Vander Velde Scholarship Encourages Student-Professor Collaboration


BiologyThe Maurice Vander Velde Junior Scholarship Award supports outstanding junior or senior students in collaborative research with a Trinity professor. The scholarship was established in memory of Maurice Vander Velde, one of the founders of the College. 

Serving as a colleague, each Junior Scholar is expected to produce a scholarly product for publication at an appropriate level at the end of the school year, usually in the form of a paper or presentation. Each year students compete for scholarships in either the exact sciences (mathematics, chemistry, biology, and computer science) or in social science and the humanities.

Four students were awarded the 2012-2013 Maurice Vander Velde Scholarship Award: Andrew Blok ’13,

Joohee Kim ’12, Jacob Maatman ’14, and Hannah Van Beek ’13.


Andrew Blok ’13 and Dr. Bill Boerman-Cornell

Andrew Blok ’13 of Lynden, Washington, spent the year collaborating with Dr. Bill Boerman-Cornell, assistant professor of education, as they studied Blok’s topic of choice “Entering the World in Adolescent Fiction: Discovering the Magic in Adolescent Novels.”

Blok said of the process: “Working with Dr. B-C has exposed me to a realm of research that has been engaging and enjoyable. It reaffirmed the importance of this kind of literature and research.”

Blok also valued the knowledge he gained from Boerman-Cornell’s scholarly work. “As someone who has researched, spent years with students reading similar books, and spent a lot of time thinking about what goes into a ‘successful’ book at this level, he has been able to stretch my understanding of these books in many ways.”


Joohee Kim ’12 and Dr. Bob Boomsma ’77

Joohee Kim ’12 of Orland Park, Illinois, worked with Dr. Bob Boomsma, professor of biology, over the past year on a project focusing on studying the behavior of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), which have been used to help repair hearts damaged by heart attack.

“I’ve been monitoring the way MSC produce secretions that might help other tissue around them regrow and function better,” said Kim. “My time as a scholar made me knowledgeable about lab equipment and more confident in my researching skills.”


Jacob Maatman ’14 and Dr. Sharon Robbert

Junior Jacob Maatman of Lynwood, Illinois, along with his mentor Dr. Sharon Robbert, professor of mathematics, researched “The Lost Art of Calculus.”

Maatman said of his research, “This project strengthens my ability to communicate complex ideas to a diverse audience who might be unfamiliar with some of the concepts and methods involved in the projects.”


Hannah Van Beek ’13 and Dr. Clay Carlson

Senior Hannah Van Beek of Pella, Iowa, studied “The Anti-Proliferative Effects of Vitamin D on Breast Cancer Cells” with Dr. Clay Carlson, assistant professor of biology. Van Beek described the way her skills for life beyond Trinity are fostered in this environment.

“While my work is fairly independent, I collaborate with Dr. Carlson to analyze my data, interpret results, plan the next steps in the project, and troubleshoot experiments that do not go as planned,” said Van Beek. “He often ends our meetings by saying, ‘Go and do!’”