On the Cover

Chemist Dr. Mary Elizabeth Anderson and her Hope College research group have developed a rapid and low energy process for the fabrication of these thermoelectric nanoparticles — a class of material with sustainable energy potential to capture waste heat and…

Hope College Dune Research Group

When wind blasts dunes on Lake Michigan’s east coast, complicated windflows develop on the side away from the wind — producing turbulent eddies like those around Hope geologist Dr. Edward Hansen (right) and whirlwinds like the one swirling around an…

Welcome

Dear Friends, It is with great pleasure that I introduce this inaugural issue of Spera, a publication focused on the research, scholarship and creative performance of Hope College faculty. When prospective students ask what they can expect of Hope’s academic…

Jeremiah and Lamentations Through 16th-Century Eyes

Jeff Tyler, Ph.D. | Professor of Religion

Hope College church historian Dr. Jeff Tyler has spent the past 10 years in conversation with Reformation writers. As the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation approached, he combed through books, lectures, sermons and other texts by nearly 50 Reformation…

One Archbishop, Two Funerals

Janis Gibbs, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of History

In the years following Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses, a wave of Protestant conversion swept through many German cities. Why, then, did the residents of Cologne remain predominantly Catholic? To this day, this remains a mystery to historians,…

Common Ground for Luther and an 11th Century Hindu Leader

Rakesh Peter Dass, Th.D. | Assistant Professor of Religion

The year 2017: It marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. It also marked the 1,000th year, tradition holds, since the birth of Ramanuja, one of the most influential Hindu thinkers. To Dr. Rakesh Peter Dass, these coinciding…

On the Eve of Shakespeare

John Cox, Ph.D. | DuMez Professor of English Emeritus

How might the playwrights of the Reformation and pre-Reformation eras — even the great Bard of Avon himself, William Shakespeare — have reacted to seeing their works dissected and reviewed online? Dr. John Cox doesn’t know, of course — but…

Student-Faculty Research

Honored repeatedly in 2017 for the quality of its undergraduate research program, Hope College is a magnet for students who want to dive into genuine scholarly work as undergraduates. Mentored collaborative research happens year-round — during the fall and spring…

21st-Century Graffiti, with a 19th-Century Twist

Heidi Kraus, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Art and Art History, Director of the De Pree Gallery

Dr. Heidi Kraus remembers precisely the moment it happened. “When I was a young kid, I traveled to France,” recalls Kraus. “I remember walking into the Grand Gallery in the Louvre, where all the large-format paintings are. There was one…

Performing Debussy as a Scholarly Pursuit

Andrew Le, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Music

Dr. Andrew “Drew” Le completed his second CD in October 2017, performing all 12 piano études by French composer Claude Debussy, and it was an all-Hope production. The album was recorded — in one day — in the college’s gleaming…

The Play’s the Thing

Richard Perez, MFA | Assistant Professor of Theatre

Diversity and fresh starts were hallmarks of two of Professor Rich Perez’s 2017 projects. Summer took him to Chicago to direct the UrbanTheatre Company’s production of Richard Montoya’s Water & Power; Perez and Montoya updated the script to shift the…

True North

D.R. James

The lone crow on the lone pole where the weathervane used to whirl insinuates my need for misdirection. He is an arrow of skittish attention, of scant intention: the cock and hop, the flick and caw toward anything on the…

City by City, the Arts Interpret Culture

María Claudia André, Ph.D. | Professor of Spanish

In the evening in some Buenos Aires clubs, guitars and accordions called bandoneons weave syncopated tango rhythms that draw patrons to the dance floor and echo back to the early 20th century. In Mexico City, vivid murals still transform buildings…

Microecology Close to Home

Aaron Best, Ph.D. | Harrison C. and Mary L. Visscher Professor of Genetics

For more than 15 years, Hope faculty members have worked alongside students to research Lake Macatawa’s watershed. Decades of agricultural run-off polluted it with nutrients that can kill fish, harm plant life, lead to algal blooms, and trigger high levels…

Engineering Informed by Biology

Courtney Peckens, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Engineering

Destructive earthquakes in Mexico, Chile and Russia in 2017 underscored the importance — and urgency — of the kind of innovative research Dr. Courtney Peckens is pursuing in VanderWerf Hall’s Haworth Engineering Center. Supported by a three-year grant from the…

At the Galaxy’s Center, a Mystery

Peter Gonthier, Ph.D. | Professor of Physics

At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, something’s going on that puzzles astrophysicists. Decades of intense research built expectations about the gamma rays that ought to emanate from that zone. Yet NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope picks up levels…

Exploring a Link between DNA and Forgiveness

Gerald Griffin, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Psychology and Biology
Charlotte vanOyen-Witvliet, Ph.D. | Professor of Psychology
Lindsey Root Luna, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Psychology
Jill VanderStoep, M.S. | Adjunct Professor of Mathematics

Imagine this: You tell a friend something important in confidence, only to have that friend breach your trust and gossip about you with others. It was wrong, and it hurts. A collaborative research project underway at Hope College suggests that…

Opening Research Doors for College Students Worldwide

Michael Pikaart, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Chemistry

On a spring Thursday morning, climb the stairs to the Schaap Science Center biochemistry lab and you’ll find a dozen detectives at work. Each pair of student researchers is analyzing a protein that scientists don’t yet understand. Interpreting 3-D images,…

Understanding “Calling” in a Multi-Faith Society

David Cunningham, Ph.D. | Professor of Religion, Director of NetVUE

Hands down, here’s a college senior’s least favorite question: What are you going to do after graduation? Since 2003 Hope College has taken a focused approach to helping students answer it well. Dr. David Cunningham arrived at Hope in 2003…

Inviting Local Churches to Focus on Vocation

Jonathan Hagood, Ph.D. | Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning, Associate Professor of History

In 1998, Dr. Jonathan Hagood completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Texas with both a professional degree in architecture and a bachelor’s in Latin American Studies. After working in architecture for a few years, he started an IT…

The Power of Immigrants’ Personal Narratives

Deborah Van Duinen, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Education

For Canadian-born Dr. Deborah Van Duinen, the topic of immigration hits close to home. She is especially attuned to the history and shifting demographics of Hope College’s hometown, Holland, Michigan. “This is an immigrant town,” Van Duinen says. “I think…

Dance as a Learning Strategy

Nicole Flinn, M.A. | Associate Professor of Dance

Imagine a Kandinsky painting coming to life on stage, each impasto brushstroke a carefully choreographed movement. Picture a Warhol screenprint animated by dance, each plane of color made kinetic. What could young audiences learn from such dance performances? The connection…

Helping Chinese Families Advocate for Children with Special Needs

Dennis Feaster, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Social Work

To understand how four Hope College students found themselves in China training teachers and social workers in summer 2017, you need to trace the story back to Benjamin Feaster’s adoption. Thirteen years have passed since Dennis and Sarah Feaster adopted…

Creating New Neural Pathways to Relieve Phantom Pain

Katharine Polasek, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Engineering

Dr. Katharine Polasek’s mission is to improve the daily experiences of people who have undergone amputations by focusing on a very specific — and very perplexing — challenge: phantom limb pain. Individuals with phantom limb pain sense pain in the…

Join the Conversation

A sampling of Spring 2018 presentations and performances by Hope College faculty and students through May 19 CULTURE, COMMERCE AND CRITICISM Kruizenga Art Museum With content and presentation developed in collaboration with Dr. Anne Heath and her Art 361 seminar,…

Crafting a Theology of Disability

Jared Ortiz, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Religion

When his 7-year-old son Benedict was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3, it set Dr. Jared Ortiz on a personal, impassioned research track. Georges Rouault, French, 1871–1958, Ecce DolorPlate eight from the Passion, 1936“I…

A New View in Japan

Wei Yu Wayne Tan, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of History

It’s an unusual question for a historian: What is it like for a blind person to live in a world dominated by sighted people? But this inquiry, with a particular focus on Japan, is at the heart of Dr. Wayne…

Culturally Dislocated?

Marissa Doshi, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Communication

Is Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali, the winsome astrophysicist played by Kunal Nayyar on the long-running CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, responsible for the alienation many Indian-Americans experience from mainstream U.S. media? That may be overstating matters a bit — but…

Post-WWI Campaign Brought America’s Diversity into Focus

Jeanne Petit, Ph.D. | Professor of History

The year was 1918. The United States was in the midst of World War I. Like today, the country was going through a great deal of change, particularly in how people expressed their faith. The war triggered a wave of…

Faith and the Bench

David Ryden, Ph.D. | Peter C. and Emajean Cook Professor of Political Science

In September 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Amy Barrett, a federal appellate-court nominee, about whether her Catholic faith would influence her decision-making as a judge and perhaps disqualify her from a seat on the federal bench. From his office…

College Access as a Health Policy Issue

Temple Smith, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Sociology

If college attendance can lead to better health, is access to higher education a healthcare policy issue? That question is at the heart of research that Dr. Temple Smith began in 2017. Drawing from a federal study on adolescent health,…

Kuyper, the Popes — and an Economist

Sarah Estelle, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Economics and Ruch Faculty Fellow

Where economics, morality and political theory intersect, you’ll find Dr. Sarah Estelle. Intrigued by this trio of issues, Estelle recently began to concentrate on economic theory, theological principles and the role of the state, with a focus on the late…

Future of Fitness

Brian Rider, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

More gain, less pain — in America’s fitness-focused society, that’s something everybody can get behind. In summer 2017, Dr. Brian Rider of the Department of Kinesiology tested the effects of wearing compression stockings during exercise. Working with student collaborators, he…

Real Systems, Real Clients

Ryan McFall, Ph.D. | Professor of Computer Science, Department Chair

For Dr. Ryan McFall, scholarship often takes the form of software. “I work with my students to build real systems for real clients,” says McFall, a professor of computer science. Many of those clients are colleagues from the Hope community.…