posted March 16, 2009

Research Celebration Highlights Projects Campus-wide

It takes the 102,000-square-foot DeVos Fieldhouse to fit the sum total of research at Hope College under one roof.

Students from more than 20 academic departments, representing all four of the college's academic divisions - the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied sciences, will be making presentations during the eighth annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance at Hope on Friday, March 27, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the arena of the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

More than 160 projects have been conducted by 300 Hope students and their faculty mentors. Topics will range from orphans in Africa and China; to tetrahedral robots; to World War I propaganda; to plants' defenses against aphids; to theatrical lighting

The presentations will feature posters illustrating the projects, with the students on-hand to discuss their work.  Departments and programs represented during the event will include art and art history; biology; chemistry; communication; computer science; economics, management and accounting; education; engineering; geological and environmental science; history; kinesiology; mathematics; modern and classical languages; neuroscience; nursing; physics; political science; psychology; religion; sociology and social work; and theatre.  Several of the projects have also been interdisciplinary in nature, linking departments such as chemistry and geology, or biology and computer science, or psychology and athletic training, or engineering and education, or conducted through programs like the Phelps Scholars Program for first-year students or the Van Raalte Institute focused on area history.

The research and performance celebration, first presented in 2001, is designed to spotlight the quality and importance of student-faculty collaborative research at Hope, a teaching model used at the college for several decades.  In addition to working on projects during the school year, regularly more than 160 students conduct research full-time for several weeks each summer with faculty mentors.

Hope has received recognition in a variety of ways for its emphasis on undergraduate research. For the past seven years, since the category debuted, the "America's Best Colleges" guide published by "U.S. News and World Report" has included Hope on its listing of institutions that are exceptional for their emphasis on undergraduate research and creative projects. Hope ranked fourth in the nation when the category debuted in 2003; the institutions are no longer ranked, but only 33 are on the list in the 2009 edition. The guide also includes Hope among the top 100 national liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

Among other indicators, Hope was one of only 10 liberal arts institutions nationally recognized for innovation and excellence in science instruction by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with an "Award for the Integration of Research and Education" in 1998.  In addition, the bulk of the resources that support the college's research program in the sciences come through competitive research grants from external sources such as the NSF, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Homeland Security, private foundations and corporations.  During the 2007-08 school year, Hope held approximately $3.5 million in support of faculty research projects, approximately 50 percent of which was from the NSF.

The Undergraduate Research Celebration is being held in conjunction with a Junior Day scheduled by the college's admissions office.  Approximately 250 prospective students and their parents are anticipated for the Junior Day.

The fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., at Fairbanks Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets.