In 2017, Seattle University was selected to receive a Revolutionizing Engineering Departments ("RED") Grant from the National Science Foundation. Seattle University is one of only two mechanical engineering programs selected for this prestigious award. 

SU's grant initiative, titled “Revolutionizing Engineering Education through Industry Immersion and a Focus on Identity,” is focused on bringing practical engineering experience to students. As students progress through the program, the department will be able to study how students’ identities change along the way in the hopes that the grant will have a positive impact on all students, including women and underrepresented minorities.

Will Gibbs, Seattle University Mechanical Engineering Industry Advisor

Will Gibbs (BSME C'08) - Roboticist, Engineer, and Department Industry Advisor

"I believe that improving the visibility and interactions across the study-to-practice gap will better prepare students for building fulfilling, impactful careers in industry, and will support faculty in their efforts to train new engineers from cohort to cohort in the context of an ever-evolving professional world."

The department’s proposal centers on creating a program where students can develop a strong identity with their chosen profession. The project leverages the department’s small size and close ties with industry to create a culture of “Engineering with Engineers.”  The RED Grant funds go toward several projects, including:

  • Cutting edge, skill-building curriculum – With guidance from our outstanding professors, SU students can begin “engineering with engineers” as freshman and continue through all four years of their degree.
  • Inclusive advising and industry connections – Robust advising services and a diverse population enhance the sense of belonging for all students, and connections to local employers offer increased internship and job placement opportunities.
  • Updated facilities  The student-centered makerspace was updated with several new 3D printers and additional tools. Students are encouraged to use the makerspace for various projects, both in and out of class
  • Faculty industry immersion experiences  The grant provides opportunities for faculty to be part of a summer industry immersion experience, and faculty share whaty they learn about industry and advances in industrial processes with the rest of the deparment to identify new educational opportunities.
  • Connecting students with industry professionals  Speakers from various companies including Cepheid, Microsoft, K2 Sports, Kenworth Truck Company, Puget Sound Transportation, and Boeing were invited to campus to share their experiences, and field trips to local companies, such as 3D Systems, brought students to industry to observe and learn from practicing engineers.
  • Industry Advisor  Will Gibbs (Seattle University BSME C'08), a roboticist and engineer, serves as the Industry Advisor for the Mechanical Engineering Department. He is available on campus one day each week to help students with professional formation, networking resources, portfolio development, and technical projects.