Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Summer Research: 2017 Projects

2017 science summer research projects

During the summer of 2017, 95 students worked on 64 different research projects across the science division.

Students were involved in a wide variety of research projects both on and off campus.  Projects ranged from creating 3-D models of fossils to studying invasive plant species to researching how to combat antibiotic resistance. One researcher studied the structure of lipids and another studied fossil wood specimens in Idaho. Research took place in campus labs and outdoors.  Some students traveled to other states and countries as part of their research and some “traveled” to outer space.

Below is a sampling of 2017 projects:


Ezmeralda Gonzales and Mariah Krikke assisted in developing tools to teach children about cancer. They were supervised by Professor Amy Wilstermann.



Chemistry and Biochemistry

32 students participated in summer research with 13 Chemistry faculty members. Anna Essenburg, Hyeong Gyu Jan, Michael Moentmann and Matthew Vander Wal all worked with Professor Michael Barbachyn on designing and synthesizing antibacterial agents that may be effective on multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Computer Science

Jordan Doorlag worked with Professor Victor Norman testing a tool designed to help middle-school students transition to a computer science language used in high schools. See the poster he prepared for the Science Division Summer Research Poster Fair.


Preston Ji studied the oxidation state of film layers in water pipes used to heat buildings. He was supervised by Steve Pohler, teaching staff in the Engineering Department.





Geology, geography and environmental studies

Matthew Wierenga worked with Professor Ralph Stearley. He travelled to Idaho for photography and analysis of wood fossil specimens. Read the summary Matthew wrote about his work.

Mathematics and statistics

High-resolution movement sensors can be attached to animals to observe their behavior, but there is a need for easy-to-use software tools to analyze and interpret the resulting, often complex, data. David Sweeney and Ye Joo Oh, supervised by Professor Stacy De Ruiter, helped develop and apply these tools. They were able to travel to St. Andrew's, Scotland to attend a workshop with participants representing 7 countries. See the poster they created for the Science Division Summer Research Poster Fair.


Physics and astronomy

Alex Van Kooten and Professor Jason Smolinski studied globular star clusters in the Milky Way to obtain data that may continue to shed light on the evolutionary history of individual clusters and the population of Milky Way globular clusters as a whole.

Calvin College Clean Water Institute

11 students, supervised by 8 professors from the Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Engineering, Geology, Geography & Environmental Studies, Mathematics & Statistics and Psychology departments, worked on projects involving different aspects of supplying clean water in the countries of Liberia, Jordan and Ecuador. Students traveled to Jordan and Ecuador for on site research. Students on campus studied the use of sand filters in Liberia, as well as statistical analysis of data and geospatial investigation. Read their summaries and see the posters they created describing their projects.









Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Nulla ut nibh.

Learn more

See a complete list of the 2017 summer research projects.

Read summaries students wrote about their projects

See posters presented at the 2017 Science Division Summer Research Poster Fair

Read the Chimes article (September 14, 2017) about on-campus summer research.