a few questions over email or video chatting. Alumni mentors choose their commitment level and preferred way to engage. 

In our current economic environment, building community and supporting each other is more important than ever. Register and start making connections with alumni and the class of 2020. 

Your Alumni Benefits

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on June 3, 2020 at 4:06 PM PDT

As an alum, you have a lifelong connection to Seattle University. The Seattle University Alumni Association is here to support you at every stage of your journey with a broad array of useful and exciting benefits. 

A male alumni talks with another alumni mentor

Career and Mentoring

Career Coaching
You have unlimited access to career coaching appointments up to one year after graduation.

Career Workshops 
Tools for Transition Alumni Career Workshops are offered throughout the year to support you in changing your career path and learning new professional skills. For our upcoming sessions, visit our Events page.

Build your network by connecting with the over 8,700 alumni professionals on our LinkedIn group.

Redhawk Landing is your place to find a mentor or volunteer to mentor a student or fellow alum through short- or long-term engagements. 

Four alumni smile and link arms at an event

Alumni Communities 

Alumni Chapters and Affinity Groups
Join our alumni communities to build connections and benefit from the power of participating in an alumni network. Our many regional chapters, affinity groups and alliances engage alumni based on shared location, interests and identities.

A postgraduate student talks with a professor

Lifelong Learning 

Reading Redhawks
Engage with other active minds though Reading Redhawks, our new virtual book club-style learning opportunity. Look forward to a rotating lineup of compelling, thought-provoking subjects with discussion led by Seattle U faculty, alumni and staff members.

Alumni Audit Program
Missing the classroom learning experience? As an alum, you can audit undergraduate courses for a nominal fee ($35 or $55 per course).

Library Access
SU alumni can check out books from the Lemieux Library. Access to the catalog is available from the library's website. 

Alumni gather on building steps with a huge SU branded license plate

Spirit and Pride

Seattle U License Plates
Are you living in Washington State? Show your Redhawk pride and support student scholarships with a Seattle U license plate.

Seattle University Credit Card          
Seattle U alums, parents and friends are eligible to apply for the Seattle U Visa® Rewards credit card -- the only credit card that helps support the Seattle University Alumni Association with every purchase!

A group of people do a yoga pose during a class at Seattle U's Eisiminger Fitness Center


Auto, Home and Rental Insurance
Seattle University alumni receive a discount on GEICO auto insurance. Visit Geico’s Seattle University page  or call 1-800-368-2734 to find out how much you could save today! (Be sure to mention your affiliation with Seattle University to be eligible for the special savings.)

Medical, Life, Disability Insurance and More 
Our partner, the Alumni Insurance Program, provides comprehensive insurance offerings at money-saving group rates for medical, group term life insurance, disability, long term care and travel insurance.

Fitness Center Membership
Base Rate: $399 annually / $35 monthly
As an alum of Seattle University, you can use the facilities at the Eisiminger Fitness Center and take fitness classes with an alumni gym membership.

Alumni visiting campus can take advantage of discounts at Seattle-area hotels including The Sorrento, The Crowne Plaza, Silver Cloud Hotel (Broadway) and Springhill Suites. Mention your Seattle University alumni status to receive a discounted rate.  

Zipcar, the world's largest car sharing network, has partnered with Seattle University to offer you an exclusive discount. Join today and pay $35 for your first year (discounted from $70).

Want more details about any of the benefits you’ve read about here? Visit our benefits website.

A letter from the GOLD Council President

Posted by John Fulmer, '15, '18 on June 3, 2020 at 3:06 PM PDT

A headshot of John FulmerCongratulations on your graduation, Class of 2020! 
My name is John Fulmer and I serve as the president of the Seattle U GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Council, which is a group of alumni volunteers organized to support your transition from the classroom to the workforce and your next 10 years. We aim to provide you with opportunities to stay connected with alumni and the university through community gatherings, service opportunities and professional development. As you transition into this next chapter of your life, remember that you are now part of the supportive and diverse community that is Seattle U GOLD. 
The first few years of your life after graduation will be filled with challenge, excitement and growth. You might find yourself pursuing additional education, working full-time at a startup or nonprofit, or moving back home to support your families or local communities. Wherever you find yourself, you will employ the skills you developed at Seattle U  to drive change and create a more  just and humane world .  
I stayed in the Seattle area and started my professional career at Boeing before quickly returning  to Seattle U for a part-time graduate degree. After graduate school, I moved to Amazon,  where I am currently working. While I felt lucky to live and work in a community that meant so much to me, I missed the service and engagement opportunities that I loved as a student at Seattle U. This is when I found Seattle U GOLD and got hooked on our incredible alumni community! 
As you finish up your last finals and receive your diploma, I would like to invite you to join our new career and networking platform Redhawk Landing. Redhawk Landing connects alumni with students and other alumni for short- and long-term mentorship. Network within the community or meet alumni in your city or industry. . Additionally, find a complete listing of alumni and GOLD alumni activities by visiting our events page. To stay updated on all of our GOLD events and initiatives and to get involved, follow us on the GOLD Facebook and GOLD Instagram pages. We would love to see you engage with us. 

On behalf of the entire Seattle U GOLD Council, congratulations on your achievement and welcome to life as a Redhawk alum! 

John Fulmer's signature
John Fulmer, ’15, ’18
GOLD Council President 

Transporting Life: Being a Flight Nurse During COVID-19

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on June 3, 2020 at 1:06 PM PDT

6 people standing in front of a red and white helicopter sitting on a field.

Flight nurses provide emergency care around the clock. These healthcare professionals work closely with first responders to transport critical patients. In the WAMI region, Airlift Northwest, an entity of UW Medicine transports patients from accidents and remote locations to Seattle in order to receive definitive care. 

Nicole Hardie, ‘98 has been a pediatric flight nurse for Airlift Northwest for the past 13 years. “We will continue to go anywhere and get anyone, but COVID- 19 has impacted how I do my job, including how I protect myself and how I protect the next patient that I care for,” says Hardie.  

Due to how the virus spreads, Airlift Northwest has developed a transport protocol that is designed to keep patients and caregivers safe. “We triage all patients into green, yellow and red categories. A green patient has no symptoms, no sick contacts and no breathing tube. A yellow patient who has symptoms or a breathing tube is treated as a potential positive coronavirus case because of how the virus spreads. And finally, a red patient is a known COVID-positive patient.”  

Based on the triage category indicated by first responders and referring hospitals, flight nurses will put on the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) and start the transport. Since the start of the pandemic, Airlift Northwest has transported 50 red patients and 350 yellow patients.   

What used to take two hours now takes three to four hours due to the amount of cleaning and disinfecting required for each transport. “We take everything out of the helicopter, disinfect every single piece of equipment and the helicopter and then disinfect ourselves,” said Hardie. Her team may get notified that another patient is ready during this process, but the crew must continue to follow this detailed protocol in order to minimize any chance of exposure to COVID-19 for themselves and for the next patient. In one 24-hour shift, she may participate in as many as eight transport flights. 

Nurses play a vital role in healthcare. They are patient champions who take the whole person into consideration. “I see people on their worst day, and I am really cognizant and aware of trying to meet people in that space. The nursing program at Seattle University taught me cura personalis-to care for the whole person. It is about the medicine, the breathing treatment and drugs for pain, but it is also about being there for them and their family in that moment.” 

As Washington starts to ease restrictions and as we head into the summer, Hardie knows that transports will pick up. “We are heading into our peak season as people head outdoors. What we are currently seeing is smaller cities that didn’t have any infections are now experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases. We are expecting the number of patients that need transport to increase.”  

Hardie notes that people around the world are dealing with a health pandemic that is unknown and indiscriminate, but she sees this as a time to come together and learn together, rather than to grow apart. “We need to respect where people are in this whole process. Support each other. Educate yourself. And if you are at all feeling under the weather, stay home.”

Find out more about Airlift Northwest and their role in healthcare in Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.  

Going Test-Optional in Fall 2021

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on May 7, 2020 at 9:05 AM PDT

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities have undergone a difficult transition from in-person to distance learning. Seattle University began remote instruction in March, and despite the disruptive nature of such a gargantuan shift, students, faculty and staff are making the best of a tough situation.

Provost Shane P. Martin, PhD, is helping to lead the university through this period of adversity. Reflecting on the student response to virtual learning, Provost Martin says, “The feedback that we’ve gotten from our students is that they are finding their courses to be highly engaging and they are finding the faculty to be accessible. Faculty are being creative and innovative. They are working very hard and we are so grateful to them. They’ve really stepped up at this time and they have done it for our students.” 

Questions about the uncertainty of current and prospective students has shaken the higher education landscape. Universities have quickly pivoted their strategies for retention and admission as everyone attempts to project the future. High school students are also impacted by this uncertainty as they run into college preparation barriers. As spring and summer SAT and ACT exams continue to be cancelled due to coronavirus, many students are left unable to get the required testing preparation and exams necessary to apply to college.  

The current challenges high school students are facing makes the implementation of the university’s planned test-optional admission policy more important than ever. “The best predictor of one’s future success is one’s current success,” says Provost Martin. “We need to look at things like GPA, the whole curriculum a student is involved in, their statement of intent, letters of reference and class standing.” 

Beginning in fall 2021, first time in college applicants can choose not to submit standardized test scores as part of the application process. After analyzing issues around tests and test-optional policies for over a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, the university’s decision to enact a test-optional policy for first-time college applicants highlights the university’s desire to build an inclusive student body. Research indicates that standardized entrance exams are not the best indicator of how a high school student will fair in college. In addition, standardized tests can put high school students from marginalized communities in a disadvantaged position.  

“There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that the standardized tests by their very nature and how they’re put together have an inherent bias. Culturally speaking, students that have had less access to the cultural capital that are referenced in these exams start out on an uneven playing field compared to those who have had more opportunities to be exposed to the topics in these exams.”  

The university also hopes that this will create less uncertainty over admissions in the COVID-19 era, as students who have been unable to take standardized tests will still have the opportunity to gain admission to Seattle University.

While some have expressed concern that such policies may impact quality of education, Provost Martin is working to alleviate their apprehension. “This test-optional policy doesn’t change our commitment to inclusive academic excellence. It doesn’t change our commitment to high standards and to rigor. In fact, in many ways it only enhances it.  

“This also fits us very well in terms of our commitment to Jesuit education,” says Provost Martin, “We talk about looking at the whole person – mind, body, soul, spirit – not just how you do on a standardized text. It’s very consistent with our mission, our values and who we are.” 

As universities across the country are facing a decline in enrollment due to COVID-19, it is more important than ever for Seattle U alumni to advocate for their alma mater and educate prospective students on the benefits of a Jesuit education.  

According to Provost Martin, “Alumni are among our most important ambassadors for the university. They can help Seattle U recruit prospective students by sharing their experience with their families, friends and co-workers – what they loved about this institution, what made a difference for them and what helped them achieve the success they experience today. It’s very important that our alumni see that this is a great way that they can give back to the university.”

Changing Business in the Wake of COVID-19

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on May 7, 2020 at 9:05 AM PDT

Steve Brooks standing in front of hand washing sinks manufactured by UMCCommunities across the United States are coming together to tackle the devastating repercussions of the COVID-19. Although social distancing and stay-at-home orders are working to flatten the curve and slow the rate of infection, many are still experiencing unprecedented financial hardships as a result of the pandemic.

Steve Brooks, ’98, ’19, vice president of business development at UMC, is driving an innovative solution to help at-risk communities stay healthy while keeping employees in the workforce. “The change in the world comes from business,” says Brooks, "and it’s upon the business leaders in our community to really come up and create the social justice solutions that the community needs.”

UMC is a mechanical contracting company that plans, builds and manages buildings, facilities and construction projects. When the COVID-19 devastated typical operations at UMC, causing furloughs and revenue loss, Brooks and the leadership team decided to modify their business offerings.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), frequent handwashing is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others from contracting COVID-19. Acting on this information, Brooks and his team decided that instead of creating building infrastructure, UMC would design and manufacture portable handwashing stations. This pivot has allowed UMC to sustain more than 30 full-time jobs while continuing to serve an emergent community need.

The prototype was originally designed for use at UMC construction sites to promote a safer, healthier workplace and includes elements such as a six-foot space between basins to follow social distancing requirements. The idea has since gained traction, and interest in UMC’s mobile sinks has spread. 

“Medical facilities called us. Boeing called us. Then there were some friends we knew that ran homeless shelters,” Brooks says. “They told us that this population didn’t really have access to an opportunity to wash their hands and to keep clean, because those experiencing homelessness often use public facilities that are now closed. We’ve built a handful of units that are small and more compact that we’re delivering to homeless shelters to provide additional opportunities for them.”

Current clients include Seattle-area general contractors such as Skanska and Turner, the City of Seattle, New Hope Shelter in Puyallup and Top of the Hill Quality Produce in Renton.

Brooks graduated from Seattle University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a certificate in Executive Leadership. He has been inspired by SU’s Jesuit mission, particularly its focus on social justice and care for the whole person. “[The mobile sink] helps us in construction, but situations like this are hitting the marginalized much harder than the rest of us. What we can do as a company and as a team is to help alleviate some of the barriers that these communities might have.”

His advice for other Seattle University alumni is simple but inspiring: "We all have to contribute some of our resources to those who are really in need.”

Learn more about UMC.

Helping the Hardest Hit Communities

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on May 7, 2020 at 9:05 AM PDT

Alumnus Gordon McHenry standing on a bridge in front of downtown Seattle

Any disaster will put a strain on individuals, families and communities. But a world health pandemic, such as COVID-19, has highlighted systemic issues such as unequal wealth distribution, racial injustice and the inequity in our healthcare system.

According to Public Health - Seattle King County COVID-19 is impacting communities of color at a higher rate. This new analysis shows that the rates for confirmed cases and hospitalizations are showing racial disparities.

“COVID-19 has devastated the economy and health care. This means that vulnerable communities have fewer resources, have less resilience, and have very limited to no places to turn other than the non-profit community or the public sector,” said Gordon McHenry, Jr., ’79, president and CEO of United Way of King County. “What we have experienced both in terms of direct services as well as in our communication with nonprofits who work in communities of color and low income communities is that everything has gotten worse, and in a very rapid way.”

McHenry went on to explain that “when we began to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the community, we immediately started conversations with some of our corporate partners and with the Seattle Foundation. We rapidly agreed that the most powerful step forward would be for us to virtually stand shoulder to shoulder and raise up the need and the opportunity to give money to support the most vulnerable in our community.” These partnerships have raised more than $20 million for the Seattle Foundation's Community Response Fund, some of which has been distributed to 128 different organizations that serve communities of color, immigrant, refugee and senior populations and people with disabilities. Currently, phase two of funding, which will be distributed in the coming weeks, will support emergency financial assistance, mental and behavioral health, childcare and food security.

United Way’s mission of bringing people, public health, corporate and other non-profit partners together to help the community has benefited some of the most at-risk people and families. The need in the community is great and continuing to increase.  So United Way launched a COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to raise money to support households needing rental assistance and families who are hungry and need help securing food.  Their food assistance program currently serves 3,500 families with meals and its rental assistance program served 2,000 families who were struggling to make rent in April. Despite these successes, there are more applicants than funding available to support them.

Through all of this, McHenry is passionately leading his organization with a focus on social justice and racial equity to support and serve the common good. “I am so proud to lead an organization that will help our communities survive. We have a great team, lot of great supporters, partners, donors and volunteers. We all wake up wanting to be as active and impactful as possible.”

As the effects of COVID-19 continue to unfold, McHenry says, “volunteerism is really important and can and should be done in a time of crisis.” His recommendation to alumni is to take action by making a donation to United Way or wherever you see personal alignment or need in your community.

Find out ways you can help United Way of King County.