Title IX at 50: Grace VanDellen, Women’s Golf

Grace VanDellen, women’s golfer and mechanical engineering major

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passing this summer, Hope College Athletics shares the memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae around the 9th of each month during the school year.

In the 10th installment of our Title IX celebration, we spotlight women’s golfer Grace VanDellen, a mechanical engineering major who is interning this summer at Gentex Corporation, a technology company based in Zeeland, Michigan, that develops and manufactures custom high-tech electronic products for the automotive, aerospace, and commercial fire protection industries. VanDellen was the MIAA’s Most Valuable Golfer last fall and a College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District® Women’s At-Large Team this spring.

What are you doing at and learning from your internship at Gentex? 

I am an intern in the Mechanical Engineering Design Department. I am learning different design software like Catia that is used in the design process. One thing Gentex does is design and manufacture interior rear view mirrors. I am testing properties of components of the mirror in order to simulate and predict performance. 

What did you do last summer during your research on campus?

Last summer, I worked under Dr. Katharine Polasek on a project to understand and create a device to treat phantom limb pain. I conducted tests on able bodied individuals to see how their brain responded to electric stimuli. I also worked to help improve the testing equipment. 

How has being a student-athlete prepared you for working in your field?

I think the biggest thing being a student athlete has taught me is time management. This is helpful when managing many different projects or assignments. It has taught me how to set priorities and execute tasks. It has also taught me how to communicate and work as a team. As an engineer, I will work with many people and on teams with other engineers. Being a captain on the golf team has taught me how to lead and be a good teammate! 

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