Life is about the moments that matter

I figured out a while ago that I should spend my life solving problems and so I’m pursuing engineering. While engineering isn’t easy, many pursue it in hopes of entering their field of work right after college.

That was me, for like the first week of my freshman year. I quickly figured out, though, that I wanted to pursue engineering in a different way when I joined the Hope Entrepreneurial Institute (HEI) mentorship program.

I always thought that the “entrepreneur” label was only reserved for those who could sell a revolutionary new product, but it’s not. It’s for everyone that believes they can provide something better, faster, cheaper, or all of the above. I found myself fitting into this community because as an engineer, I strive to create solutions for a world in need.

I always thought that the “entrepreneur” label was only reserved for those who could sell a revolutionary new product, but it’s not.

Student looking at computer. Going into my junior year, I have completed both my mathematics minor and my Spanish minor.  With the time I have remaining to finish my Biomedical Mechanical Engineering major, I have also decided to pursue problems not only as an engineer, but also as a Hope Entrepreneurial Institute Fellow to solve problems in a more immediate way.

We have meetings with our HEI mentor, Matt Gira, a 2016 Hope grad, from Fathom every other Wednesday at Start Garden in Grand Rapids. All HEI teams come together there so that we can go through team-by-team to see how every team is doing, what needs improvement, and what every team would need to grow. I believe that the mentorship aspect of HEI is most definitely a key asset to what makes this program incredibly successful. It allows mentors to guide newcomers along a proven path, saving time and money by avoiding common mistakes.

My close friend, Timothy Doorenbos,Graphic explaining how Honey Batcher software works. and I have spent the last few months at Start Garden developing and refining a software we’ve developed called Honey Batcher, a computer program specifically created to save precious time in postproduction for event and wedding photographers. As the user experience (UX) designer, my role is to dissect the modern photographer’s workflow to make improvements for the future. This includes conducting in-person and online interviews with our target market in order to solve their problems and fulfill their needs. Timothy is the temporary lead developer who handles coding and debugging within Java.

David Wang and Timothy Doorenbos receive check from MWest Challenge.We obtained our workspace at Start Garden in April 2018 at the MWest Challenge, a local pitch competition sponsored by West Michigan Colleges and Universities Group with the goal of promoting entrepreneurship and venture creation at the collegiate level. We were awarded first place and received a $5,000 grant and six months of unlimited access to a work space at Start Garden. Red Bull has also been an influence in our space, from providing free product to getting us connected with their local interior designer to help us optimize our workspace. This workspace is also home to two other teams from Hope College that competed in the MWest Challenge.

Student is coding software.Neither Timothy or myself are native entrepreneurs. But with my engineering major and Timothy’s computer science minor, we’ve both been able to use what we learned in our respective fields to put together what is called a “minimum viable product” — that is, we’ve been able to develop a solution-based product that is sufficient enough for early adopters. From here, we can continue to work and refine, or outsource labor if time demands it.

I’m an engineer first, but I believe that being an entrepreneur helps me be a better engineer because I feel that I can solve problems in a much more immediate way…

So, now what? Do I drop everything as an engineer and become an entrepreneur? Not quite. I’m an engineer first, but I believe that being an entrepreneur helps me be a better engineer because I feel that I can solve problems in a much more immediate way in a startup model rather than jumping on the corporate conveyer belt. But, I’ll be honest with you and myself: I’ll be jumping on the corporate conveyer belt sooner or later.  Wherever I go, I’m sure I’ll find myself at the doorstep of another problem in need of solving.

If you’d like to learn more about Honey Batcher or see how Honey Batcher can help speed up your photography workflow, go to for more details.

How to be a Leader: Walk on the Water, Remain on the Rock

Being a Leadership minor has its perks, and one of them is the Keurig coffee maker in the Idea Lounge. I haven’t actually used it personally, but I’ve heard good things about it.

And we can’t forget about the sweet whiteboard walls in VanZoeren 182, one of the few times in our lives in which it’s appropriate and actually encouraged to draw on the walls. Have an idea or developing a concept? Grab an Expo marker and see where the journey takes you. (Note: The Center for Faithful Leadership moved into the first floor VanZoeren Hall this year, it was previously located in the Anderson-Werkman building.)

The best part of all about the Leadership department at Hope, however, is right in its name: Center for Faithful Leadership.

Growing up, I convinced myself I would never be a leader. I was quiet, thoughtful, and vision-based. The idea of executing – and, even worse, being loud – terrified me. I thought it didn’t align with who I wanted to be, and through that, I decided it was someone I would never be.

By doing this, I put myself in a box. I placed limitations on myself that were self-defeating and untrue.

Through my experience in three Leadership classes this semester (291, 391, 231), I learned something important– we don’t have to be loud to be leaders. We just have to have faith.

We can be leaders who execute or leaders who create a vision. It takes both to lead.

What does it mean to be a faithful leader?

For my Entrepreneurship class final, our assignment was to write a reflection paper that integrated what we learned in class, how we will use entrepreneurship strategies in our everyday lives, and what it means to be a faithful entrepreneur. My essay was featured on CFL’s blog. For my answer on what it takes to be a faithful leader, you can check it out here.

I’m a different person now that I have taken these classes– In many areas, I can barely recognize the person I was before.

Tunnel Park Footsteps
[Tunnel Park] There’s always a set of footsteps that goes before us.

I’ve learned there is no fear in leading, because I am lead by a perfect love. As 1 John 4:18 states, “Perfect love drives out fear.” I will walk in that love.

Check out my Twitter newsfeed @hopesophie17. Questions or comments? Comment below or send me an email at

Hope Grows

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all are enjoying your summers! For all of you high school seniors, CONGRATULATIONS! 

I have been very busy in Holland so far this summer. My May term has ended, and I am now apart of HEI (Hope Entrepreneurship Initiative). This means there are eight Hope students who are working on their own ideas for the summer. We are working with Momentum and attending their events in Grand Rapids each week. We work on our ideas as a group and individually and meet up with other people working on start-ups at Momentum events. We attend a workshop weekly and also a dinner. This already has been a great opportunity and I am learning a lot. I will further explain my idea a different time, but I am hoping for the organization to be called Hope Grows. I have a logo below that I have been working on. 

I am very impressed with the opportunities I have already been exposed to through Hope’s entrepreneurship program. We meet as a group weekly and have lunches with people from around the area, and they share with us all sorts of advice and stories. This summer is already off to a great start.

When I have not been working, I have taken several trips to the beach. I ride my bike there and love to run along the water. These past couple of days have been very hot. It’s a nice change from the cold winter months, so I cannot complain. 

Have a great week!

Best May Term Class!

Hello everyone!

I am currently in JPs Coffee House prepping for my presentation that I give in about an hour. The entrepreneurship class has been great! We have heard from several different speakers and are learning about developing our ideas. We have talked about idea generation, idea assessment, idea protection, branding, human resources, financial resources, risk management, and market strategy. The course is very intense, but I am learning so much in only three hours a day. This entrepreneurship class is very unique to Hope and opens up a lot of networking for students in the class. We have attended conferences in Grand Rapids and have been having lunches with a variety of different business people from the Holland area.

I am learning a lot about business and everything it takes to get the ball rolling to start one. I feel like everything I learn in the class is definitely practical to my life and the real world. So far it has definitely been the most interactive class I have ever had. The class consists of only 10 people, and we have 2 professors so it is very personalized.

Well, I better work some more on my presentation. I hope you all have wonderful weekends! 

Here is a picture from my trip to the beach at Holland State Park. Beautiful sunset!