On the Cover

A violin’s strings and fingerboard, key to the baroque . . . and bluegrass. Professor Mihai Craioveanu invites uncommon combinations of musicians to Hope College to collaborate in concerts that span genres and musical cultures. Read more Browse the Hope…

On Four Continents, Helping Agencies Encourage Foster Care

Deb Sturtevant, Ph.D. | Professor of Social Work

Dr. Deb Sturtevant’s “on the side” takes her quite a distance. Guatemala. China. Romania. Zambia. Since the 1990s, she’s worked on projects with the global arm of Bethany Christian Services. In a six-year effort in Zambia that wrapped up in…

Welcome

Dear Friends, Welcome to Spera 2020! As an alumnus of Hope College, it is a particular pleasure to introduce this year’s issue of Spera. Now in its third year, this publication shares stories of faculty research, scholarship and creative performance…

Interdisciplinary Exploration of Global Issues

An innovative Hope College initiative enabled 50 faculty members to travel internationally in teams over the past 18 months to interact with scholars in other nations about complex global problems. “The impact on faculty is just tremendous,” says Dr. Deirdre…

Streamlining Robotic Coding

Miguel Abrahantes, Ph.D. | Professor of Engineering

In a Hope College engineering laboratory, a roomful of Roombas® — or more accurately, Kobuki mobile robots (shaped like the popular Roomba vacuums, but with no cleaning power) — are carrying on earthbound research that grew out of knowledge a…

A Gothic Church, a Holy Tear

Anne Heath, Ph.d. | Howard R. and Margaret E. Sluyter Associate Professor of Art History

Jesus wept. And for seven centuries, a Benedictine abbey church in France claimed to have preserved the tear he shed. Dr. Anne Heath doesn’t challenge the belief that the Abbey of La Trinité (the Holy Trinity) in Vendôme once maintained…

Decoding Mitochondrial Transcription

Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed, Ph.d. | Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Well beyond the reach of unaided sight lies the genesis of energy we use every day to lift a cup of coffee, climb a mountain or twitch an eyelid. That is, we do when our cells are functioning properly. Many…

Software Development as Community Outreach

Michael Jipping, Ph.D. | Professor of Computer Science

If you’re asked to imagine a “life-changing” app — go ahead, try it — do you flash back several summers to Pokémon Go, the sensation that pulled thousands outdoors to re-experience the world around them? Dr. Mike Jipping is proving…

Translating Classical Latin, Decoding Gender and Power

Stephen Maiullo, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Classics

Converting one language into another isn’t just a utilitarian task; a good translator conveys the voice and linguistic nuances of the person whose words are being translated. But what if you are a 21st-century man translating the writings of a…

Striving for Balance in Zeeland, Michigan

Maureen Dunn, Ph.D. | Professor of Kinesiology
Kirk Brumels, Ph.D. | John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Professor of Kinesiology

When an elderly person falls, a cascade of medical problems may follow. So when a cluster of falls occurred in 2019 in the assisted living section of a West Michigan senior community, staff asked Hope’s Department of Kinesiology for advice.…

How Sanctification Works

Angela Carpenter, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Religion

“From the moment of birth the human person is becoming.” This first line of Dr. Angela Carpenter’s Responsive Becoming: Moral Formation in Theological, Evolutionary, and Developmental Perspective sets up an interdisciplinary exploration of how we go about “becoming.” One essential…

For This Medical Device, Paper May Be Just the Ticket

Kenneth Brown, Ph.D. | Professor of Chemistry

A pricked finger, a drop of blood, a glucose level readout. The routine is familiar to anyone with Type 2 diabetes, and a team of researchers at Hope is working to shake it up. Not the prick to the finger,…

East and West, Body and Mind, T’ai Chi and Philosophy

Andrew Dell’olio, Ph.D. | Professor of Philosophy

When Dr. Andrew Dell’Olio was a senior at Rutgers University, a professor there taught t’ai chi ch’uan in the campus square. Though Dell’Olio didn’t join in, he recalls observing the meditative martial art; he found it quite beautiful. Within a…

One Musician’s Global Mixology

Mihai Craioveanu | Professor of Music

Almost any instrument has the capacity to express a variety of musical genres: classical, jazz, folk, blues, Latin, pop. It’s a musician’s choices of style and repertoire that let the variation out. For instance, take the violin — or should…

Mathematical Nature and Natural Math

Brian Yurk, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Mathematics

On a table in his office in VanderWerf Hall, a popular recent memoir about hiking the Appalachian Trail sits alongside Dr. Brian Yurk’s mathematics papers and journals. The presence of each offers empirical evidence of how the applied mathematician’s love…

Preparing Teacher Education Candidates To Connect Across Cultures

Yooyeun Hwang, Ph.D. | Professor of Education
Susan Cherup, M.A. | Arnold & Esther Sonneveldt Professor of Education

At Hope, the course Encounter with Cultures heightens teacher education candidates’ understanding of how ethnicity, culture and gender play out in day-to-day life. Later, when as teachers they relate to students whose lives can be radically different from their own,…

Shifting Chemistry into Reverse

Jeffrey Johnson, Ph.D. | Professor of Chemistry

From the outside peering in, a great deal of organic chemistry looks like salt and water: white powders and transparent liquids. Yet this branch of science is prolific in creating the things we use every day — toothbrushes, medications, milk…

Investigating How Cells Recognize Good and Bad Fats

Virginia McDonough-Stukey, Ph.D. | Professor of Biology

We may have to check the nutrition label to know the amounts of saturated and unsaturated fats we’re consuming, but for our cells, this tallying is second nature. Scientists have known for years that cells absorb, process and use fats;…

From Industrial Glitch to Research Focus

Stephen Remillard, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Physics

One engineer’s problem may just be another scientist’s solution. At least, that seems to be the case with a curious physics phenomenon known as microplasma. Dr. Stephen Remillard has seen it from both sides: as a problem during his earlier…

Hope Goes Viral

Benjamin Kopek, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Biology

While the fight against viral and bacterial human pathogens stretches back to the dawn of human history, on some fronts we have yet to mount an effective defense. At the nanoscopic level, viruses have been infiltrating and using our cells…

Two Miles From Campus, Medical Outreach to Seniors

Barbara Vincensi, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Nursing

Years ago, when Barbara Vincensi’s work as a parish nurse took her to the homes of low-income senior citizens, it became clear to her that many would be healthier if regular medical monitoring were available to them close at hand.…

Telling Past Lives, Tracing Cultural Effects

Natalie Dykstra, Ph.D. | Professor of English

In 2016, when Boston magazine ranked the “100 Best Bostonians of All Time,” Isabella Stewart Gardner came in fourth — just behind John F. Kennedy and right before Malcolm X. The wealthy, influential Gardner (1840–1924), whose eponymous art museum is…

Sitcoms, Fake News and Collective Memory

Choonghee Han, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Communication

Dr. Choonghee Han believes every nation has a time in its collective past that it would just as soon forget. In America, for example, it could be Vietnam. “There have been lots of discussions and publications about the Vietnam War,…

Identity Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Virginia Beard, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Political Science

Dr. Virginia Beard was into identity politics long before the issue showed up on America’s front pages. For more than a decade, she’s investigated how religion, ethnicity and gender influence democratic attitudes and behaviors. In two papers finished in 2019,…

Can You Feel the Forró Beat?

Christopher Fashun, Dma | Assistant Professor of Music

The rhythms of Afro-Brazilian music still echo the ancient drumbeats of Africa — carried across oceans on slave ships, adapted across the centuries, and today encompassing both a distinctive cultural identity and a communal national bond. Christopher Fashun (at right…

Linking Researchers with the Digital Liberal Arts

Victoria Longfield, M.S. | Assistant Professor and Digital Liberal Arts Librarian

As digital resources continue to change the face of research and teaching, Victoria Longfield helps Hope College faculty and students explore how cutting-edge tools can help them broaden and exceed their goals. Her job title as Van Wylen Library’s digital…

Supporting Research in the Fine Arts

Jessica Hronchek, M.A., MLS | Associate Professor and Research and Instruction Librarian

The upcoming production was Dance 43, Hope College’s annual faculty recital. Forty-seven student dancers were rehearsing with seven faculty and guest choreographers, and Jessica Hroncheck was the fly on the wall. Hronchek spent weeks shadowing the dance company and interviewing…

Bringing American Perspective to Eastern Europe, and Vice Versa

Thomas Smith, Ph.D. | Dr. Leon A. Bosch ’29 Professor of Management

In 2013, Dr. Thomas Smith took a leave from Hope to spend a year at Emanuel University in Romania. Originally an underground college for pastors, it became a Christian university after the Soviet Union dissolved. Some students he taught there…