faculty members

Faculty members Michael Jipping and Matt DeJongh, and Shonn Colbrunn of the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career with the 2022 Technology Excellence Award presented by the National Association of Colleges and Employers for the “Where Will You Go?” touch-screen interface developed by Hope computer science students.

A touch-screen application designed by a team of Hope College computer science students for the college’s Boerigter Center for Calling and Career has received national recognition for excellence.

“Where Will You Go?” is an interactive career-resource monitor that provides students with a visual representation of jobs around the country that can be pursued through the center and of the supportive global network of Hope alumni.  It has been named the college winner of the 2022 Technology Excellence Award presented by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The award recognizes both the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career and Hope’s Department of Computer Science, which collaborated on the application.  “Where Will You Go?” was developed as a senior capstone project during the 2020-21 academic year by computer science majors Jonathan Chaffer, Josie Crane, Nam Do and Will von Seeger, under the direction of faculty members Dr. Matt DeJongh and Dr. Mike Jipping.

“NACE is the primary industry association for college and university career services professionals, and there is only one winner for each category, so we’re extremely honored to have received the award,” said Shonn Colbrunn, who is executive director of the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career.  “The recognition is even more meaningful because it reflects how great things can happen when departments work together, and the high quality of work being done by our students.”

Colbrunn explained that “Where Will You Go?” was developed to provide an easy-to-use, fun way for students to do some initial career exploration and to get a sense of the variety of opportunities being pursued by the alumni who were once in their shoes, with the Boerigter Center ready to help the students follow up.

“Our goal was for students to be able to find something interesting in one minute or less,” he said.  “For more details about an alumni contact or job opportunity, we help them connect through the Hope College Connection [powered by PeopleGrove] and Handshake, which are widely-used networking and job-search platforms.”

Installed in May 2021, the application is featured on an 85-inch touch-screen in a heavily traveled hallway in the DeWitt Student and Cultural Center shared by the Boerigter Center.  “We wanted the interface to be situated in the welcome area of the Boerigter Center office, since our location receives a lot of foot traffic from students and visitors every day,” Colbrunn said.

Colbrunn noted that the strategically chosen location has worked out well.  As hoped, for example, students’ use of the Hope College Connection has increased by about 20% since a year ago.  

This is the first time that Hope has received an award from NACE, but the second national recognition in as many years for a partnership between the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career and other programs at the college.  In March 2021, the Boerigter Center and the Van Wylen Library received the 2021 group Innovation Award from the Commission for Career Services of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). The ACPA honor was for a training program on Tableau, a popular data analytics and visualization tool used in multiple disciplines and industries, that was delivered in collaboration with the Department of Economics and Business and the Office of Philanthropy and Engagement.

Hope’s Boerigter Center for Calling and Career is a college-wide initiative that seeks to inspire students to engage in lifelong practices of career development by emphasizing discernment, preparation and pursuit.  Programming for the Boerigter Center is designed to enable all Hope students, beginning in their first semester, to understand their strengths, engage in experiences that directly connect to career preparation, discern vocational and life goals, and ascertain clear next steps toward their future.  Integrated into the academic program of the college, it includes and expands on the work of Hope’s former Career Development Center in combination with staff from the college’s academic advising and alumni and family engagement programs.

The Boerigter Center for Career and Calling, which opened in the fall of 2018, was made possible by a major gift from SoundOff Signal in honor of founder and chairman George Boerigter, who is a 1961 Hope College graduate, and his wife, Sibilla. Based in Hudsonville, SoundOff Signal provides high-tech safety lighting solutions across the globe.