The Benefits Of Digital Enhancement

With registration right around the corner, let us explore some of the benefits of adding a Digital Enhancement course to your schedule. Firstly, there is a vast array of classes across campus (all of which will be listed below). Each class offers different digital skills which are useful for different types of projects. Communication courses, for example, are useful for projects that might require conducting interviews.

The key to picking which course is right for you is dependant on what skills you are looking to reinforce and what projects you wish to do in the future. A link to the course descriptions will also be provided below. These are some of the benefits of Digital Enhancement.

With Digital Enhancement courses you can:

  • Learn new technology
  • Gain a deeper understanding of digitization
  • Practice and reinforce skills learned in the Mellon Seminar
  • Interact with new perspectives that can influence project ideas
  • Network with professors

There are many benefits to digitally enhancing your Mellon experience, these are just a few examples. Take into careful consideration what course would best fit your needs and if you have any questions about the course, email and we can put you in touch with the professor that teaches that course.

Here’s the list of Digital Enhancement courses that are offered Spring 2019:

COMM 151 Medial and Society (SS2, GLI)

COMM 251 Media Production I

COMM 257 Communications for Public Relations

COMM 354 Digital Cinema (Film Production)

COMM 356: Advanced Media Writing

CSCI 150 Web Design and Implementation (NSL)

CSCI 195 Programming with PYTHON (NS2)-– Must cross-register with CHEM 295-01B (Chemical Modeling Laboratory)

ART 105 Basic design (FA2)

ART 120 Basic Photo Digital (FA2)

ART 195 New Media (FA2)

MATH 210 Intro to Statistics (MA2)

MATH 311 Stats methods

MATH 312 Applied Stats (MA2)

ENGS 170 Computer Aided Design

SPAN 441, sections 41 and 51, Don Quixote

To find the descriptions for each course follow this link and click on each class to see the description.


Annika Gidley: Passion Turned Digital

One of the many benefits of being a Mellon Scholar is the ability to explore endless possibilities when it comes to projects you can create. Annika Gidley, a senior Mellon Scholar, took that creative freedom and ran with it. Unlocking Lily Potter is Annika’s latest research project and through it, she has shown how passion can meet the digital humanities.

 Annika’s project takes an in-depth look at Lily Potter, a character in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

She uses Rene Girard’s Mimetic Theory to analyze different aspects of Lily Potter and her role in the Harry Potter series.

Rene Girard’s mimetic theory, or theory of triangular desire, is fundamental to this particular interpretation of Lily Potter…. The theory is multi-faceted and examines many aspects of Western culture, but two of its tenets are of primary interest to this project: the idea of imitated (mimetic) desire, and the scapegoat mechanism

Annika’s research has allowed for a full exploration of Lily Potter.

This website, as part of a larger project, aims to realize the full significance of the character Lily Potter by examining her different relationships with other characters and the influence these relationships have on the events and outcomes of the series.

Her project, while providing an interesting take on the Harry Potter character, also shows that Mellon Scholars are allowed to express themselves through their research.

To view Annika’s full project click here.

“InclusiviREAD: Disability, Literature, and Community” -Aine O’Connor

“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”

The first time I ever saw myself in a book was when I was five, and my mother read Roald Dahl’s classic Matilda for the first time. Matilda’s plucky personality, love of books, and firm belief in magic all resonated, but it was her feelings of being an outsider that truly stuck with me. From the inside out, Matilda and I seemed one and the same, with our muddy brown hair and short stature. All I was missing were her awful parents, something I was and am glad I didn’t share! To this day the same tattered edition of Matilda comes to college with me each year, and I still see it as one of the most significant pieces of literature in my life.

As an adult, I recognize that finding a character who looked like me at such a young age was a privilege. Like all literature, middle grade and young adult fiction struggles to represent all children in that age group (around 9-18). Every reader knows the power of seeing themselves in a book like Matilda; it gives us confidence to be who we truly are. Perhaps even more importantly, seeing people who don’t look like us in books created empathy and understanding of different backgrounds and abilities. While massive strides toward a more complex version of diversity have been made in the past decade, there are still gaps that need to be filled. Also significant is the problem of dissemination. When these books are written, how do educators, parents, and students find about them?

My website InclusiviREAD was born out of this question. I wanted to create an easily accessible website where children, their parents, and their teachers could all find books at an appropriate reading level that choose to include at least one significant character who has a disability or debilitating condition. I chose to focus specifically on disability because I felt it was a marginalized group that is often overlooked in conversations on representation and diversity. InclusiviREAD has a database of nearly 300 middle grade and young adult novels that have been categorized to fit certain needs; for example, a high school English teacher who wants a book that is historically accurate will receive different, tailored recommendations on the website than a sixth-grader who wants to read science fiction. As the number of people that InclusiviREAD reaches increases, hopefully the number of books will increase as well. It is a collaborative and sustainable place for people who want to choose inclusion in their everyday reading.

When educators do not include stories of children with disabilities in their classrooms, when parents do not invite their children to read books where characters face challenges from a difference of ability, or when students who have a disability do not see themselves reflected in their literature, the world loses. A lack of inclusion is a failure to reveal complexity, and by so doing children of all abilities will struggle to see themselves as the complex, thoughtful human beings that they are. It should be a right, not a privilege, to experience the feeling of being known like I did with Matilda. Just one book can have an impact on how a child will see themselves forever; everyone has a responsibility to make sure that chosen book is worthy of its significance.

Learn more about Aine here and here.

Taylor Mills: Not Just a T.A.

This year, Hope hosted the Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities (also known as UNRH) conference. Recent graduate of Hope and the Mellon Scholars Program, Taylor Mills, is just one of the minds behind UNRH. In my effort to be a life-long learner, I asked Taylor some questions about UNRH and how the Mellon Scholars Program influenced her during the creation of the Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities.

The Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities

How do you feel Mellon prepared/encouraged you to collaborate on the creation of UNRH?

I had an amazing group experience during the Mellon Scholars seminar, which was a first in my entire academic career. I learned the value of collaboration which I think lead me to believe I could create an organization from scratch with people I wouldn’t meet with regularly in person, but all virtually. It was a huge undertaking, but we had just enough passion and insanity to go for it. Furthermore, I think the Mellon Scholars Program does a great job of encouraging students to be independent in their research interests. I felt supported and prepared to embark on something entirely from scratch, which is what makes the Mellon Scholars Program so unique.

Are there any projects you did, that you feel inspired the creation of UNRH?

I co-founded UNRH having only just finished the Mellon Scholars seminar so I hadn’t completed many projects yet. The seminar group project topic was one I proposed because I think research can and should have an impact beyond the world of academia. UNRH is an organization designed to empower students and provide them with opportunities often limited to graduate students and faculty. Since I have always had interests in pedagogy and social justice, the Mellon Scholars Program equipped me with the academic and collaboration skills that propelled me toward creating UNRH.

What do you hope to accomplish with UNRH in the coming years?

I hope that UNRH continues to diversify, involving more institutions, international students, and original scholarship. I also hope that UNRH participants do feel empowered to take ownership over their educational experiences. Undergraduate students are full of potential and I hope UNRH becomes known for changing the pervasive student mentality from being a passive learner and receiver of knowledge to an active agent of change and independent researcher.
In a different sense, I am no longer a student, so what I hope to accomplish with UNRH in the coming years is to have new groups of students keep UNRH going and growing as I take a back seat.

To learn more about UNRH click here.
Or to read another blog post about the UNRH click here.

What Does It Mean to Be a Mellon Scholar? (Part 2)

In the first part of this series, I talked with Cherish Joe, a first-time Mellon Scholar, and Studio Art Major. She shared insight on the Arts aspect of the Mellon Scholars Program. In this installment, I went in search of more answers.

The Alumna

Madalyn Muncy-Piens, a 2013 graduate, graciously answered my questions about her time in the program. Through her answers, I learned about the evolution of the program, and her answers have given me a new perspective. This is what she said:

What was your Mellon experience like?

I had a wonderful experience in the Mellon program and think it was one of the highlights of my college career. Not many undergrads get to have a digital liberal arts experience and I got to spend three years dabbling in media, the archive, and my own desire to share stories with the world. I would probably never have had such an enriching experience elsewhere. The thing I find most compelling about the program is the emphasis on sharing research through digital means. I think this is an important distinction, as it’s one thing to have the skills to write a thesis. It’s another to share that thesis in a meaningful way. I think that’s probably the most important part of the program and though I have never attended graduate school, I use those skills I gained in the program all the time in my career.

Madalyn Muncy-Piens (’13)

What is your favorite/most memorable experience you had with Mellon?

I really enjoyed the summer research I did in the program. I participated both summers I could on two very different projects, both very media-heavy. Having someone pay me to research something I was really passionate about just didn’t feel like work. I often wish someone would do that again!

Do you have any advice for students currently in the program? Is there something that you wish you would have known?

Two things: one stick with the program and make it your own. Follow your passions and you will get a lot out of your three years. Secondly, do not at all feel pressured to attend graduate school by ANYONE. We all know the pressure is secretly there (you’re doing some pretty hefty research that some grad students are envious of), but do some hard thinking about how you can apply the skills you’re learning right now to a career. Every other member of my cohort has gone on to earn a graduate degree and if that’s your goal, go do it! But don’t feel like you’re a failure (like I felt) if you want to try your hand at something else in the industry. You can get a job as a humanities major and you can use all of these skills, just in a different way. 

Madalyn’s answers gave me a chance reflect on why I wanted to be a part of the Mellon Scholars Program. This program offers so many opportunities to students who are passionate about the arts and humanities. I look forward to making this program my own, as Madalyn said. While I do not know where my research will take me over the next couple of years, the endless possibilities,  I think,  are what make the program unique.

The New York Times Democracy Forum

Philadelphia to Athens. Seven hours of sitting. “There’s no way this is actually my life,” I thought to myself, plugging into an album of podcasts I’d downloaded for this very long, transatlantic flight. I was about to embark on possibly the most influential, formative week of my life.

This year was the first year the New York Times selected a student delegation to attend their annual Athens Democracy Forum. Every year, the NYT invites a wide selection of world leaders, activists and speakers to discuss various issues pertaining to democracy. I was one out 23 students from all over the world chosen to represent their respective universities to contribute to these discussions.

I arrived in Athens disheveled and jetlagged, naive and anxious. This is what happens when one travels unaccompanied across the Atlantic for the first time, I suppose. Some of my colleagues, which I’d met on my flight to Athens, and I took a very expensive cab ride to the American College of Greece, where we were staying. The R.A. on staff kindly welcomed us, and helped us move our bags into dorms (which, by American standards, felt like a long stay at a Hilton hotel―we even had our own balcony).

That night we attended a student welcoming ceremony on one of the campus’s university building rooftops. Tiers of Spanakopita, roasted red pepper hummus, feta cheese, olives, and mouthwatering chicken gyros awaited our exhausted bodies and eager appetites. The directors of the conference, Dr. Simon Gray and Dr. Antonis Klidas, gave us a happy and warm welcome to Athens with words of encouragement.

Our first full day in Athens was dedicated to touring the Parthenon and Acropolis, which both constitute much of Athens’ rich history. We (the students) spent the following two days working in “breakout sessions,” in which we discussed the importance of youth participation and the role of globalization in redefining a changing political landscape. Entertaining such highly engaging discussions took a lot of brain work, but also brought us close in a very short span of time (which was fine by me–I’ll take philosophical dialogue over an icebreaker any day).

The opening reception for the Forum was held in the Zappeion, a massive marble colosseum, lined with towering pillars and an open rooftop. We arrived at the venue in our varying interpretations of the phrase “business casual,” bombarded with curious photographers and reception greeters who handed us our names on freshly printed badges with our names on them, labeled “delegates.” The event was out of this world. Think
Hunger-Games’-glamorous-capital-level-fancy. But maybe less silver confetti and starring more well-intentioned world leaders. My favorite moment of the evening constituted Times reporter Roberto Nieves, whom I’ve heard on many episodes of The Daily (a New York Times Spotify podcast), sauntering over to my table and offering me sparkling glass of champagne. I blurted out, “Yes of course!” We entertained a five-minute conversation on manners―I was thrilled. My memories of the entire evening are cloaked in elegance, gold shimmer, and a warm Mediterranean breeze. I texted my parents as soon as I got home: “I walked a red carpet tonight!”

The conference itself was an extensive exposure to politicians, journalists, human rights activists, and speakers I never fathomed meeting in my lifetime, much less in the span of a week.
Interviewers asked panels of NYT journalists about the role of fake news in conceptions of modern journalism. Roby Senderowitsch, a World Bank economist, responded to NYT correspondent Katrin Bennhold’s questions about reducing global inequality by calling for
benevolent policies to reduce disparity between countries. Brian Smith, president of the European, Middle East, and Africa group of the Coca-Cola Company, who participated in a panel discussion with four of my student colleagues, prescribed a genuine cooperation between the public and private sectors to achieve progress.

The entire week was unreal. Saying goodbye to the students in the delegation was surprisingly difficult, given our inseparability throughout the entire conference. We spent a week internally hyperventilating together about meeting such prominent leaders of democracies and being in such a cool place―and in the span of 24 hours, we were each back to our normal lives, just as we’d left them (the only thing that was different was that we were all now very behind in schoolwork).

We published our summaries of the policy discussions we overheard, and now our reflections are being published by the New York Times. Again—completely, totally unreal. I cannot thank my colleagues enough, for making the trip so enjoyable, the directors of the conference for welcoming us so warmly, and of course, Hope College and the Great Lakes College’s Association for making this venture possible. In the very real words of Kofi Annan, “Education is a human right with the power to transform.” I am unbelievably fortunate to have the ability to pursue my education at an institution that fosters values consistent with those of the individuals who spoke at the forum: peace, empathy, and a willingness to do good for the world.


[This post was written by Irene Gerrish ’19]

What Does It Mean to Be a Mellon Scholar? (Part 1)

    In my quest to become a digital humanist, I’ve started to wonder: what is it like for everyone else? So over the next couple of months, I will be listening to the experiences of several Mellon scholars past, and present, to figure out what does it mean to be a Mellon Scholar?

An Artist Among Us

Cherish Joe is my first subject. A sophomore who has just started the program, she is a Studio Art major. In my quest to understand all sides of the Arts and Humanities aspect of the Mellon Scholars Program, I decided to choose Cherish first because unlike myself she is in tune with art. At the time, her sculpture “My Legs” was being displayed outside the Kruizenga museum, this is what my inquiries led to:

    Tell me about your sculpture, what does it represent?

“My Legs” is an inflatable sculpture piece. I created the piece to start a discussion on rape culture. I think my piece engages the viewer in an interesting way that connects to the idea of rape culture. When you look at the big inflatable legs, you may want to touch them, sit in between them, or interact with them in some way that you as a viewer knows is socially inappropriate. Those are “my legs.” I created them, and they belong to me. I think that’s interesting that a piece of artwork or an object on display can easily be seen as desirable but unattainable, unless consent is given. When I think of rape culture in connection to this piece, I consider the social standings involved. For example, most victims of rape culture are female. When a female is unconscious or unresponsive to the interest of a viewer, she is not seen as unattainable. Her body is at the viewer’s disposal. Rape culture goes beyond the physical act of rape. It can be seen in a magazine article that criticizes a woman for her short skirt. I only want to start the conversation with this piece about rape culture. Because I’m curious as to why there is a social barrier with a work of art, but not a human body?

    Why do you like being part of the Arts and Humanities?

I became an artist because there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that comes along with it. People who work in the humanities often have a tough time because their work involves the process of creation and redirection of society. This is why like the humanities and chose art as my medium.

I learned a lot from Cherish and her amazing sculpture. Her insights have allowed me to realize that there is so much more that comes with being a digital humanist. Like she said, there is a lot of responsibility with these fields and with time there will be new aspects to discover. Who knows what I’ll learn next time!

-Sarah Herrera

You Can Be a Digital Humanist Too!

Becoming a Mellon Scholar has been an amazing journey so far, granted I only started the program this fall. When people ask me what the Mellon Scholars Program is, I give them a long spiel explaining the program as a whole and how we Mellons- a term used hereafter to identify students in the program- we study the field known as the digital humanities or DH. Those two words, “digital humanities”, they encapsulate so much and yet people know very little about the digital humanities. Partly this is because there is no set definition of what the Digital Humanities are. Digital humanists have argued from the very beginning whether the digital humanities discipline means applying the digital world to the humanities, or if DH applies the humanities to the digital world. Now, believe me, these are two very different things, and that’s why there is such a debate in the field. Whichever it means to a digital humanist, to me it means integrating two essential parts of human history.

The digital humanities integrate humanistic practices, e.g. the work of philosophers, artists, writers, linguists, and religionists, with digital technologies that are part of all of our lives. Mellons, in our journey to becoming digital humanists, are tasked with finding projects that reflect these two worlds. Without the digital humanities, we wouldn’t have access to archives that are digitizing their collections. Because of technology, people can view works that are spread across the globe. As researchers, we can now find sources with ease thanks to digitization. And yet, we ask questions that have energized generations of humanists: what can we learn from the past, present, and future?

Being a digital humanist is exhilarating and challenging and you can be one too!

Mellons at Conferences

What opportunities do Mellons have to present their research?

In my experience, Mellon Scholars are much more likely to be involved in a variety of groups and programs around campus. I’m currently the Vice President of the Gamma-Omicron chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. We sent three members to a regional conference at Andrews University on April 7th. Two out of the three members were Mellons. Conferences like this are great places to interact with students from other schools. They’re also very enthralling at times. I heard some great paper presentations that day. It’s also a great environment to hear feedback on projects. Matt Meyerhuber, another Mellon, actually won an award for his paper. There are plenty of opportunities for Mellon Scholars to go to conferences like this and I’d encourage scholars to attend at least one while at Hope. “-Jon Tilden, ’17.

I attended the National Council on Undergraduate Research this year. It was a beautifully orchestrated showcase of the nation’s most pertinent research and poised researchers. Spending four days with students from your own college at the University of Memphis, with easy access to downtown, accompanies presenting and observing high quality research well. It was wonderful to be surrounded by students from all over the country who were similarly toggling with important questions about the world. Also, the barbecue was so worth it!”-Irene Gerrish, ’19.

The Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities


What is UNRH? 

“The Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities (UNRH) is an organization committed to promoting, presenting, and encouraging rigorous student research in the humanities with an emphasis on incorporating digital technologies. We at UNRH fulfill our mission by hosting a competitive annual conference for accepted undergraduates with impressive digital humanities projects. As a project manager and co-founder, I have had the privilege of watching UNRH develop from an idea to two years of successful collaboration among students from all over North America. The idea for UNRH came when I met six other undergraduates at the IliADS Digital Humanities conference in the summer of 2015. We were there as assistants for our professors, and after sharing ideas about tools, projects, and research, we realized just how valuable time together with other undergraduates from different backgrounds and institutions can be. Thus the idea was born for a conference just for undergraduates. We designed a website and received approval from Davidson to host our first conference. Then we planned, crafted, and created a conference, received and reviewed applications, and finally held UNRH 2015 at Davidson College on November 6th a mere two and a half months after our first meeting at ILiADS. Having just returned from our second conference, this year at Washington & Lee University, I am blown away by how far our initial idea has come. I am excited to see the what UNRH becomes in the years to come.” -Taylor Mills ’17.

What’s it like going to a research conference? 

Image is taken from

“This January, I had the chance to travel to Lexington, Virginia, to present at the 2nd Annual Conference sponsored by the Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities. The conference itself was remarkable, as it was the first chance I had to engage directly with other digital humanists from regional liberal arts schools. Just the chance to talk side-by-side with other students about their prospective endeavors in the digital humanities both amazed and inspired me. Additionally, it was incredibly rewarding to receive feedback for my own research project on Boston’s 1976 Bicentennial celebrations.  Though it was only UNRH’s second year, the opportunity to involve myself in a strong and ever-growing network of digital humanists was invaluable. It revealed to me just how vast the universe of the digital humanities is and how we as students continue to adapt and shape future research.”-Cullen Smith ’17.

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