Supported by Coughlin Porter Lundeen engineers Rachel Vranizan and Cory Hitzemann, Seattle University students created an award-winning senior project: a Ugandan Development Center for Early Mothers.
In Uganda, women who become pregnant out of wedlock are left without options. Ostracized from the community and often disowned by their families, they’re left without support or hope. Sister Elizabeth Namazzi, a Ugandan nun who witnessed the cycle firsthand, imagined a different future for these women and their children, and dreamed of a haven where the distressed could find care, housing, counseling and courage.
While earning her PhD from the University of British Columbia, Sr. Namazzi brought this dream for change with her to Seattle University. With the help of Jim Dooley, her Seattle host, the idea was presented to the College of Science and Engineering’s Project Center, through which small teams of senior students work with industry and community partners on real-life projects. From there, her concept was put into the hands of students Andrew McAferty, Steven Millett and Trevor Coffman, becoming their senior project.
Sr. Namazzi provided hand-drawn sketches featuring design and functional elements she envisioned. From them, the team developed a revised architectural layout for the facility which includes three buildings: a clinic to provide medical care, an education center to train mothers and enable them to earn a living, and a convent to provide housing, counseling and spiritual support.
The students were overseen by Civil and Environmental Engineering Instructor Nathan Canney, while Coughlin Porter Lundeen engineers Rachel Vranizan and Cory Hitzemann served as consultative industry mentors. Together, the team provided construction material selections, structural design of roof trusses, shear wall and foundation recommendations, and a 32-page plan set of the facility’s engineering drawings.