Dr. Jonathan Peterson

Interim Dean for Natural and Applied Sciences
Profile photo of Dr. Jonathan Peterson

Jonathan (Jon) Peterson graduated from Hope College in 1984 and returned ten years later as the first assistant professor of environmental science in the college’s history. In between, Jon earned his Ph.D. and worked for Amoco Production Company as an exploration and development geologist, and at Amoco Oil Company as a groundwater remediation coordinator.

The geology and environmental science courses Jon teaches at Hope include Planet Earth, Earth Environmental Systems, Hydrogeology, Mineralogy, Petrology, Petroleum Geology, Regional Geology of Arizona, Laboratory Methods in Environmental Science, Advanced Environmental Seminar, and Environmental Public Policy. He also teaches a first-year seminar called All that Glitters is Not Gold, and a senior seminar entitled George Washington and the Presidential Role Model.

Areas of Expertise

Jon’s research area is environmental geochemistry and hydrogeology. During his years as a Hope faculty member he has worked on three main topics:

  • Laboratory simulations of groundwater remediation techniques, with an emphasis on air-sparging of petroleum contaminants
  • Experiments on the interactions between antibiotics and oxide nanoparticles, investigating the fate and transport of drugs in the environment
  • A global survey of unimproved drinking water sources, looking at particulate and heavy metal contamination, and the potential role of point-of-use water filters in improving public health

All of these projects have included, and continue to include, undergraduate research assistants. Hope students present research results at national scientific meetings and co-author publications in scientific journals.


  • Ph.D., geology, University of Chicago, 1989
  • B.A., Hope College, 1984

Honors, Grants and Awards

  • Appointment to the Lavern and Betty DePree VanKley Endowed Chair in Geology & Environmental Science (2015)
  • Resident Director of the Oak Ridge Science Semester Program of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee (2007, 2014)

Selected Publications

  • “Laboratory Investigation of Antibiotic Interactions with Fe2O3 Nanoparticles in Water,” with L. J. Petrasky et al., Journal of Environmental Engineering, 2016
  • “Surface Interactions and Degradation of a Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic in the Dark in Aqueous TiO2 Suspensions,” with B. Gu and M. D. Seymour, Science of the Total Environment, 2015
  • “Adsorption and Breakdown of Penicillin Antibiotic in the Presence of Titanium Oxide Nanoparticles in Water,” with L. J. Petrasky et al., Chemosphere, 2012
  • “Genetic Variation in a Subterranean Arthropod (Folsomia candida) as a Method to Identify Low-Permeability Barriers in an Aquifer,” with T. J. Sullivan and A. Dreyer, Pedabiologia, 2009
  • “Sorption Mechanisms of Cephapirin, a Veterinary Antibiotic, onto Quartz and Feldspar Minerals as Detected by Raman Spectroscopy,” with T. A. O’Meara et al., Environmental Pollution, 2009

Outside of the College

Jon teaches for two weeks every summer at the AuSable Institute of Environmental Studies in northern Michigan, where teachers and students connect science and faith with themes of stewardship and conservationism in caring for God’s world. He is active in his church and the Holland community, and also plays trombone in the Hope College Concert Band.

Profile photo of Dr. Jonathan Peterson
Dr. Jonathan Peterson

Phone Number616.395.7317

A. Paul Schaap Science Center Room 2000 35 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423
A map showing the location for Dr. Jonathan Peterson A. Paul Schaap Science Center Room 2000 35 East 12th Street Holland MI 49423