Work-life balance and career success. Sand dune development. Childhood obesity. The physiological dimensions of forgiveness. An award-winning project focused on providing better drinking water and related health issues in Cameroon.

Research projects on topics ranging from microscopic gene-cell interaction to the effects of globalization will be featured during the seventh annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance at Hope College on Friday, March 28, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

A total of 168 projects have been conducted by some 294 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; international education; kinesiology; mathematics; modern and classical languages; music; neuroscience; nursing; philosophy; physics; psychology; religion; and sociology and social work. Several of the projects have also been interdisciplinary in nature, such as the college's ongoing work to improve water quality and community health in the village of Nkuv in Cameroon, which involves the departments of communication, education, nursing and engineering, and was recently named one of four finalists for Michigan's 2008 Carter Partnership Award by Michigan Campus Compact.

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 six 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 2008 edition. The guide also includes Hope among the top 100 national liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

Among other indicators, Hope was one of only 10 liberal arts institutions nationally recognized for innovation and excellence in science instruction by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with an "Award for the Integration of Research and Education" in 1998. In addition, the bulk of the resources that support the college's research program in the sciences come through competitive research grants from external sources such as the NSF, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Homeland Security, private foundations and corporations. According to data compiled by Research Crossroads, Hope currently holds more funding from the NSF and NIH than any other liberal arts college in Michigan.

The Undergraduate Research Celebration is being held in conjunction with a Junior Day scheduled by the college's admissions office. Approximately 250 prospective students and their parents are anticipated for the Junior Day.

The fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., at Fairbanks Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets.