California Lutheran University opened its new Swenson Science Center in last fall in 2020 while students attended classes virtually. With in-person instruction resuming, this is the first time the building has been fully in-use.
Previous to this building, all science classes were held in the Ahmanson Science Center, which will continue to house classes along with Swenson. The two facilities are connected by a skywalk.
According to Cal Lutheran’s ‘The Science Initiative’ website, the Swenson Science Center consists of 11 teaching labs and eight research labs that are there to provide students with modern labs and collaborative work spaces. The building has three floors, with the ground floor being dedicated to marine biology and exercise science, the second for biology and the third for chemistry.
“It’s aesthetically pleasant, but it is functionally pleasant as well,” Assistant Biology Professor Michael Abdelsayed said.
‘The Science Initiative’ webpage also states that the labs dedicated for teaching are right next to those used for research.
Abdelsayed said that this could open the door for easier collaboration on assignments and projects, while also letting the students interact easier with their professors.
“Having students collaborate with each other and learn from each other and the faculty, and this building is organized in such a way that they can do that,” Abdelsayed said.
Abdelsayed is new to Cal Lutheran, with this being his first year on campus due to COVID-19. He previously taught at California State University Channel Islands before coming to Cal Lutheran.
Swenson proves to be an upgrade from the labs he worked in previously, Abdelsayed said.
“It’s nicer for sure, a step above in terms of organization and just how big it is,” Abdelsayed said.
Gabriel Navarrete, a first-year majoring in biology, said he has classes in both Swenson and Ahmanson Science Centers. While Ahmanson continues to house science classes, Navarrete said it does not seem to compare to Swenson.
“It’s more modern compared to the other building, it’s really nice,” Navarrete said.
Since this is the first semester that people are actually able to use this building due to the pandemic, it serves as a fresh start for professors, Abdelsayed said.
“Starting in a new building that has a lot of amenities to the things I want to implement has been really helpful,” Abdelsayed said.
According to the Cal Lutheran’s ‘The Science Initiative’, the United States government predicts a large shortage of science, technologies, engineering and mathematics graduates in comparison to how many people are needed to fulfill those roles. The main object of the building is to be able to change those numbers. The university is aiming to foster graduates who are ethical, ready and well-rounded.
First-year Sarah Campuzano said that the Swenson Science Center contributed to her deciding to attend Cal Lutheran. Campuzano applied to be a biology major, and it was her sister that told her about the new building.
She was able to go on one of the limited guided tours of Cal Lutheran and see the new facilities for herself, Campuzano said.
“Knowing that I would have a lot of classes in here, it actually did contribute a little bit,” Campuzano said.
The building does more than just house state of the art equipment, it provides a clean and safe space for students to be able to complete their rigorous coursework, Campuzano said.
“Compared to high school, this is so much more modern and I think it kind of motivates me,” Campuzano said.
There are high hopes for the potential of this new facility.
“I would just like to get a lot of great science done,” Abdelsayed said.
For more information on the new Swenson Science Center, visit Cal Lutheran’s ‘The Science Initiatives‘ page.
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