Mother, father and son team work towards engineering degrees at Saint Martin's University

inWords Archive


From theory to practice. Alexander, Olga and Alex Anderson '14 apply their engineering studies to the real world by bringing clean water to Papua New Guinea.

Twins Kathleen and Jacqueline Byron ’92, engineer great lives…together.

Alumna Marisha Kasjan rings in 2015 with pizza and the power of a kindness.

Where students and faculty collaborate: Alumna Kim Menius teams up with Professor Robert Hauhart to take her revised senior thesis to publication.

For Tanzania's Doctor Sister Redemista Ngonyani, O.S.B. '04 education is key to being the change she wants to see in the world.

Christine Schaller '93, aiming high because of Saint Martin’s University.

Rae Simpson BSN '95, MSN '98, using her Saint Martin's education to see the bigger picture.

Joe Skillman '13, masters the art of balancing family, school, work and faith.

Looking for the perfect Christmas tree? Ask Jonathan Sprouffske '04 and his family who keep the holiday tradition alive and well.

Current students

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Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy honors MAC candidate Liz Robinson '15 with $500 scholarship.

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Jeff Birkenstein, being influenced by Russian writers in Petrozavodsk.

Julia Chavez, helping students see themselves through the universal elements of Homer's The Iliad.

From Vietnam to Lacey, Assistant Professor Tam Dinh, journeys to the American Dream… caring, generous citizens investing in all of our future.

Mary Jo Hartman, broadening SMU's biology horizons through "Sound Learning Communities."

How do you help your students succeed in their senior capstone projects? First, read Professor Robert Hauhart's Designing and Teaching Undergraduate Capstone Courses.

Louise Kaplan inspires the next generation of nursing professionals.

Professor Terry McAdam explores the challenges when forensic science meets the law, in a new textbook for criminal justice studies.

Why present your scholarly work? Jeremy Newton offers insight into presentation benefits.

New York City. Summer 2014. Healing and social justice through improvisation. A Playback Theatre workshop with Leticia Nieto.


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Two transfer students representing the Benedictine values and the Saint Martin's spirit are awarded $26,000 each.

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How do you make the seemingly unfloatable float? Why build a concrete canoe of course!

Transformation is the name of the game for the 2013 women's fastpitch softball team.

Celebrity chef Michael Symon helps SMU raise $960,000 for student scholarships.

Team Anderson: Olga, Alex and Alexander engineer for the future.

SMU 'takes the LEED' with the highest certification in the Western Hemisphere.

2013 fall convocation Taking the road less traveled.

It's a family affair…

For the Anderson family — each member belonging to the Class of 2014 at Saint Martin’s University — the “new” Cebula Hall is much more than an innovative structure that offers extensive laboratory space and state-of-the-art classrooms for budding engineers.

“In Cebula Hall, the engineering world is alive and surrounds anybody who opens the door,” says 17-year-old Alexander Anderson, a National Merit scholar who began his college career at age 12 and who attends classes with his parents, Olga and Alex, as they each pursue a mechanical engineering degree from Saint Martin’s University.

“It is conceptually representative of the environmental stewardship that the next generation of engineers must constantly keep in mind throughout their future work. The library, the small study lounges and the spacious conference rooms provide an ideal space for learning, inventing or discussing — because the world of engineering does not merely exist on paper.”

While they are completing their undergraduate work, the Andersons are concurrently taking courses that will lead to their master’s degrees in mechanical engineering.

“Although it seems unusual to have a teenager and his parents in the same class, learning together is very natural to the three of us,” says Alexander. “I still have my 4.0 GPA and my parents are on the Dean’s List.”

Father, son and mother have teamed up on a project to develop technology to increase the power output of a wind turbine by enclosing it inside a Venturi-type flow module. The project is funded, in part, by a Puget Sound Energy/Independent Colleges of Washington Energy Efficiency and Conservation grant. Alexander came up with the idea for an augmented turbine several years ago as he and his parents were taking apart a Cadillac carburetor.

“We believe our research will contribute to awareness of the need to further investigate unconventional energy generation methods,” Alexander says. “Both the fields of augmented turbines and airborne energy are still in their infancy and present great potential to make renewable energy sources viable in regions previously deemed unprofitable.”

The Anderson research team fosters a work dynamic in which each member contributes equal, but distinct, talents, according to Alexander.

“My father, with 20 years of experience in the aircraft industry, is our team’s mechanic, welder, carpenter and electrician, and a great consultant,” he explains. “My mother, with a background in the liberal arts, is our team’s reality check on all practical and theoretical matters.”

As for Alexander? “I am the inventor and math pro.”