Standout Student-Faculty Research

How does a swimmer’s degree of balance outside the pool correlate to faster race times in backstroke and freestyle? When copper or cobalt is added to a nickel-based Prussian blue analogue film, what happens to its ability to store charge? What do In-Group/Out-Group theory and analysis of speeches reveal about whether both sides in the Syrian civil war have intentionally created foreign enemies and internal cultural divisions?

These topics students tackled with professors were among those showcased at Hope’s 2018 Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance — the largest, broadest event of its kind at an American undergraduate institution. Twenty-eight departments and programs, 382 students, and all four of Hope’s academic divisions were represented in the 247 projects presented. Supporting students’ research and artistic work were faculty mentors who in many cases were research partners, too.

The strength of Hope’s collaborative faculty-student research is honored regularly for its high quality and astonishing numbers. For each of the past 17 years — every year since the category debuted — the “Best Colleges” guide published by U.S. News & World Report has included Hope on its list of institutions that are exceptional for their emphasis on undergraduate research and creative projects. Hope was one of only 32 national liberal arts colleges to get that shout-out in the 2019 edition, and one of only 90 institutions of all types nationwide. And the college is one of just 11 institutions nationwide (and the only Michigan school) that has received the national Award for Undergraduate Research since the Council on Undergraduate Research introduced it in 2015 to recognize exceptional undergraduate research, scholarship and creative-activity programs.

Hope’s Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance has taken place yearly since 2001. The 2019 event (renamed the Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity) will be on April 12 at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse. It’s open to the public.