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Chapter One

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Inquiring Minds Find a Home in CatholicU's Culture of Research

It’s not every day that major breakthroughs are made, but history has taught us that such moments could happen any time in any of Catholic University’s many research centers, laboratories, ideation studios, collaboration pods, and design, fabrication, and testing facilities found throughout campus.

We wrote the book on national research universities back in 1900, when we joined only 13 other institutions then granting doctoral degrees to establish the Association of American Universities. The legacy of that illustrious beginning today is that every student can be part of discovering new knowledge, and enjoy unsurpassed opportunities to secure top-level internships at NASA, the National Institutes of Health, Smithsonian Institutions, or Library of Congress.

Ours is a culture of research — celebrated each spring in the increasingly popular, campus-wide University Research Day — which holds that creative inquiry encompasses more than the STEM fields. Our faculty and students also look at pressing global issues like human trafficking, immigration, suicide prevention, and poverty — and always bring one additional factor to every equation or problem: What is the relationship between research and service?

What are the dynamics of organizational culture, and how can we fix toxic ones? How does the architecture and history of sacred spaces influence spirituality? How can glass contain nuclear waste? What’s the weather in space? And, why should we “listen” to earthquakes? (Because they can tell us where to find undersea oil.)

These are just some of the “Big Questions” you may hear us talking about. Come join the conversation.