Hope College senior Kevin Paulisse of Grandville, Mich. has received a Graduate Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the third year in a row that a Hope student has been recognized with one of the highly-competitive awards.
The fellowships are awarded to students pursuing
doctorates in the sciences, and Paulisse received one of
approximately 900 awarded nationwide, of which only 63 were
in chemistry. The fellowships pay tuition and fees of up to
$10,500 and a stipend of $15,000 each year for three years.
Paulisse is a chemistry and mathematics major. He
plans to pursue a doctorate in physical chemistry at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Kevin is not only exceptional in the classroom,
but he's truly a star in undergraduate research," said Dr.
William F. Polik, associate professor of chemistry, with
whom Paulisse has conducted research since 1996.
"One strong point is the depth of his analysis in
understanding a problem fundamentally," he said. "His
thorough approach to every problem he's looked at has been
"In addition to solving fundamental problems, he
looks for practical applications in his work," Polik said.
One practical application that Paulisse and Polik
have created together falls outside of chemistry research
specifically, although it is an outgrowth of their interest
in fostering discussion in their discipline. They have co-
written "Discus," a computer program for hosting discussion
on the World Wide Web. There are more than 5,000
installations on the Internet of the program, which was
originally developed for use at Hope.
Paulisse and Polik have conducted research
together during both the school year and summer. Their work
uses computational chemistry computer programs to predict
properties of molecules, and comparing the predicted
properties to the results that are obtained through
experiment. Their experiment uses a laser to study how
molecules interact with light.
In the summer of 1998, Paulisse held one of only
23 Pfizer fellowships awarded nationwide in chemistry by
Pfizer Inc. of Groton, Conn., in support of summer research.
In the spring of 1998, he received one of only 316 Goldwater
Scholarships awarded nationwide in support of undergraduate
students for the 1998-99 school year based on academic
Paulisse was recently named to the college's
chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and has consistently been named
to Hope's dean's list. In the spring of 1998 he received
the college's Junior Chemistry Journal Award, and he
received the college's Organic Chemistry Book Award in the
spring of 1996 for his performance in Organic Chemistry.
He is the son of Marilyn Paulisse of Grandville
and the late Wayne Paulisse, and is a 1995 graduate of Grand
Rapids Christian High School.
Also receiving one of the fellowships was 1998
Hope graduate Elayne Provost, a biology major currently
doing graduate work at Yale University. Provost had
received "Honorable Mention" from the fellowship program
This year, Hope seniors Benjamin Messer of
Stilwell, Kan., and James Vanderhyde of Comstock Park
received "Honorable Mention." Messer is a chemistry and
mathematics major, and Vanderhyde is a computer science and
Several graduating Hope seniors have received the
fellowships through the years. Those honored in the current
decade include Katherine Drake in 1998, Joshua Levy in 1997,
Rychard Bouwens in 1994, James Loats in 1991 and Thomas
Prins in 1990.