Amazon has gifted $3 million to Seattle University to expand opportunities in STEM-related fields for women and underrepresented groups, the school announced on Monday.
Donated to the school’s new Center for Science and Innovation, the gift will increase access and expand opportunities for students in computer science and engineering education.
The center aims to increase enrollment in computer science and data science by 50 percent, from 400 to 600 undergraduate and graduate students by 2025 by developing advanced technical skills.
“Computer science is our fastest-growing science and engineering program,” president Stephen Sundborg said.
“Support from one of the world’s most innovative companies and leading employers of computer science graduates is recognition of the quality of the education we offer, not just in terms of the technical skills students learn but, as importantly, the value added from Seattle University’s focus on critical thinking, problem-solving, ethics and moral reasoning. Seattle University is grateful for Amazon’s generous support.”
Construction of the state-of-the-art, 111,000 square foot building is scheduled to begin this spring and will house the departments of biology, chemistry, and computer science.
Currently, 40 percent of full-time faculty members and 43.5 percent of science and engineering students at the university are women.
The gift is part of the Amazon Future Engineer program that aims to educate 10 million students from underserved and underrepresented communities each year in computer science and coding. Through the program, more than 100 college-bound seniors have received $40,000 in scholarships.
“We are thrilled that a high-quality institution like Seattle University, with a long tradition of educating women and underrepresented minorities, is doubling down on science and engineering education,” Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, said.
“There is a gigantic need for more students from these backgrounds and we’re proud to support Seattle U in its efforts to increase the capacity of its STEM degree programs, which the new Center for Science and Innovation will help facilitate,” Jassy added.