Program History

Hope College’s Center for Exploratory Learning (ExploreHope) has its roots in a pure love and joy in teaching kids about science.

Tod Gugino, longtime chemistry department lab director, began running summer science programs 20 years ago with the intent of providing a fun, enriching learning environment for young students. The idea was amazingly popular from the start and has grown from 30 participants to over 1,000 per summer.

Other faculty and staff at Hope shared Tod’s passion and began working with him to generate new content and offer similar programs for middle and high school students along with teacher workshops and public programs.

In 2013, we lost Tod too early in life. In tribute, his colleagues came together to ensure that Tod’s dream of an ever growing involvement of Hope faculty and staff in K–12 science, math and engineering education would not be forgotten. Bringing together several outreach programs with his summer science camp program, ExploreHope was born.

ExploreHope is managed by a team experienced in education, program management and K–12 curriculum development. The faculty and staff leadership provide overall direction to the range of programs offered, mentoring to the Hope students, and active participation in educational networks within the Western Michigan region. ExploreHope aims to include a diverse population of participants that reflect the community at large regardless of financial or logistical barriers to participation.

ExploreHope only succeeds through partnerships with innovative organizations. Our success is built on the support of other Hope units along with the coordination of generous community partners.