Convocation

2013 Calvin College Honors Graduates

Honors Grads '13

 

The entire convocation ceremony was recorded. To view, click here. Prof. Amy Wilstermann's speech, Ryan Martinie's speech, and the Convocation program are available online as well. Feel free to click on the links to read the full texts. Congratulations to our graduates and their families! We are proud of you and the work you accomplished! We are praying for God's richest blessings upon you as you embark on your careers. Be sure to keep in touch! 

Shaun Alsum (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in physics as well as a major in mathematics and a minor in philosophy. His research last summer on a team with Professor Matt Walhout (Physics & Astronomy) focused on “Pairwise Filament Interactions in Dielectric Barrier Discharges.” After graduating from Calvin, Shaun plans to attend graduate school in physics.

Mark Anderson (Whitmore Lake, MI) is graduating with honors in both business and sociology. He is completing an honors thesis this spring that integrates research on practice and learning to explain current theories of product development and to suggest strategies for improvement. This research will also include empirical data from interviews with local companies of different sizes about product development tactics. Mark is currently looking for a full-time position in marketing. After spending a few years in a full-time position, Mark hopes to return to school for an MBA.

Betsey Baumann (Holland, MI) is graduating with honors in psychology as well as a minor in biochemistry. Her honors research explores the relationship between cognition and religiosity, as displayed in the trait of right wing authoritarianism. She presented her results at the Michigan Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference and contributed to a number of publications and presentations by her mentor, Professor Julie Yonker (Psychology). After graduation Betsey plans to enter the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Lauren Bender (Shelby Twp., MI) is graduating with honors in psychology and a minor in Spanish. For her honors thesis, she assisted Professor Tellinghuisen (Psychology) with research examining the effects of auditory distraction on visual attention. After one year, Lauren hopes to pursue a doctorate in social psychology with the intention of becoming a research psychologist and teaching at a university.

Tyler Bleeker (Zeeland, MI) is graduating with honors in biology as well as a major in environmental studies. He completed an internship and research that investigated morphological and phenological evolution in invasive plant populations. After graduating, Tyler plans to pursue a master’s degree in forest ecology.

Tyler Bosgraaf (Hudsonville, MI) is graduating with honors in business (finance) as well as a major in economics and a minor in Japanese. As part of his honors work, he has performed financial analysis and developed a model to calculate returns to initial Steelcase shareholders. He also developed a comprehensive guide to picking stocks for new members of Knight Investment Management. After graduating, Tyler hopes to pursue a career in private equity.

Anna Casto (Denver, CO) is graduating with honors in biochemistry and a major in biology. Her honors research involved work with Professor Darla McCarthy (Biochemistry) on the gene that codes for the enzyme PCP-mono oxygenase, which degrades the environmental toxin PCP (pentachlorophenol). Anna hopes to enter a doctoral program in plant molecular biology.

Keming (Eddy) Chen (Wuhan, Hubei Province, China) is graduating with honors in philosophy as well as a major in mathematics and a minor in physics. He is writing his honors thesis on “Truth in and Truth at” under the supervision of Professor Alvin Plantinga (Philosophy). Eddy participated in the Scholars’ Semester at Oxford University, and he plans to enter a doctoral program in philosophy while also seeking graduate degrees in mathematical physics and linguistics.

Meng Chen (Changsha, Hunan Province, China) is graduating with honors in mechanical engineering. For various engineering courses, Meng wrote C code interfacing between a Wii controller and an RC helicopter, designed and analyzed an internal combustion engine, modeled a chair under different uses, and completed research on energy consumption in China. Meng is planning on attending graduate school in the fall.

Jobadiah Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH) is graduating with honors in history as well as minors in music and archaeology. His senior thesis, under the supervision of Professor Bert de Vries (History), is titled “Technology of Lime-Burning from Prehistoric to Late Antiquity in the Southern Levant,” a topic not extensively studied by archeologists in the near East. After graduating, Jobadiah will be attending Kent State for a master’s degree in Public and Local History.

Yelena Davis (Caledonia, MI) is graduating with honors in biology as well as minors in biochemistry and psychology. She has done research with Professor Anding Shen (Biology) on the relationship between t-cells and HIV in vivo along with APC signals that allow productive HIV infections to occur. Her senior thesis deals with the science and ethics of preventative pharmacological intervention in prodromal schizophrenics. After graduating, Yelena hopes to attend medical school at MSU CHM in downtown Grand Rapids.

Marissa DeBoer (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in business (marketing) as well as a minor in psychology. For her honors thesis she formed a business plan for a hypothetical non-profit art therapy center in Grand Rapids. Marissa recently submitted and entered her thesis into the Calvin College Business Plan Competition and earned first place. After graduating, she hopes to work for a few years in marketing before potentially forming a non-profit art therapy center for children dealing with homelessness, autism, grief, depression, and similar challenges.

Laura de Jong (St. Catharines, Ontario) is graduating with interdisciplinary honors in history, congregational & ministry studies, and English. For her senior project, she researched the role of storytelling as an act of reconciliation between Christians of different cultural and denominational backgrounds, resulting in the writing of a narrative play. After graduating, Laura plans to enter Calvin Theological Seminary for a Master of Divinity degree.

Eric Doornbos (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in history and international relations. Under the direction of Professor Robert De Vries (Political Science), his honors thesis for international relations examined “The South China Sea: Political Flashpoint or Economic Battleground?” Eric’s honors history thesis, under the supervision of Professor Bruce Berglund (History), is entitled “Shifting Boundaries in the Balkans: A Comparison of 1919 and 1995”. Eric studied in Vietnam, Cambodia, Israel, Uganda, Turkey, and Bosnia during his time at Calvin. He had spring and summer 2012 internships at the United States Department of State in Washington D.C. After graduating, Eric will attend Georgetown University.

James Grant Fahey (Salem, OR) is graduating with honors in biotechnology as well as a minor in scientific computation and modeling. He helped develop a computer program that allowed microbiologists to analyze bacterial and viral communities using protein data from a MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer. This program is still in development but has already been used for real research, and he is currently compiling the results of the program and microbial research into a publishable format. Grant plans to attend Western Seminary in Portland, OR to obtain an M.A. in theology before continuing with either a career or further education in the field of systems biology.  

Alex Harris (Rockford, MI) is graduating with honors in biology as well as minors in Spanish and biochemistry. His honors research built on work done in Calvin’s Phage research course, which is sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He worked with two other students to synthesize and analyze lysogenic strains of Mycobacterium smegmatis infected with the mycobacteriophage Anaya. This work was incorporated into a publication in the journal PLOS ONE. In the fall, Alex will be attending medical school at the University of Michigan.

Melanie Holtrop (Beverly Hills, MI) is graduating with honors in biology as well as a major in Spanish and a minor in biochemisty. At the West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference, she presented “The Role of Dystroglycan in Muscular Dystrophy and its Associated Cardiomyopathies,” a report on her summer research at the University of Michigan with Dr. Dan Michele. Melanie also completed an honors project entitled “The Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease.” After graduating, Melanie plans to enter medical school at the University of Michigan.

Brittany Hoolsema (Rudyard, MI) is graduating with honors in biology and a minor in Spanish. She has investigated the effects of the flatworm Diplostomum flexicaudatum on fish vision and discovered that, in addition to residing in the lens (which they were known to infect), these flatworms also reside in the retina of some fish species. Brittany hopes to attend the Michigan College of Optometry after her graduation.

Erica Marie Jensen (Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, China) is graduating with honors in religion as well as a major in English. She researched Matteo Ricci and his approach to Confucianism, and she wrote on Bonhoeffer’s approach to Christology and community in his book Life Together. This semester, Erica wrote an honors paper on “Joseph and Aseneth,” an early Jewish story of romance, adventure, and conversion. After graduating, Erica will be getting married and then moving back to China to teach at Yantai American School.

Rebekah Kline (Rochester, MI) is graduating with honors in economics as well as minors in mathematics and French. She has done honors research on behavioral economics and cultural norms. After graduating, Rebekah will be a buyer at General Motors; she then hopes to return to graduate school to complete an MBA and spend time abroad.

John Kloosterman (Thornton, Ontario) is graduating with honors in computer science as well as a major in philosophy. His honors work in the last year has been exploring the possibilities of parallel computing using graphics cards, especially how to make this new technology easier for programmers to use. After graduating, John will be pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Michigan.

Ha kyung (Hidy) Kong (Seoul, South Korea) is graduating with honors in both music and computer science. Her honors senior research project, under the supervision of Professor Harry Plantinga (Computer Science), automates the generation of piano sheet music from four-part hymns for accompanists. After graduating, Ha Kyung will enter a Ph.D. program in computer science to research how technology can enhance the field of music therapy.

Nathan Korstanje (Thunder Bay, Ontario) is graduating with honors in philosophy as well as a minor in religion. His honors research was on Kierkegaard’s doctrine of conversion and its consequences for the feasibility of Christian apologetics. Nathan participated in the Calvin semester in Grenoble, France, and in the Scholars Semester at Oxford University. After graduating, he hopes to study for two months at the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College before working for a year at a L’Arche community. He later plans to attend graduate school in theology.

Caleb Lagerwey (South Holland, IL) is graduating with honors in history education as well as a major in social studies. While under the direction of Professor William Katerberg (History), Caleb wrote his honors thesis on Dr. Lyman Abbott, a turn-of-the-century American preacher and editor who explored the issues of evolution, progress, and imperialism. After graduating, Caleb hopes to find a high school or middle school teaching position in social studies.

Geneva Langeland (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in biology as well as a minor in writing. She worked with Professors David Warners and Randy Van Dragt (Biology) to investigate the past, present, and future of sustainability initiatives at Calvin. Their findings will be instrumental in deploying a half-million dollar grant for environmental education. After graduating, Geneva will be seeking a job or internship in ecosystem management or environmental quality analysis.

Ae Hee Lee (Trujillo, Peru) is graduating with honors in English as well as minors in ESL and writing. Her honors thesis was a creative project, a cross-cultural fairy tale called “Fairy Forest,” along with a critical analysis of the genre of fairy tales and their effect on the development of children’s cultural identity. After graduating, Ae Hee hopes to attend graduate school and study comparative literature.

Sabrina Lee (Elmhurst, IL) is graduating with honors in both English literature and French. During her junior year, she wrote her French honors thesis on Hélène Cixous’ Les Rêveries de la femme sauvage. For her English honors thesis, she used Cixous’ theory of ecriture feminine to analyze Lady Gaga’s music videos “Bad Romance” and “Yoü and I.” As a McGregor Fellow in 2012, Sabrina worked with Professor Elizabeth Vander Lei (English) on a linguistic analysis of important federal documents on higher educational reform. After graduating, Sabrina wants to drink tea, eat chocolate, and read good books in France.

Justin C. Majetich (Burton, OH) is graduating with honors in English literature as well as a minor in music. His honors thesis investigates the telos of Binx Bolling’s existential search in Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, utilizing Søren Kierkegaard’s work on the self and despair as a primary source for comparative analysis. After graduating, Justin will pursue a lucrative career in “being-a-rock-star.” That is, until he burns out and/or realizes how devastatingly in love he is with academia and enrolls in a graduate program.

Paula Manni (Canton, MI) is graduating with honors in art history as well as minors in biology and archaeology. This fall, she interned with the curatorial department at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. She is currently interning with Calvin’s Center Art Gallery to plan an exhibition for 2014 using the framework of the Remondini print firm to explore notions of visual culture in 18th century Europe. In the next year, Paula will be interning in the Department of Contemporary Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and will be applying to graduate school for a doctorate in art history with a concentration in museum curation.

Ryan Martinie (Hudsonville, MI) is graduating with honors in both biochemistry and biology. For the past three years, he has investigated covalent cross-linking between two amino acids in proteins: tyrosine and cysteine (Tyr-Cys). Using bioinformatics and experimental validation, he discovered the 5th known Tyr-Cys crosslink containing protein BF4112. After graduating, Ryan plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at Penn State.  

Larissa Osterbaan (Hudsonville, MI) is graduating with honors in biotechnology as well as a minor in biochemistry. During the summer of 2012, she did a research internship in Cornell University’s department of plant pathology and plant microbiology, searching for recessive resistance genes to a grapevine virus. After graduating, Larissa plans to attend Cornell University to earn a Ph.D. in plant pathology.

Anna Plantinga (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in biology as well as a major in mathematics. She has been working with Jeff MacKeigan at the Van Andel Institute to discover novel regulators of autophagy (cellular recycling of nutrients) and endocytosis (cellular intake of nutrients). Anna plans to pursue a doctoral degree in biostatistics.

Mamitina Joella Ranaivoson (Madagascar) is graduating with interdisciplinary honors in international relations, religion, and writing; as well as a minor in congregational and ministry studies. Her honors thesis for international relations is on the revolution in Egypt and sexual assault, and her honors thesis for religion is a comparative analysis of Luther and Calvin’s views on culture. After graduating, Joella will begin at Calvin Theological Seminary in the Master of Divinity program.

James W. Randall (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in international relations as well as majors in political science and Spanish and a minor in communication arts and sciences. His honors thesis is titled “Interstate Integration and Intrastate Nationalism: The Fragmentation of the European Union’s Multinational States.” James is currently interning at the Department of State in Washington D.C. and is planning on working in DC for the summer, before entering graduate school at the University of Chicago in the fall.

David Rietema (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in Spanish as well as a major in economics. He completed three research projects in the last two years including “International Relations: The United States and Nicaragua in the Iran-Contra Scandal,” “The Collision of English and Spanish in the American Southwest,” and “Sports Communication as Seen on Calvin College’s Men’s Basketball Team.” David plans to work in global strategy and planning at Amway Corporation.

Jacqueline Ristola (Robbinsdale, MN) is graduating with honors in film and media studies as well as a minor in literature. She recently did research on the animation aesthetics of Disney’s Fantasia 2000 using French film critic Andre Bazin’s theoretical work on film realism. Under the supervision of Professor William Romanowski (Communication Arts & Sciences), she submitted the paper to Depauw University’s Undergraduate Conference, where it was accepted. Another paper comparing the novel Frankenstein to the film adaption Bride of Frankenstein was accepted for presentation at Taylor University’s “Making Literature” conference. Jacqueline will be taking a one-year break before heading to graduate school, and she hopes to become a film professor with a focus on animation.

Stephanie Rosema (Grandville, MI) is graduating with honors in nursing. Her honors research includes a literature review, single case study, and newly synthesized quality measurement tool—all concerning the importance of education, advocacy, and quality of nursing care surrounding the population of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. She has presented this research in the Nursing Department as well as the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Research event in Grand Rapids. Stephanie had the pleasure of working alongside multiple nursing professors, including Joke Ayoola, Suzan Couzens, Carol Rossman, and Elizabeth Byma. She plans to gain nursing experience for a year or two and then attend graduate school for a DNP degree in hopes of becoming a family nurse practitioner.

Laura Schipper (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in nursing. She has done honors research on the psychological effects of breast cancer, safe treatment during pregnancy, differences between African-American and Caucasian breast cancer patients, and the relationship of breast cancer treatment to the metaparadigms of nursing. She has presented this research in the Nursing Department and at the Midwest Nursing Research Society conference in Chicago. After graduating, Laura plans to attend graduate school for a nurse practitioner degree.

Patrick Sherwood (Rochester, NY) is graduating with honors in psychology as well as a minor in gender studies. He has conducted and presented honors research on the levels of religiosity in student leaders. Patrick plans to enter a graduate program in counseling psychology next Fall.

Josiah Sinclair (Hamilton, Ontario) is graduating with honors in physics. At Calvin, Josiah worked on two physics research projects: studying Probst Bundle Connectivity in Mice with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum under Professor Haarsma (Physics & Astronomy) and Professor Moes (Psychology), and working with Pattern Formation in non-linear Dielectric Barrier Discharge Systems with Professor Walhout (Physics & Astronomy). He plans to attend graduate school in physics.

Rebecca Soyster (Northville, MI) is graduating with honors in international development studies with an emphasis in the pre-physician assistant program. While studying in Romania in 2012, she worked with medical anthropologist Jon Stillo researching tuberculosis in Romania, specifically investigating why people default on treatment. Following interviews with several Romanian health experts, she wrote a grant proposal for a project that will tackle many of the social issues of TB through youth empowerment IMPACT clubs. After graduating, Rebecca plans to marry in June and work as a nursing assistant, and she hopes to attend physician assistant school in the fall of 2014.

Rebecca Stout (Ypsilanti, MI) is graduating with honors in English as well as a minor in philosophy. For her honors thesis she worked with Professor Debra Rienstra (English) and Professor Chad Engbers (English). She researched Elizabethan fools, used that knowledge to inform her analysis of the fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear, and then explored whether such a character, no longer understood today, can be reinterpreted in a meaningful way in modern films. Rebecca plans to seek a master’s degree in library science at Wayne State University and find a job as a children and young adult librarian in a public library.

Mikaela Vander Baan (Uxbridge, MA) is graduating with honors in nursing. Her honors work has included Nursing Department presentations and research papers. Her research has focused on the relationships between nutritional state, socio-economic status, and health outcomes in a variety of populations. Mikaela’s most recent honors work focused on the etiology of cancer in relation to one’s environment and health status. After graduating, Mikaela will begin working at Saint David's South Hospital in Austin, Texas on a Medical/Surgical floor. Mikaela hopes to gain nursing experience before attending graduate school to become a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Anesthesia.

Michael VanderMeer (Oshawa, Ontario) is graduating with honors in French as well as a major in political science. He wrote his honors thesis on Louis Ferdinand Desouches / Celine and his iconic novel Voyage au bout de la nuit. Michael argues that the virulent, anti-Semitic pieces Celine wrote later in life were not aberrations but the logical fruition of ideas visible in his novel. After graduating, Michael will work in construction and the oil fields in Alberta while getting TESL certification. He then hopes to travel to Colombia and France to gain fluency in Spanish and French. Eventually he will enter an MA program in international relations in Ottawa and seek employment in foreign affairs with the Canadian government.

Julia VanderMolen (Grandville, MI) is graduating with honors in classical studies as well as a major in mathematics for secondary education and a minor in Latin. Her honors research, under the supervision of Professor David Noe (Classics), included a paper on the Roman poet Horace, focused particularly on the ninth poem of his first book of Odes, Vides ut alta, and the characteristics and poetic models that the bard borrowed and adapted from earlier traditions. Julia will be student teaching next fall and then hopes to find a teaching position, teaching middle or high school mathematics. She is also considering graduate school for a degree in higher education to work in student affairs and residence life.

Rebekah Vander Veen (Holland, MI) is graduating with honors in business as well as a major in philosophy. Her honors research includes a paper exploring women's roles in business comparing entrepreneurial and corporate careers with Professor Snyder. After graduation Rebekah plans to pursue a position in strategic or financial consulting with hopes to pursue an MBA and/or JD. 

Carol-Anna van Milligen (West Chester, OH) is graduating with honors in fine arts. Anna’s honors project, Kitsch Kalendar 2013, took the form of a self-curated art exhibition inspired by her continued efforts to develop a unique aesthetic of kitsch in order to address issues related to gender and constructions of femininity. The show featured the face-painting handiwork of fellow artist Annette Brouwer and ironic hors d’oeuvres by emergent caterer, La Merde, as well as two and three-dimensional works by Anna and her peers. After graduating, Anna hopes to attend graduate school.

Jonathon Vandezande (Raleigh, NC) is graduating with honors in chemistry as well as a major in mathematics and a minor in scientific computing. His honors presentation focused on using the concept of Extent of Reaction as a pedagogical tool for introductory chemistry students. This work involved the development of multiple HTML5 based software applicants to help teach students about Limiting Reactants and Gibbs Free Energy. He is currently in the process of publishing a manuscript on his work in the Journal of Chemical Education along with his advisor, Professor Roger DeKock (Chemistry). After graduating, Jonathon will be attending graduate school at the University of Georgia to pursue a doctorate in computational and quantum chemistry.

Nicholas Vryhof (Palos Park, IL) is graduating with honors in biochemistry as well as a major in biology. He has worked with Professor Carolyn Anderson (Chemistry) researching the synthesis of N-alkyl pyridones. After graduating, Nicholas will be attending medical school.

Melanie C. Witte (Grand Rapids, MI) is graduating with honors in nursing as well as a major in Spanish. Over the last two years, she has conducted literature reviews on the topic of dietary sodium. Each semester of research focused on a specific population including patients with pre-eclampsia and individuals with end-stage renal disease. The culmination of her research is an investigation into sodium in the American diet, the rising number of cases of hypertension, and related implications for the general population. After graduating, Melanie would like to gain experience as an RN before pursuing opportunities as a travel nurse, a nurse abroad, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

David B. Witwer (West Palm Beach, FL) is graduating with honors in philosophy as well as a major in communication arts and sciences with a focus on media production. In March, David hosted a public showing of the film The Double Life of Veronique. He then presented a paper that uses the film as an illustration in the working out of a phenomenology of belonging, a philosophical study of the human need for intimacy (and therein identity). His argument builds on the foundational work of de Beauvoir, Heidegger, Husserl, Levinas, Derrida, and particularly the contemporary French Catholic philosopher Jean-Luc Marion, and was supervised by Professor Ruth Groenhout (Philosophy). After graduating, David will work as a videographer in Grand Rapids, get married, and eventually pursue an MFA in film writing/directing.

Jonathan Wong (Monroe, WI) is graduating with honors in biochemistry as well as a major in Spanish. His research includes work with Professors Paul Moes (Psychology) and Loren Haarsma (Physics & Astronomy) on functional connectivity of an aberrant axon bundle to the cerebral cortex. After graduating, Jonathan will be attending graduate school in neuroscience.

Jessie Yunus (Jakarta, Indonesia) is graduating with honors in nursing as well as a minor in chemistry. Her honors research in nursing has been focused on the multidimensional aspects of substance abuse, cessation, and the need for multidisciplinary approaches to this issue. Jessie is planning on working as an RN for at least one year before pursuing graduate school or other career options.