A total of 19 Hope College students will be presenting their collaborative faculty-student research during this year’s National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), being held on Monday-Wednesday, April 8-10, in Long Beach, California.

NCUR is the largest undergraduate research conference in the country, and each year brings together thousands of undergraduate students from across the globe to present their research through posters, oral presentations, visual arts and performances.  The conference offers a unique environment for the celebration and promotion of undergraduate student achievement; provides models of exemplary research, scholarship and creative activity; and offers student career readiness development.  Unlike meetings of academic professional organizations, the gathering of student-scholars welcomes presenters from all institutions of higher learning across all disciplines.

The Hope student researchers who will be attending represent together each of the college’s four academic divisions: arts, humanities, natural and applied sciences, and social sciences.  Their participation reflects a decades-long tradition for which Hope has repeatedly received national recognition.

“Student-faculty collaborative research has long been a hallmark of the Hope College academic program,” said Dr. Heidi Kraus, associate provost for academic affairs at Hope, who will be among the faculty and staff from the college accompanying the students. “Our research-infused courses, ensembles, and studios facilitate students' cultivating meaningful connections with faculty, encourage the development of tangible professional skills for graduate school and postgraduate work, and offer opportunities to enhance critical thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration. Such experiences are part of what makes Hope College a transformative and world-class educational experience.”

Hundreds of Hope students engage in research with faculty mentors part-time during the school year and full-time for several weeks each summer.  They regularly present their research at regional and national conferences and publish their research as co-authors with their faculty mentors.

The Hope students participating in NCUR, and their academic disciplines, research projects and (in parentheses) faculty mentors, are:


Mariam Tiews: art and art history, “The Currency of Medieval Friendship: The Portable Altar of Bishop Nitker and Emperor King Henry III” (Dr. Anne Heath);

Ayden Albright: history, “Justice Denied: The Supreme Court’s role in American Imperialism in Puerto Rico” (Dr. Lauren Janes);

Madison Coers: history, “Having its Cake and Eating it Too: The Case of AfricaMuseum and its Prevailing Colonial Legacy” (Dr. Lauren Janes);

Angela Green: history, “Les Quatres Communes: How Four Senegalese Cities Grew to Challenge Prevailing Narratives on the Colonizer and the Colonized” (Dr. Lauren Janes);

Samuel Hodgson: biology, “Why sex matters with climate change: Eco-physiological difference between sexes in a sexually mobile plant species” (Dr. Jennifer Blake-Mahmud);

Sydney Ward: biology, “The Genetic Viewpoint of Environmental Sex Determination in Plants: RNA Extraction of Striped Maples” (Dr. Jennifer Blake-Mahmud);

Cora Adam: chemistry, “An Analysis of Homocysteine and Homocysteic Acid in Bipolar Disorder” (Dr. Kenneth Brown and Dr. Leah Chase);

Katherine McCain: chemistry, “An Analysis of Homocysteine and Homocysteic Acid in Bipolar Disorder” (Dr. Kenneth Brown);

Elianna Sandman: chemistry, “Chemical Defenses in the Seeds of Pioneer Plants” (Dr. Elizabeth Sanford);

Sofia Rosenberger: neuroscience, chemistry and biology, “Ubiquitination of xCT: impacts on the protein’s stability, turnover rate, and localization” (Dr. Leah Chase);

Joshua Abbas: nursing, “State Laws in Reporting of Pregnant and Lactating Parent Cannabis Use” (Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers and Dr. Stephanie Johnson);

Audra Eding and Kelsey Osborn: education, “The impact of book bans on the creation of culturally sustainable classroom libraries and teacher practices” (Dr. Alyssa Whitford);

Emily Oegema and Jacob Humbert: education, “Religious Diversity and Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Teaching” (Dr. Yooyeun Hwang);

Marta Johnson: education, “Compassion Fatigue Within Pre-Service Teachers” (Dr. Jane Finn);

Katherine Mouganis: education, “Shifting Perspectives: Exploring Translanguaging and Bilingual Educators” (Dr. Mihyun Han);

Jesse Cooke: psychology, “Associations among dimensions of friendship quality, accountability, and sport commitment” (Dr. Olufemi Oluyedun);

Rebekah Yurschak: social work, “Foster Parent Experiences of Stress and Support” (Dr. Elizabeth Sharda).


Hope has received national 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.  As a current example, the Best Colleges guide published by U.S. News & World Report ranks Hope 27th nationwide among only 54 colleges and universities recognized for providing outstanding undergraduate research/creative project opportunities, counted among universities like Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Michigan, MIT, Stanford and Yale.

Among other acclaim historically, in 1994 Project Kaleidoscope named the program in the natural applied sciences a “Whole Program That Works” — a model for other institutions to emulate, and in 1998 Hope was one of only 10 liberal arts institutions in the nation to be recognized for innovation and excellence in science instruction by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with an “Award for the Integration of Research and Education” (AIRE).   Based on the college’s proven history of excellence, CUR chose Hope to present the national webinar “Transformational Learning through Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance” in April 2011. In 2017, Hope was one of only three colleges or universities nationwide to receive a Campus-Wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments (AURA) from the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), and one of only nine to have received the recognition since the award was established in 2015.

Just two days after NCUR concludes, Hope will highlight the breadth and caliber of student research experience with the college’s annual A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, which will take place on Friday, April 12, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.  Underwritten by Gentex Corporation, the April 12 celebration will include 126 research projects presented by 254 Hope students representing 22 departments and programs. 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.  The public is invited to the Hope event, and admission is free.