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Student Scholarship: Discovery, Creativity, Performance

By Allie Fraley


SPU classroom

Each year, Seattle Pacific students continue to impress on both a local and a national scale with their academic vigor. “The extent to which we are helping to launch students in their ability to create knowledge is unbelievable,” says Margaret Diddams, director of the Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development. “I could pull out some standardized assessment rates, but these accomplishments are evidence that our students are not passive learners.”

SPU has many examples of remarkable student scholarship, from the sciences and business, to psychology and the arts.


SPU's Theatre Department produces three main-stage plays per year, plus student-directed one-act plays, and a children's theatre production. Plays range from Shakespearean comedies to 1960s musicals, and everything in-between. "We have had students and alumni working in every major theatre company in the city," says Professor of Theatre Don Yanik, "as well as continuing their education in graduate school."

Undergraduate students in the School of Psychology, Family, and Community get the opportunity to present their research findings at local and national psychology conferences for a chance to win awards and learn more about the latest findings in the field of psychology. Some of those conferences include the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference and the American Psychological Association Convention.

In the Art Department, seniors showcase their work at the end of their time at SPU in the spacious Art Center Gallery. Work shown ranges from oil paintings to digital drawings to sculptures. “The university experience provides young artists the gift of time and resources to help them find their unique vision and voice in response to that call,” says Laura Lasworth, SPU professor of art.

For the past six years, students have been given the chance to develop businesses that can be profitable and address social needs at the same time through the Social Venture Plan Competition. Members of Seattle's business community serve as judges for the grand prize, the runner-up Pioneer award, and honorable mention prizes.

Seniors in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department’s Fashion Merchandising and Interior Design programs present their creations each spring to the SPU and professional design community. Seattle-area employers often call to inquire about SPU design students nearing graduation.

The annual Erickson Conference showcases the outstanding research contributions students are making in the fields of biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and physics. "Our goal is for students not only to learn scientific information, but also to learn how to discover new information themselves and to design new applications," says Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Congdon. "Our undergraduate researchers are the fullest expression of this goal."


Other sciences also get their time in the spotlight. At the Physical Education and Exercise Science Colloquium, seniors demonstrate the skills they have learned, and host a special guest speaker. And the School of Health Sciences holds a reception after its traditional pinning ceremony. 


Graduating music majors have been trained to use their gifts as performers, composers, and private studio teachers. At the end of their studies, they get the chance to perform recitals in their respective concentrations. Violin, piano, clarinet, trumpet, horn, bassoon — you name it, and you'll probably be able to hear it.


These special events are free and always open to the public. Come see these discoveries, creations, and performances, and support student scholarship.


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