Student Scholars Recognized for Collaborative Research

View PhotogalleryTrinity’s Honors Society Committee hosted the 4th annual Trinity Scholars’ Dinner, celebrating the work of both Vander Velde Scholars and senior students in the Honors Program. The keynote address, “From Rhône to Rhine: Research, Liberal Arts, and Paidea,” was presented by alumnus Ben Austin ’04, Ph.D. candidate.

The evening began with a Gallery of Scholarship showcasing student research projects for fellow students, faculty, and alumni to view.

The Outstanding Alumnus Research Award was presented to Austin and Dr. Yudha Thianto, professor of theology, who mentored Austin during his research in 2002-2003. The award recognizes a Trinity graduate who demonstrates faithful service, outstanding scholarship, and successful research, as well as collaborative partnership between faculty and student.

Thianto, a professor at Trinity since 2001, has mentored and collaborated with Honors students and Vander Velde Scholars on significant scholarly work. He taught two Honors seminars, including “The Unchanging God in a Changing Society” and “God, Creation, and the Age of the Universe.”

Also recognized for their student-faculty collaborative research were Assistant Professor of Biology Clay Carlson and Professor of Biology Bob Boomsma along with seniors Josh DeJong of Plainfield, Illinois; Patrick Page of Palos Park, Illinois; and Kiera Dunaway of Peoria, Illinois; all of whom presented their work at the Collaborative Undergraduate Research conference in Kentucky.

More about Ben Austin ’04

Ben Austin was born in Canada to a musician and a novelist. Following the hiring of his father Dr. Ken Austin as a professor of music at Trinity, the family moved to the Chicago area when Ben was nine. In fall of 2000, Ben began his studies at Trinity. As a sophomore, he was encouraged by Dr. Yudha Thianto, professor of theology, to apply for the Vander Velde research scholarship.

Ben’s topic was on a fourth century Bishop, Hilary of Poitiers, and the hymns that Hilary wrote as his way of fighting against the heresy of the Arians. Ben focused on two of those hymns, comparing them to some of the treatises that St. Hillary used to teach his beliefs. As a result of his scholarship, Ben presented his paper at the 34th annual Committee for the Advancement of Early Studies Conference on the campus of Ball State University in 2003. He received first prize for the paper.

After Ben graduated from Trinity in 2004, he went on to study theology at Calvin Theological Seminary, where he earned a Th.M. in Ancient Near East Languages and Literatures. From there he moved to the Netherlands where he attended the University of Leiden, researching the Plant Metaphors in the Septuagint version of Isaiah. Ben will defend his dissertation in May and is hoping to begin a career in academia.

Gallery of Student Scholarship

Recognizing the research of Trinity’s Honors Students and Vander Velde Scholars

Joshua DeJong ’14 and Patrick Page ’14
Stem Cell Research
Dr. Bob Boomsma, Mentor

Alexa Dokter ’15
Higher Dimensionality in Literature Interpreted through Geometry
Dr. Bill Boerman-Cornell, Mentor
Dr. David Klanderman, Mentor

Kiera Dunaway ’14
The Genomic and Morphological Effect of Bisphenol A on Arabidopsis thaliana
Dr. Clayton Carlson, Mentor

Ethan Holmes ’16
Dr. Michael Vander Weele, Mentor

Aletta Huisman ’14
When Science Is Shared: Jr. Trolls Science Fair
Dr. Clay Carlson, Mentor

Chadd Huizenga ’15
Baal Worship in the Bible: Polemics in the Psalms
Professor Emily Thomassen, Mentor

Calob Lostutter ’13
Metabolic Speciation in an Aquaponics System
Dr. Thomas Roose, Mentor
Dr. Michael Bosscher, Mentor

Cassandra Nelson ’14
Plainchant in the Modern Church
Dr. Mark Peters, Mentor