On the Cover

Pixels — tiny digital blocks that construct what we see on TVs and other screens — build clear images. But TV shows’ plots, dialogue, and even camerawork may color our views about real issues. Read what Dr. Sarah Kornfield learned…

Welcome

Dear Friends, I take great pleasure to welcome you to the fourth edition of Spera, a publication that highlights the scholarly accomplishments of our faculty at Hope. As I reflected on the research featured in this edition, I was drawn…

Taking Computational Chemistry to the Next Level

Brent Krueger, Ph.D. | Professor of Chemistry

For many, chemistry brings to mind the apparatus: ethereal blue flames, miles of plastic tubing with interestingly-colored chemicals snaking through, and — perhaps above all else — test tubes and beakers of all shapes and sizes. But for Dr. Brent…

For the Next Generation of Batteries, a Plentiful Compound Shows Promise

Jennifer Hampton, Ph.D. | Professor of Physics

Dr. Jennifer Hampton is captivated by interesting materials — especially those in the electrifying world of electrochemistry. She’s currently studying iron hexacyanoferrate, better known as Prussian blue. This name, unsurprisingly, comes from the compound’s striking hue. Prussian blue has been…

Mapping the Trees’ Tree of Life: The Genetic Lineages of North American Hazelnuts

Jianhua Li, Ph.D. | Professor of Biology

Life — in all its varied forms and interactions — is one of the Earth’s most studied mysteries, one that scientists have spent centuries unraveling. Among them is botanist Dr. Jianhua Li, who is ranging through continents and (thanks to…

Machine Learning in Action in the Classroom and the Field

Darin Stephenson, Ph.D. | Professor of Mathematics

Teaching is foundational for professors at Hope. In Dr. Darin Stephenson’s case, he’s teaching not only students, but also computers. And they speak a different language. From the binary language of dune topography (0 = on the ground, 1 =…

History’s Paradoxical Lessons of Love in War

Fred L. Johnson III, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of History

As a Marine veteran and military historian, Dr. Fred L. Johnson III is regrettably too familiar with the atrocities of war. As a college professor, he has not tucked away that horrific knowledge, but instead is adding a new perspective…

Faith of Our Foremothers

Lynn Japinga, Ph.D. | Professor of Religion

The Rev. Dr. Lynn Japinga has spent years telling the stories of the women of the Bible and, in many cases, doing her level best to redeem the reputations with which she feels they’ve been unfairly saddled over the centuries.…

Bringing Fresh Vision to a Classic

Matthew Farmer, MFA | Dorothy Wiley DeLong Associate Professor of Dance

Before the swirling coats were contemplated, before he resolved how 18 roiling bodies would storm across a stage without colliding, before his reimagined storyline took shape, Professor Matthew Farmer spent a year filling his head with Igor Stravinsky. In his…

Capturing the Intangible

Lisa Walcott, MFA | Assistant Professor of Art

Lisa Walcott can’t recall just what the item was. A blouse, perhaps? But she can picture the open drawer and the garment tossed across it. She was struck by the fabric’s fluidity — how much, draped there, it looked like…

Rhetoric, #MeToo and Television

Sarah Kornfield, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Communication and Affiliated Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies

Dr. Sarah Kornfield likens the cultural effects of television to a distorted reflection from a funhouse mirror, and she doesn’t mean it in an amusing way. When she thinks about TV’s reflective light, she does so as a rhetorician who…

“Reinventing” Student Teaching with Mentoring at Its Core

Nancy Cook, M.A. | Professor of Education
Susan Brondyk, Ph.D. | Irwin B. and Margie E. Floyd Associate Professor of Education

Conceptually, the changes Professor Nancy Cook and Dr. Susan Brondyk engineered in Hope College’s student teaching model seem straightforward: More mentoring. More teamwork. A new tool to guide student teachers and seasoned professionals in a collaborative process of goal-setting, strategizing…

Medical Role Models Matter

Aaron Franzen, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Sociology

Dr. Aaron Franzen has been curious for years about the “hidden curriculum” of medical schools — the undercurrent of norms and expectations for behavior that medical students learn outside their official curriculum. “It’s the social water in which all of…

Investigating the Dynamic between Health and Faith

ALYSSA CHEADLE, PH.D. | ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY

Dr. Alyssa Cheadle is a Christian and a psychologist. In the United States, it’s an unlikely combination; according to Cheadle, psychologists are among the least religious academics. As a health psychologist, she develops insights into many aspects of physical health…