Legislative support for STEM

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The University of Washington Bothell will be able to accommodate more students in the School of School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics if the Washington Legislature keeps plans on track for a second STEM building on campus.

The University of Washington capital request includes $3 million in design work for the new building. Funding is a big issue for lawmakers who are responsible for passing a two-year budget in the session beginning Monday in Olympia. The state is facing serious financial challenges to fully fund public K-12 schools.

The new building would be located next to Discovery Hall. Adding 78,000 square feet of teaching, research and faculty office space would accommodate 1,000 new students. The 74,000 square-foot Discovery Hall opened in 2014.

STEM is the fastest-growing school at UW Bothell and it's helping to build a pipeline for increased diversity in STEM fields. Forty percent of STEM students are from racially or ethnically diverse backgrounds, 35 percent are first generation and 26 percent are female.

The new building is one of the University of Washington Bothell legislative priorities outlined Wednesday by Kelly Snyder, assistant vice chancellor of government and community relations. Others mentioned at a meeting on campus were UW Bothell’s request in the operating budget for $1.6 million for an ocean engineering program and $1.2 million for programs that improve access, retention and career preparation, especially for first generation, low income, underrepresented minority and transfer students.

Kelly Snyder

Snyder, left, represents UW Bothell to Olympia lawmakers, working with Joe Dacca, the new UW state relations director. Snyder tracks UW Bothell-relevant legislation that is introduced in Olympia and says faculty and staff might be asked to respond on short notice to requests for information about impacts and costs.

Snyder also offered advice on lobbying dos and don’ts. For example, you can’t engage in grassroots lobbying as a UW employee using UW resources. She’s available to answer questions.

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