/ Mellon Scholars

Meet the Mellon Scholars

Mellon class of 2018 in front of Depree

Class of 2018

Alejandra Limon Gomez

Alejandra GomezAlejandra was born in Mexico, raised in England, and is currently from Rochester, Michigan. What makes her passionate about the arts and humanities is how these perspectives have allowed her to see issues through a different lens. Alejandra has worked with Dr. Andre’s research team on graffiti and urban art in Mexico City. For this project she created a digital map of different locations of art in Mexico City as well as wrote and paper on the different types of graffiti and its evolution. This summer, Alejandra is working with Dr. Beard on public opinion and immigration.

Anna Jones

Anna JonesI came to Hope from Ann Arbor to double major in English: creative writing and theatre. I am on the leadership team for Hope Catholics and enjoy attending Visiting Writers Series readings and events. I am very active in the theatre department and have participated in many performances in a variety of ways, from acting to being a spotlight operator. I am passionate about stories, and writing and theatre are obviously two of my favorite ways to tell stories. In 10 years I hope to be acting, writing and directing in my own theatre, or at least much closer to achieving that goal. 

Carolyn Ellis

Carolyn EllisCarolyn is an English and studio art major from Coralville, Iowa. She is the editor for the Milestone yearbook and is involved in residential life, the Pull, the sailing club and gospel choir. Carolyn is passionate about the visual arts and bringing the old and new schools of art together, as well as fostering new forms of literature and developing her own collection of poetry. She has worked on projects such as Hendrik Willem Mesdag's Return From Fishing in the Hope College art collection and a website timeline and blog created on West Michigan Polar Bear Expedition. Carolyn believes that research enables her to explore her questions and passions, and brings people together when research is combined with arts, humanities, and technology, so that it can reach a much wider and often overlooked but greatly needed audience. Carolyn aspires to have a career that combines both her love for art and literature, as either a photographer or writer for a magazine.

Ellen Messner

Ellen MessnerEllen Messner is a music student from Marcellus, Michigan, who plans on earning her Bachelor of Arts in piano performance. This past summer she began a project on composer Amy Beach and the St. Cecilia Music Society in Grand Rapids with Dr. Randel. What she loves most about this project, and research within the arts and humanities, is the opportunity to study music in a historical context and share her work with others. She expects to continue studying music after completing her undergraduate degree by pursuing a masters degree in musicology. 

Grace Hulderman

Grace HuldermanGrace is an English creative writing major and studio art minor from Clarkston, Michigan. She is co-editor of OPUS, an intern for the Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series, and a writing assistant at the Klooster Center. Grace is also the recipient of the Erika Brubaker Award for Promising Achievements in the Study of Literature. Grace developed a Mellon research project on Cesare Ripa’s Iconologie as well as a project that explores the experiences of racial minorities in higher education. Grace plans to research folk-tales or develop a new project that would incorporate poetry and her interest in creative writing. Grace has enjoyed the freedom as a Mellon scholar to creatively approach projects and has felt a lot of support in her desire to fuse interests in art and poetry with academic research. After graduation, Grace hopes to get an MFA in creative writing or pursue a career in publishing.

Hannah Pickaart

I am a double major in communication and English with a creative writing emphasis. I have worked with The Anchor newspaper since the second semester of my freshman year, and I also established The Odyssey community at Hope College. Journalism has been a big part of my life for over five years, and ultimately that is the industry in which I want to find myself after graduation. Like other Mellon Scholars, I have married my interests with my research, so I have conducted scholarship on Greek fraternal stereotypes and the censorship of the arts. In the next two years I hope to research the under-representation of minority women on magazine covers, and maybe travel to Japan for research there. 

Jonathan Bading

Jonathan BadingBorn and raised in Chantilly, Virginia, Jonathan ventured west to Holland, Michigan, in order to study sacred music at Hope, and is currently is pursuing a B.M. in organ performance with a concentration in music history and theory. He also studies voice and choral conducting and sings in the Hope College Chapel Choir. He is a recipient of the Ruth Haidt Hughes Scholarship in Organ Performance and the Marie Blauwkamp Organ Scholarship. Jonathan’s interdisciplinary interests are the study of historical liturgical music, and has spent time studying liturgical manuscripts in Vendôme, France. He finds the intersection between music, art, liturgy and community enthralling and hopes to continue researching “liturgical culture” in the future. Jonathan would like to serve as a parish music minister and continue on in academia, teaching in the fields of music history, liturgics and/or as a choral director. Jonathan currently serves as a choral scholar at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has also served as a substitute organist at various churches in the Holland/Grand Rapids area.

Joshua Chun Wah Kam

Josh KamJoshua Kam is an itinerant collector of myths, books and shelves to furnish said books. Growing up on two continents, his academic (and culinary) passions are deeply influenced by the places he has lived and loved, be it Byzantine liturgy, Malay folktales, Chinese cuisine or the Michigan folk scene. A history and classics double-major, he hopes to pursue graduate education studying the intersection of myth and history in Southeast Asia. He is interested in exploring the development of those myths between cultures, and how intertextuality intertwines the Muslim, Christian and Hindu-Buddhist threads of Indonesia and Malaysia. He has found in the Mellon Scholars a deep sense of community with its faculty and student fellows. This summer he began research project on the Malay epic Hikayat Hang Tuah and its Islamic perspectives on peace-making, conducted at the graduate library of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.

Nia Stringfellow
Nia StringfellowI come from the southwest suburbs of Chicago studying exercise science and dance performance.  While I am also a science major, the dance program has taken over my life in the best ways. For the past two years, I’ve participated in Dance 41 with Steven Iannacone and Dance 42 with Angie Yetzke. My experiences with the dance department have shaped who I am as a person as well as steered me towards new directions in my academic journey. The Mellon Scholars Program has provided me with opportunities and resources to explore dance in marriage with African-American cultural values. I am especially interested in collaborating with other students who research dance and human experiences through technology. I hope to open my own studio center, where I can combine my passion of health and the arts for young developing dancers and artists. My goal is to target low-income areas and present young children with new opportunities to develop their full potential of strength and talent.
Rachel Kennedy

Rachel KennedyRachel Kennedy, a Naperville, Illinois, native, is going into her junior year as a theatre and management double major. She is heavily involved in the theatre department, participating in acting, lighting and house management, along with nearly any other job that needs to be done. Rachel is also a member of the Kappa Beta Phi (Dorian) sisterhood and works for the Academic Success Center as an intern. Her sophomore year with the Mellon Scholars, Rachel conducted research on the Knickerbocker Theatre's place in the history of Holland, Michigan, as well as the dance department's history in the context of the college's RCA affiliation. Rachel is passionate about theatre and looks to spread stories and unite people through the arts. Research that can reach out to others through theatre is what drew her to the Mellon Scholars since the program allows her to find new and exciting ways to gather and present dramaturgical information. Upon graduation, Rachel hopes to pursue acting, technical theatre or arts administration. 

Raven Bouvier

Raven BouvierHello, my name is Raven Bouvier, and I have been dancing for as long as I can remember. From taking traditional classes as a child to my current position as stage manager on the ballet club’s executive board, dance has always been a part of my life. This passion for dance has lead me to become a dance major with an emphasis in production. After the completion of my degree I hope to work as a stage manager. The Mellon Program’s unique approach to research allows me to continue to pursue research in my field while also encouraging me to present my findings in creative ways that allow me to cultivate the skills of my discipline. Through Mellon I am able to explore my passion for how dance interacts with individuals and communities while also learning the tools to share these findings through creative outlets such as podcasts, documentaries or live productions.


“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

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.

Miles Pruitt

Miles PruittI am originally from Bolingbrook, Illinois, before I moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. I am studying English with a writing emphasis and I am pursing an economics minor. I am involved in BSU, Hope Track Team, Events and Conferences, Upward Bound and The Anchor. I have a extensive background in writing technical and newspaper articles. I am interested in many types of research, specifically the military, literature and sports. I am a 2017 Haworth scholarship recipient, a member of the Dean’s list and an OPUS editor. I am also involved with the Gospel Mission in Kalamazoo, Michigan, along with my church. I joined the Mellon Scholars program because I wanted to experience hands-on work with digital cinema, research and project building.

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.


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.

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 Bugg
Hannah BuggI am from Urbana, a small, rural town in Ohio. I am studying studio art and psychology, a double major that I hope will result in a career of art therapy. Art has always been a passion of mine, one that I’m always open to learn more about. For me, being just an artist is not enough. When I learned about the Mellon Scholars program, I knew that it would be a wonderful opportunity to further pursue my passion for art, even beyond the normal studio art curriculum. To combine artistry and inquiry is my intent within this program.
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 Herrera

Sarah HerreraI am from the very small city of Chicago, a born-and-raised South-Sider (a die-hard White Sox fan). An English major, I am writer, and that’s what brought me to the Mellon Scholars Program. I hope — no, I know — that the program will help me hone my skills, so that I become the writer I want to be: a writer who combines research with creativity. This is why I am thankful to be a part of a program such as this one.