K-12 Programs



HHMI logo



2015 Awards

Dr. Benjamin Kopek, Department of Biology. Virology Lab; Proposal

Abstract - In this proposal, I detail plans to fully integrate course-based research into the
recently offered Virology course (BIOL 395). In Fall 2014, 22 mostly upperclassmen
took Virology and its associated lab. Virology will be offered again in Fall 2015 and
expanded to 36 students with two laboratory sections of 18 students each. The course
lab in 2014 involved performing basic molecular virology techniques with no research
component. For Fall 2015, I am proposing to integrate the learning of molecular
virology skills within an authentic research experience. The research will focus on
elucidating the role of host-factors involved in virus replication using the model system
Flock House virus (FHV). Viruses are obligate parasites and thus rely on host cell
factors for many steps in their replication. Understanding the role of various host factors
in aiding or inhibiting viral replication may assist development of novel antiviral
approaches. The course-based research will give students the opportunity to perform
cutting-edge research while learning basic molecular virology concepts and techniques.

Dr. Ryan McFall, Dr. Aaron Best, Dr. Barry Bandstra, Dr. Brent Kreuger and Mr. Alez Galarza, Departments of Computer Science, Biology, Religion, Chemistry, and Van Wylen Library. Proposal

Abstract - We propose a set of modified and new courses that will enhance student access to (and instruction of) Computational Approaches (CA) across the campus. Through a first half-semester computer science course, students will gain basic programming skills in Python, a high level language that is both popular and whose use is increasing in many disciplines. Students will then choose from several second half-semester courses in which they will apply their skills through a research-like experience. In the first two years, supported by this proposal, we intend to offer second half-semester course modules in Humanities, Religion, Biology, and Chemistry. This foundation will make it easy for faculty from many departments across campus to offer their own CRE-based application modules in the future.

Ms. Suzanne J. DeVries-Zimmerman, Dr. Brian Bodenbender and Dr. Edward Hansen, Department of Geological and Environmental Science. Proposal

Abstract - This module will supplement the existing GES 203 Historical Geology and the GES 251 Surficial Geology curriculums by teaching Quaternary environmental proxy methodologies and their use in reconstructing conditions in ancient environments and, subsequently, using these proxy data and reconstructions to test research hypotheses on Quaternary paleoenvironmental conditions. Paleoenvironmental indicators, such as testate amoebae, charcoal, pollen, diatoms, sand percentages, and plant macrofossils from lake sediment cores, can be used as proxies for past climatic conditions. In a series of laboratory exercises, students in Historical Geology will use a lake core multi-proxy dataset consisting of sand percentages, stable isotopes, diatoms, plant macrofossils, and pollen from several different lakes to examine whether there is a relationship between changes in sand percentages (dune mobility/stability) and changes in environmental conditions (e.g., change in vegetation community). In Surficial Geology, students will use the dataset more extensively to research additional environmental change hypotheses, such as, is there a relationship between changing pollen percentages of a particular species (hemlock) and changes in the diatom community (lake level, amount of precipitation). This project affords many opportunities for undergraduate students to contribute to and be actively involved in the scientific process as well as learning essential scientific skills needed for paleoenvironmental study. In addition, the multi-proxy database will be expanded as more proxy analyses are completed. Thus, the research scope and potential of this module will expand over time.


Dr. Renata van der Weijden, Dr. Graham Peaslee and Dr. Jonathan Peterson, Department of Geological and Environmental Science. Proposal

Abstract - Introduction of a research module concerning water treatment to reduce water toxicity is proposed here as part of the GES 220 Course “Laboratory methods in environmental science”. In this research module a number of the regular components that are part of the current format of the course are integrated into a small project. In this project teams of students will be challenged to find a solution for an unknown toxic aqueous stream, test their solution design by assessing the toxicity before and after the treatment. The approach and results will be evaluated and discussed among students as well as an outside expert in the field, to which the Environmental Research Management firm in Holland has committed. The students will learn about and develop the skills that are needed to succeed in the field of environmental consultancy and engineering.



2014 Awards

Drs. Kathryn Winnett-Murray and Maria Burnatowska-Hedlen, Departments of Biology and Chemistry. Antibiotic Properties of Spices and the Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance; Proposal

Abstract – An existing lab module developed for GEMS 161 (Biotechnology and You) will be re-structured and augmented to emphasize research-like experiences for both non-science majors and science majors, and be disseminated to a broader community of undergraduate science educators. The current lab, “Microbiology and Antibiotic Resistance” will be re-written in a format to allow instructor choice of new components on the evolution of resistance in microbes as well as different quantitative analysis choices for student data, allowing close matching to student level and course goals. In addition, we will enhance the relevant themes in human culture and biology that richly derive from an exploration of the historical and modern use of spices to reduce food-borne pathogens. The re-worked module will emphasize the following CRE elements: 1) outcome unknown to students (and instructor), 2) students have some or all input in creating the experimental design, 3) students become responsible for the project, 4) students analyze data, and 5) students critique the work of other students. An appropriate assessment plan to gauge student response to these course elements will be developed, and the module will be disseminated on campus and off campus, most likely as a major workshop at the 2015 meeting of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE).

Dr. Aaron Best, Department of Biology. Abstract: General Microbiology Lab; Proposal

Abstract – The course proposed is a full redesign of an existing general microbiology laboratory for undergraduate biology majors, the laboratory component of BIOL 301 General Microbiology. Typically, junior and senior level students take the course, though the student population may begin to include sophomores as the new biology core curriculum is implemented. The redesign will incorporate an authentic research project that spans the entirety of the semester. The research will focus on characterizing microbial populations of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in the Macatawa Watershed; the levels of FIB are used by local, state and federal agencies to make decisions about the safety and accessibility of recreational waters. The research will give students the opportunity to consider open scientific questions with relevance to the local community, learn standard microbiological concepts and techniques recommended by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) guidelines for undergraduate microbiology courses, and introduce modern microbial genomics and comparative analyses into the course.

Drs. Katharine Polasek and Susan Brown, Department of Engineering, Intro to Engineering, Supplementary to 2013 award

Changes from 2013:
Curriculum development will further refine the instructional materials to ensure we are effectively following the model of our senior design course along with better integration in to the flow of the Introduction to Engineering class.

Project scope development: provide time to develop a goal for this year’s design project, ensuring it fits within the knowledge of scope of first year students. We anticipate engaging the HASP members to identify potential projects and serve as customers for the design.

Laboratory preparation time will be spent by engineering students to test and modify learning units focused on the electronics portion of the project. While successful last year, time is needed to test alternative electronic and software components.


Drs. Brian Yurk and Paul Pearson, Department of Mathematics, First Year Seminar/Statistics, Supplementary to 2013 award

Changes from 2013: The combined Statistics and First Year Seminar (FYS) course “Statistics and the Great Lakes” to be run in Fall 2014 is a substantial revision of a course run in Fall 2013 that focused on bean beetle data instead of Pitcher’s thistle (Great Lakes) data. In Fall 2013 the course focused on statistics, the scientific method, and how statistics informs science. The old course felt to the students more like an embellished statistics course than a first year seminar course, perhaps because there was a significant amount of FYS material related to the history and development of statistics. In contrast, the FYS portion of the new course for Fall 2014 will be entirely focused on the Great Lakes and how humans interact with the Great Lakes, so the FYS content will stand out from the statistics portion of the course. The old course had three days of lab research before school started, while the new course will have three days of field research before classes start.


2013 Awards

    Dr. Virginia McDonough and Dr. Greg Fraley, Department of Biology, Research: General Biology (Proposal)

    The Biology Department has embarked on an exciting curriculum reform that will reduce the current three-semester introductory biology sequence down to two semesters. The lab portion of the class, the focus of this proposal, will combine elements of “traditional” biology lab along with innovative research experiences. The lab course will be broken down into five modules, each focused on a different biological area; Ecology, Organismal Biology (Plant and Animal units), Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology, and Evolution. The course has been approved by the Curriculum Committee (Fall 2012) and is scheduled to begin in Fall 2013. Our overall goal with the laboratory component of General Biology is to cultivate critical thinking through structured multi-week lab modules that revolve around a theme or research question. Students will apply current concepts and techniques to real world problems by asking the most effective questions, formulating hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, and interpreting results. The modules are designed in such a way that there is a natural connection between disciplines within Biology for students to explore the multidisciplinary nature of biological studies. We are confident that by using the strengths of concentrated five-week modules, along with a clear connection between lecture and lab, we will not only be able to prepare students for further study in biology, but also engage them in a unique way that will facilitate a higher level of learning and understanding, which will help solve problems we face as a global society. In this proposal, we are requesting support for two students to work over the summer to perform and evaluate the labs, identify trouble areas, and design solutions. Students will also be composing a “teaching manual” to help in future preparations of the lab. Students will be working directly with Drs. McDonough and Fraley on the project.

Dr. Katharine Polasek and Susan Brown, Department of Engineering, Research: Intro to Engineering

    Attracting and retaining women in engineering must start with students even before they enter an engineering program. Best practices indicate that the most successful programs involve providing these women students with female mentors and role models, creating a sense of community in the profession, and providing early exposure to real-life applications. Through this project, we propose to create a cohort of first-year women engineering students and involve them in these best practice activities. This cohort will be identified in the spring to be enrolled in common sections of the required first year Introduction to Engineering course, ENGS 100. Prior to orientation, the cohort will participate in a series of webinars focused on community building and introduction to the program, including discussion of a real-world engineering design project that the group will implement during the fall semester. During the school year, portions of the ENGS 100 course will be replaced by work on the design project. Through exposure to initial cohortbuilding opportunities, real-world engineering problems, and female mentors, we aim to increase the retention and attraction of female engineering students in the department.

Dr. Brian Yurk and Dr. Airat Bekmetjev, Department of Mathematics, Research: FYS/Stats

    We propose to develop a research-focused course that combines statistics and FYS for talented students that have taken AP Statistics. A major goal of this course is to create cohorts of experienced students that are well-prepared to participate in statistics-oriented research programs on campus. Additionally, by inviting students early in the spring, this course will serve as an important recruiting tool that will attract students with strong academic potential in statistics to Hope. The proposed course will engage students in real research activities throughout the course, beginning with a three-day, pre-semester intensive research experience. During this time, students will design and implement an experiment (facilitated using a guided inquiry approach) and begin to collect and analyze data using their skillset from their AP Statistics course. Data collected in this and follow-up experiments will then be used throughout the course as new statistical concepts are introduced. This will make the students an integral part of the actual research process and allow them to use their statistical knowledge in an applied context. Along with this, students will read primary literature on the history and philosophy of the scientific method and the applications of statistics, and discuss the readings in class. The research experiences will provide important context for these discussions. The course will culminate in end-of semester research projects in which the students will act like practicing applied statisticians—identifying an important research question that is of interest to a group on campus, fully analyzing a data set, making recommendations about future experimental design, and presenting the results. The students will present these projects at the Research Celebration the following spring.

Dr. Lorna Hernandez-Jarvis and Dr. Mary Inman, Department of Psychology, Introduction to Psychology Projects (Proposal)

    We would like to redesign the 1-credit Introduction to Psychology Projects course to be an online course. The course introduces students to research in social sciences in particular in psychology. The entire course involves engagement with research. Three main research projects are conducted, and observation project, a survey/correlational research project, and an experiment. Students engage in developing hypotheses, operational definitions of variables, data collection, data analysis interpretation, and writing research reports. We would like to redesign all these projects so that they can be done on line. The course will serve many students (potentially as many as 50-60 per year) who come to Hope College with psychology AP credit but need the hands-on quantitative research experience required in the General Education program and in the Psychology major. It will also serve students who transfer in 3 credits of introduction to psychology course taken at other institutions. The course will be taught in the summer as an online course. Members of the psychology department will rotate teaching it. Teaching this course on line during the summer allows members of the psychology department to teach this course without having to teach an overload during the academic year. The course has been taught during the academic year for the past 5 years by three faculty members as an overload. This model is no longer sustainable. Thus, the department supports the idea of re-designing this course as an online summer course.

    Previous Programs (HHMI 2008)

  • Neuroscience Minor
  • Computational Science and Modeling Emphasis
  • Environmental Science Minor
  • Interdisciplinary Case Studies
  • Interdisciplinary Course Development

© Hope College Howard Hughes Medical Institute Program | 35 E. 12th St. | Holland, MI 49423
hhmi@hope.edu | phone: 616.395.7265 | fax: 616.395.7118