February 2006 Odyssey Grants

Feb. 2006 Odyssey Grant Recipients

The Committee on Experiential Learning has awarded Odyssey Grants totaling $105,601 to 32 projects proposed by students and faculty in the Feb. 2006 cycle for summer projects. This interesting and diverse group of proposals included many from students who arrived at Hendrix this fall—this summer, they will have the Odyssey adventure of a lifetime.

This group of projects has a focus on the past, present, and future. Aspiring archeologists will study in Belize and Greece, and a historian will intern at the Louisiana State Archives. Modern medicine is the focus for scientists studying peanut allergies, infectious bacteria, and premature lungs. Future career goals, ranging from teaching ballet to working with the FBI, are an important component to many proposals.

Students will travel around the world this summer, from Germany to South Africa, from Martinique to El Salvador—and even to the soccer World Cup games.

The Odyssey Grant recipients include:

Jonathan Barnes and Luke Schaffner
Project:  “Contemporary German Architecture as a Facet of Social Perceptions in the Former Eastern Germany (GDR)”
Category:  Global Awareness
Sponsor:  Dr. Elizabeth Bridges

Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German architects were under rigid control as they designed buildings. They were restricted to a style known as Socialist Realism, which became official law in 1932 under Stalin. The architecture glorified the industrial worker and the state while maintaining an austere angularity. More importance was placed on the needs of the government than on artistic integrity. What did buildings look like before and after the reunification of Germany? Jonathan Barnes and Luke Schaffner will find out as they take a look at the architecture in Berlin, Dessau, Dresden and Leipzig to compare the old and new in German design. Another highlight of their trip is the Hotel Bareiss, where they have already obtained jobs to support their project in a socially interactive and multi-cultural environment that attracts travelers from around the world—giving Barnes and Schaffner an opportunity to improve their language skills.

Barnes is a freshman from Memphis, Tenn. Schaffner is a freshman from Richardson, Texas.

Donald Bennett
Project:  “Native American Heritage Through Dancing”
Category:  Special Projects
Sponsor:  Dr. Eric Binnie and Dr. Alan Shackelford

Native American culture is a vibrant force in Oklahoma, Donald Bennett’s home state. One component is the Men’s Fancy Dance, which requires fast footwork, athletic ability, and originality. Men wearing traditional costumes perform this fast and elaborately choreographed Native American dance at Powwows to a drum accompaniment. The Fancy Dance is often a test of a dancer’s endurance, stamina, muscle control, and agility. It is also a very visual dance, requiring an elaborate costume that includes large double bustles of brilliant colored feathers, a headdress, anklets, and ceremonial footwear. Bennett will design and construct a full costume, train with an expert in Fancy Dance, and participate in competitions.

Bennett is a sophomore from Tulsa, Okla.

Laura Broederdorf
Project:  “Internship at Riddle's Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary”
Category:  Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor:  Dr. Linda Gatti-Clark

Laura Broederdorf, an aspiring researcher and wildlife rehabilitator, will work closely with elephants this summer at Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary, a non-profit organization that provides a home for Asian and African elephants regardless of gender or disposition. For her future career working with wildlife, Broederdorf will need to be comfortable and confident working with large animals like elephants. She will learn about wildlife management, diet, behavior and hygiene. By sharing her knowledge with visitors to the sanctuary, she will develop her communication and leadership skills. She will also hone her research skills as she observes and analyzes the elephants’ behavior and how they interact with humans--and with each other.

Broederdorf is a freshman from Mountain Home, Ark.

Kevin DeStefano
Project:  “How the World's Game Affects the World?”
Category:  Special Projects
Sponsor:  Dr. Anne Goldberg

The name of the game is soccer, or it could be football—depending on where you live. It’s played in more countries than any other sport, giving it a worldwide appeal as a form of recreation. However, soccer has a darker side.  It can create bitter rivalries that inspire hatred, violence and riots. Many of these confrontations between fans are colored by racism. To get a broader understanding the sport, DeStefano will interview the staff, players and coaches from some of the biggest soccer teams in the world. He’ll also interview fans at the 2006 World Cup Games in Germany. With fellow student Arzhang Salashoor, he will create a documentary showing what he has discovered.

DeStefano is a freshman from Plano, Texas.

Stephen Dyle
Project:  “Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project:  A Chance to Begin My Life's Odyssey”
Category:  Special Projects
Sponsor:  Dr. Anne Goldberg

Stephen Dyle plans to become an archeologist, digging up the relics of the past and piecing together humanity’s story. This summer, he will investigate the ancient Mayans whose civilization extended into modern-day Belize. The largely unsolved mystery about the Mayans is how and why their civilization collapsed so catastrophically around the year 900 A.D. At an archeological field school in Belize, he’ll get in-depth experience with the techniques involved in an active dig and the proper documentation and care of artifacts, possibly including human remains. He will learn to survey and plot dig sites, conduct stratigraphic excavations, and process his discoveries in a lab. Dyle’s Spanish skills will also be put to the test as he immerses himself completely in the language spoken by his fellow archeologists.

Dyle is a sophomore sociology and anthropology major and Spanish minor from Springfield, Mo.

Bethanie Edwards
Project:  “Exploring Marine Biology and Marine Ecology through Participatory Learning”
Category:  Special Projects
Sponsor:  Dr. Jennifer Dearolf

Bethanie Edwards, a certified scuba diver, will “immerse” herself in a marine researcher’s natural laboratory:  the ocean areas surrounding the islands of Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia. Working with the Martinique Cetaceans Research Unit, she will help catalog data regarding dolphin abundance and distribution. She will also learn how to identify and preserve the 25 common coral species in the area and collaborate with Reef Check, an organization that surveys coral reef health. In the course of her summer project, she will complete more than 20 dives and earn her Advanced Open Water certification.

Edwards is a freshman from Little Rock, Ark.

TrentonElliott
Project:  “Service to Oaxaca”
Category:  Service to the World
Sponsor:  Dr. Jennifer Dearolf

The Service to the World category speaks to Trenton Elliott, who plans a career as an emergency room physician. This summer he will volunteer in a medical mission in the small city of Tlaxiaco, located in the state of Oaxaca at the southern tip of Mexico. More than half of Mexico's indigenous people groups are located in Oaxaca, speaking 155 different dialects. Some remote areas have no roads or local transportation, and medical care can be difficult, if not impossible, to find. Working through Global Frontier Missions, Elliott will be part of a medical mobile unit that travels to the area’s villages to provide free medical clinics. Elliott, who currently volunteers at the Conway Interfaith Clinic, has his First Responder certification and his Emergency Medical Technician license. He is eager to use his medical skills on this life-changing experience. And his life won’t be the only one touched by his project. He will bring more than $6,000 worth of new and vitally needed donated medical supplies with him for the clinic.

Elliott is freshman from Pyatt, Ark.

Rachel Floyd
Project:  “USA International Ballet Competition International Dance School and Teachers' Workshop”
Category:  Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor:  Prof. Missy Irvin

Blessed with a dancer’s grace and poise, Rachel Floyd plans to teach ballet professionally. At the USA International Ballet Competition International Dance School and Teachers' Workshop, she’ll take daily lessons from world-renowned teachers in the dance community. She’ll learn how to teach the art of dance, developing her own teaching style to share the art form with others. This is a rare opportunity for Floyd, since the workshop is only offered in the United States every four years.

Floyd is a freshman from Fort Smith, Ark.

Kelly Hill
Project:  “Japan-America Student Conference”
Category:  Special Projects
Sponsor:  Dr. Ian King

This summer, Kelly Hill will share in an annual tradition with a 58-year history. The Japan-America Student Conference brings together 36 Japanese and 36 American students. The group will have roundtable discussions of economic, cultural, political, scientific and global issues affecting both countries. This year’s theme is “Examine the Future of the Japan-America Relationship within a Global Framework.” The bi-lateral exchange promotes peace and mutual understanding between the students through academic discussions, field trips and cultural and social events. The students will travel together to New York, Washington, D.C., Oklahoma, and San Francisco. The conference is of particular interest to Hill, who bridges both cultures through her Japanese-American heritage.

Hill is a sophomore International Relations and Global Studies and English major from Conway, Ark.

Joseph Hooker
Project: “Painting Marathon in New York”
Sponsor:  Prof. Matthew Lopas

Painting, specifically oil painting, is an area Joseph Hooker has studied intensely during his time at Hendrix. This summer, he will expand his knowledge and skills as he participates in the prestigious New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture Arbor Vitae Marathon for Painting. This marathon, held in the scenic Old Westbury Gardens in Long Island, is an intensive color and landscape study. The course sets a grueling pace for participating artists, which results in an exponential growth in skill and dexterity, along with a deep understanding of painting methods and color placement. He will learn from acclaimed painter Graham Nickson, dean of the New York Studio School and originator of the marathon sessions for artists.

Jack Morse
Project:  “The Content Analysis of Radio and Television Advertising”
Category:  Undergraduate Research
Sponsor:  Dr. Jay Barth

Jack Morse will investigate how political campaigns use radio advertising, focusing on the 2005 Virginia governor’s race. He’ll also compare how the campaigns tailor their ads for radio and television, examining the differences between them. His data could appear in a manuscript co-authored by Dr. Jay Barth of Hendrix College and Dr. Marvin Overby of the University of Missouri. As part of this project, Morse will hone his own undergraduate research skills as a political analyst.

Morse is a junior from Mission Hills, Kan.

John Porter
Project:  “Constructing the sexual self: post-structuralism, queer theory and the making of sexual identities in contemporary francophone culture”
Category:  Undergraduate Research
Sponsor:  Dr. Allison Shutt

For the past 30 years, France has been the center of the intellectual movement called post-structuralism. Noted writers and thinkers Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Julie Kristeva and Gilles Deleuze have had a great influence on how academics view and interact with their world. Porter plans to travel to Lille, France, to study their works at an academic center for homosexual cultural studies where he will also focus on “queer theory,” a philosophical area that encompasses sexuality as a tool for social examination. Through his cultural immersion, he'll investigate how sexuality is discoursed through contemporary art and popular media while considering issues like gender, politics, desire and the viability of fixed identities.  His final project will also include research from French-speaking countries in Africa.

Porter is a junior French major and Africana Studies minor from Metairie, La.

Randi Proffitt
Project:  “Teaching English in El Salvador”
Category:  Service to the World
Sponsor:  Dr. Carol West

More than 514 million people speak English, making it the second most widely spoken language in the world. It is also the language most often studied, since it has become the international language of technology and commerce. Knowing English is an asset regardless of where you live, and it’s easier to learn from a native speaker—especially one who is also familiar with your own language. Randi Proffitt, who is minoring in Spanish, will travel to El Salvador this summer to teach English in the public schools to underprivileged and abused children. She will also teach in an orphanage and live with a host family. A psychology major who hopes to be a clinical psychologist, Proffitt plans to devote her career to reaching out to the Spanish-speaking community. Her project combines her two main interests: helping children in need and improving her own language skills for the future.

Proffitt is a sophomore psychology major and Spanish minor from Mena, Ark.

Rita Rein
Project:  “Staphylococcus Aureus Carriage in Healthy Individuals”
Category:  Undergraduate Research
Sponsor:  Dr. Mark Sutherland

Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) is a bacterium that can cause illnesses ranging from minor skin infections and abscesses to life-threatening infections of the skin, bone, blood, heart valves, and lungs. Within a few years of the first clinical use of penicillin in the 1940s, staph started exhibiting resistance to it. In the years that followed, staph has become resistant to an increasingly stronger set of antibiotics, making it a deadly pathogen in hospitals. It is often responsible for hospital-acquired pneumonia and surgical site infections, and has been regarded as the second most common cause of bloodstream infections. An airborne pathogen, staph can spread from contaminated surfaces, person-to-person contact, or punctured skin. It also lives in the nasal passages of 25-30% of healthy individuals without causing symptoms. To determine if working environment has an impact on staph carriage, Rita Rein will compare nasal swabs of Hendrix students with those from nurses and staff workers at local area hospitals. She will also investigate whether smoking increases the risk of carriage. This project is a continuation of Rein’s work that was the second place region winner in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair and was a national semi-finalist in the Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition. Rein also received the Surgeon General’s Award for Public Health and the Air Force Award for Science.

Rein is a freshman from Mountain View, Ark.

Maggie Russell
Project:  “New York Studio School:  Summer Session”
Category:  Artistic Creativity
Sponsor:  Prof. Matthew Lopas

This summer, Maggie Russell will participate in a marathon—a marathon session for artists. In two weeks of intensive drawing, she’ll produce as much artwork as other students do in an entire semester. A skilled painter, Russell is eager to learn from a Studio School instructor who has been an inspiration for many of Russell’s paintings and for her enthusiasm for art. Susanna Coffey, a nationally renowned feminist artist, is on the schedule to teach this summer. In addition to the Drawing Marathon, Russell will take classes in painting, sculpture and art history. On weekends, students also are required to visit the many museums and art galleries in New York in order to bring their personal impressions back to the classroom.

Russell is a sophomore from Germantown, Tenn.

Amy Russo
Project:  “Internship via Career Services at Louisiana State Archives”
Category:  Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor:  Dr. Deb Skok

Nothing speaks to an historian like an archive, and Amy Russo will have the opportunity to delve into Louisiana’s past this summer. She will work as an intern at the Louisiana State Archives, focusing on several special projects. Genealogical historical research, the preservation of historical documents, and the cataloging of collections are all on her list. Based on her work there, Russo will also create a Web site featuring interesting facts about Louisiana history that could become a part of the Louisiana State Archives’ official site.

Russo is a sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies and European Culture major from Baton Rouge, La.

Arzhang Salahshoor
Project:  “Soccer Beyond Passion”
Category:  Special Projects
Sponsor:  Dr. Anne Goldberg

After the Spanish Civil War, two soccer teams represented the divided loyalties in the country. F.C. Barcelona was identified with the left, the progressive socialists poised to take over Spain. Its rival was Real Madrid, epitomizing the wealthy fascists who held power. The rivalry continues today, requiring police forces to deal with the resultant violence and racism that spills over from the field. Arzhang Salahshoor will interview both Spanish and Dutch teams to investigate the hooliganism and racism that have been problematic for both groups. He’ll also attend the World Cup as a fan of the Iranian national team; there he can observe the differences in celebration and defeat worldwide. He will ultimately create a documentary on his findings with fellow student Kevin DeStefano.

Salahshoor is a freshman from Houston, Texas.

Gabrielle Schonder
Project:  “The History of Education in District Six:  Is Accessible Education the Key for Urban South African Development?”
Category:  Undergraduate Research
Sponsor:  Dr. Allison Shutt

Gabby Schonder, who is currently studying in Oxford, England, will have the chance to explore a far different part of the world this summer. She will travel to Cape Town in South Africa, where the black and colored residents suffer from 50% unemployment rates and unaffordable housing. It is a city where expensive high rises overlook miles of shantytowns. Schonder will investigate whether increasing accessible education and community centers will help these disadvantaged residents. She will visit the District Six Museum, which is housed in a former Methodist Church that once offered fully integrated worship services. The apartheid government razed the neighborhood (home to 60,000 residents) in favor of white developments that were never built. She will also volunteer with Ons Plek, or “Our Place,” a shelter for homeless girls that focuses on two crucial areas: resettlement in the community and vocational preparation. In addition, she will work with Stepping Stones, a pre-school development center that provides early childhood education opportunities for the area’s residents. Research on the area will be conducted in the museum’s archives as well as the University of Cape Town Manuscript and Archive Library.

Schonder is a junior politics and secondary education major from Nashville, Tenn.

Asheley Simmons-Jinesta
Project:  “Details of Feminism within the Zapatista Community and Movement”
Category:  Global Awareness
Sponsor:  Dr. John Toth

The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) takes its name from Emiliano Zapata, the famed leader of the Mexican Revolution that overthrew the dictator Porfirio Díaz in 1910. The Zapatistas consider themselves a national movement, and they are primarily located in the southernmost state of Chiapas. Their main goals are work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace. The Zapatista movement is also very accepting of women. According to the first article of the Revolutionary Women's Law of the EZLN, “Women, regardless of their race, creed, color or political affiliation, have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in a way determined by their desire and ability.” Women hold many positions of leadership within the movement. Simmons-Jinesta will study the feminist movement within the Zapatista community this summer. She will focus on a local matriarchal figure to investigate her role in the movement and how she in particular contributes to the notoriety and progress of the association. Simmons-Jinesta will converse with the movement’s women in local Zapatista churches, schools and town squares in addition to doing in-depth research at La Universidad Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City.

Simmons-Jinesta is a sophomore international relations and global studies major and Spanish minor from Maumelle, Ark.

Ryan Strickland
Project:  “PlanetQuest”
Category:  Undergraduate Research
Sponsor:  Dr. Ann Wright

Are there planets in the universe other than Earth that contain life? The first step to answering this question is finding the other planets that have the right conditions to support life. By analyzing the light from a star, scientists can tell if it is orbited by planets. PlanetQuest is a program that allows volunteers to analyze astronomical data to search for these planets using images of densely crowded star regions, collected from various telescopes around the world.  Ryan Strickland will use computers to analyze the data and plans to visit San Jose, CA.  There, he will meet scientists who specialize in extrasolar planet research at NASA Ames, the SETI Institute, and the Lick Observatory.

Strickland is a freshman from Shreveport, La.

Emily Williams
Project:  “Learning from the Ancient Greeks:  Test Case Akrotiri, Thera”
Category:  Special Projects
Sponsor:  Dr. Rebecca Resinski

This summer, Emily Williams will have a unique classroom: the historic sites on the Greek islands Thera and Naxos. Williams will learn about each island’s history (Neolithic to modern times), geography and geology, and culture. On the island of Thera she will focus on how a site is discovered, the documentation of archaeological evidence, site protection, and theories/techniques of conservation and preservation—including on-site sessions in conservation laboratories working with wall paintings and pottery. This will give her experience with the theory and practice of archaeological evidence management at one of the best test case study locations in the world. On Naxos, she will visit museums that apply modern management, presentation and exhibition techniques.

Williams is a sophomore psychology major and Classics minor from Maumelle, Ark.

Harper Zielonko
Project:  “Protecting Those Who Cannot Protect Themselves:  The Role of Non-Profit Organizations, Law Enforcement and Legislation”
Category:  Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor:  Prof. Ann Muse

“Protecting children who cannot protect themselves is where I have found my calling,” says Harper Zielonko. She’ll take a major step toward that goal with her internship this summer at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). A non-profit organization, NCMEC works with law enforcement agencies and the federal government to protect children through existing legislation and to develop new legal procedures. As a Case Assistant Intern, Zielonko will assist family, law-enforcement offices social-service agencies and the courts with issues relating to missing and exploited children. Eventually, Zielonko hopes to have an even greater role in protecting children with a career as a member of the FBI’s Innocent Victims Taskforce.

Zielonko is a junior psychology major from Festus, Mo.

Dr. Patricia Bruininks
Project:  “The Process of Hope”
Category:  Undergraduate Research

Adrienne Crowell and Devin Howington will work with Dr. Patricia Bruininks on two studies that examine the process of hope. One of these studies measures the psychophysiology of hope and the other is a diary study examining the everyday experience of hope.  They will analyze data that they collected during the school year, and will write up the results. The work that they do this summer will result in poster submissions for the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. They will also co-author manuscripts based on the studies for submission to journals for review.

Crowell is a junior from Conway, Ark. Howington is a junior psychology major and English minor from Lepanto, Ark.

Prof. Susan Clark
Project:  “Summer Stories”
Category:  Professional and Leadership Development/Special Projects

Conway children will get to experience the arts at Hendrix through “Summer Stories,” an interdisciplinary program that intertwines literature and story telling with illustration, mask making and theatrical presentations. Children age 8 to 13 will learn what it means to be creative, discover how they can excel, and explore their own talents and abilities. For two weeks, the children will develop their own stories and collaborate with each other to create larger narratives. They will also illustrate these stories, and develop the narratives into plays. The illustrations and stories will be printed and bound into books that will be donated to the Faulkner County Library. Under the direction of Prof. Susan Clark of the Hendrix art department, Hendrix students with expertise in art, writing or theater will help organize and implement the program, including teaching the children.

Dr. Jennifer Dearolf
Project:  “Effects of prenatal steroids on the development of guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) breathing muscles”
Category:  Undergraduate Research

In the laboratory this summer, Robert Alexander and Alissa Hellie will work with Dr. Jennifer Dearolf on a topic of concern to pregnant women who experience premature labor. Their physicians typically use steroid injections in an attempt to stimulate lung development in a baby before birth. The lungs are developed, but are the breathing muscles up to the challenge? Are they stimulated by the steroids, too? These questions affect the approximately 10% of all infants born in the United States each year who are premature (earlier than 37 weeks).  Immaturity of the lungs can lead to respiratory distress syndrome and other conditions such as apnea in these children. If the breathing muscles are well developed when the premature baby is born, the improved muscle function may reduce the likelihood of respiratory complications.

Alexander is a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major from Little Rock, Ark. Hellie is a sophomore biology major and psychology major from Conway, Ark.

Dr. Robert Dunn
Project:  “Investigating Geophysical Phenomena Using Large Ring Lasers”
Category:  Undergraduate Research

Earthquakes aren’t limited to California--numerous small earthquakes occur regularly along the New Madrid fault, which runs through northeast Arkansas. In fact, the fault area has more earthquakes than any other part of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Adam Jacobs will work with Dr. Robert Dunn and use the ring laser at Hendrix College to examine the rotational components of seismic disturbances. With the proximity of the active New Madrid fault, understanding these rotational effects is of particular relevance to Arkansas.

Jacobs is a sophomore from Benton.

Dr. Karen Griebling
Project:  “Hovhaness for Horn and Voice and Strings Recording Project”
Category:  Artistic Creativity

Alan Hovhaness (b. 1911) is a significant American composer of Armenian descent. His work has a distinctive sound rooted in modal harmony and counterpoint. Hovhaness is also influenced by Armenian folk music and Orthodox chant. Dr. Karen Griebling and the Hendrix College Chamber Orchestra will record and release a professional compact disc of three of his previously unrecorded works that share a spiritual and meditative tone. “Artik” takes its title from an Armenian church, “Diran” translates as “The Religious Singer” and “The Angelic Song Cantata” speaks for itself. Fourteen students will participate in the project.  First Violinists are concertmaster Maureen Ryan, Brian Horn, Ashley Morris, Jeanette Reyes and Rachel Stevens. Second Violinists include Rachel Ammons, Kathleen Gregg, Louis Weedman, and Catherine Wagner-Powers. The Violists are Grant Harris, Vanna Gordon, and Margaret Kwan. The Cellists are Jeremy Crosmer and Christina von Reyn.

Dr. Randall Kopper
Project:  “Characterization of the Proteins Responsible for Peanut Allergy”
Category:  Undergraduate Research

Among the food-based allergies in humans, peanut allergies are in a league by themselves.  Even in small amounts, the proteins in peanuts are strong enough to trigger a dangerous ―often deadly― allergic reaction in affected individuals. Approximately 3 million Americans are allergic to peanuts, and the numbers continue to rise each year. Dr. Randall Kopper and Anna Anthony will analyze the structure, biochemistry and immunological properties of peanut proteins to find out why they are so resistant to digestion—a fact that contributes to their potency as an allergen. This research may lead to expanded medical treatment options for serious allergic reactions and to new methods to reduce their severity.

Anthony is a junior chemistry major and biology minor from Greenbrier, Ark.

Dr. Matt Moran
Project:  “Southwest Odyssey”
Category:  Global Awareness

Ten Hendrix students will journey to the Southwest with Dr. Matt Moran and Dr. Mark Sutherland. They will study the landscape, culture, history and ecology of the Four Corners region of the United States, which is where Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico meet. There are three main components to the experience: Ancient Cultures, Natural History, and Modern Cultures. The students will visit three ancient Anasazi sites to see how they lived. These communities are among the best-preserved pre-Columbian archaeological areas in America. In Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, the group will see the impressive variety of life forms and geological formations. For their cultural study, the participants will focus on the Navajo. A Navajo guide will take them to the ruins, rock art and traditional communities while sharing elements of Navajo culture. Mallory Lee Bader, Cait Conn, Anna Floyd, Joseph Hooker, Layet Johnson, Alicia Owen, Upton Siddons, Liz Stewart, Marissa White and Kelly Zalocusky will participate in the Southwest Odyssey.

Dr. Richard Murray
Project:  “Molecular Regulation of Nociceptive Neuron Development”
Category:  Undergraduate Research

For 10 weeks this summer, Cary Small and Dr. Richard Murray will focus on bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP), which help stimulate and regulate the growth, healing and remodeling of bones. Small will investigate the role of BMPs in the development of nociceptive neurons, which sense pain in the nervous system. Their project will contribute to the understanding of neuronal growth and could provide insights into regeneration following disease or injury—with the potential for alleviating chronic pain. Small will present the results of her research at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in October.

Small is a sophomore biology major from Little Rock, Ark.

Dr. Susan Perry
Project:  “Hendrix Early Literacy Program Grades K-1 and 2-4 (two programs)”
Category:  Professional and Leadership Development/Service to the World/Undergraduate Research

The Hendrix Early Literacy Program (HELP) at Sallie Cone Elementary helps at-risk children with additional small group instruction including reading, writing, language, and literature. Dr. Susan Perry will establish two programs, one for kindergarten and first grade and the other for second through fourth grades. The goal of HELP is that when the children learn to enjoy the process of reading and writing, they will carry that enthusiasm throughout their lives. Hendrix students will have the chance to conduct research in the classroom in a widely debated area of early childhood education: literacy development, assessment and instruction. They will also teach classes and have the opportunity to help children who have given up on themselves for learning how to read and write.

Dr. Jennifer Peszka
Project:  “Is Eating Behavior Affected by Nighttime Sleep?”
Category:  Undergraduate Research

Almost 50% of the adults in the United States are obese, and 16% of the population reports sleepiness or fatigue a few days a week or more. What’s the connection between obesity and sleepiness? Does being overweight lead to diminished sleep—and do sleepy people have the urge to eat more while well-rested individuals eat less? These are the questions that Dr. Jennifer Peszka and Ashley Cowles will examine this summer.  They will investigate the relationship between nighttime sleep and eating behavior by having 25 study participants keep a food and sleep diary for three weeks. The first week will record normal activity. For the second week, the participants will be asked to sleep for an extra two hours daily. After that, they will revert back to their normal sleep schedules, and the diaries will be analyzed. Peszka hopes that the data collected in this study could lead to a pilot study grant from the National Sleep Foundation for additional laboratory-based research.

Cowles is junior psychology major and gender studies minor from Van Buren, Ark.