The Civitas Lab is a research incubator at the Henry Institute. Every year, 8-12 students known as the Civitas Scholars partner with Calvin professors to explore the public role of faith through discipline-based research. The students also build a research community by meeting together regularly to discuss their work, share project insights and challenges, and divide labor when necessary.

The 2019-20 Civitas Lab

Rustbelt Religion: Elias Jesus is working with Professor Mark Mulder to explore fieldwork and interviews in central Wisconsin to explain how religion shapes the politics of rural white voters.

elias Mark Mulder
Elias Jesus
Junior, majoring
in Religion and Sociology
from Plano, TX
Mark Mulder
Calvin University
Sociology Department

Mapping Applications for Re-entry: Liam Farraby, Jason Entingh, Jennifer Randall, Debora Haede and Amen Gabre are working with Jason VanHorn and Kevin den Dulk to continue the expansion of the user-friendly intuitive map to work toward including all  counties in Michigan, providing information about facilities and organizations that would be indispensable to new parolees and those returning as citizens from incarceration. (See an article about the Restorative Justice project work)

Liam Farraby 2018-19 Jason Entingh Jennifer Randall haede Amen Gabre 2019-20
Liam Ferraby
Junior, majoring in 
Biology and 
Environmental Studies
from Hiram, OH
Jason Entingh
Senior, majoring  
in Linguistics,
Minor in International
Development
Studies
from Hudsonville, MI
Jennifer Randall
Senior, majoring in
Social Work,
from Grand
Rapids, MI
Debora Haede
Senior, majoring
in International Relations,
minor in Economics
(pre-law specialization)
from Kuşadası, Turkey
Amen Gabre
Junior, majoring in
International
Relations and
French
from Silver Spring, MD
dendulk2014 JasonVanHorn
Kevin R. den Dulk
Calvin University
Political Science Department;
Henry Institute Executive Director
Jason Van Horn
Calvin University
Geology, Geography, and
Environmental Studies
Departments

Formative Practices of Civic Hospitality: Alaina Kwiatkowski is working with Professor Kevin den Dulk on a project funded by the Issachar Fund to develop a concept of hospitality as a virtue of faithful citizenship, to craft model pedagogical interventions that embed hospitality and related Christian virtues into civic learning, and to make the interventions widely available to civics teachers.

Alaina Kwiatkowski dendulk2014
Alaina Kwiatkowski
Freshman
Kevin R. den Dulk
Calvin University
Political Science
Department;
Henry Institute
Executive Director

The Moral Power of Stories: A Meta-Analysis: Allyson Fea is assisting Peter Meindl as they explore the power of stories in developing a readers'  moral character, as the themes and narratives often inspire moral change and influence moral beliefs and values, moral motivation, and even moral behavior such as volunteerism and charitable giving. Psychologists have begun to look into whether stories shape morality, but the findings are inconsistent This research seeks to meta-analyze these results to get a better sense of the moral power of stories.

Allyson Fea 2018-19 Pete Meindl
Allyson Fea
Junior, majoring in
Psychology and History
from Mechanicsburg, PA
Peter Meindl
Calvin University 
Psychology Department

Interfaith Photovoice Initiative: McKinley Anderson and Calvin Sociology Professor Roman Williams are analyzing data from a multi-site project exploring the effectiveness of an arts-based research technique called photovoice as a strategy for interfaith engagement. Along with traditional forms of scholarship such as articles and books, Anderson and Williams are disseminating materials to a more general audience through the interfaithphotovoice.org website and social media.

McKinley Anderson 2018-19 Roman Williams
McKinley Anderson
Senior, majoring in
Sociology and Psychology
from Greenville, SC

Roman Williams
Calvin University 
Sociology Department

Critical Information Needs in Underserved Communities: Daniela Ampuero Castilla is working with Professor Jesse Holcomb on a research project supported by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. The two-part study, consisting of a public opinion survey and media content analysis, explores how communities of color stay informed about schools and education, and seeks to understand the role that media play in sharing education-related information to these communities.

Daniela Castilla 2019-20 Holcomb 2018-19
Daniela Ampuero Castilla
Sophomore, majoring in 
Electrical & Computer Engineering and International Relations
from, Comas, Lima, Peru
Jesse Holcomb
Calvin University
English and Communication Department


The Politics of Water:
Kevin den Dulk is working with Jonathan Winkle and Olivia den Dulk to explore the appropriate role of government in addressing problems involving availability, stewardship and economic justice issues that surround distribution of water as a matter of public justice.

2016jonathanwinkle dendulk2014
Jonathan Winkle
Senior, majoring in
Political Science
from Grand Rapids, MI
Kevin R. den Dulk
Calvin University
Political Science
Department;
Henry Institute
Executive Director

The Polarization of American Christianity: Elias Jesus is assisting Calvin History Professor Kristin DuMez with research on the current state of polarization within the American Christian environment. Hillary Clinton may have lost the 2016 presidential election, but she remains one of the most influential political figures in recent American history. Her career, and her legacy, can be best understood in the context of the polarization of American Christianity. This project situates Clinton's personal and political life in the context of American religious history, from the 1950's to the present. 

elias Kristin DuMez
Elias Jesus
Junior, majoring
in Religion and Sociology
from Plano, TX
Kristin Kobes DuMez
Calvin University 
History 
Department

Charting the Future of Public Service Journalism: Ivanna Rodriguez Lobo is working with Professor Jesse Holcomb on a research project in collaboration with the Institute for Nonprofit News. The annual INN index is a survey of nonprofit news publishers around the U.S., measuring trends in community engagement, business sustainability, and journalistic impact. 

IvannaRodriguez 2020 Holcomb 2018-19
Ivanna Rodriguez Lobo
Senior, majoring
in Data Science and 
Economics, minor in
International Relations
from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Jesse Holcomb
Calvin University
English
and Communication Department

See former Civitas Lab projects and participants