September 12, 2011 | Myrna Anderson

Melissa Haegert Dykhuis is studying at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona.

"I grew up under the starry skies of Gambia, West Africa, and God gave me a passion for astronomy. At age 10, I determined that I would “learn as much about the stars as I possibly can” and set out with a bunch of books and charts and a pair of binoculars to do just that. One of my high school friends introduced me to Calvin and convinced me to visit the physics and astronomy department, and I was amazed by the wide range of opportunities for undergraduate astronomy students. Beginning in my first year at Calvin, I collaborated with physics and astronomy professor Larry Molnar on asteroid research, and that research continued and expanded throughout my Calvin career. I co-authored papers and gave presentations on our project, and in my senior year I traveled to Puerto Rico to present our work to an international audience at a planetary science conference. Calvin gave me the background and experience in physics that allowed me to apply to top graduate programs."

Physics and Astronomy at Calvin

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