Portland State Magazine Fall 2022

A SCIENCE CENTER THAT REFLECTS PSU’S DIVERSE CAMPUS THE BRUTALIST-STYLE fortress that is Science Building 1 has long been a sore sight on Portland State’s campus. So much so that a group of alumni from the Class of ’69 Biology Club—among the first students to move into the then-new building—recently reunited and shared that it was as uninviting and oppressive back then as it is today. One even joked that it was brutal to its core. Beginning this fall, the 55-year-old concrete building is set to undergo a dramatic renovation into the Vernier Science Center, a warm, welcoming, dynamic place for science teaching, learning, and collaboration, where all students feel like they belong and can see a future for themselves in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. “We see this as an opportunity to ensure our buildings expressly reflect our present and current values,” said Todd Rosenstiel, dean of PSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a biology professor. Gone will be the dimly lit hallways and outdated classrooms and labs. In their place will be light-filled spaces featuring wood and colors inspired by nature, state-of-the-art teaching labs, study nooks with views of native plants, and perhaps most importantly, a hub of culturally informed spaces designed to support students from groups that have historically been excluded from STEM fields. PSU is home to Oregon’s most diverse STEM student population—at least half identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC)—so it was only fitting that the design process center their voices. An advisory council made up of students of color—including those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and disabled—offered critical insights during meetings with Bora Architects and campus planners. Indigenous faculty and students advised the project team on incorporating Indigenous perspectives into the design. And, as part of a series of dialogue sessions, more than two dozen park blocks MATHEMATICS MENTORING A five-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will support a group of PSU mathematics faculty in providing post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students with opportunities to work with realworld data. SOCIAL WORK STANDOUT The Social Work Degree Center ranked Portland State’s online Master ’s in Social Work Macro program the best in the nation. Macro social work focuses on finding solutions at the policy or societal scale. FOND FAREWELLS This year marked the first-ever PSU commencement ceremonies held at Providence Park. In all, more than 25,000 well wishers attended the stadium ceremonies honoring our 2022 graduates. No. 1 25,000 $2.1 M NEWS BY THE NUMBERS Science Building 1 will begin a transformation into the new Vernier Science Center this fall. 6 // PORTLAND STATE MAGAZINE