Current Undergraduate Research

Throughout the year, Dordt University students and faculty engage in a variety of undergraduate research projects. The research is supported by the Kielstra Center for Research and Grants, a multidisciplinary research and scholarship incubator that seeks to expand faculty and student perspectives and competencies across disciplines in conjunction with external funding sources.

“Undergraduate research offers students the opportunity to explore interesting questions within their field of study and develop skills to help them address those questions – to extend learning that happens within their class work,” says Angela Kroeze Visser, director of the Kielstra Center for Research and Grants. “Faculty mentors are central to the process of undergraduate research; they provide guidance for the students’ work and propose projects that relate to their own research or scholarly interests. At its best, undergraduate research is a rewarding enterprise for both students and faculty mentors.”

Here is a look at the research opportunities taking place on Dordt’s campus during the 2023-24 Academic Year:

A student participates in class discussions

Healing the Eyes of the Heart Research

Mentor: Dr. Justin Bailey - Theology

Research Student: Aedan Erickson

In this project, Dr. Bailey and Aeden will adapt the chapel series Dr. Bailey delivered in Spring 2023 into a book (50,000 words), targeted at a popular audience. The book explores the relationship of the imagination and prayer. The student researcher will assist with literature review and summarization, commenting on the clarity of the writing, and citations/bibliography.

Powers of Edge Ideals

Mentor: Dr. Mike Janssen - Mathematics

Research Student: Anika Homan

In this project, Dr. Janssen and Anika will explore algebraic properties of edge ideals, which are algebraic structures associated to a graph. The student researcher will suggest questions for exploration, carry out experimental work to form conjectures, work on proofs of the conjectures, and participate in the writing and dissemination of the project.

Raising Awareness of a Genetic Mutation in Persons with a Frisian Background

Research Student: Lucy Borkowski

PLN is a genetic mutation found in people of Dutch, particularly Frisian heritage. In the Netherlands, one in 1,200 people from Friesland have been found to carry the mutation. Having the mutation can cause early heart arrhythmias, heart failure, or sudden death. The mutation is present in North America, but identification of carriers has not been emphasized. The purpose of this research is to raise awareness of the mutation by identifying persons who may have the PLN mutation and educating them on how to test for it. The project will involve searching and writing letters to areas where Dutch people have settled, contacting possible PLN carriers, encouraging testing, and maintaining a database of carriers. Qualitative research involving PLN carriers may also be involved.

*This research project is supported in part by the PLN Heart Foundation.