The Right Mix

One of the largest STEM campuses in the country is also the most inventive—bringing people from a range of disciplines together, under one roof, to innovate and create. The Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation is open.

Sc Robotic Lab
The robotics lab in the new STEM campus on Santa Clara University campus gives students a chance to get hands-on with engineering. / Illustration by Delphine Lee.

When diverse skills and perspectives come together, innovation happens. It’s an equation powering Silicon Valley. And it’s the foundational concept behind the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation, which opened in fall 2021. Here, patent law students, engineers, designers, bioethicists, AI creators, artists, and scientists share space—and ideas for a better tomorrow.

Innovation: The thing that happens in dank basements or dark garages, according to Silicon Valley lore. In the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation, trying, failing, and ultimately creating something new happens in the bright light of rooms with glass walls. 

Scu Stem Civilengineering Ai
When research into AI rubs elbows with civil engineering, you never know what will happen. / Illustrations by Delphine Lee.

“You walk into this building, and the labs are fully on display. Student work is being showcased, and research is right out in the open. It’s designed to inspire, to help people collaborate and create,” says Shoba Krishnan, professor of electrical and computer engineering. 

This space is designed to have robotics students inspire civil engineers, and civil engineers inspire artists. One of the largest STEM campuses in the country, SCDI puts complementary fields of study near each other and includes hubs for students from all backgrounds.

Scu Stem Neuroscience Art
What innovation will conversations between artist and neuroscientists spark? SCDI is designed to let students find out. / Illustration by Delphine Lee.

The building, which opened in fall 2021, is flexible. Spaces can be converted, equipment—even electrical outlets—are easy to move, because who knows where innovation will take us?

“I want students to feel empowered to make the building theirs,” says Daniel Press, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is a Jesuit university. We’re supposed to do experiential, active service learning. So I want to tell our students: The world has some problems. How fast can you identify a need in society? Here are the resources, here are the skills, here is the mentorship in the labs so that you can go and tackle these problems.”

STEM on the Mission Campus

Wayback Machine: Announcing the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation

Inspired By: Alumni in STEM

Growing

In seeing the deepest part of myself in my mother, I have realized that growing is a never-ending and ever-changing part of life.

After the Cannonball

An essay on walking the Camino Ignaciano in Spain, and reflecting on how the time that comes after the big, pivotal moments is when change happens.

How It Started, How It’s Going

For decades, the internet has shaped the way we communicate, but two years of us being extremely online hit fast forward on its real-world impact.

Smart Swimmers

A Santa Clara professor and his team successfully taught microrobots to swim better, potentially opening up huge advancements in health care applications.