Original research by students on topics ranging from the use of drones to track the movement of sand dunes, to the relationship between educational attainment and opioid overdose rates, to the Civil War and racism, to a study of sound-synthesis methods will be highlighted during the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance at Hope College on Friday, April 13, from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The celebration, which is the largest and broadest of any similar event at an undergraduate college, will feature 247 research projects conducted by 382 Hope students in collaboration with peers and faculty mentors. The presentations will feature posters illustrating the projects, with students on-hand to discuss their work. The displays fill the basketball and volleyball courts and concourse of the fieldhouse. More than 900 visitors attended last year.
The students and their projects will represent all of the college’s academic divisions — the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied sciences — and a total of 28 departments and programs.
This year’s event is also commemorating the campus-wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments that Hope received from the Council on Undergraduate Research last fall. The award recognizes exceptional undergraduate research, scholarship and creative-activity programs. Only nine colleges and universities nationwide, three per year, have received the recognition since the award program began in 2015. Hope is the only institution in Michigan to have earned the award.
The research and performance celebration, first presented in 2001, is designed to spotlight the quality and importance of student-faculty collaborative research at Hope. Undergraduate research is a hallmark experience for many Hope students and has been a teaching model used at the college for more than seven decades. Mentored collaborative research happens year-round, with approximately 300 students conducting faculty-supervised independent research during the academic year and 200 doing research over the summer, making Hope’s summer research program among the largest in the nation at a liberal arts college. Since faculty are active in scholarship year-round, many more students engage in research during the academic year.
Research has a long and storied history at Hope College. More than 100 years ago, biologist Dr. Samuel O. Mast designed research laboratory space for the college’s Van Raalte Hall, which opened in 1903. The late Dr. Gerrit Van Zyl, who taught chemistry at the college from 1923 to 1964, is widely recognized for developing research-based learning at Hope in its modern sense.
Hope has received recognition in a variety of ways through the years for its success in teaching through collaborative faculty-student research, and for the high quality of the research itself. For the past 16 years, since the category debuted, the “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 is one of only 42 institutions of all types, and one of only 12 national liberal arts colleges, on the list in the 2018 edition.
The fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., at Fairbanks Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets.