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.  The 2021-22 academic year included the following research projects, with 13 students working with 9 Calvin faculty members on 8 different topics.

Early Modern Exegesis and the Kingdom of God: The Politics of the Gospel of Mark in the Era of the Reformation: Levi Yakuber is conducting research with Henry Institute Associate Director Jordan Ballor involving investigation into the primary and secondary sources on the gospel of Mark in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with a special focus on the political dimensions of early modern exegesis of this biblical book. The work also supports a larger project on the commentary tradition on John in the Reformation era.

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Levi Yakuber
Senior, majoring in
Philosophy and
Classical Studies
from Canton, MI
Jordan Ballor
Henry Institute
Associate Director

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
Junior, majoring in
Political Science and
Strategic Communication
from Marshall, MI
Micah Watson
Henry Institute

Live, Laugh, Love: A Cultural History of White Christian Womanhood: Karalyn Aardema and Tiffany Kajiwara are 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.

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Karalyn Aardema
Junior majoring
in History, minor in
Global Development
Studies from
Holland, MI
Tiffany Kajiwara
Senior, majoring  
in Literature and
Writing, minor in
Film Studies
from Des Plaines, IL
Kristin Kobes DuMez
Calvin University 

Mapping Applications for Re-entry: Ashlyn Franklin and Nathanael Kastner, along with Jason VanHorn and Kevin den Dulk are continuing the work to expand the user-friendly intuitive map providing state-wide information about facilities and organizations available to assist new parolees and individuals returning from incarceration in Michigan. (additional information about the project)

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Ashlyn Franklin
Junior majoring
in Social Work,
minoring in Political
Science from
Lansing, MI
Ron Hammond
Senior, majoring in
Human Resource
from Owosso, MI
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Nathanael Kastner
Junior, majoring in
Geography, minoring
in Computer Science
from Greeley, CO
Sean Sword
Junior, majoring in
from Grand Rapids,
dendulk2014 JasonVanHorn
Kevin R. den Dulk
Calvin University
Associate Provost of
Calvin Global
Education; Political
Science Department
Jason Van Horn
Calvin University
Geology, Geography,
and Environmental Studies

Critical Information Needs in Underserved Communities: Ben Honeyford, Sage McKissack, and Isaac Seiler 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
Junior majoring
in Sociology and
minoring in Urban
Studies from
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Sage McKissack
Senior, majoring
in History and
Political Science
from Grand
Rapids, MI
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Isaac Seiler
Sophomore majoring in Politics, Philosophy &
Economics, minoring in
African Studies
from Rockford, MI
Jesse Holcomb
Calvin University
and Communication

American Civil Religion and the Increase in Seculars: Abigail Ham is working with Doug Koopman to finalize preparations for a forthcoming book on American civil religion and the increase in seculars, which he is co-authoring with Amy Black and is scheduled for completion in mid-2022.

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Abigail Ham
Junior, majoring in
Politics, Philosophy & Economics and
Writing, minoring in
Classics and
Sociology from
Sheffield, VT
Doug Koopman
Calvin University
Politics & Economics

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