Chemical scientists from around the country as well as West Michigan will participate in the inaugural Schaap Chemistry Symposium at Hope College on Thursday and Friday, July 20-21.

The event will feature a keynote address by a prominent alumna; 30 short talks by Hope undergraduates, as well as graduate and post-doctoral students from 14 research universities across the region and from as far away as Texas and Georgia; a poster session highlighting up to 80 student posters, including research conducted by Hope students this summer; and panel sessions geared toward the students attending and focused on graduate school and careers in academia and industry.  Those attending will include research-university faculty from those 14 institutions along with more than two dozen graduate and postdoctoral students; chemists from nine local companies; scientists from the Holland Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute; more than 60 Hope chemistry undergraduates and faculty; and several important friends of the department.

“We’re excited to bring together a diverse group of chemists from across the U.S. and right around West Michigan to discuss their work, and network with our students and one another,” said Dr. Jason G. Gillmore, who is a professor of chemistry and Schaap Research Fellow at Hope.  “It will especially be an outstanding experience for our students to have an opportunity to learn from and share their research with chemistry professionals and students at the next stage of their career from beyond campus, and to learn more about opportunities in both industry and graduate school.  We likewise hope that our external participants will take away an increased understanding of and enthusiasm for all the great things we are doing at Hope College.”                

The symposium will begin on Thursday, July 20, at 10 a.m. at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center.  The opening keynote address, “Delving Below the Surface,” will be delivered by Dr. Sylvia T. Ceyer, a 1974 Hope graduate who is the John C. Sheehan Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Her talk will focus on her research group’s exploration of the dynamics of the interactions of molecules with surfaces of materials.

The student talks, which follow on Thursday at 10:50 a.m., also in the Haworth Inn and Conference Center, will be brief presentations concerning on-going collaborative student-faculty research projects at Hope.  Together with a variety of social events and panel discussions, the short talks will fill the rest of the day on Thursday and some of Friday.

The events of Friday, July 21, will also include a poster session in the Haworth Inn and Conference Center Ballroom from 9:15 a.m. until 11:15 a.m.

The public is welcome at the poster session at no charge.  Interested parties may also attend the keynote address and the immediately following student talks on Thursday morning on a space-available basis.  The remainder of the symposium required prior registration, which is now closed.

The symposium has been greatly expanded to the national event as part of an endowment gift made possible through the generosity of A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap to the college’s Department of Chemistry to broadly expand its research capacity and national recognition.  Dr. A. Paul Schaap, who is a 1967 Hope graduate, and his wife Carol have supported the college in a variety of significant ways through the years, including with the Schaap Transformative Initiative in support of faculty and student research in chemistry, a leadership gift for the A. Paul Schaap Science Center, which opened in 2003, and the Schaap Auditorium in the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center opening for the start of the school year.

This year’s symposium is running in conjunction with a reunion of former research students of Dr. Sheldon Wettack, who was a member of the Hope chemistry faculty from 1967 to 1982, serving as dean for the natural sciences from 1974 until 1982.  He went on to become arts and sciences dean at the University of Richmond, president of Wabash College and vice president/dean of the faculty at Harvey Mudd College.  Since retiring from Harvey Mudd in 2004 he has taught part-time at Hope.

More information about the symposium is available at