Hope De Ruyter ’19
Rock Valley, Iowa
Hope De Ruyter


Hope came to Northwestern unsure of her career path but soon discovered a love for psychology. With aspirations to serve children as an occupational therapist, Hope wants to use her problem-solving skills to find solutions to make everyday tasks easier for patients. A psychology major with a cultural studies minor, Hope is a member of Northwestern’s cheerleading team, Campus Ministry Team, and Psi Chi, the international psychology honor society. In the summer before her junior year at Northwestern, Hope participated in a competitive internship at the University of Washington Autism Center Apex Summer Camp.

Mother knows best

My mom went to Northwestern, and I grew up in a town not far from Orange City. I wasn’t sure about attending college so close to home, but my mom persuaded me to visit, and I ended up loving it! The faith-based education, the friendliness of everyone I met, and the tight-knit community were things I just didn’t find at the other schools I looked at.

Thinking deep

The science of psychology challenges my faith continually. Each of my classes dives into different issues from new angles that I haven’t thought about before. It’s wonderful to be at a place like Northwestern where I can explore these questions while being encouraged in my faith. Considering issues like morality, freedom, religion and the limitations we have because of our psychological makeup has given me a more full sense of the significance they have in my understanding of Jesus Christ. One example of this is the concept of religion. Through Dr. Edman's research team, I’ve had the opportunity to study the cognitive science of religion, and specifically prayer. Recently we’ve been studying how our theory of mind plays a role in how we perceive God, and in turn, how that affects our prayer life. While this is very interesting and progressive research, it has also caused me to step back and analyze what my prayer life looks like and why that might be.

Brilliant and personable

The strengths of Northwestern’s psychology department are numerous, but they largely lie with the professors of the department—they are brilliant! I especially loved being on the research team with Dr. Edman. It was fascinating to help him conduct this research. The psychology professors are also helpful, friendly and easy to talk to. They take a personal interest in each of their students and have always watched out for my best interests in any matter.

Asking questions

Northwestern’s classes are especially rigorous—yet rewarding. I can tell my Northwestern education is preparing me to enter graduate school with excellent study habits and, more importantly, the knowledge of how beneficial it is to ask for help. Not only are professors willing and able to answer questions during their office hours, but I have found the Peer Learning Center on campus, which is staffed with student tutors, to be especially helpful as well.