People of SU / Science, Technology and Health

Taking the Pulse of the New Heart of SU

Written by Tina Potterf

September 22, 2021

Photo of students in masks sitting in classroom led by professor writing on board.

Image credit: Matt Lipsen

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Students and faculty usher in fall quarter inside the new Sinegal Center.

Taking his first class of the fall quarter in the Jim and Janet Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation, Biology student and sophomore Alex Jensen, ’24, was wowed by the modern layout and features of the new building that is being called the “heart of Seattle U.”

“It’s so nice and high-tech,” says Jensen, of Lakewood, Wash.

For Cathy Stickeles, ’22, the Sinegal Center offers cool and inviting new spaces for studying.

The Sinegal Center “is a really nice space to be in—to simply exist in,” says Stickeles, a Marine Conservation Biology major from Marysville, Wash. “I think it’s really gorgeous ... (and) seems really comfortable to study in. I usually study in the library, so I’m looking forward to getting a change of scenery.”

First-year student Audrey Chung, ’25, of Mukilteo, Wash., was taking a Biology course in the Sinegal Center and she, too, marveled at the space. “It’s really a nice building; there’s so much open space and it’s so modern.” The Psychology major enjoyed the openness that also extends into the classroom and study areas. No cramped rooms here.

These are among the first impressions of the Sinegal Center. What began in 2019 with blueprints and schematics is fully realized as a center—housing Biology, Chemistry and Computer Science— that represents the future of STEM. It also is a facility for all campus to experience, whether it’s convening a study session in one of the many spaces for collaboration, attending a lecture or connecting with service opportunities through the Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. Center for Community Engagement. Students will also take their CORE science classes here.

College of Science and Engineering Dean Michael J. Quinn, PhD, says the Sinegal Center is “the gateway to campus” and “the interface between the campus and the city.” On the first day of classes he was on hand to welcome students into the building.

With its striking façade that merges the traditional with urban—think lots of glass and bricks, wood and steel, with walls of windows looking out onto 12th Avenue and across campus—and an interior with innovative research labs, meeting spaces and nooks, a creative makerspace, radio station and more, the Sinegal Center is truly transformative.

Equally impressive is the outdoor space, where students and visitors alike can soak up the serenity of the Kubota Garden, complete with lush greenery, native trees and wooden benches.

In addition to lab spaces and the Billodue Makerspace, there is the Convergence Zone café by Microsoft, Oberto Commons and the Amazon Computer Science Project Center. It is also the new home to student-run radio station KXSU 102.1 FM.

Chemistry Senior Instructor Andrea Verdan, PhD, says she’s looking forward to the interactions and engagement between students and professors that this center will engender, “in the spirt of scientific collaboration.”

“I’m incredibly excited to be here and can’t wait to see what research and projects come out of the Sinegal Center,” Verdan says. “The technology and flexibility within this space will foster community.”

Learn more about the Sinegal Center at www.seattleu.edu/science-innovation/.

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