Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Faculty: Deanna van Dijk

Deanna van Dijk

Geographic story

Professor van Dijk was born in Oxford, England, but her family moved when she was young, and her first memories are of Sioux Center, Iowa (US), where her family lived for 13 years while her father taught at Dordt College. In 1982, her family moved back to Canada, while her father taught at Redeemer College, in Hamilton, Ontario. Her favorite vacation spots include the Canadian Rockies, Atlantic Canada, and the Bruce Peninsula.


She spent her university years in Ancaster and Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. She graduated from Redeemer College in 1991 with a BCS in math, and a geography minor. She then went on to earn her MA and PhD in geography from the University of Waterloo, in 1993 and 1998. During university she enjoyed significant field experiences in Presqu'ile Provincial Park (on the north shore of Lake Ontario).

Professional Experience

In 1998, she had a short (but memorable) stay in Sackville, New Brunswick for a short post-doc in a salt marshon the Bay of Fundy. Then, in 1999, she moved to Grand Rapids to join the GEO department 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.