When We Work Together, Gonzaga Will

“When I look at all of the opportunities I got to have as an undergraduate—from the lab to professional conferences, meeting Archbishop Tutu and traveling to Omaha to meet Warren Buffett—I really can’t imagine any place other than Gonzaga where all that would have been possible.”

Research projects are an important component of academic innovation at Gonzaga. Whether inter-departmentally or across disciplines, encouraging students and faculty to work together in groups solving problems helps to create a community bond that holds true long after graduation.

“It’s as though being part of the Gonzaga community multiplied the size of my family,” explained Andrew Matsumoto (’12), who worked with classmate Jessica Monroe (’12) and Dr. Sara Ganzerli executing a “Flexural Bond Strength of Masonry Prisms” research project in the School of Engineering. He added, “GU Faculty continue to guide me through the early stages of my career.”

Matsumoto’s experience with research at Gonzaga began in the hallways of the Herak Center for Engineering and Applied Science, when he and Monroe “ambushed” Dr. Ganzerli as she was leaving the building one evening.

“She offered to meet with us to discuss some project ideas,” recalls Matsumoto. “We certainly had some long days (and nights) working in the construction materials lab trying to figure out how to build our bond wrench and then actually use it to break masonry prisms.”

The bond wrench that Matsumoto's research team built is still in use in Gonzaga's engineering labs.

The bond wrench that Matsumoto’s research team built is still in use in Gonzaga’s engineering labs.

The team’s research had benefits that reached beyond the project itself; the wrench they built to test the strength of masonry bonds is still being used by students in labs.

“My favorite labs were the ones where we got to break stuff,” admitted Matsumoto. “It’s cool to hear that students are getting to do that as part of their coursework.”

Matsumoto’s connection to GU has also been fortified by his annual gifts of support, which he says are an important part of showing gratitude for his own experience.

“When I was a student at Gonzaga, I was the beneficiary of the generosity of many people,” he said. “They provided me with the funds that made it possible for me to attend the University, have access to amazing faculty and experience that I wouldn’t have been able to have anywhere else. I want to help provide those same opportunities for future Bulldogs.”

Read about Andrew Matsumoto’s friend and project partner, Jessica Monroe, in the special winter 2016 Campaign edition of the Gonzaga Giving Newsletter.

(USEPA photo by Eric Vance Public Domain)