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With a student to faculty ratio of 12:1 and an average class size of 24, Gonzaga is clearly dedicated to personalized classroom learning.

But learning also happens outside of the classroom—in internships, service learning projects, independent and faculty-mentored research opportunities and other projects—and these experiences are equally valuable.

Experiential learning exposes students to new environments and situations that foster reflection and assimilation and translate into future opportunities—a progression that aligns closely with Gonzaga’s mission of cultivating in its students the capacities and dispositions for reflective and critical thought, lifelong learning, and innovation. In addition, they provide practical, real-life experiences that help prepare students for the workforce.

Gonzaga provides many opportunities for students to secure funding for these programs so that all are able to participate, regardless of financial means. Here is a sampling.

Research Opportunities: For the natural sciences

Students in the Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Physics departments can enhance their college experiences through independent research in faculty mentors’ laboratories. Mentorships often help students identify and develop professional skills and career paths, and GU faculty members provide hands-on training in the laboratory or in the field working on a wide range of topics. 

While many students earn course credit for research they perform during the academic year, they can also apply for stipends. Funding is provided by faculty grants from federal agencies, the Gonzaga University Science Research Program (GSRP), Gonzaga Inclusive Excellence and Leadership (GIEL) funds, and donor-supported research from Kay Nakamaye, Anna Marie Ledgerwood, Gerald & Bronwyn Slobogean, Claire and Bob McDonald, and Dr. Patrick Tennican.

Applications are available three times a year.

McDonald Work Awards: For all students

Robert and Claire McDonald are committed to helping students make it through their university educations regardless of financial means, while also encouraging student contributions to the Gonzaga and Spokane communities and development of marketable career proficiencies. Since its inception 20 years ago, nearly 700 students have benefited from the work awards—81 in the 2017-18 academic year— and projects range across disciplines throughout the University.

How does it work? Faculty members submit proposals outlining field-related work opportunities that provide direct benefit to the department, Gonzaga University at large, or to the Spokane community for students of merit who demonstrate financial need. Who benefits? Students in the fine arts, nursing, modern languages, engineering, English, human physiology, chemistry, biology, education, mathematics, computer science, sociology, economics psychology—well, you get the idea!

Click here for more information on how the McDonalds came to establish this invaluable program.

Morris Fellowships: For students in the arts, humanities, and social sciences

The Morris Undergraduate Research Fellowships are awarded to student-faculty research teams in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Students formulate an original research project to conduct during the summer months, identify a faculty mentor, and apply for the fellowship. Both the student and the faculty mentor of successful applications receive a stipend for this work.

Projects vary widely in focus and include indigenous resistance case studies, identifying songs for young singers written by female composers, an analysis of the evolution of women’s undergarments by a dance student with an interest in costume design, a study of liturgical changes post-Vatican II, and many more.

Applications are available in early Spring.

Internships in the medical field: For all students

Students interested in going into medicine have several unique opportunities to pursue internships at Gonzaga. Whether they’re majoring in the natural sciences, human physiology or nursing, engineering, or even in computer science or business, taking advantage of shadowing and conducting research with someone in the medical profession can help solidify career goals—or even turn students to an unexpected field.

Gonzaga Biomedical Internship (formerly Seattle Summer Biomedical Internship):

The Gonzaga Biomedical Internship (GBI) program matches highly qualified Gonzaga students with Swedish Medical Center mentors, offering an exceptional clinical research experience. In addition to the valuable shadowing experience this opportunity affords, students also work on individual research projects, attend weekly didactic lectures, and attend conferences run by healthcare professionals related to their research topics.

The program is highly mentor-driven, with medical professionals submitting proposals for specific projects and then being matched with successful student applicants. Shadowing opportunities have taken students to the neurosurgical-intensive care unit and operating room, the emergency department, labor and delivery, thoracic and cardiac surgery operating rooms, a variety of out-patient clinics, and many more.

Info sessions are typically offered in November and include a program overview, panel discussion from former interns, an application process outline, and Q&A. 

Inland Northwest Blood Center Internships

For the second year, this Spring the Blood Center Foundation funded opportunities for biology and biochemistry majors to learn about potential career paths while also allowing Inland Northwest Blood Center staff members to provide teaching opportunities. The program’s director Ellen Klohe, who received her undergraduate degree from Gonzaga, is particularly focused on exposing students to careers in clinical medicine, and this year’s interns conducted a study on HLA epitope-based HLA antibody matching, which allows for virtual cross-matching that improves success rates in organ transplants. Application deadlines are contingent on funding.

University of Washington School of Medicine Internships

During the course of the summer, UW School of Medicine – Seattle interns explore their fields of interest, make valuable contacts, and experience what it feels like to be part of a large research group that includes graduate students, post-docs, and principal investigators. While the internships don’t have a long-term funding source, these research opportunities capitalize on the collaboration between Gonzaga and UWSOM to enable highly motivated students to experience the research-intense environment found at large research universities.

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