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May 2011 | Volume 5, Issue 5
French Knights and Baseball Bats
By Beth Douglass '10, Contributing Writer
Student research at Seattle Pacific encompasses a wide variety of topics across multiple disciplines. Under the guidance and supervision of their professors, students delve into such complex worlds as physics, microbiology, medieval history -- and baseball bats.
Ben Walker, a 2009 SPU graduate, enjoys baseball history and trivia. But as an electrical engineering major, he also wondered about other aspects of the game, such as the physics and design behind baseball bats.
Walker's research helped him discover that throughout history, the emergence of a new hitting star -- such as Babe Ruth in the 1920s or Ted Williams in the 1940s -- would lead to changes in both the shape and the design of baseball bats.
Combining science and history, it was a thesis that Professor of History Bill Woodward immediately pegged as unique -- and likely to be of interest to those in the greater academic community. With Woodward's help, Walker was able to publish his conclusions in the peer-reviewed academic publication The Baseball Research Journal -- quite a feat for an undergraduate student.
"It's unusual for a school our size to have so many faculty members mentoring undergraduate students through the students' scholarship," says Margaret Diddams, director of SPU's Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development. "And not just in the sciences."
Go and See
Many SPU students across a range of disciplines are engaging the academic world outside the University. This is due in part to the efforts of Margaret Diddams.
Diddams, who serves as the director of SPU's Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development, works to create opportunities for SPU students to undertake research and then present their work.
"This year, SPU has granted more than $6,000 to help undergraduate students attend academic conferences and professional guilds to present their research," says Diddams. "We want our students to go and see. To get out there. The University believes so strongly in this that we're funding students to present their scholarship at professional conferences, where most of the attendees will be professors or other professionals."
To learn more about Diddams' work, and how SPU's approach to student scholarship is somewhat unique,
read this Q&A.
In the Loop Recommends
Libraries today need to do more than store books. The SPU Library offers cutting-edge technology, including filmmaking, editing, and animation tools; collaborative workspaces; a substantial library collection; expert teaching librarians; and access to vast academic resources through the library's membership in the Orbis Cascade Alliance -- the leading academic consortium in the U.S. Learn more about the changing face of academic libraries, and how SPU meets the needs of 250,000 visitors each year.
Read more at In the Loop online.
SPU's Fulbright Scholars
One of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide, the Fulbright Program provides merit-based grants to aid students with international educational exchange opportunities. Recently, SPU graduate student Benjamin Gown became the first SPU student in nearly 15 years to receive a Fulbright award. He plans to study accordion music and educational techniques in Brazil in 2011-12.
Also honored as a Fulbright finalist was Rebekah Graham, a 2011 graduating senior majoring in English with minors in European studies (Spanish) and business, who applied to teach English in Taiwan. Considering there are more than 9,000 applicants for approximately 2,000 scholarships, this is quite an honor for these stellar SPU students.
Check This Out
SPU's Community Kitchen
SPU Professor Daniela Geleva and students in SPU's Food and Nutrition program hope to improve the lives of low-income Seattleites through cooking. Read about their community kitchen project and watch the KING-5 video.
May 31, June 2-3
Close out the year with a musical bang. Enjoy SPU's acclaimed Percussion Ensemble on May 31. Be swept away by the strings, winds, and percussion of the SPU Orchestra on June 2. And luxuriate in the human voice with an evening of choral music from SPU's Concert Choir, The Chamber Singers, and the Men's and Women's Choirs on June 3. All concerts are free and begin at 7:30 p.m. Learn more.
Attend these memorable events with your graduating student. On Friday, June 10, the 2011 alumni-to-be participate in the tradition of Ivy Cutting in the morning, and worship at Baccalaureate in the evening. On Sunday, June 12, at 2 p.m., graduates congregate at Safeco Field to celebrate their success with Commencement 2011. Check out the complete schedule.
New Student Advising
Make sure your student signs up for New Student Advising. The sooner your student attends and registers, the more likely your student will get the classes he or she wants. Sign-up deadline for the June 24 NSA event is June 1. Two other NSA events are planned for August 18 and 19. Learn more.
Summer Visit Day
Check out the campus with one of our Summer Visit Days. You'll tour campus, eat lunch in Gwinn Commons, and meet faculty and students. The first Visit Day is June 24. Other dates include July 1, 15, and 29; and August 12 and 26. Reserve your spot.