Quick Facts
  • 24

    first-year students take the FYRES course each fall semester

  • 6

    FYRES Research Mentors - geoscience majors with research experience

  • 1

    FYRES Coordinator - a student who arranges logistics and outreach

  • 1

    professor/dune scientist to teach and lead the research activities

Meet the FYRES community

Real science takes place in community, building on results from past researchers, collaborating with peers and mentors, and flourishing with support from others.

Every year we build a unique FYRES community from the particular participants: first-year students, more-experienced student mentors, support staff, and a professor working hard to pull everything together. The specific research questions (new each year) connect us with a set of dune managers and places. Along the way, we engage with a variety of interesting people for short or extended time periods: guest speakers, helpful librarians, community members curious about what we are doing on the dunes, new friends who are surprisingly patient or enthusiastic with our stories about our experiences.

Below you can meet current and past members of the FYRES community. Do some exploring to get a feel for what could be your future FYRES community, to learn about people who are your current community, or to support a friend or family member.

Students in the Fall 2017 class are currently enjoying summer activities and eagerly looking forward (we hope!) to the first FYRES class on Wednesday, 6 September 2017.

Allowing for some time to collect information and take interesting photos, check back here in late September to meet the Fall 2017 class!

In the meantime, you can look at the information about past FYRES students below to enjoy the variety of people and experiences that are part of  FYRES.

FYRES students are a diverse group in geography, major interests, and reasons for taking FYRES.  Roughly half of FYRES students are non-science majors taking the course for their science core credit; the other half are students exploring some interest in a possible Earth science major.  We aim for 24 students per year, but class sizes have ranged from 11 students in the first FYRES year to a high of 27 students in Fall 2016.

Meet the FYRES students from past years:

Six students in geoscience majors (geology, environmental studies (geography track), and environmental science) are looking forward to meeting the FYRES 2017 students and beginning research projects.

Allowing for some time to take photos and collect biographical information, we expect to post information about the current FYRES Research Mentors in the first or second week of September.

In the meantime, check out the information about past Research Mentors to get an idea of what the mentors are like!

FYRES Research Mentors are students majoring in an Earth science discipline with some prior experience in research.  Research Mentors provide support for FYRES students as they engage in dune research.  By the middle of the fall semester, teams of 3-5 FYRES students and 1 Research Mentor are focused on specific interesting questions about Lake Michigan dunes.  Research Mentors continue their work through the spring semester to complete the team research report and to present results at a conference.

Meet the FYRES Research Mentors:

The FYRES Coordinator makes FYRES activities possible by taking care of logistical and outreach details, such as getting equipment ready, renting vehicles, monitoring the student application process, organizing the research presentation event, and keeping the FYRES website up to date.  This is a part-time, paid student position, usually held by a student in the Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies.

The 2017-2018 FYRES Coordinator will begin work at the end of August.  One of the many details she will be taking care of will be to post information about herself here.  Check back in the first or second week of September to meet this year's FYRES Coordinator.

Meet the past FYRES Coordinators:

FYRES 2016 professor on duneDr. Deanna van Dijk is a physical geographer who has been studying Lake Michigan dunes for more than 15 years.  She teaches the FYRES class and labs, supervises the FYRES Research Mentors, and works with the FYRES Coordinator to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

She prefers that you get to know her in person, and she is delighted if a dune is somehow involved in that process, but some more information is available:

  • A one-page biography of how her professional interests relate to FYRES.
  • Her curriculum vita (c.v.), which is the academic version of a resumé.

We are grateful to many people who contribute to the FYRES project in different ways, including:

  • Calvin faculty who make guest appearances in classes to share knowledge about their research areas.
  • Calvin staff who make activities possible through room coordination, making equipment available, overseeing vehicle rentals, providing administrative support, custodial work, and much more.
  • Organizations providing financial support (check out the list of funding sources on the About Us page).
  • Dune managers and their organizations who give permission for research on specific dunes...but also provide interesting questions to investigate and are willing to answer questions during the research projects.
  • Members of each participant's community (family, friends, etc.) who encourage the work and are willing to listen to our stories

Thank you for your contributions!