Discoveries during a dinosaur dig in Wyoming. A classroom role-playing exercise focused on the issues of the Civil War. Spider populations in a local forest. The effect of chemicals on area bodies of water. The physical impact of forgiveness. A project to provide better drinking water for a village in Cameroon. The 2008 presidential election. Serves in volleyball.

More than 160 research projects, focused on topics near and far, and past, present and future, will be highlighted during the sixth annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance at Hope College on Monday, Jan. 29, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

The projects have been conducted by some 275 Hope students and their faculty mentors. The presentations will feature posters illustrating the projects, with the students on-hand to discuss their work.

The students and their projects will represent all of the college's academic divisions: the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural and physical sciences. Departments and programs represented during the event will include art and art history; biochemistry; biology; chemistry; communication; computer science; economics, management and accounting; education; engineering; geological and environmental sciences; history; kinesiology; mathematics; modern and classical languages; neuroscience; nursing; philosophy; physics; political science; psychology; and sociology and social work. Several of the projects have also been interdisciplinary in nature, linking departments such as psychology and physics; biology and mathematics; nursing and engineering; and biology, chemistry and geological/environmental science.

The student presentations will be preceded by a keynote address by Dr. Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet of the Hope psychology faculty, who will present "Perseverance and Pay-Offs: Celebrating Student-Faculty Collaboration in a Decade of Interdisciplinary Forgiveness Research" at 2 p.m. on the main court of the fieldhouse.

Witvliet is an associate professor of psychology at Hope, where she has taught since 1997. She publishes in the field of emotion and psychophysiology research, and her specialized focus is unforgiveness, forgiveness and justice. She has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and given professional presentations in local, national and international venues. She has conducted 100 media interviews about forgiveness, with her research featured in venues including "Time," "Newsweek," "O: The Oprah Magzine," "USA Today, "The Los Angeles Times," "The Chicago Tribune" and "CNN." In the course of her research she has mentored 29 Hope students, 10 of whom have co-authored journal articles or professional conference presentations with her, and four of whom have won Psi Chi Regional Research Awards.

The research and performance celebration, first presented in 2001, is designed to spotlight the quality and importance of student-faculty collaborative research at Hope, a teaching model used at the college for several decades.

Hope has received recognition in a variety of ways for its emphasis on undergraduate research. For the past five years, since the category debuted, the "America's Best Colleges" guide published by "U.S. News and World Report" has included Hope on its listing of institutions that are exceptional for their emphasis on undergraduate research and creative projects. Hope ranked fourth in the nation when the category debuted in 2003; the institutions are no longer ranked, but only 35 are on the list in the 2007 edition. The guide also includes Hope among the top 100 national liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

Among other indicators, Hope has regularly held more summer research grants through the National Science Foundation's "Research Experiences for Undergraduates" program than any other liberal arts college in the country. In 1998, Hope was one of only 10 liberal arts institutions nationally recognized for innovation and excellence in science instruction by the NSF with an "Award for the Integration of Research and Education" (AIRE).

The fieldhouse is located facing Fairbanks Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets.