Dr. Catherine Mader

Professor of Physics
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Cathy Mader came to Hope College in 1993 as a physics professor. Her responsibilities include conducting workshops on nuclear science and nuclear forensics for teachers and high school students, organizing workshops for STEM faculty developing courses and directing the Hope College NSF Scholarships for STEM majors.

In addition, she also directs the Hope College HHMI grant program, the multi-institutional HHMI support Course-based Research Experience collaboration and the Day1 program, supported by a Dow foundation grant.

Areas of expertise

  • Nuclear theory — Developing computer models to help understand nuclear forces by modeling reactions between nuclei
  • Nuclear science education — Developing high school curricular resources that teach basic nuclear science in hands-on ways, focusing on the theme of nuclear forensics
  • Undergraduate research — Apprenticeship and course-based models; preparing faculty and senior students to be better mentors to novice undergraduate researchers


  • Ph.D., theoretical nuclear physics, Michigan State University
  • M.S., applied physics, Colorado School of Mines
  • B.S., engineering physics, Colorado School of Mines

Honors, grants and awards

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, "Pilot grant: The Phage Model Goes Viral: Developing Other Models for Course-based Research Experiences (CREs)," $100,000
  • Michigan Space Grant Consortium, "Hope College Watershed Science Academies and Workshops," $21,676
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, "Strengthening the Pathway to STEM Research Leadership at Hope College," $1,000,000
  • NSF S-STEM, "Scholarships for Transfer Students in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics," $528,994

View a complete list of Cathy’s awarded grants on her curriculum vitae.

Selected publications

  • “The Physics Research Mentor Training Seminar,” American Physical Society, 2011
  • “Results from Replacing General Physics with Introduction to Engineering in the First Year,” Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference (2004)
  • “The three dimensional Ising model: A paradigm of liquid-vapor coexistence in nuclear multifragmentation,” Physical Review C, 2003
  • “Theoretical approaches and experimental evidence for liquid-vapor phase transitions in nuclei,” AIP Conference Proceedings, 2002

View all of Cathy’s published work on her curriculum vitae and Digital Commons.

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Dr. Catherine Mader

Phone Number616.395.7114

VanderWerf-Room 232 27 Graves Place Holland, MI 49423-3617