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

A total of 20 projects from Hope — every proposal submitted by the college — received funding from the consortium through its 2020-21 grant period. The awards to Hope projects, which total $95,500, include 11 fellowships for students conducting collaborative research with members of the faculty, seven “seed grants” for faculty research, and two program awards for Hope outreach initiatives geared toward enriching project-based learning for middle and high school students.

Hope will provide additional support, including stipends for students as they conduct research during the summer, and matching funds for the faculty and institutional projects.

The students receiving fellowships were:  Lindsey Boltz, for “Design of Nanomaterials for Enhanced Sensing, Extraction and Recycling of Lithium in Extraterrestrial Environments” with Dr. Natalia Gonzalez-Pech, assistant professor of chemistry; Meredith Bomers, for “Developing General Spin Dependent Compton Cross Sections in Strong Magnetic Fields” with Dr. Peter Gonthier, professor of physics; Blake Harlow, for “Modeling Remote Sensing Data from Sand Dunes” with Dr. Darin Stephenson, professor of mathematics; Jackson Krebsbach, for “Using machine learning and drones to estimate vegetation density in coastal sand dunes” with Dr. Brian Yurk, associate professor of mathematics; Abigail LaDuke, for “Cinnamate functionalized liquid crystal oligomers for facile material alignment” with Dr. Matthew Smith, associate professor of engineering; Anna Molloy, for “Design of Nanomaterials for Enhanced Sensing, Extraction and Recycling of Lithium in Extraterrestrial Environments” with Gonzalez-Pech; Eric Leu, for “Using drone imagery to identify individual tree crowns and forest canopy gaps” with Yurk; Erin Ramey, for “Recyclable Polymers for Oxidation Reactions” with Dr. Christopher Turlington, assistant professor of chemistry; Anthony Aragon-Orozco, for “Design of nanomaterials for high-absorption levels of CO2” with Gonzalez-Pech; and Zachery Wylie, for “Stability of the Phase Transition of Perovskite Solar Cells” with Dr. Jeff Christians, assistant professor of chemistry.  An 11th research fellowship was funded but declined by the student, who is pursuing a summer-internship opportunity instead.

The faculty members who received seed grants are: Dr. Jeffrey Christians, assistant professor of chemistry, for “In situ phase transition kinetics in halide perovskite semiconductors”; Dr. Natalia Gonzalez-Pech, assistant professor of chemistry, for “Synthesis of multifunctional nanoparticle-collectors: new interfaces for CO2 recycling”; Dr. Jianhua Li, associate professor of biology, for “Exploring the Molecular Mechanisms of Differential Carbon Sequestration Trees and Shrubs”; Dr. Brooke Odle, Hope faculty fellow in engineering, for “Feasibility of a Musculoskeletal Model to Simulate Patient-Handling Activities”; Dr. Michael Philben, assistant professor of geological and environmental science, for “Determination of the Contribution of Recalcitrant Carbohydrates to the Decay Resistance of Peat-forming Mosses”; Dr. Darin Stephenson, professor of mathematics, for “Using Machine Learning for Classification of Remote Sensing Data from Sand Dunes”; and Dr. Zachary Williams, assistant professor of physics, for “Examining Reduced Model Descriptions of Tearing Modes in Solar Plasmas.”

The program support was awarded to Susan Ipri Brown, who is director of ExploreHope and an instructor of engineering, for a project that she will lead with Carrie Dummer, instructor of chemistry; and Dr. Stephen Scogin, associate professor of biology and education, for a project that he will lead with Ipri Brown.

Ipri Brown and Dummer received funding for “Engineering the Future Academies.”  The program partners with Holland Public Schools to provide teacher training and a week of environmental science-focused camps for fifth graders.

Scogin and Ipri Brown received funding for “Creating an Effective Evaluation of Authentic Data Monitoring with Middle and High School Students.  Building on prior MSGC support for ExploreHope’s air quality monitoring program with area middle and high school students, the new funding will expand the program’s educational evaluation protocols.

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.  In addition to Hope, the consortium includes Calvin University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Public Schools.