Washington State University announced the launch of a collaborative program with Amazon titled Amazon Catalyst on October 23, 2017.
Amazon will provide up to $300,000 to WSU to launch the initiative, providing funding and mentorship to support bold, globally impactful and disruptive projects proposed by members of the university community. The Amazon Catalyst program will support the expansion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the WSU system.
Grants will be available to students, staff and faculty across all of WSU’s campuses, colleges, research stations and extension offices located throughout the state. The grants can be awarded in any field, including the humanities, engineering, physical and life sciences, and the arts. Grant recipients also will join the Amazon Catalyst Fellows, a collaborative community of individuals who share a passion for building solutions to solve complex problems. The grants reward creativity, scholarship, and innovation for devices, products, processes and services.
Amazon Catalyst projects must address a key problem faced in the world today. Problems can be diverse and focus on a variety of topics from computer security to immigration to healthcare. Given the complex nature of these issues, the solutions may come from different fields and perspectives. Therefore, grants are open to all members of the university community.
The application period will close on January 31, 2018. For more information see https://catalyst.amazon.com/wsu
Washington State University and hometown airline, Alaska Airlines, partnered in 2015 to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for high school youth through the Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow Competition.
Created by WSU in 2008 and now housed in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, Imagine Tomorrow challenges 9th-12th grade students to develop enterprising solutions for renewable energy. Student teams from across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana select one of three topics and research that create and provide solutions:
- The Itron Food, Energy and Water Challenge
- The Boeing Aerospace and Transportation Challenge
- The McKinstry Built Environment Challenge
Building on Alaska Airlines’ three-year title sponsorship of the WSU Imagine Tomorrow competition, the company has committed three million airline miles (one million annually) to WSU faculty, Extension employees, graduate and undergraduate students with travel funding needs. To qualify for the miles, applicants must be traveling to, or bringing someone to campus, for a reason related to the categories highlighted in the Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow Competition. For more information about the 2018 Alaska Airlines Award Application click here.
In conjunction with the Imagine Tomorrow Competition sponsorship, Alaska Airlines and WSU will collaborate on an Alaska Airlines Day on the WSU Pullman campus. This will be an exclusive recruitment day for Alaska Airlines as well as an opportunity for executive leadership to discuss mutual challenges and opportunities. This event will take place in the 2018 Spring Semester.
Further partnerships include in 2016 when Alaska Airlines made history flying the first commercial flight using the world’s first renewable, alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals, the limbs and branches that remain after the harvesting of managed forests. The alternative jet fuel was produced through the efforts of the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA).
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
Washington State University’s power engineering program will establish the Edmund O. Schweitzer III Chair in Power Apparatus and Systems in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, thanks to gifts totaling $1.5 million from Edmund and Beatriz Schweitzer, and the employee owners of Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.
The new endowed chair will support WSU’s teaching and research in the fundamentals of power engineering, including electromagnetics, controls, communication theory, high voltage materials and practice, work that is near and dear to the Schweitzers and the employees of SEL.
Thanks in part to the support and advocacy of the Schweitzers and SEL, Voiland College’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has experienced dramatic growth. Annual research expenditures in the school have more than doubled in the past six years, to $7.6 million annually, with about $4 million of that increase in power engineering research. Enrollment in the school has also doubled to more than 1,000 undergraduates and nearly 200 graduates each year.
During the past two years, SEL has hired more than 10 percent of the school’s graduates, more than any other employer. To date, the Schweitzers and SEL have collectively contributed more than $3.6 million to support students, teaching and research across the university.