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Erik Hiemstra Receives CUR
Summer Research Fellowship

Posted May 28, 1998

          HOLLAND -- Erik Hiemstra, a Hope College senior
  from Wyoming, has received a 1998 Undergraduate Summer
  Research Fellowship in Science from the Council on
  Undergraduate Research (CUR).
          Hiemstra was one of 21 candidates chosen from 60
  applicants nationwide to receive the honor.  The award is
  providing Hiemstra with support for 10 weeks as he conducts
  research full-time with Dr. Brian Bodenbender, assistant
  professor of geology and environmental science.
          The fellowship is sponsored by an anonymous
  foundation and administered by CUR.  CUR established the
  fellowship program in the summer of 1990.  Fellowships have
  been awarded this year to students in the areas of biology,
  chemistry, geology and physics.
          Bodenbender and Hiemstra are studying the fossils
  of ancient echinoderms known as cystoids and paracrinoids,
  which according to Bodenbender lived 450 million to 350
  million years ago.  Their living relatives, he noted, are
  starfish, sea urchins and sea lillies.
          The project is examining the way that the early
  echinoderms built their skeletons, which were made of
  crystalline calcite plates.  Bodenbender noted that early
  echinoderms were asymmetrical, while later members of the
  group had five-sided symmetry.  He explained that the
  progression suggests that the group experimented with
  different shapes before a standard configuration emerged as
  dominant.
          Bodenbender and Hiemstra are hoping to learn
  whether or not the way that the animals built their plates
  also varied.
          "The purpose of this investigation is to determine
  whether the developmental mechanisms that early echinoderms
  used to construct individual skeletal pieces showed the same
  kind of irregularity exhibited in their overall skeletal
  construction," Bodenbender said.  "That might suggest the
  'experimentation, then standardization' pattern as a more
  general biological phenomenon describing not only the
  construction of organisms but also the development of
  individual parts."
          Hiemstra's role includes gathering data from
  specimens, which include some found in Michigan, and
  assisting in the interpretation of the data.  He and
  Bodenbender will present their results at the national
  meeting of the Geological Society of America, which will be
  held in Toronto, Canada, in October.
          This is Hiemstra's second summer conducting
  research with Bodenbender, and they pursued the project
  during the 1997-98 academic year as well.
          Hiemstra has also participated in a variety of
  other activities at Hope, including the College Chorus,
  intramurals and Model United Nations.  He has been named to
  the Dean's List, received a Political Science Book Award in
  his freshman year, and awards in the geological and
  environmental sciences during his freshman, sophomore and
  junior years.
          He is the son of Frederick and Wilhelmina Hiemstra
  of Wyoming, and a 1995 graduate of Wyoming Park High School.
          CUR's purpose is to serve students, faculty and
  administrators at primarily undergraduate institutions, by
  generating awareness and national support to promote
  research in science, mathematics and engineering at
  undergraduate institutions.  The organization currently
  serves more than 3,500 individual members that represent
  more than 850 institutions in eight academic divisions.
          CUR, based in Washington, D.C., provides a variety
  of programs and services for its individual and
  institutional members, including a newsletter, a scholarly
  journal, special booklets, a series of directories, a
  consulting program, science policy programs, a speaker's
  bureau, CUR Institute workshops and national biannual
  conferences.
  -30-
  


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