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Faculty: Deanna van Dijk

Deanna van Dijk

Geographic story

  • Born: Oxford, England...but family moved while I was still very young
  • First memories: Sioux Center, Iowa (US) Our family lived here for 13 years (while father taught at Dordt College)
  • Back to Canada: In 1982 my family moved to Hamilton, Ontario (while father taught at Redeemer College)
  • Favourite vacation spots: Canadian Rockies, Atlantic Canada, Bruce Peninsula


  • University years: Ancaster and Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario with significant field experiences in Presqu'ile Provincial Park (on the north shore of Lake Ontario)
    • BCS (math major, geography minor). Redeemer College,
    • MA (geography). University of Waterloo, 1993
    • PhD (geography). University of Waterloo, 1998

Professional Experience

  • Bay of Fundy: 1998 short (but memorable) stay in Sackville,
    New Brunswick for a short post-doc in a salt marsh
  • Grand Rapids, MI: 1999 move to Grand Rapids to teach at Calvin College

Research Interests

  • Aeolian and coastal geomorphology
  • Cold-climate processes
  • Wind erosion in complex environments
  • Lake Michigan coastal dunes

Research History

  • 1991-1999:
    Graduate studies and post-doctorate research: I spent part of each year on the north shore of Lake Ontario studying the processes which make winter winds a dominant agent of landform change on the Presqu'ile Beach and coastal dunes.
  • 2000-present (Calvin College years):
    Long-term study: Along with Calvin students, I am measuring rates of sediment transport by wind and coastal dune change at a Lake Michigan field site in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. 
    Other projects include:
    • Collaboration with Hope College studies of an active dune near Holland, MI
    • Summer studies (with students) of several Ottawa County dunes to provide information for specific management questions
    • Studies (with students) to develop a method for creating a Dune Features Inventory for west Michigan dunes.