Several Hope College projects have received grants from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC).
A total of 13 projects from Hope received funding from the consortium through its 2016-17 grant period. The awards to Hope projects, which total $67,500, include seven fellowships for students conducting collaborative research with members of the faculty, three “seed grants” for faculty research, two program awards for Hope initiatives focused on pre-college and teacher training, and an affiliate-representative grant. The awards to the college were out of the total of 22 undergraduate fellowships, 10 research seed grants and 13 program awards made to all recipients.
Hope will provide additional support for each of the projects, including stipends for the students as they conduct research during the summer, and matching funds for the faculty, institutional and affiliate-representative projects.
The students receiving fellowships were: sophomore Josiah Brouwer of Byron Center, who will work on “Parallelizing Markov Chain Monte Carlo Simulation Code Using GPUs” with Dr. Peter Gonthier, professor of physics; freshman Michael Dennis of Williamston, who will work on “Compton scattering in the strong magnetic fields of magnetars” with Gonthier; sophomore Brandon Derstine of Midland, who will work on “BF2-azo dye vinyl free radical monomers for red-shifted polymeric photomechanical materials” with Dr. Jason Gillmore, professor of chemistry; junior Sean Gitter of Shelby Township, who will work on “Dihalo-substituted BF2-azo dye monomers for longer wavelength photomechanical polymers” with Gillmore; sophomore Noah Kochanski of Royal Oak, who will work on “Predicting Disease Incidence” with Dr. Yew-Meng Koh, assistant professor of mathematics; junior Anne O’Donnell of Royal Oak, who will work on “Bio-Inspired Control of Civil Infrastructure using Wireless Sensing Nodes” with Dr. Courtney Peckens, assistant professor of engineering; and junior Anne Washburn of Hamilton, who will work on “Leaching of Synthesized Strontium-Doped Hydroxyapatite Nanoparticles” with Dr. Amanda Eckermann, assistant professor of chemistry. Brouwer and Derstine also received awards from MSGC last year.
The three faculty who received seed grants are: Eckermann, for “Doped Hydroxyapatite Nanoparticles for Osteoporosis Treatment and Imaging”; Dr. Paul Pearson, assistant professor of mathematics, for “Remote Sensing of Lake Michigan Sand Dunes to Study Dune Evolution and Vegetation Dynamics”; and Dr. Katherine Polasek, associate professor of engineering, for “Electroencephalography (EEG) to Compare Actual and Electrically Activated Touch.”
The program-award support for pre-college science and engineering experiences was awarded to Susan Ipri Brown, instructor of engineering, and Dr. Eric Mann, assistant professor of mathematics. ExploreHope, Hope's outreach center, will coordinate both programs.
Ipri Brown is the faculty lead for “STEM Academies and Workshops on Air Quality Monitoring,” which is engaging middle and high science classes in collecting and analyzing data related to air quality in the area using sensors at locations such as their homes and schools. The grant will expand the technical capabilities of the monitors, allow longer-term projects with area teachers and establish continual monitoring sites to provide additional data for student learning. The Holland/Hope College Sustainability Institute is partnering to support community events related to the project.
Ipri Brown and Mann will both be working with initiatives through the “Engineering the Future Summer Academies,” continuing a program established two years ago to provide access to high-quality summer academic programs to area students regardless of socioeconomic status. Through the awards, Hope will partner with Holland Public Schools’ new middle school STEM initiative to provide teacher professional development and a week-long summer program for all district seventh graders. Hope engineering, science and education majors will serve as staff for the programs, through which they practice valuable pre-professional skills.
Gonthier’s award through the affiliate representative program will support his research on “Magnetic field decay and unification of young and millisecond pulsar populations.”
The Michigan Space Grant Consortium, which is part of the National Space Grant Consortium, seeks to foster awareness of, education in, and research on space-related science and technology in Michigan, and is part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. Hope and Calvin College are the only undergraduate colleges that are members of the consortium, which also includes Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.