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Spring 2004 | Volume 26, Number 6 | Campus
University Scholars Apply Their Gifts to Sophisticated Senior Projects

THEY HAVE PAINTED, SCULPTED, and spearheaded a campus bone marrow drive. One proposed a model for a peace and justice studies program, and one researched the technology of cochlear implants for the hearing-impaired. Another, a member of the Seattle Pacific University track team, conducted a qualitative study of what college-age runners think about the relationship between faith and running. They are University Scholars (UScholars): academically gifted, self-motivated students who seek a rigorous education and a challenge that will stretch their curiosity and faith to new limits.

This year, 40 incoming freshman scholars joined the 27 sophomore, 32 junior, 36 senior and four fifth-year scholars already in the program. In a unique curriculum, UScholars delve into medieval and Renaissance Europe; encounter Dante, Homer and Plato; articulate their own thinking on the relationship of faith and scholarship; and follow the rise of science from the Greeks through the Copernican Revolution to contemporary quantum mechanics, chaos theory and astrophysics.

“University Scholars is for students who want more challenge than they might find in the general education program,” says Susan Gallagher, director of the program. “They want to push themselves both academically and spiritually.”

All UScholars must complete a culminating honors project or research paper, usually in their respective major disciplines. This year’s ASSP president, business major Bri Clark, is investigating consumerism among college-age women. Psychology major Sarah Reiland is studying the effects of violent homes and communities on youth, and English major Carrie Dickison is weighing the usefulness of a popular literary theory for reading The Brothers Karamazov. Two seniors, Lisa Remsberg and David Skavdahl, are currently conducting biological research in the new Science Building, Remsberg on the application of fluorescence to medical diagnostics, and Skavdahl on cellular responses in snails.

Hilary Kageler, a 2003 graduate and President’s Citation winner, admits that she initially entered the UScholars program as a matter of pride and prestige. “But then I fell in love with what we were doing. To be with students of that caliber was an asset to my own education,” she says.

For her honors project, Kageler researched a New York City church that employed creative ways of attracting and helping the immigrant poor in the 19th century. Gallagher says that Kageler’s resulting project, Ministry to Immigrants in Urban America: A Case Study of St. George’s Protestant Episcopal Church, 1880–1920, is of publishable quality. Kageler is now studying for a master’s degree in theology from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland in order to pursue a career as a theological librarian.“

What UScholars are able to accomplish academically at the undergraduate level is impressive,” says Gallagher. “This program helps prepare the brightest and the best for engaging the culture in diverse and significant ways.”

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From the President
As today’s opinion-shapers declare the Christian message irrelevant, Seattle Pacific University President Philip Eaton reminds us: “For two billion people, the resurrection of Jesus Christ changed everything.”

“This Is Our Campaign”
Creativity and commitment are the hallmarks of faculty contributions, including finding precision science equipment and seeking grants. [Campaign]

When Disaster Strikes
As senior development officer for Northwest Medical Teams, alumnus Dick Frederick ’63 helps deliver care to those who need it most. [Alumni]

Fact or Fiction?
A new Response department reviews the best-seller The Da Vinci Code. Why is this page-turner disturbing so many Christians? [Books & Film]

Looking Ahead
Falcon women keep their sights on a national championship after a perfect season ends too soon at the Elite Eight. [Athletics]

My Response
Nicaraguan native Maria Antonia Caldera Hunter ’89 tells of an SPU study tour to her homeland that showed her the presence of Christ in unlikely places.