Tennis, Anyone? The U.S. Open Is About to Get Underway

Can Serena Williams put her 2018 U.S. Open meltdown behind her and earn a record-setting Grand Slam title? Can anyone other than the dominant trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic raise up and win a men’s Grand Slam title at the 2019 U.S. Open? Or, will young upstarts — we’re looking at you, Coco Gauff — and determined underdogs — maybe it’s your time, John Isner — have their day in the August sun at the USTA Billy Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, N.Y.?

Jorge Capestany

The U.S. Open starts on Monday, August 26, for its 139th edition, and Hope’s Jorge Capestany is an expert about professional tennis and the event. Capestany, manager of the DeWitt Tennis Center and founder of the Hope College Summer Tennis Academy, is a member of the USTA National Tennis Center Professional Advisory staff. He is a frequent speaker at the Tennis Teacher’s Conference at the U.S. Open, too. A multiple national and international award winner in the tennis teaching profession, Capestany is a USPTA master Professional and PTR International Professional. He is one of 10 people worldwide who have earned Master Professional distinction with both the USPTA and PTR.

Water Research for the Global Good

It’s World Water Week beginning Monday, August 25, and this year’s theme is “Water for Society — Including All.”

Top left to right, Dr. Aaron Best and Dr. Jonathan Peterson Bottom left to right, Dr. Mike Pikaart and Dr. Brent Krueger

Four Hope College professors have been conducting research with that theme in mind for three years now. Dr. Jonathan Peterson of the geological and environmental sciences department, Dr. Aaron Best of the biology department, and Dr. Mike Pikaart and Dr. Brent Krueger of the chemistry department are members of an interdisciplinary research team that is on a reconnaissance mission, looking at samples collected via Sawyer® water filters from 30 countries so far, including Kenya, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Costa Rica and Senegal. The research team’s goal is to help improve drinking water quality in less developed countries. They have presented their findings about particulates, bacteria, and heavy metals in global water at scientific professional meetings and are in the process of preparing a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Vive la France: Paris Liberated 75 Years Ago

Paris was freed from Nazi occupation 75 years ago on August 25, 1944. The Germans took over Paris on June 14, 1940, leading to France’s signing an armistice with Germany and a puppet government’s establishment in France. Gen. Charles de Gaulle continued to lead the Free French in resistance to German rule. The French 2nd Armored Division, formed in London at the end of 1943, arrived in Normandy in August 1944, and on the 19th, the French Resistance began its uprising against the Germans. Gen. Jacques-Philippe Leclerc led the Armored Division into the city, reaching its center shortly before midnight on the 24th. By the morning of Aug. 25, 1944, Paris was free.

Two Hope history professors can expertly speak about this momentous day and its after-effects.

Dr. Lauren Janes, associate professor of history, researches and writes about the history of French imperialism and French food history. She can especially address the importance of the French colonies and French colonial subjects to the Free French forces. Janes leads a May Term to Paris every year and teaches about modern French imperialism and French history in the 20th century.

Dr. Fred Johnson III, associate professor of history, teaches about modern European history, U.S. military history, and the history of U.S. foreign policy. He can especially address America’s WWII strategic bombing campaign, the complexities and challenges of the Grand Alliance against the Axis powers, and the U.S.’s involvement in D-Day and the liberation of Europe.

Addressing Summer Slide

Say “summer slide” and many parents may think of children using a fun piece of playground equipment. But for literacy experts, summer slide takes on a different, unwelcome definition. The phrase “summer slide” describes the decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session.

Dr. Deborah Van Duinen in her Hope College office

Dr. Deborah Van Duinen, associate professor of English, is expertly equipped to offer recommendations to parents to help their children avoid summer slide. Van Duinen is a literacy advocate. She writes, teaches and speaks in the area of English education, disciplinary literacy, young adult literature and adolescent and boys’ literacy. Every year since 2014, Dr. Van Duinen has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to direct The Big Read Lakeshore, a community-wide endeavor to broaden understanding and foster empathy through the reading of one common book. In 2016, she received the Michigan Reading Association’s Individual Literacy Award for her leadership of The Big Read and in English education.

Tree Love on Arbor Day

Hug a tree and plant one, too! It’s Arbor Day — a global holiday where communities are encouraged to plant trees — on the last Friday of April. The holiday originated in a village in Spain, Mondonedo, in 1594 and first was celebrated in America on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. The commemorative day promotes tree planting as well as environmental awareness and responsibility.

Dr. K. Greg Murray, Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray and Dr. Jianhua Li are Hope College biologists who have expert insights about a tree’s worth to our environment’s well-being.

Dr. K. Greg Murray and Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray

Dr. Murray, the T. Elliot Weier Professor of Plant Science, has broad interests in community ecology and evolutionary biology, especially as they pertain to plant and animal interactions.  He and colleague Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray, professor of biology, have also been tracking the ecological shifts in a West Michigan hemlock forest that is undergoing a potentially devastating insect infestation.

Dr. Jianhua Li

Dr. Li, associate professor of biology, uses data from anatomy, chemistry and molecular biology to study plant groups such as conifers, maples, lilacs and privets, and witch-hazels. He has written about The Tree of Life: China Project, for the Journal of Systematics and Evolution, a project that investigates the evolutionary biology of vascular plants in China. Li is also especially well-versed in Northern Hemisphere plant life, having served as a senior research scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for 10 years before coming to Hope.

Earth Day

Climate change. Oceanic garbage patches. Deforestation. Endangered species. Oh, the environmental woes we have in the only place we call home.

Let’s talk about creation care then, especially for Earth Day.

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22. First commemorated in 1970, Earth Day now includes events in more than 193 countries, which are coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

For Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, Earth Day is every day. He is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Professor of Reformed Theology at Hope, and he oversees the environmental studies minor and chairs the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee, also known as the Green Team.

As an environmental theologian and a strong proponent of sustainability efforts locally and nationally, Bouma-Prediger actually prefers the term “earthkeeping” since it implies that God and faith have been invited into ecological conversations. “Being a (earth)keeper, in the biblical sense, means being someone who serves and protects,” he says. He has written six books and numerous papers on the subject. He also annually teaches “Ecological Theology and Ethics” in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York.

IRS Tax Filing Deadline

April 15 marks the end of the 2018 tax filing season and is the final day to submit 2018 tax returns. For many, taxes are an unwanted chore made bittersweet by the promise of a refund. Or not. This year’s changes in the tax code have created headaches for taxpayers as unexpected payouts are being discovered by many.

Sheri Geddes, associate professor of accounting, primarily teaches individual taxation, corporate taxation, and managerial accounting at Hope. Her research interests are retirement preparation and financial literacy. Geddes is able to address the changes that have occurred for the 2018 tax filing season and how those changes affect individual taxpayers.

World Parkinson’s Day

April 11 is World Parkinson’s Day, dedicated to raising awareness and support for people who have the disease. Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system, with tremors being the most recognizable symptom. Over the years, researchers have found that dopamine acts as a messenger between Parkinson’s patients’ brain cells and enables them to complete everyday behaviors like moving, eating, and learning.

Dr. Leah Chase, associate professor of biology and chemistry, is one of those researchers conducting Parkinson’s disease investigations at the cellular level. In fact, looking into the brain’s biological and chemical flaws, especially as they pertain to Parkinson’s, has driven her neurological research agenda in Schaap Science Center for the past 15 years. She and her student research team made a first-time discovery about how dopaminergic brain cells naturally protect themselves against oxidative stress, a known problem in the cells of Parkinson’s sufferers. “Our research is the basic science needed in order for somebody, someday to fix the problem with a new drug,” Chase said.

March Madness Tips Off

March Madness — aka the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament — begins on March 17 with Selection Sunday and concludes April 8 with the Final Four. The women’s tournament coincides closely with those dates as well. Office bracket pools will begin and result in distracted co-workers as the “madness” encourages fans to root for expected winners while bemoaning busted brackets due to upsets and Cinderella stories. From a collegiate athletic viewpoint, “fortunes” rise and fall as teams either win or go home.

Dr. Chad Carlson, associate professor of kinesiology and director of general education

In 2017, Dr. Chad Carlson, associate professor of kinesiology and director of Hope’s general education program, published Making March Madness: The Early Years of the NCAA, NIT, and College Basketball Championship Tournaments, 1922-1951 (University of Arkansas Press). A collegiate basketball athlete himself, Carlson focuses his research on socio-cultural aspects of sport in the areas of philosophy and history of sport and their role in cultural trends. He is also especially interested in the connection between sports and Christianity, and in October 2019, he and Calvin College colleague Dr. Brian Bolt will direct the Second Global Congress on Sport and Christianity in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Daylight Saving Time Begins

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks during summer (and spring and fall) months so that evening daylight lasts longer, while sacrificing normal sunrise times. In effect, DST causes a lost hour of sleep in the spring and an extra hour of sleep in the fall. DST disrupts our internal clock, contributing to productivity wanes at work, significant pedestrian and traffic accidents increases and serious health impacts.

Dr. Andrew Gall, assistant professor of psychology

Dr. Andrew Gall, assistant professor of psychology, is a behavioral neuroscientist who focuses his research on understanding the neural mechanisms and functions of sleep and circadian rhythms. He is able to address questions on how DST affects the mind and body’s ability to cope with lost sleep and disruption in the circadian rhythm.

“Brain regions that receive direct information about light, such as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, must re-entrain to the adjusted time of day following a time change,” Gall says. “It takes our bodies longer to adjust to the spring time change as compared to the fall time change, similar to when we travel east, due to the phase advance in our biological clock. One way to help your bodies adjust more quickly is to wake up about 15 minutes earlier each day starting several days before the time change, and go to bed earlier and earlier each night. Doing so will start to adjust your internal clock before the time changes in the early hours of Sunday morning.”