On the Cover

Daubs of oil paints form a vibrant bas relief on the work table in Dr. Katherine Sullivan’s studio in the De Pree Art Center — a geography of years of imaginative activity. See more and read about her painting

What drew me to social psychology

David Myers, Ph.D. | Professor of Psychology

“Psychology was the most interesting subject I studied in college, even though I had only one course in my first three years. I just thought, What more interesting subject could there be than human beings? Faith is part of my…

Welcome

Dear Friends, Welcome to the second issue of Spera, an annual publication focused on the research, scholarship and creative performance of Hope College faculty. The name of this publication comes from Hope’s motto, Spera in Deo, or “Hope in God.”…

For All of God’s Good Earth

Steve Bouma-Prediger, Ph.D.
Leonard and Marjorie Maas Professor of Reformed Theology

According to a recent Yale University survey, only 18 percent of American evangelical and born-again Christians believe that caring for the earth is part of their faith. When environmental theologian Dr. Steve Bouma-Prediger hears a statistic like that, he matter-of-factly…

Complexities of the In-Between

Ernest Cole, Ph.D.
John Dirk Werkman Associate Professor of English

Dr. Ernest Cole is a man who doesn’t quite belong anywhere. Cole spent much of 2018 — including a summer trip to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. — researching and writing his third monograph, which explores dislocation, displacement…

A Poet’s Sojourn in Camden, New Jersey

William Pannapacker, Ph.D. | DuMez Professor of English

Most people think of Walt Whitman, if they think of him at all, as that 19th-century poet from high school English Lit who penned Leaves of Grass. However, Dr. William Pannapacker thinks about Whitman a lot. And when he does,…

Inheriting the Trauma of la Guerra Civil Española

Berta Carrasco, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Spanish

The war ended 80 years ago, and yet in Spain its wounds feel fresh. That’s what happens when painful memories are held in check until one day the floodgates finally open. “The Spanish Civil War is still alive. We still…

Confronting a Threat in West Michigan Forests

Kathy Winnett-Murray, Ph.D. | Professor of Biology
K. Greg Murray, Ph.D. | T. Elliott Weier Professor of Plant Science
Vanessa Muilenburg, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Biology

It’s enough to make a grown man cry. And Dr. K. Greg Murray admits he shed a tear upon discovering that the dreaded hemlock woolly adelgid had been spotted on hemlocks in Michigan. The invasive, destructive insect (pronounced a-DELL-jid), which…

Where Early Modern British Lit Crosses Paths with Asian Studies

Marla Lunderberg, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of English

“After college, I taught English in Taiwan, and years later I had the opportunity to teach in the Hope College–Meiji Gakuin University faculty exchange program in Japan. Those experiences ignited my interest in intercultural relationships. I love teaching Shakespeare, especially…

Human Form and Function in Costume Design

Michelle Bombe, MFA | Professor of Theatre

The silken bodice of Cinderella’s gown, the furry makeup on the Big Bad Wolf’s face, the crimson woolen cape over Little Red Riding Hood’s shoulders — each element helps bring to life Stephen Sondheim’s amalgamated fairy tale Into the Woods.…

Helping Oncologists Choose a Medicine That Will Work

Maria Burnatowska-Hledin, Ph.D.
The Frederich Garrett and Helen Floor Dekker
Professor of Biomedicine and Chemistry

When mixing a drug cocktail to treat cancer, the more information an oncologist has, the better. As part of an army of cancer researchers inching toward a cure one complicated detail at a time, Dr. Maria Burnatowska-Hledin has zeroed in…

Abstract Visions of the Human Body

Katherine Sullivan, MFA | Professor of Art

You are, by choice and training, an abstract artist. Because, in your words, “There is an inherent and permanent interest in creating bodies,” your work frequently features the human form. Professor Katherine Sullivan, do you ever feel you need to…

Nursing Research on Mother’s Milk

ANITA ESQUERRA-ZWIERS, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Nursing
EMILIE Dykstra GORIS, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Nursing

Across the board, the research is clear: Breastfeeding is healthy for infants and nursing mothers, has a positive long-term impact on children’s intelligence, and can benefit families and communities. Yet many mothers who decide in advance to breastfeed their babies…

Sleep and Body Chemistry

Andrew Gall, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Psychology

Getting a good night’s rest isn’t always as easy as counting sheep. We might need to rethink our diets, too. Dr. Andrew Gall has investigated whether a high-fat diet may play a role in irregular sleep patterns, and based on…

Cultivating Purpose in Scholarly Work

Relating compassionately to students and teaching them effectively: Those are easy to recognize as meaningful expressions of a college professor’s personal faith. It can be trickier, though, to find purpose and value in one’s research. Hope College’s Continuum Scholars Faculty…

How the Watts May Term expands our future teachers’ vision

John Yelding, M.A. | Susan M. and Glenn G. Cherup Associate Professor of Education

“The Watts Learning Center in Los Angeles includes elementary and middle school charter schools. Every May, we immerse Hope students in working with children there in a culturally diverse urban setting. The first year was 2013. We’ve taken anywhere from…

Finding Meaning in the Storms

Daryl Van Tongeren, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Psychology

“Why did this have to happen to me?Where is God?How could God let this occur?What am I going to do?Who am I going to be?” Those massive life questions — uneasy, uncomfortable, overwhelming — are smack dab at the heart…

A Form for Memory and Grief

Susanna Childress, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of English

After a deeply personal experience with grief, poet Dr. Susanna Childress turned to a new-for-her form of writing — one that requires vulnerability, trust and creative risk-taking, both personally and professionally. Her new collection of essays, Extremely Yours: Observations on…

A Philosopher Considers Modern Media, and Is Not Amused

Joseph LaPorte, Ph.D. | Professor of Philosophy

Your “inscape” is in need of a total overhaul. You could start by throwing out your TV. That’s the rather iconoclastic view of Dr. Joseph LaPorte, whose particular focus is philosophy of biology and language. He contends that our “inscapes”…

Bad News Travels … Slowly

Jayson Dibble, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Communication

If you’ve ever put off telling your boss that a project’s running late, you’ve got company. Over and over in his controlled experimental studies, Dr. Jayson Dibble finds the same pattern: If a person has bad news to deliver, it’s…

What’s Stressful in Your Work?

Marcus Fila, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Management

Of course college students feel stress. Grades. Tuition. Peer pressure. Choosing the right table at Phelps Dining Hall. But what about college faculty? How does the pressure they feel at work compare to their corporate counterparts? Those are some questions…

Standout Student-Faculty Research

How does a swimmer’s degree of balance outside the pool correlate to faster race times in backstroke and freestyle? When copper or cobalt is added to a nickel-based Prussian blue analogue film, what happens to its ability to store charge?…

The Allure of Pure Research in Nuclear Physics

Paul De Young, Ph.D. | Kenneth G. Herrick Professor of Physics

“I like the mathematical aspects of physics. How circuits work. Control theory. Understanding how they put music onto a digital disc. I know the mathematics behind that. That’s cool math. I also like the big questions. How did we get…

Finding a Brain Cell Fix

LEAH CHASE, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry

About 2 percent of a person’s body weight is mostly responsible for the way the other 98 percent of it functions. The complex human brain, which usually weighs in at about three pounds, is the ultimate multi-tasker of human organs…

Combing Statistics for Clues to Future Mass Shootings

Yew-Meng Koh, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Sandy Hook. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Capital Gazette newspaper. The Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas. Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. The First Baptist Church of Sutherland, Texas. The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The roll call…

Clean Water for the Global Greater Good

Jonathan Peterson, Ph.D.
Lavern ’39 and Betty DePree ’41 Van Kley Professor of
Geological and Environmental Sciences

If you’ve gone backpacking, you may be familiar with Sawyer point-of-use water filters — small, easy-to-use devices that allow outdoor enthusiasts to drink water safely from streams and other natural sources. But how well do they work, really? And not…

What Alternative High Schools Are Getting Right

Laura Pardo, Ph.D. | Evert J. and Hattie E. Blekkink Professor of Education

Flexibility. Low student-teacher ratios. Valuing relationships more than attendance. Dr. Laura Pardo is finding that successful alternative high schools have these features, among others, in common. She wants to equip aspiring teachers to replicate their impact in traditional schools, too.…

Bolstering a Line of Defense in the Battle Against Sex Trafficking

Llena Chavis, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Social Work

Michigan has the sixth-most reported cases of human trafficking in the United States. Dr. Llena Chavis is teaching people on the front lines how to recognize the signs of trafficking — and how to intervene. In 2016, when one of…

A Crossroad for Reflection and Academic Exploration

Finding the intersections between one’s faith and vocation needn’t be a solitary task. At a yearly conference sponsored by the Lilly Fellows Program in the Humanities and the Arts, faculty from Christian institutions work through nuanced issues together — each…

What drew me to Latin American politics

Annie Dandavati, Ph.D. | Professor of Political Science

“My undergrad degree was in history; we focused a great deal on Indian history. My master’s was in African politics: the diaspora — the Indian people who had undergone British imperialism and therefore transferred their wages and their livelihood —…