/ Mellon Scholars

Meet the Mellon Scholars

Mellon class of 2018 in front of Depree

Class of 2019

Andrew Monroe

Andrew MonroeI am from Jackson, Michigan, and am a secondary education major in social studies. I have received the Sophomore Book Award, and I presented a paper called “Complexion: A Poet’s take on Black Experiences” at the 2016 College Language Association conference. The part about research that excites me is learning and becoming more enlightened on topics that hold interest for me, which expand my worldview and understanding of differing perspectives. In 10 years I see myself teaching and coaching in an inner city school system, where I believe I can make a large impact.

Annika Gidley

Annika GidleyI am from Farmington Hills, Michigan, majoring in English with a creative writing emphasis and minoring in Spanish. I participated in Nykerk and this year I am on the student committee for The Big Read. While I enjoy all facets of the humanities, my two passions are reading and writing; I love studying literature and learning how to craft my own stories. The study of language fascinates me and that is where I hope to focus my research in the coming years; I love learning how language has evolved. In 10 years I see myself (hopefully) supporting myself as a writer or as part of a university faculty sharing my passion for literature and language with others.

Irene Gerrish

Irene GerrishI’m an economics and political science student, and grew up in the small town of Los Alamos, New Mexico. I am vice president of Hope for Democrats, an avid member of the Hope College Orchestra and chamber program, and a research assistant at the library. I am largely interested in historical and modern politics, as well as music. Research is intriguing for many reasons, but I enjoy it largely for its educative purposes and the feeling I get of doing something important. In 10 years I hope to be pursuing political journalism or (this is probably just wishful thinking) beginning a career in legislative policymaking. Sounds riveting, right?

Kaitlyn Rustemeyer

Kaitlyn RustemeyerI am an English literature major from Naperville, Illinois. My interests in research bring me to think deeply on the dramatic influence that the written word has on society. I love exploring how every writer tries to decode humanity, society and every aspect of our world. In particular, I am passionate about the potential to visit historic places as a way to fully extend the possibilities of research. In the future, I hope to be doing mission work in Western Europe, possibly having completed a Ph.D. in Divinity.

Katrin Kelley

Katrin KelleyI am pursuing a double major in English and history, with a minor in political science. Having been born in India and raised in both Rome and in an American/German household, I have always been intrigued by the blending of cultures in all areas of the arts and humanities. As a Mellon Scholar, I am looking forward to researching European influences on American literature and deepening my love for 20th century world history. In the future, I hope to make an impact on young minds by teaching English and history at high school level, both in the United States and abroad.

Kelly Arnold

Kelly ArnoldI am from Ann Arbor, Michigan. My research interests are in Ancient Rome, linguistics, social trends and media engagement. I find research to be an opportunity to dig deeper into why people do what they do. This summer, I had an internship with the University of Michigan’s social media office. Active in Dance Marathon Dream Team, Kappa Beta Phi and WTHS 89.9, I hope to have a career in public relations and marketing.

Kellyanne Fitzgerald

Kellyanne FitzgeraldI am from Burlington, Wisconsin. I am double majoring in French and English with a focus in creative writing. I am passionate about language and linguistics, and I am hoping to use my time as a Mellon Scholar to explore the connections between language and literature.

Kirstin Anderson

Kirsten AndersonI am from Charlotte, Michigan, and am a business management and political science double major. I am interested in literature, the visual arts, history and social science. Research, for me, is exciting because it gives the ability to explore a field of undiscovered knowledge. I hope to have a job where I can utilize my talents and passions, ideally for an organization that advances a mission that I believe in.

Nina Kay

Nina KayI’m from the Chicago suburbs and am majoring in women and gender studies with a minor in art history. I’m the current president of Hope’s Women’s Issues Organization for the 2016–2017 school year. During my freshmen year at Hope I was honored to have been awarded the Stephenson first year writing prize for an essay I wrote on the importance of modern day Black Feminism. What excites me most about research is taking an idea or interest you have and dedicating a semester, or even a year, to exploring that topic. It’s always rewarding when you have the time and ability to become an expert in something. After I graduate I would like to write books and produce TV shows for the middle reader-age kids that focus on teaching the principles of equality along with global history.

Olivia Lehnertz

Olivia LehnertzI am from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with a composite major in musical theater. I can be found acting in many of Hope’s MainStage and student productions in the DeWitt Theatre. I wrote my own one-man show last semester, working with guest artist and Off-Broadway performer Richard Hoehler, and continue to write prose. New to the Mellon Scholars program, I am excited to use my talents in the arts to create and write research-based theatrical pieces about relevant social and political topics encompassing the world today.

Sarah Lundy

Sarah LundyI'm a history and global French studies double-major from Okemos, Michigan, and I'm so excited to be a member of the Mellon Scholars Class of 2019. I'm a recipient of the history department's Ramaker Scholarship, and I was happy to have had the opportunity to participate in a short-term study abroad experience in France. In addition to my interest in history and French, both music and my faith are extremely important to me. I can't wait to play the viola in the Hope College Orchestra again this year, and to be a Bible study leader for the first time!

To me, the arts and humanities are vital because they help us to understand other people, to connect with the world around us. We cannot become educated world citizens in the future without first learning from the cultures of the past and present. As a Mellon Scholar, I'd love to research how people adapt their interactions with others (specifically through languages) based on lessons from history.

Shannon Rogers

Shannon RogersI am from Wheaton, Illinois, and I currently write for an online news media platform known as The Odyssey. When I think of research, I think of honesty. Research is exciting due to its mere nature. There may not always be an immediate answer, but the process reveals truths about me, the researcher. As Martin Luther King Jr. once articulated, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” God has blessed me to be a part of this program, so I look forward to all He has in store for me in conducting research.

“Being a Mellon scholar has been nothing short of worth it. Having the ability to take a course in any discipline at Hope that utilizes the integration of technology and liberal arts, while at the same time fulfilling a Mellon experience has been a breath of fresh air.”

—Austin Garcia, Mellon Class of 2016

CLASS OF 2020

Aine O'Connor

Aine O'ConnorI am a history and English literature major from South Bend, Indiana. Last year, I was the recipient of a First-Year Book Award in History. Over the summer I will be creating a website with several other history majors documenting the lives of Hollanders during World War I. I am involved in Hope’s service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, as well as Hope Catholics and Hearts Aloud. I will also be an RA in Van Vleck Hall during the 2017–2018 school year. I grew up fascinated by everything, so doing intensive research with the help of the Mellon Scholars is a perfect fit. I can’t wait to find a new story!

Carolyn Wetzel

Carolyn WetzelI am from Lafayette, Indiana, and I am a Sociology major as well as Spanish and peace and justice minor. On campus, I am a research assistant at the library, a tutor at the Academic Success Center, a member of Kappa Beta Phi, song girl in Nykerk, and an avid participant in intramural soccer. I am interested in researching the causes and effects of migration, as well as Spanish language and culture. I love to learn, so the Mellon Scholars program is a fantastic avenue in which I have the opportunity to investigate and gain a deeper understanding of topics within the arts and humanities. I hope to eventually become an attorney and work in immigration policy or defending human rights. 

Cherish Joe

cherish-joeI am an African-American female artist. Born in Saginaw, Michigan, I began developing my artistic talents from the age of three. At Hope College, I am an art studio major and possible art history and French minor. For me, art is a visual catalyst of human connection. Creativity in itself is a connection of ideas. I am interested in connection. While in the Mellon Scholar program, I will research different oppressed groups in connection to each other and tell each story in my work. Using the doctrine of civil and social rights leaders, along with cultural ideals throughout the world, I will explore approaches that fight for justice and mitigate the system that perpetuates self-hate and unfair treatment.

David Wang
david wangHola, soy David. Engineering major, mathematics and Spanish minor, and self-proclaimed hotshot photographer. I'm a visionary. Well, at least that's what my Myers-Briggs letters tell me, but what ENTP doesn’t tell you is that I believe that my purpose in life is to understand and execute my vision to make a better future for myself and the people around me. Every problem has a story. As a biomedical engineer, that is my starting point: To fall in love with the problem. That also happens to be my starting point as an entrepreneur. As an engineer, I can tell the story of a problem through the solutions that I envision, but as an entrepreneur, I can use that same story to bring that solution to market so that others can benefit from my vision. It’s a pleasure to use excellent tools to create, but I keep myself open for visions worth chasing so that I can use my excellent tools to execute excellent vision.
Emily Wolfe

Emily WolfeI am from Hartland, Michigan, on the east side of the state and I am studying communication with a minor in women's and gender studies. This year I will be researching alongside a professor of communication, become an active member of the Student Activities Committee, and be a member of the Dorian Sorority. I have always loved photography, but I am especially interested in how pictures that are spread through the media, of men and women, affect the way people view gender in the work place. I am thrilled to join this program to continue research beyond the classroom and form connections that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to form.

Emma Wangstrom

Emma WangstromMy hometown is Michigan City, Indiana. I am double majoring in English: creative writing and communication. I am a member of the sorority Alpha Gamma Phi and was recently accepted into the National Communication Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta. One can also find articles I have written in The Anchor. I joined Mellon Scholars to continue to strengthen my love for research and my interests in writing, visual and performing arts, and world history. After I graduate from Hope, I wish to pursue a career in publishing, marketing or wherever life takes me.

Hannah Kenny

Hannah KennyI am from Grand Haven, Michigan. My research interests revolve around culture and language, fueled by my social work and Spanish majors. I enjoy reading, running and traveling. I joined the Mellon Scholars to dig deeper into my education and to learn and grow more.

Holle Wade

Hole WadeI'm from Detroit, Michigan. I'm an art history and creative writing double major and art studio (and history) minor. I love writing, painting and reading. One of my favorite things is to look through books on Baroque and Rocco art and architecture. I love art and learning about it, and sometimes actually make art. I joined Mellon because I love research and learning more things. I have many interests and I would love to explore and combine all my areas of study. 

Madeleine Zimmerman

 Madeleine  ZimmermanI was born and raised in Chicago, and I am an art history major with a focus in Asian studies. I’ve been studying Mandarin Chinese since elementary school, and have always enjoyed the arts and humanities. In my freshman year I was fortunate enough to work for the Kruizenga Art Museum in researching and writing display descriptions for the 2017 fall exhibition. I’m also an active member of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment Organization. I joined the Mellon Scholars in hopes of starting down a path toward a career that will combine my interests in art history and Asian language and culture, and in hopes of meeting others who are just as passionate about the arts and humanities as I am.

Mitchell Van Acker

Mitchell Van AckerI am an English and studio art double major from Highland, Michigan. I’m developing my skills as a painter and writer. I’m inspired by Modernist painting and literature, Baroque and Renaissance painting and ancient Greek literature. I am the art editor of Opus, Hope’s literary and visual arts magazine, where I’ve published two poems, one of which was selected for the Ederman’s Prize for poetry. I joined Mellon scholars to be apart of a unique community of people who share my interests in the humanities, which will allow for a creative mixing of ideas and passions across several disciplines.

Rebecca Stanton

Rebecca StantonI am a French and English double major from Lake Forest, Illinois. I enjoy researching writers of the past and reflecting on how today’s society can learn from their perspectives. I have a passion for studying cultures around the world, and I am very interested in how separate cultures can influence one another. I became a Mellon Scholar with the hope that the program will provide me with an opportunity to learn about a wider variety of topics in greater depth, in order to not only know more about the world, but to use my research to express my own thoughts and challenge people to think about issues in new ways.

Sarah Anderson

sarah andersonI am a classical studies major from right here in Holland, Michigan! I was honored at the conclusion of the 2017–2018 school year to receive the Edward J. Wolters Classics Award for my efforts in both advanced Latin translation and learning ancient/biblical Greek. In addition to foreign language and history, I am also passionate about creative writing, and I am considering pursuing a writing minor. On campus I am part of the Kappa Delta Chi sorority, and when I am not supervising intramural sports for my work study job, I play badminton and racquetball. I work as an office assistant in the Academic Success Center/Disability Services and the Department of Sociology and Social Work, which led me to also tutor Latin I and II courses.

I believe the Mellon Scholars program will benefit me in my aspirations of incorporating the importance of ancient history and modern times. I hope to travel the world and ultimately pass on knowledge by becoming a classics professor myself.

Sarah Herrera

Sarah HerreraA Chicago native; a die-hard White Sox fan. An English – creative writing major. A Mellon Scholar.
I am a writer, which is what brought me to the Mellon Scholars Program. I want to hone my skills as a researcher and continue my mission of being a life-long learner. As part of the program I want to create documentaries, but also further the discussion on the digital humanities.

Class of 2021

Abigail Venlet
abigail venletI am from Holland, Michigan, and I’m a studio art major with a minor in biology and a possible art history minor as well. Art has been a primary focus in my life for as long as I can remember, and in recent years my interest in biology has emerged and begun to intermingle with my love for art. The juxtaposition of art and biology and choosing to pursue both as a foundation for my future is a challenge which I’m excited to be taking on at Hope College. I am so looking forward to being part of the Mellon Scholars program, which offers me an environment that encourages and cultivates these two passions of mine in new ways alongside people who possess the same curiosities as I do.
Amelia Waalkes
amelia waalkesI'm a biology and religion (culture, ethics and social witness) double major on the pre-med track. I'm from Zeeland, Michigan, and have been celebrating my Dutch heritage in Holland ever since I was a child. I'm easily excitable and filled with curiosity about how and why the world works the way it does. I spent my summer studying public health in Botswana. I will be an RA in Gilmore Hall for the 2018–2019 school year. At Hope, I participate in The Vagina Monologues and CASA, and I also work at Seventy-Six in downtown Holland. When I'm not studying, I love crafting (especially with glitter!), petting dogs and exploring nature. I was brought to Mellon Scholars because I knew that I needed to improve my communication skills as well as become more familiar with research before I apply for medical school. Once I declared my religion major, I realized that Mellon Scholars was the perfect fit!
Cameron Geddes
cameron geddesHello! My name is Cameron Geddes and I am a Mellon Scholar from the Hope College graduating class of 2021. I grew up in a pleasant neighborhood in Rockford, Illinois, where I lived up until coming to Holland, Michigan. I came to Hope looking for insight into the world and my place in it. In my free time, I do a lot of writing and traveling, hoping to gather material to write about and to share stories about the people and places I come across. I intend to pursue a degree in economics and international studies, hopefully to work abroad in China. I joined Mellon Scholars to get an edge in pursuing research, as well as to broaden my interests in technology. I'm excited to see where it takes me and how the skills I learn can be applied to my career.
Jamie Breyfogle
jamie breyfogleI am an international studies, philosophy and Spanish triple major from Danville, Pennsylvania. I love traveling and learning about the world, how it works, why it works that way, and how we can change it for the better. I joined the Mellon Scholars program because I think it will be a great way for me to combine my majors and interests into research that I find inspiring. After I graduate, I hope to go to law school and specialize in international human rights law, using my interests and talents to fight against human trafficking and other human rights abuses.
Keyshara Hudson
keyshara hudsonI was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. All my life I’ve had a passion for helping people. If someone is having a bad day I want to cheer them up. If someone needs advice, I try to give them the best advice that best fits their situation. My motivation comes from helping other people pursue their hopes and dreams. My declared major is social work, and I believe that the world lacks social justice in its entity. It’s lopsided and not completely balanced. I want to expose those social injustices and advocate reform for each injustice that persists to pollute our world. The arts and humanities component of the Mellon Scholars will inspire me to magnify worldwide social injustices through a social work major lens. Art has many different forms and colors and perspectives, which allows me and other people to see how social injustices begin, transpire and change. With my social work degree, I plan on taking action in an educational setting because school is the connector between community and family in a student’s life. I believe that a quality education is the gateway to achieving worldwide equality.
Laura Anthon
laura anthonI am from Hammond, Louisiana. I am interested in studying psychology, history and political science. I am also involved in a variety of Hope’s vocal ensembles. I am passionate about learning and am constantly curious about knowing more and understanding the how and why. I see research as a pursuit of truth, and a way of exploring the world and all the fascinating people within it. I look forward to the opportunity to follow my curiosities through research as a Mellon Scholar.
Natalie Weg
natalie wegI am double majoring in English literature and international studies and minoring in French global studies. As a military child, I have lived all over the United States, but I am most recently coming from Bangkok, Thailand. Over the summer, I interned at the United States Embassy in Bangkok and continued to travel around Southeast Asia. This year, I will be the secretary of Hope’s Asian Perspective Association and the RA for the French cottage. One of the biggest joys I have in life is forming personal connections with people from different countries, whether that be through language, arts or traditions. With the Mellon Scholars program, I am excited to explore my interests in literature and linguistics, focusing on European and Asian cultures. In the future, I hope to teach English as a second language and possibly pursue a career in foreign service.
Sylvia Rodriguez
sylvia rodriguezI am a proud first-gen Xicana from Houston, Texas. I decided when I was 6 or 7 years old that I wanted to go out of state for college in Michigan. After years of hard work and determination, here we are! I currently am an art history major and would like to add studio art soon! I believe that art, across cultures, is a beautiful way to express all the crazy mess within us. I was exposed to art history my senior year of high school and I have been incapable of dropping my obsession with the subject. Growing up in a big city in the neighborhoods glittered with beer cans and police tape, I aspire to help my community back home. In my lifetime I would like to own my own business that incorporates art with a mission to provide jobs and opportunities for inmates freed and current and youths exposed to gang violence.
Timothy Embertson
timothy embertsonI am a... uh... person? Yeah, that's a good place to start. Well, I am a person who grew up in the middle of the woods (Lake City in Northern Michigan basically) and who narrowly escaped the family tradition of attending Calvin College. Now happily finding myself at Hope College, I plan to snag a nice pair of majors in studio art and psychology, with theater sitting comfortably as a minor. As an artist, while I always enjoy a variety of media, I have begun to delve deeper into the area of printing and stencil work. Mellon Scholars to me is an opportunity to delve deeper into the more “intellectual” part of art. Technique is one thing, but the history and culture surrounding any given form of art is something I find myself intrigued by. Looking forward, I think it would be fantastic to combine both of my majors in pursuit of art therapy (but that does mean more school… ugh). However, I think it important to note that my occupation is not the most important piece of my future. As long as I can eat, and still be able to practice art, then I will be a content li’l human.