Campus News

Michigan Space Grant Consortium Supports Several Projects

Several Hope College projects have received grants from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC).

A total of nine projects from Hope received funding from the consortium through its 2017-18 grant period. The awards to Hope projects, which total $50,000, include six fellowships for students conducting collaborative research with members of the faculty, a “seed grant” for faculty research, and two program awards for Hope initiatives focused on pre-college and teacher training.

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 and institutional projects.

The students receiving fellowships were:  sophomore Marcus Brinks of Holland, who will work on “The Integration of NIR Active Azo-Dyes into an Elastomeric Polymer System through use of Thiol-Yne Click Chemistry“ with Dr. Jason Gillmore, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Matthew Smith, assistant professor of engineering; sophomore Carmen Chamberlain of Owosso, who will work on “Synthesis and Characterization of Strontium-Doped Hydroxyapatite Nanoparticles with Iron Oxide Cores” with Dr. Amanda Eckermann, assistant professor of chemistry; junior Allie Donaldson of Deer Park, Illinois, who will work on “Using remote sensing to study ecological changes associated with hydrologic fluctuations in an interdunal wetland“ with Suzanne DeVries-Zimmerman, adjunct assistant professor of geological and environmental science; junior Tyler Gast of Wanatah, Indiana, who will work on “Classifying mass shooting incidents across the United States“ with Dr. Yew-Meng Koh, assistant professor of mathematics; freshman Madeleine Rabitoy of Wyoming, who will work on “Population synthesis with realistic magnetospheric emission geometry” with Dr. Peter Gonthier, professor of physics; and junior Jacob Stid of Mason, who will work on “Using Remote Sensing Information from Drone Flights to Create Sensitivity to Mobilization Maps of Coastal Dune Systems” with Dr. Edward Hansen, professor of geology and environmental science and department chair.

The faculty member who received a seed grant is Dr. Joseph Stukey, assistant professor of biology, for “Natural selection of bacterial virus genome architecture drives new gene creation and expands Earth’s genetic diversity.”

The program-award support for pre-college science and engineering experiences was awarded to Susan Ipri Brown, who is director of ExploreHope and an 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 “Air Quality Monitoring in the Middle and High School Grades,” 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 four 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 STEM initiative to provide teacher professional development and a week-long summer program for up to 75 students. Hope engineering, science and education majors will serve as staff for the programs, through which they practice valuable pre-professional skills.

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.