When you study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at Calvin, you'll embrace an intellectual and spiritual perspective that celebrates both God’s natural and scriptural revelations.

Actuarial Science Actuarial Science
Astronomy Astronomy
Biochemistry Biochemistry
Biology Biology
Chemistry Chemistry
Computer Science Computer Science
Data Science Data Science
Engineering Engineering
Environmental Studies Environmental Studies
Geography Geography
Geology Geology
Health Sciences Health Sciences
Mathematics Mathematics
Mathematics Education Mathematics Education
Neuroscience Neuroscience
Nursing Nursing
Physics Physics
Psychology Psychology
Public Health Public Health
Science Education Science Education
Statistics Statistics

Summer science research at Calvin

Opportunities
Student Fellowships
Latest Activities

Research opportunities

At Calvin, science comes alive as students partner with faculty to conduct research in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology/geography/environmental studies, mathematics/statistics, nursing, physics/astronomy and psychology.

Paid research fellowships are available each summer. In 2019:

  • 98 students worked with 36 Calvin professors from nine departments.
  • 58 research projects explored a wide variety of projects. Some examples: studying which mechanisms contribute to some autoimmune diseases, testing techniques to locate songbird nests,determining the effect certain proteins have on cellular activity, studying the malignant transformation of kidney tubule cells, monitoring social media using machine learning, evaluating a drinking water treatment method for Ethiopia, mapping and data analysis on the cleanup of contaminated sites across Michigan, evaluating activities designed to improve reproductive health management. See a complete list of the 2019 summer research projects.
  • Students received a $4100 stipend for 10 weeks of research.
  • 36% of the projects were externally funded by grants from outside Calvin University
  • 41% more were funded by private donors

Poster Fair

As a summer science research fellow at Calvin, you are required to participate in a special research exposition in the fall after your fellowship is completed. For the research poster fair, held in October, you should create a poster that illustrates your research work and be present at the poster fair to explain your research findings to passersby and guests.

View the Poster Fair website

Eligibility

Awards will be made to qualified students who will have completed their first, second or third year of undergraduate study and who are considering a career in the sciences or mathematics.

Preference will be given to those considering a career in research or teaching in those areas and to students who will be enrolled at Calvin in the fall semester.

Award details

Students will receive $4,200 based on up to 400 non-overtime hours (approximately 10 weeks) of research during the summer months, ending by August 28, 2020.

Requirements

Students must complete certain requirements common to all projects as part of a science summer fellowship. By accepting the research position, students agree to their completion.

2019 Funding for research fellowships

Inquiry-based learning reaches its pinnacle in scientific research. For this reason, Calvin University for many years has encouraged and arranged research opportunities for its students. One of these occurs during the summer when students work with faculty and receive salary support in the form of summer research fellowships. Fellowship funds come from a variety of sources. Some come from generous private donors who know or have experienced the importance of undergraduate research. Other projects are supported by various grants that faculty have obtained. These include grants from National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Still more funds are provided by Calvin University and by the Alumni Fund. All of these funding sources have the same goal: to enhance and expand inquiry-based learning opportunities for undergraduate students in the sciences.

The Amazing Race

Wednesday, October 21, 2020: STEM is an event inspired by the show The Amazing Race. On October 21st, teams of 2-5 students and faculty from Calvin's STEM departments will be competing to win a cash prize! Each of the 10 planned activities is at a different location on campus and teams will have to strategize their routes to finish all the stations the fastest.

Sign up your team here.

The CArV N BLaSTe

Thursday, October 29: The CArV N BLaSTe is put together by Calvin's chemistry department. On October 29th, students and faculty will be gathering to carve pumpkins and make an explosion!

The Early Life Environment, Epigenetics, and Children's Health

Guest Speaker: Jaclyn Goodrich, University of Michigan 1:30p - 2:30p Event will be live streamed through Microsoft Teams.

Friday, October 30, 2020: Exposures to toxic substances in the environment during gestation and childhood can have lasting impacts on child growth, development, and risk for disease. Metals such as lead and endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in many consumer products are among toxicants known to adversely impact children. The epigenome, the regulatory network that guides expression of genes, can be altered by these environmental exposures early in life. My research program seeks to identify exposures that are hazardous to children's health and determine whether epigenetic change is one mechanism underlying their effects.

Two Possible Climate Futures for the Great Lakes Region (One Much Better Than the Other)

Guest Speaker: David Karowe, Western Michigan University 1:30p - 2:30p Seminar will be live steamed on Microsoft Teams.

Friday, November 13, 2020: This talk will address the consequences of climate change for species, ecosystems, and human health in the Great Lakes Region, and how those consequences would change if we decide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to limit warming to 2°C.

Is Climate Denial a Sin?

Guest Speaker: Christopher Doran, Pepperdine University 1:30p - 2:30p Event will be live streamed through Microsoft Teams.

Friday, December 4, 2020: Over the last few decades, many American Protestants have rejected the conclusions of mainstream climate science and instead have consistently aligned themselves with a cadre of climate change deniers. In an era when discussing climate change is often done in a hyper-partisan political manner, have American Protestants failed to ask the simple question: Is denying the reality of climate change a sin? In this lecture, Doran examines this question by analyzing the nature of sin, psychological dimensions of denial, and the possible ramifications for American Protestants who have become known for denying the clear evidence of climate change that we see right in front of us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Calvin offer programs in all the major areas of science?

Calvin’s Science Division is large enough to cover most areas of students’ interests. Calvin has departments offering courses in all the major sciences, mathematics, engineering, psychology and health fields:

  • Actuarial Science
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Data Science
  • Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Engineering
    • Chemical
    • Civil
    • Electrical
    • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics Education
  • Nursing
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Psychology
  • Science Education
  • Statistics

In addition, there are a number of specialties and pre-professional programs with various levels of science requirements:

  • Elementary and secondary science teacher education
  • Pre-professional health: pre-dentistry, pre-medicine, pre-occupational and physical therapy, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, pre-physician assistant, pre-podiatry and pre-veterinary medicine programs
  • Urban Studies
How does science instruction at Calvin compare to a large university?

The professional quality of Calvin’s faculty ranks with many of the best universities. Yet dedication to teaching and accessibility to students are purposely given priority over research at Calvin University. Professors are in close contact with their students, teaching all classes from first-year through senior level. Smaller class sizes mean more one-on-one contact. At Calvin, both research and teaching are done from a Christ-centered perspective.

Would I get the same opportunities to do research that are available at a larger school?

Probably more. A large number of Calvin’s Science Division faculty are involved in on-going research projects with funding to pay student salaries. For example, each summer as many as 70 to 90 students perform summer research. On the other hand, at large universities graduate students do most of the research and receive most of the salary funds.

Are the facilities modern? Can I get my hands on state-of-the art lab equipment and computers?

In 1999, Calvin University dedicated two new buildings for laboratory science and engineering with space dedicated to faculty and student research and design projects.

Our students work with some of the latest laboratory instrumentation. Through special endowment funds and various matching grants, Calvin University supports the acquisition of up-to-date equipment for research and general laboratory use. Calvin is among the top ten institutions of similar size in receiving funding from external granting agencies.

The Science Division's 4,450 square-foot Integrated Scientific Research Experimental Laboratory (ISRx) was used for the first time in 2011. The large space (photo above, left) houses three chemistry, three biology, and one computer science group. The lab pictured in the photo above, right, is formatted for a virtual reality rig (center ceiling) for biomolecule configuration with space for additional instrumentation. The virtual reality rig will be routinely used by all biology and chemistry groups and foster interactions with an additional computer science research group.

Calvin’s computer facilities are constantly being upgraded and expanded, providing fast access to library and web based information resources in classrooms, labs and residence halls. Many specialized scientific, engineering and mathematical programs are available.

Finally, Calvin has well equipped machine and electronics shops with excellent technicians and laboratory support staff to build apparatus and procure supplies for research and student projects.

Can I get real life experience, in addition to classroom theory?

There are several avenues by which various departments provide direct experience. For example, advanced laboratory courses and senior engineering design projects provide a bridge between school and career. Many science and mathematics students do summer research (for pay) and/or independent student research projects. Industrial internships are a significant part of the engineering and computer science programs. Nursing provides direct experience with patients in hospital and other settings.

I’m interested in being a science teacher. Can I become a certified teacher at Calvin?

Yes, many of Calvin's science division majors are in the education program and graduate with a teaching certificate qualifying them to teach in Michigan and most other states without additional training. These students gain practical experience through tutoring, teacher aiding, and student teaching in various public and private schools and have very high employment success upon graduation.

I have many interests and am not sure about science or which part of science I want to pursue. Does Calvin provide sufficient options and flexibility if I change my mind?

A school as large as Calvin can offer the diversity, breadth and depth which provide the flexibility you want. Yet, Calvin is small enough to provide the personal attention to explore various options. Major programs can often be tailored to fit a particular student’s interest. Double majors and specific emphases can often be arranged to fit a student’s needs. In most cases there is time to explore more than one career track without extending your time at Calvin.

Will my personal faith be respected at Calvin?

While an education at Calvin University will certainly challenge you to examine your faith, you will not be expected to become a "Calvinist." Although Calvin’s faculty members actively practice a faith rooted in Reformed theological traditions, no specific requirements are placed on the faith background of Calvin’s students. The faculty will demonstrate by their lives, actions and in-class discussion that they want you to deepen, enrich and expand your faith. The goal is a world-view of deep intellectual understanding informing and being informed by a robust and active faith. You will see that first rate scientists can also be dedicated Christians without contradiction. Calvin can help you become a person whose faith makes a difference in the world.

Can I get a good job or into a good grad school or professional school after graduating?

Calvin has an excellent regional and national reputation. Our graduates have been admitted into some of the best graduate schools, such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford, and are sought out by employers for jobs in local and major national corporations.

How can I learn more about Calvin University and its math, science and engineering programs?

Visit the department and program web sites listed above or visit the campus. A good way to visit is via our Fridays at Calvin program. Contact the Admissions Office at 1-800-688-0122 for information.

Contact Us

Address

STEM Division Office
Calvin University, North Hall | Map
1740 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids
Michigan, 49546-4402
USA

Primary contact

Phone: (616) 526-6200
Email: mnv3@calvin.edu

Student Ambassadors

Anna Giboney: arg34@students.calvin.edu
Andrew Burtt: jab233@students.calvin.edu

Social Media:

Instagram: @calvin_stem

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