The Civitas Lab is a research incubator at the Henry Institute. Every year, a number of Calvin 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.

Henry Conversations Podcast Series: Grace Lunger is working with Henry Institute Director Micah Watson on the Henry Conversations Podcast project, assisting with research on podcast guests and completing technical editing and preparation of the podcasts for publication, as well as being involved in other Henry Institute projects.

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Grace Lunger
Senior, majoring in
Political Science and
Strategic Communication
from Marshall, MI
Micah Watson
Henry Institute

Live, Laugh, Love: A Cultural History of White Christian Womanhood: Meg Pheifer is working with Calvin History Professor Kristin DuMez on a project that analyzes how Christian consumer culture has shaped the religious, economic, and political ideals of white Christian women.

Meg Pheifer
Freshman, majoring  
in Historical Studies,
minor in
Political Science
from Lakewood, CA
Kristin Kobes DuMez
Calvin University 

Geospatial Advances in Restorative Justice: Nathanael Kastner is working with Jason VanHorn to broadly examine and attempt advances in restorative justice using geospatial methods and techniques in Geographic Information Science. Their goals include development of a play store application involving the Calvin University Returning Citizen Mapping application online ( and faculty-student journal publication.

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Nathanael Kastner
Senior, majoring in
Geography, minoring
in Computer Science
from Greeley, CO
Jason Van Horn
Calvin University
Geology, Geography,
and Environmental Studies

Critical Information Needs in Underserved Communities: Ben Honeyford, Lauren Nyong, Jessa Moren, and Jocie Nuñez-Colón are conducting research with Calvin Journalism and Communication Professor Jesse Holcomb on a project supported by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation uses a public opinion survey and media content analysis to explore how communities of color stay informed about schools and education, and seeking to understand the role that media play in sharing education-related information to these communities. Holcomb's team is also working on a second project, Charting the Future of Public Service Journalism in collaboration with the Institute of 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.

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Ben Honeyford
Senior majoring
in Sociology and
minoring in Urban
Studies from
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Lauren Nyong
Sophomore, majoring
in Politics, Philosophy &
Economics, minor in
Spanish from
Aurora, IL
Jessa Morren
Junior, majoring
in Writing from
Byron Center, MI
Jocie Nuñez-Colón
Senior, majoring
in Political Science,
minors in Journalism,
Gender Studies from
Lorain OH
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Jesse Holcomb
Calvin University
and Communication

Rusted Religion: Emily Steen is supporting research conducted by Calvin Sociology Professor Mark Mulder in a study that considers the intersection of rural and religious identities.

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Emily Steen
Junior, majoring in
Sociology, minoring in
Urban Studies and
Theology from
North Haledon, NJ
Mark Mulder
Calvin University
Sociology & Social
Work Department