Pictured from left to right are Sabrina Hakim, Abigail Bohler, Paige Garwood and Dr. Van Tongeren. Not pictured is Joshua Stafford.

A collaborative faculty-student research project led by Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren of the Hope College psychology faculty has won the college’s fifth annual “Social Sciences Young Investigators Award.”

The team received the recognition for “Examining the Interactive Effects of Group Status and Perceived Morality on Personality Judgments.”  Van Tongeren, an assistant professor of psychology who has taught at Hope since 2012, received the award as a junior member of the faculty who has mentored students in research.

The students participating in the project were Abigail Bohler of Delano, Minnesota; Paige Garwood of Dexter; Sabrina Hakim of Rochester Hills; and Joshua Stafford of Clarkston.

The “Social Sciences Young Investigators Award” is designed to recognize and encourage junior faculty to partner with students in research collaborations that further the scholarship goals of the faculty member while developing the skills of critical inquiry and analysis in his or her students.  It includes funding for the faculty and student team to present the work at a professional conference.

The competition is open to junior social science faculty who worked with students on a significant research project, with at least one of the students returning for the next academic year.  The selection is made from among the eligible social science projects highlighted during the college’s annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance, which was held on Friday, April 11, this year.

Van Tongeren’s research focuses on the social motivation for meaning and its relation to virtues and morality. Specifically, he and his students adopt a social-cognitive approach to study meaning in life, religion, and virtues, such as forgiveness and humility.

Prior to coming to Hope, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University for one year.  He completed his undergraduate degree at Colorado Christian University in 2004, his master’s degree at the University of Colorado in 2006 and his doctorate at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011.