Our students have their pick of top graduate schools throughout the country or the opportunity to be placed in the field within six months of graduating.
Our grads have become agricultural chemists, chemical engineers, environmental scientists, metallurgists, technical writers and wine chemists — and those are just a few examples. Having a degree in chemistry sets you up with a wide variety of skill sets, and having a degree from Hope gives you access to more opportunities than you can imagine.
Alumni Success Stories
- Dr. Andreana Rosnik ’13
“I am very grateful to not just have been prepared broadly as a chemist through the degree program; but also, to have worked on research well-suited to my interests.”
—Dr. Andreana Rosnik, BS in chemistry 2013, Fulbright Scholar, Ph.D. from UC Berkeley
After graduating from Hope, I had the unique opportunity to do a research Fulbright. I worked at the University of Barcelona using molecular simulation and quantum calculations. Recently, I finished my doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley.
Throughout graduate school, I also worked on several side endeavors. For two years I was a mentor and a mentor group coordinator for the Berkeley Compass Project, a graduate student-run program to connect undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds to graduate and upper-level undergraduate students in physical sciences via mentoring, study halls and social activities. I also contributed science-related illustrations to a few causes, ranging from department diversity posters to a full-page cartoon for ColorMePhD, a coloring book collection of Berkeley STEM Ph.D. research. I also curated and organized the art portion of the Graduate Assembly’s Earth Action Initiative conference and art exhibit, which served to inspire personal action about climate change.
Part of why I can have science and art coexist in my life is due to my liberal arts background. At Hope, I learned how these seemingly different disciplines can benefit each other. Moreover, the Phelps Scholars Program at Hope College showed me the importance of involving people of many different backgrounds in every conversation.
I owe much of my success to the outstanding chemistry department at Hope. All the professors are not only very well-versed in their disciplines, but are also committed to training the next generation of scientists. Learning chemistry in a setting that is simultaneously challenging and welcoming fosters a more open learning community, and I found such a community at Hope. In particular, the emphasis on scientific writing in upper-division lab classes prepared me well for writing reports and preparing publications. Although my Ph.D. work was quite different from my quantum-based work on polyatomic vibrations with Will Polik or my molecular simulation project with Brent Krueger, both confirmed my interest in deriving equations and writing computer programs. I am very grateful to not just have been prepared broadly as a chemist through the degree program; but also, to have worked on research well-suited to my interests. I look forward to seeing more scientists of all kinds come from the Hope chemistry department!
- Dr. David Paul ’10
“My mentors within the Chemistry Department supported my dual interest in medicine and basic science, while encouraging me to spend time outside of the laboratory developing skills in leadership around campus.”
—Dr. David Paul, BS in chemistry 2010, MD/MS from University of Rochester 2016, neurosurgery resident at University of Rochester
I am currently in my third year of neurosurgery residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center in upstate New York, where I also attended medical and graduate school following my time at Hope College. As an undergraduate, I worked in Dr. Krueger’s laboratory, spending one year with him at Hope and one summer with him at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Scripps Research Institute. This early exposure to research sparked my enthusiasm for computational analysis and laid the groundwork for research I now conduct studying patients with deep-seated brain tumors.
Within the Hope College chemistry department, I was challenged to think critically about my coursework and take ownership of my research. More importantly, my mentors within the chemistry department supported my dual interest in medicine and basic science, while encouraging me to spend time outside of the laboratory developing skills in leadership around campus. I credit my career success, in part, to the time I spent on Hope’s campus engaged as a student. Today, I am able to call myself a proud alumni, Hope College Trustee, neurosurgeon, husband and father.
- Anna Krueger ’16
“The Hope College Department of Chemistry provided me an incredible foundation of chemistry knowledge from which to build logical sequences into my lesson plans. Because I know the chemistry content inside and out, I can create engaging lessons for my students and allow them access to the information from multiple entry points.”
—Anna Krueger, BA in chemistry 2016, teacher in the Memphis Teacher Residency program, serving high-needs public schools in Memphis, Tennessee
After graduating from Hope College, I moved to Memphis, Tennessee, for a master’s program called the Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR). I teach chemistry in South Memphis at a school that is 99.9% African American and where every child qualifies for free and reduced lunch. Our average ACT score is 13. These kids have significantly less opportunity in life strictly due to the zip code where they were born. Because of this unjust inequity, MTR seeks to train and support effective teachers to counteract this opportunity gap. While my students are significantly behind grade level in many aspects, they are bright, energetic and have so much to offer this world. Every day, I get to reveal the wonder of how our world works and encourage my students to let them know that they are capable of anything to which they decide to achieve.
The Hope College Department of Chemistry provided me with an incredible foundation of chemistry knowledge from which to build logical sequences into my lesson plans. Because I know the chemistry content inside and out, I can create engaging lessons for my students and allow them access to the information from multiple entry points. Because I had to take difficult classes like Organic Chemistry, I not only have an intimate knowledge of how my students feel when they struggle with chemistry, but I also have experienced the thrill of struggling through difficult content and having the light bulb moments of understanding.
- Dr. Julie Pollock ’06
“The faculty at Hope encouraged my scientific questioning, provided me with a base of knowledge within the field and became role models for who I wanted to be.”
—Dr. Julie Pollock, BS in chemistry 2006; assistant professor of chemistry, University of Richmond
I am currently an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. I work with undergraduate students both in the classroom and in my own research lab focused at the interface of chemistry and biology. My broad chemical biology research interests center on developing methods to prevent, detect, understand and combat diseases.
The Department of Chemistry at Hope College provided the foundation of my interest in chemistry as well as my continual career path. The faculty at Hope encouraged my scientific questioning, provided me with a base of knowledge within the field and became role models for who I wanted to be. I attended Duke University to get my Ph.D. in chemistry in hopes that one day I would return to an institution like Hope. Eight years later, after finishing my doctorate and performing postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois, I started my job at University of Richmond. There are ups and downs in all career paths but I know that the faculty from Hope will always be supportive of what I do. I know because I still communicate with them every now and then!
- Dr. Patrick Lutz ’12
“In addition to teaching the nuts and bolts of atoms and molecules, many of the chemistry courses seek to develop important professional skills that have served me well over the years. I now recognize just how important these communication skills are, regardless of whether students continue in chemistry or not!”
—Dr. Patrick Lutz, BS in chemistry 2012, current post-doctoral chemistry researcher at University of Michigan
I’m currently a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Anne McNeil at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. During my Ph.D. studies, I mainly focused on methods development – that is, trying to invent chemical reactions for synthesizing useful organic compounds in new, more efficient ways. For my postdoctoral work, I switched my focus to polymer chemistry. Specifically, I’m investigating a class of new “self-destructible” polymers that can readily be converted back to the starting monomer units.
My experience in the chemistry department at Hope provided me with the background I needed to succeed in graduate school and beyond. While the professors have high expectations for their students, I always found them to be incredibly helpful and supportive. In fact, I still go to some of them for advice as I progress through my career. In addition to teaching the nuts and bolts of atoms and molecules, many of the chemistry courses seek to develop important professional skills that have served me well over the years. For example, the organic and physical chemistry lab courses stressed writing lab reports, and the analytical chemistry course culminated in an oral examination. I now recognize just how important these communication skills are, regardless of whether students continue in chemistry or not!
Another notable aspect of Hope’s chemistry curriculum is the “special projects” portion of the Organic Chemistry II lab course, which teaches students about how to navigate and read the chemistry research literature and lets them try their hand at a short research project of their own. Of course, there is also the opportunity to get involved in research outside the classroom setting. My experience working in the labs of Dr. Johnson and Dr. Pikaart proved invaluable, as it led me to discover that I enjoyed conducting research, and it motivated me to pursue further studies in chemistry.
- A. Paul Schaap
One of our alumni, Dr. A. Paul Schaap (’67), went on to earn his Ph.D. from Harvard University and joined the faculty of Wayne State University as an assistant professor. With his wife Carol, he created the A. Paul and Carol Schaap Foundation. As a Hope College trustee, he and his wife gave a leadership gift on behalf of creating a new science center and recently gave a research endowment to the chemistry department as a whole, as well as endowed funds for a few chemistry chairs.
- James W. and Jeanette Hoffman Neckers
Two chemistry alums, Dr. James W. and Jeanette Hoffman Neckers (’23), created a fund to support annual lectureships in chemistry. Through additional gifts from the pair, the fund was expanded to include student summer research stipends and student scholarships.
- Richard Smalley
Dr. Richard Smalley attended Hope College for two years before graduating from the University of Michigan in 1965. He’s always considered Hope his true home, where he “became grounded.” In 1996, Smalley won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for finding and developing the third allotropic form of carbon: buckyballs.
- Cal VanderWerf
Dr. Calvin VanderWerf was the eighth president of Hope, from 1963–1970, and worked in higher education as a chemist before arriving in Holland. VanderWerf is often credited for transforming Hope into an institution that provided an exceptional education for students, placing particular emphasis on the physical sciences.
What Graduates Are Saying
“I appreciate how important my education and research experience in chemistry at Hope have been to my career, first in academics and now in business.”
– Dr. A. Paul Schaap ’67, Professor of Chemistry, Wayne State University and Founder, President, and CEO of Lumigen Inc.
“I look back at my time at Hope and I know that it is the chemistry department that has prepared me to be successful in graduate school; the people there have helped to cultivate my passion for chemistry, teaching and life, and have been constant encouragement for me to reach my dreams.”
– Dr. Julie Pollock ’06, assistant professor of chemistry, University of Richmond
A. Paul Schaap Science Center35 East 12th StreetRoom 3101Holland, MI 49423