Seven years after her graduation, Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed ’09 returned to Hope College as a full time faculty member in the Chemistry department. Dittenhafer-Reed is directly impacting current students in the same her professors impacted her just a few short years ago. Teaching and mentoring students through research is a passion of hers that she gets to live out everyday at Hope College.
Dittenhafer-Reed graduated from Hope with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. While at Hope, she had her first exposure to research. She conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Moses Lee. Directly following her graduation, she went to grad school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue a Doctorate of Philosophy in Biochemistry. Dittenhafer-Reed received the Graduate Research Fellow from the National Science Foundation. This prestigious award is given to graduate students working towards a masters or doctorate who are doing research in their fields.
While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dittenhafer-Reed was able to do research while also teaching and mentoring undergraduate students. In 2014, she won the Denton Teaching Award, which is an award that “honors biochemistry graduate students who consistently provide quality guidance and scientific training in mentoring undergraduate students.” This award is a testament to the dedication that she has to both research and her students. She cares deeply about impacting students and helping them during their undergraduate years. Most recently, she was awarded the Towsley Research Scholarship at Hope College. This award will allow her to continue her research on the Mitochondria (a part of the cell) into 2021.
“As a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, I strive to provide the same high quality, transformative experience to current Hope College students by modeling Hope’s mission. My goal is to offer innovative and rigorous instruction, while encouraging personal development and fostering relationships rooted in faith.”
As a student at Hope, Dittenhafer-Reed was involved in various activities around campus. Though her most prominent being summer and undergraduate research, she was also a student- athlete, playing for the women’s basketball team. She spent a summer in Vienna, Austria in the Vienna Summer School Program. Dittenhafter-Reed recalled how it doesn’t get any better than walking the streets of Vienna looking at the art and architecture of the building for a class. She also explained at the 10 Under 10 Young Alumni Panel that Hope College was instrumental in developing her faith. She was able to grow in her relationship with the Lord while here. She is grateful for the time she spent here as a student and is blessed to be back at the place she loves.
“For the first time, I felt connected to a supportive Christ-following community that encourages believers to intellectually evaluate their beliefs. The solid foundation I established at Hope College, allowed my Christianity to flourish in graduate school and beyond, even as I entered a more theologically diverse environment”
Hope College is proud to give Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed ’09 the 2019 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!