Robert Hunt receives new Eaton Conservation District – Michigan Arbor Day Alliance Award

Robert Hunt, Grounds Manager, received a new Eaton Conservation District – Michigan Arbor Day Alliance award of $2,000 to support tree plantings here on the Hope College campus.

This project will result in 33 new tree plantings on campus.  These tree plantings will represent approximately 20 different species of trees, and all will be planted along Columbia Avenue.

Congratulations on your new award, Bob!

Hope students and alumni receive prestigious fellowships!

One Hope student and two Hope alumni received National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships in 2019: Garrett Fogo, Rebecca Johnson, and Philip Versluis were selected to receive fellowships in this highly competitive programs–less than 20% of applicants are selected to receive an award.

Additionally, five Hope students and alumni received “honorable mentions” for their submissions to the Graduate Research Fellowship Program: Brandon Derstine, Jason Gombas, Max Huffman, Sarah Peterson, and Meghanne Tighe.  While “honorable mentions” do not include funding, it is recognition that these students’ applications were of high quality and merit.

Additionally, Amanda Gibson, a Hope alum and first-year graduate student at the University of Michigan, received a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.  These Fellowships are designed to support individuals with significant ability and special aptitude for advanced training in science and engineering in disciplines of importance to the Department of Defense.

Congratulations to our students and alumni for their accomplishments in these programs for 2019!

Strategies for Successfully Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers

A recent article in Ecology and Evolution highlights successfully strategies for successfully mentoring undergraduate researchers.  While this appears in an ecology journal, the strategies proposed apply to most academic disciplines that involve faculty-student research experiences (whether in STEM, arts, or the humanities).

For example, faculty interested in fostering interest in traditionally underrepresented students in their fields can consider a host of strategies to increase participation, such as:

  • Specifically targeting these students and encouraging them to apply;
  • Holding open, informational meetings where students can learn about various research opportunities;
  • Understanding our own biases and how they may impact the mentoring process;
  • Including current research students in the hiring and selection process to provide additional perspective and feedback on the prospective student; and
  • Developing a list of research topics/experiences that vary in terms of skills necessary and student time commitment to allow students with various academic and work commitments to participate in a meaningful research experiences.

For those of you seeking more opportunities to enhance your undergraduate mentoring skills and experiences, the article is worth a read.  It also serves as great source material for those of you interested in developing proposals with an undergraduate research component (NSF RUI and NIH AREA, for example).

Tips to Craft Your Proposal Need Statement

The Need Statement of your proposal is the most important sections of your grant–it justifies why you need to complete your project.  That’s why it’s so important to get it right–it sets the stage for the remainder of your proposal. has developed an excellent blog post about developing a Need Statement.  While it features an Institute of Museum and Library Services proposal and funding opportunity, the lessons learned here can be applied to both federal and non-federal proposals.

It’s worth a read for those that may struggle with writing a highly effective Need Statement, or for those that are looking to become more effective writers.

The Office of Sponsored Research and Programs also has other resources available to support grant writers.  Please contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (, to discuss other resources available to support your efforts.

Congratulations to our undergraduate researchers!

On 12 April 2019, Hope College hosted its annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity at the DeVos Fieldhouse.  This year, 327 students from 27 departments and programs presented 202 posters!

Of course, our Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity is only a piece of the overall dissemination plans of our students’ work.  During calendar year 2018, our students made 153 presentations at off-campus conferences and submitted or published 28 journal articles. Many of students currently are engaged in the $12 million in active external funding that supports 69 research and educational projects.  So while we celebrate our student researchers today, their work continues year-round and we are all grateful for their work!

Congratulations to our undergraduate researchers and their faculty and staff mentors on their impressive work!

Virginia McDonough receives new NIH award

Virginia McDonough, Professor of Biology, received a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) award of $246,972 for a project titled Regulation of the stearoyl-CoA desaturase by dietary fatty acids.  The award period is 1 April 2019 through 31 March 2022.

This project will determine some of the normal mechanisms of regulation of gene expression of a key player in unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis, the stearoyl-CoA desaturase.  Examining these processes may give researchers a better understanding of how uptake and metabolism of fatty acids from the diet can lead to insight and improved treatment of common chronic disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers.

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Virginia!

Register Now for an NIH Virtual Panel Session

The Office of Sponsored Research and Programs at Hope College and the Office for Sponsored Programs and Research Activities at the University of Detroit Mercy will host an NIH Virtual Panel Session on Monday 15 April 2019 at 1 pm in Schaap 3000 for Hope faculty.  We will have a live-feed between Hope College and the University of Detroit Mercy so that our panelists–Kristen Abraham, Eric Krukonis, and Ginny McDonough–can share their perspectives on developing competitive NIH proposals with faculty at both institutions.

Kristen and Ginny are current NIH R15 awardees; Eric is a current R21 recipient.  Please join us to learn about their projects, their approaches to proposal development, and tips and tricks they found most helpful in developing their successful applications.  Ginny and Eric will also share some of the lessons learned from their most recent experience as a study section panelists.  Attendees will also have an opportunity to ask all panelists their own questions.

Space is limited for this event.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Ron Fleischmann ( to participate.  Registration is required by Tuesday 9 April 2019.  Light refreshments will be served during the event.

Resource Feature: NIH Specific Aims Section

The BioScience Writers Journal has a wonderful resource for those individuals contemplating (or developing) a National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposal.  The most important section of your NIH proposal is the one-page Specific Aims section–it sets the stage for all of the other parts of your application.

To assist investigators in developing their Specific Aims section, BioScience Writers developed a resource titled NIH Grant Applications: The Anatomy of a Specific Aims Page that’s worth a read.  This is a fantastic resource to benefit any investigator at any stage (new or experienced), and it’s color-coded breakdown of an entire Specific Aims section helps illustrate the importance of this portion of the proposal.

Seeking additional proposal development resources for your application?  Feel free to contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (, to discuss your needs.

John Krupczak receives new National Science Foundation award

John Krupczak, Professor of Engineering, received a new National Science Foundation (NSF) award of $50,944 via the University of Texas at Austin for a project titled Capacity-Building Workshops for Competitive S-STEM Proposals from Two-Year Colleges in the Western US.  The award period is 1 January 2019 through 31 December 2020.

This project will develop workshops designed to increase the quality and quantity of submissions from two-year institutions in the western US to the NSF S-STEM program, which is a program designed to increase the success of low-income, academically talented students in STEM fields.  Dr. Krupczak will be collaborating with Maura Borrego and David Brown on this project.

Congratulations, Dr. Krupczak!

Hope receives 9 new awards from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium!

Hope faculty and students are the recipients of NINE new Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) grants for 2019-2020!

Four Hope students will receive fellowships: Meredith Bomers (mentor: Peter Gonthier), Eric Leu (mentor: Brian Yurk), Armandine Uwimana (mentor: Michael Misovich), and Carmen Chamberlain (mentor: Amanda Eckermann).  Students will work their mentors on a research project during summer 2019, with students presenting the results of their work during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Two Hope faculty members received Research Seed awards.  Phillip Rivera in Biology will receive a $5,000 award to support the project titled Understanding the impact of chronic low-dose, low energy, proton radiation on systemic inflammation and anxiety-like behaviors in mice.  Brian Yurk in Mathematics will receive a $5,000 award to support the project titled Identifying landslides in canopy gaps in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica using high-resolution multispectral satellite imagery.

Two Hope faculty members will receive Educational Program Support awards.  Susan Ipri Brown from ExploreHope/Engineering will receive a $15,000 award to support the project titled Air Quality Monitoring in the Middle and High School Grades.  Eric Mann from Mathematics and Susan Ipri Brown will receive a $15,000 award to support the project titled Engineering The Future Academy.  All three projects are designed to support K-12 students, pre-service teachers, and in-service teachers.

Finally, Peter Gonthier serves as our Institutional Representative to MSGC and received a $2,000 award to support on-going campus activities related to MSGC and a student scholarship.  Total MSGC awards to Hope faculty and students are $54,500 for the period May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.

Congratulations to you all!