The Phelps Scholars Program

By Monica Teuthorn, Hope College Sophomore

Before I started my freshman year, college seemed like a foreign place. I didn’t have a ton of experience with it as I was one of the first in my family to really go away to a college like Hope. I had no idea what to expect. College seemed intimidating thinking about academics, research, internships, and more. I was moving to a new state to live with people I didn’t know, compounded the anxiety I already had about the academics and starting over, but thankfully I found the Phelps Scholars Program.

The Phelps Scholars Program is a living-learning community for incoming freshman. Now, I know what you’re asking yourself, and no it is not a scholarship nor is it an honors program. It is for anyone! The program focuses on diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness. Everyone in the program takes the same First Year Seminar course and everyone does some volunteering for the first semester. One of the coolest parts is that you get to go to fun trips on some weekends for free with the group. Each trip also comes with a different ethnic cuisine that is also free! The food is a huge bonus! One of my favorite trips was to a Powwow in Grand Rapids. It was the very first trip we had for the year. We got to go to their social gathering and experience everything from the food to the ceremony to the music. That was one of my favorite trips, because apart from being the first one of the year, it was very interactive. Not only did we get to observe how that tribe practiced, but they also allowed us at times to join the circle in a respectful way. I saw many students experiencing this culture for the first time with all different reactions, but all giving me a greater respect for my own Native American heritage. This trip ignited my passion for learning and experiencing other cultures, but that was just the beginning. There were so many more trips that taught me so much about myself and the world around me. More than just learning and experiencing these different cultures, this program offers a community for freshmen.

Sure the class is interesting, I love volunteering, and the trips are super fun, but honestly the best part of the program is the community it builds and the people in it. Think about it. This community tends to create such great bonds because you spend so much time with the people involved. You even live with them!  The best part is that this program intentionally brings different people together. Everyone comes from different places or backgrounds. This tends to happen in college anyway, but this program is intentional about it. Of course, with these differences comes some conflict or disagreements, but this program teaches you to disagree in a respectful way and learn out of those conversations. It is good to expose yourself to different people and cultures, because after college, wherever you end up, you will be surrounded by all different kinds of people who you will have to work with. This is preparing you to live and thrive in a global society. The other great thing is that you gain friends from all over the world. This program has given me some of my best friends, and I know these are relationships that will last a lifetime!

Find Your Home

By Rourke Mullins, Hope College Senior

Here it is, you’re 18 years old and the moment in life has come where you are asked to answer one of the most important questions of your life, “Where are you going to college?” It’s a daunting question that for myself, created a pit in my stomach. I didn’t know how to navigate my way through these feelings and the endless amounts of college mail my mom would throw on my desk. I know I am not alone in this feeling. So, the question is, how do we answer this question that carries more weight than most of us have ever dealt with?

For myself, I swung and missed at my first try. I had decided to attend a university for all of the wrong reasons. I choose it because, in reality, it was a cop out. It was a choice that had the lowest amount of risk and a choice that revolved around things that did not matter. I quickly realized this and had to force myself back to square one and ask, “Where am I going to college?” This time, the once impossible and scary question now seemed so clear. I am going to go home. Not back where I grew up home but a place where I feel at home. This moment is when it all changed for me.

I made a list of all the reasons of why I loved home and some of them were comfort, peace, and the feeling of being wanted. I took on my new college search with clear eyes and a heart that was looking for this new home that I was so hungry for. By the grace of God, I was led to this small Liberal Arts College on the West side of Michigan called Hope College. A place where you walk down the street and are able to say hi to your friends or complete strangers, a place where you can get incredible coffee and have conversations that will change your life forever, a place that hold’s you close during dark times and celebrates your good times. It’s a place that I now call home. A place where I feel comfort, peace, and the feeling of being wanted.

Here I am 3 years later looking  back on my experience and what a journey it has been. So if you are in the place that I was in, scared by the thought of where you will attend college, I encourage you to change your perspective. Allow yourself to look at colleges not as where you will be leaving your home to go to, but look at colleges as were your next home will be. For myself, I have found a home in Hope forever.

Are you asking these 6 questions on your college tours?

By Kristin Diekevers ’07, Associate Director of Admissions

Ahhhh, the changing of the seasons. We are about two weeks shy of the official start of fall (it’s September 22 if you were wondering), and colleges are back in session. That means many of you are doing yourself the awesome favor of scheduling college visits — seriously, there is nothing you can do to get to know a college better than by visiting.

Colleges are ready with their welcome mats and most tour guides are ready for the typical questions (and if they aren’t, be skeptical). How many students go here? What’s the average class size? Are freshmen allowed to have cars? How are roommates determined? What do students do on the weekends?

Four students walking on sidewalk under trees.

But you want to be a savvy consumer, right? Dig a little deeper into the college experience and consider asking these 6 questions on every college tour.

  1. What aren’t you showing me? There might be good reasons for limiting what you see — time length of tour, spaces reserved for faculty/staff, building hours, etc. However, it’s worth asking because you might also uncover areas of deferred maintenance or areas of concern for the college. In either case, you might consider circling back to these areas by yourself before you leave the campus.
  2. Take time to smell the flowers. Yes, this is a statement, not a question, but it’s important. Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. How are students interacting with one another? With faculty or staff? With you? What is on the bulletin boards and what signs are hanging up on campus? Are there literally flowers you can smell (hey, there is something to be said for well-kept grounds)?
  3. What faculty or staff member helped you the most your freshman year? How so? People matter. Connections matter. Connected people are generally happier and more successful both in college and in the long-term. Asking this question will help you learn if students make an early and lasting connection with an employee of the college.
  4. How is conflict recognized and addressed on campus? Given our current political climate, I think this is a fair question. College is an important time for young people to further develop conflict resolution skills. We hope they have good examples of people doing this on their college campus at all levels. Is there dialogue or dogmatism? Are there forums or fear?
  5. What was your favorite lecture, arts performance, guest speaker or chapel message this past year? “Bueller?…Bueller?…Bueller?” (If you have not watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, please do so the minute you are done reading this blog. You’re welcome.) Lots of students can listen and comprehend, but are they being inspired? A lasting impression made by a lecture fuels a student’s learning, development and success as a human being.
  6. What would you miss the most if you graduated tomorrow? Why? Make sure you add: “You can’t just say your friends.” This all goes back to how connected to their eventual alma mater they feel. Do they swell with pride in talking about their school and show enthusiasm? Do you get those feels when they share their experience? It’s a good signal you’re making a connection too.

I’ve said to ask these questions on every college tour, but really, these questions could be repeated over and over to any person — faculty, student, staff, administrator, coach — you meet on campus. Your tour guide will have one experience, but if you’re really interested in the college, talk to everyone you meet!

Ready to ask these questions within the Hope community? We’re ready to welcome you!

Need Me This Summer? I’ll Be in the Lab

Meet Anna Lunderberg. Don’t let the relaxed pose in the hammock fool you. This summer, Anna is hard at work on campus, doing things like studying the brain tissue of rats and running Western blots. (Yeah, I had to Google that, too.)

Anna, a soon-to-be sophomore at Hope, is collaborating with biology and chemistry professor Dr. Leah Chase on neuroscience research through the summer. For Anna, who is still uncertain about her major, this is a great opportunity to explore possibilities.

Anna came to Hope last year thinking she would be a physics major. During the summer of 2016, before her freshman year had even started(!), she participated in lab-based research at Hope with physics professor Dr. Jennifer Hampton. During the fall semester, Anna continued her physics research and participated in Hope’s Phage Discovery program. Students in this program do microbiological and molecular research to isolate, identify and investigate phages (viruses that infect bacteria.) They then share their discoveries in public databases used by researchers worldwide.

So, by the end of her first year, the Phage program had made Anna a bona fide researcher. What’s more, the program drew her into the biochemistry lab, where she discovered interests beyond physics.

Today in the lab, Anna is conducting research that will benefit mental health treatment. She studies rats that have been exposed to a derivative of homocysteine, a chemical found in higher concentration in the blood of individuals with neuropsychiatric disorders. She then determines if these rats respond better to lithium, a common treatment for bipolar disorder, or ketamine, a common treatment for depression. Using Western blots, Anna also studies how the proteins in the rats’ brains changed. The goal is to better understand the neurochemical changes associated with neuropsychiatric disorders.

“Even though things don’t always work the first time, it’s such an amazing feeling when things go right or everything falls together,” says Anna. “Procedures don’t always go well, but this is a universal part of science, and there is such a supportive environment here since everyone is going through the same thing.”

On any given day, Anna’s work is varied and well-supported, thanks to the active summer research community at Hope. She may be running tests in the lab, examining published research in her area, presenting her own findings to faculty and students or participating in weekly seminars. And, with programs like Chemistry Club’s Tuesday night beach picnics, she’s having fun with others her share her interests.

At Hope, you’ll hear a lot about collaborative student-faculty research. You’ll also hear about opportunities to participate in graduate-school-style research. Anna Lunderberg is making the most of both of these, and in the process making Hope a better and more interesting place.

What to Expect for First Year Advising

Freshman advising is an incredibly laid back experience. The process depends on whether you declare a major your first year.

Not sure on your major yet?

If you don’t declare a major your first year, your advisor won’t change. Your First Year Seminar professor will be your advisor until you declare your major. There’s no need to worry if you don’t know what you’re going to major in, most programs can still be completed in four years if you declare your sophomore (and in some cases, junior) year. Before classes even begin (during Orientation week), you are required to meet with your advisor to go over the classes you’re enrolled in. Then, at the end of your first semester (and all semesters to follow), you are required to again meet with your professor and go through the classes you’re planning on taking for the following semester.

Declare a major

You can request a professor from the department for your major directly on the major declaration sheet, or you may be assigned an advising professor. You should meet with your new advisor, especially if you’ve never met them before, just so the two of you can get to know each other outside of the constraints of a classroom. From there, your advisor can give you specific, thoughtful advice regarding your major, and the classes they believe would be best for you.

Your advisor is the person who can help you with just about anything and everything. They’re there for you and they want to help you, and watch you succeed. They can help you figure out what classes would be best for you and help you find internships and summer jobs. They can be excellent references on resumes, and a great source of guidance.

Your responsibilities are to take initiative in scheduling appointments and having a valid reason to meet with your advisor. Whatever you schedule an appointment for, you should be prepared for the meeting. For example, when you have your semestral meeting with your advisor regarding classes to take, you should have the classes you’re planning on taking already in mind to share with them.

Exploring majors

Hope’s liberal arts emphasis allows you to explore multiple possible majors, while still working towards graduation. This means that you’re free to take courses ranging from the arts to math, and still receive helpful credits along the way. Hope also offers a career development center where you can take tests that show you which field you would be best in. Your advisor is another great source of advice when exploring majors and planning for your future. 

Chilean Movie Night

This Wednesday (March 15), I and Amie Hixon will organizing a Chilean movie night on the behalf of International Student Office in order to promote studying abroad. We both studied abroad in Chile this past fall semester. I was in Business and Culture program and Amie was in Liberal Arts Program. We will have a brochures about all the possible options if you are interested in studying abroad in Chile.

The movie, we will be playing will be is called Machuca (2004) and it is about two boys who observe a political coupe in their native country Chile. The only reason we picked it because it has the highest ranking on IMDb of 7.8. It got 12 awards wins and 5 nominations. I and Amie have not seen it yet, so it will be for the first time as well. So come to watch and explore about studying in Chile!

@DePree Cook Auditorium  at 7:00 pm

Cover of Machuca movie.
Cover of Machuca movie.

International Food Fair at Hope, a.k.a. Czech Cuisine

This past weekend, on Saturday, there was an international Food Fair where international students were making foods from their home country. Unfortunately, I was not be able to able to attend, so I will talk about what Czech cuisine looks like.

All my not-Czech friends who tried Czech cuisine, they either really liked it or do not eat at all. The meal is usually very heavy and includes a meat and some type of sauce. Czech cuisine has one unique quality and that you can put it in the fridge for 2 days and reheat it and still tastes relatively good as when it is made for the first time. It is because in the history were living very economical life styles in farms many times and they were trying to use their resources as much as possible.

Like Italians developed pasta or Japanese sushi, Czech developed “czech dumpling” it very different than the Chinese one. We three types of dumplings. One is called “Bramborový” which is an adjective of potato, because the dumpling is made from potatoes. Then we have “Houskový” which is an adjective of bread roll because this type of dumpling is made from bread rolls. The last type of dumpling is called “Ovocny” or fruit dumpling because it has fruit inside, but people put there a lot of things like Nutella or jam. But if Czech person offers “Ovocný” knedlík one refers to a sweet dumpling.

Other popular meals are called Svíčková or Knedlo Vepřo Zelo.

Knedlo Vepřo Zelo is made of Bramborový knedlík, pork meat, and cabbage
Knedlo Vepřo Zelo is made of Bramborový knedlík, pork meat, and cabbage
Bramborový Knedlík
Bramborový Knedlík
Houskový Knedlík
Houskový Knedlík
Svíčková na smetaně is made of houskový knedlík, beef meat, vegetable sauce, and whipped cream and cranberries for a decoration.
Svíčková na smetaně is made of houskový knedlík, beef meat, vegetable sauce, and whipped cream and cranberries for a decoration.
Ovocný Knedlík
Ovocný Knedlík