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Hendrix Odyssey Program Announces April 2024 Project Grants

Latest grants to 29 projects raise program’s lifetime funding total above $5.2 million

CONWAY, Arkansas (May 10, 2024)—The Hendrix College Committee on Engaged Learning has announced $97,900.72 in Odyssey funding to 29 projects for its April 2024 funding cycle. These projects involve a range of academic, professional, and personal explorations through experiences with local and state government entities, local and international nonprofit organizations, campus-based projects, and more. 

Since 2005, the Committee on Engaged Learning has awarded more than $5 million – $ 5,270,236.29 to be exact – in competitive Odyssey grants to support 1,590 projects by Hendrix students, faculty, and staff. This cycle’s grants include:

Odyssey Category: Professional and Leadership Development

Mylee Brown ’26
Official Hendrix Internship: The Pediatric Clinic, Sherwood, Arkansas

Supervisor: Rick Murray
Mylee will spend 13 weeks learning basic phlebotomy, running labs, taking vitals, and interacting with patients in a pediatric setting.

Lace Chaffin ’26
Official Hendrix Internship: Arkansas National Heritage Commission 
Supervisor: Maureen McClung
Lace will work alongside conservation biologists at the ANHC, discovering how natural systems operate first-hand, how development of human society impacts ecosystem function, and ways to conserve and restore natural areas.

Bowie Neal ’26
Official Hendrix Internship: Arkansas Department of Finance
Supervisor: William Haden Chomphosy
Bowie will work for the state finance department to facilitate taxation and financial situations and experience multiple branches including state revenue, sales tax, investment on infrastructure, and insurance.

Lily Parson ’25
Official Hendrix Internship: Arkansas 6th Circuit Court

Supervisor: J.J. Whitney
Lily will spend the summer working with one of the offices of the district court based in Little Rock to further her understanding of the legal system and gain real-world experience.

Sarah Ross ’25
Professional Field Experience: FUMC Frisco
Supervisor: Bobby Williamson
As the pastoral intern at First United Methodist Church Frisco (Texas), Sarah will be growing in the skills needed to become a pastor including work in the outreach, hospitality, discipleship, and preaching facets of pastoral ministry.

Diogo Sa ’25
ETH Global Health Experiential Fellowship
Supervisor: Andres Caro
During this 8-week hybrid summer program in Mpunde Village, Eastern Uganda, Diogo will work alongside an intercultural team to conduct an immersive, collaborative project that includes research, community educational programs, and direct project implementation.

Madison Turner ’25
Official Hendrix Internship: Conway Regional Cardiovascular Clinic, Conway, Arkansas 
Supervisor: J.D. Gantz
Madison, who is interested in becoming physician assistant after graduation from Hendrix, will support the day-to-day operations of the cardiovascular clinic, and become more familiar with the role of a PA in a clinic setting.

Natalie Vailes ’26
Official Hendrix Internship: TurnUp Activism and Central Arkansas Legal Services
Supervisor: Kim Maslin
Natalie will spend the summer working with TurnUp Activism and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services to develop civic engagement skills and legal knowledge. She will work on grassroots voting initiatives and assist at legal aid events benefiting the central Arkansas community.

Betsy Van Meter ’25 
Official Hendrix Internship: Registered Dietician
Supervisor: Laura MacDonald
Betsy will intern alongside a registered dietician at Baptist Health Community Outreach assisting with nutrition classes, working in the food pantry, designing informative nutritional handouts, and more. 

Odyssey Category: Service to the World

Henry Keeler ’26
Building and Sustaining the Public Safety Garden
Supervisor: Candice Thomas
Henry will work with Dr. Thomas to build and maintain a new garden on the Hendrix campus.

Abby Patterson ’25
Service with Victim Witness Department at the Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney's Office 
Supervisor: J.J. Whitney
Abby will work with Victim Witness Services at the Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office this summer. She will assist the attorneys in this office with victim meetings, paperwork, court appearances, and more. 

Odyssey Category: Special Projects

Anna Eichenberger ’25
Athletes in Action Outreach in Central Arkansas and Alaska
Supervisor: Jenn McKenzie
Anna is working with Athletes in Action Central AR as a student-staff member creating and implementing plans to improve the organization's outreach to athletes in Conway. She will travel to Eagle River, Alaska, for two weeks during the summer with the National AIA Soccer Project Team, where she will work with a team of collegiate athletes conducting youth soccer clinics as well as developing her leadership skills and growing in her faith alongside other Christian-athletes.

Rod Miller
Senior Art Major NYC Trip
This three-day trip to NYC is designed to expose senior art majors to the contemporary art world in Chelsea and SoHo as well as museums and collections.  The group will reflect on what art is being shown and how it is displayed to encourage and invigorate students’ own art making during their Senior Capstone and Senior Show.

Odyssey Category: Undergraduate Research

Adam Andrews ’26
Arkansas INBRE Mentored Summer Research Program
Supervisor: Andres Caro
Adam will participate in Arkansas INBRE (Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence), a 10-week-long mentored research program at UAMS. He will work with Dr. Linda Larson-Prior in her Neurocognitive Dynamics research lab where he will process and analyze EEG data from ongoing research projects.

Madeline Caldwell ’26, Ben Curtis ’26, Emily Davidson ’26
Project Paranormal
Supervisor: Celeste Reeb
Madeline, Ben, and Emily will study the effect of social media on the belief in the paranormal and hope to gain insight into the influence of paranormal content on everyday life. 

Andres Caro
Cytochrome P450 modulates NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase-mediated ferroptosis
Dr. Caro and Aubrey Bailey ’26 will investigate a recently discovered mechanism by which cancer cells die, based on lipid damage caused by iron.  

Chloe Chandler ’27
Fact, Fiction, Faith: An Investigation into the Combination of Neuroscience Information and Fundamentalist Beliefs
Supervisor: Sarah Irons
Over the summer, Chloe and Dr. Irons will investigate the combination of complicated neuroscience jargon in psychological explanations and commonly held religious fundamentalist beliefs. They hope to view whether or not a group that is notoriously anti-science will opt to employ neuroscience to bolster their beliefs even when the neuroscientific information does not back up their statements.

Joelle Fahoum ’25
Psychonomic Society Research Presentation: Examining Articulatory Competition Using Phonetic Measures of Tongue Twisters
Supervisor: Sarah Irons
At the Psychonomic Society’s annual conference in New York City, Joelle will present her research on the time course of language production through tongue twister produced forced errors. She used phonetic measurements to approximate mouth movements allowing her to investigate traces of articulatory competition. 

Casi Gee ’25
Synthesis of Novel Chalcones and their Antimicrobial Properties 
Supervisor: Latorya Hicks 
Casi will synthesize chalcones with N-sulfonamide derivative attached to it. She will experiment to see that the product will serve as an anti-microbial.  

Megan Gray ’25 
2024 UAMS Department of Pediatrics/ACRI Summer Science Program
Supervisor: Rick Murray  
Through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, Megan will participate in an 8-week summer program to complete a guided research project, shadow physicians and researchers, and attend informal lectures on medical research and pediatrics. This opportunity will provide practical experience in research and healthcare and supports Megan’s plans to attend medical school upon graduation from Hendrix.  

Justin Grubbs ’24
Implementing Randomness in Disco, a Programming Language for Teaching Discrete Mathematics
Supervisor: Brent Yorgey
In order to enhance the learning of students taking Discrete Mathematics, Justin will research randomness in programming languages and will attempt to implement and control randomness in Disco, a programming language developed by Dr. Yorgey.

Marleigh Hayes ’25
Understanding the Value of Faith-based Re-entry Programs
Supervisor: Delphia Shanks
During the month of July, Marleigh will be beginning her Politics senior thesis research project by conducting interviews with the leaders of faith-based programs in Arkansas Department of Corrections. In doing so, she will better understand how the utilization of faith-based programs impact the accessibility and effectiveness of programming for the general incarcerated population.

Sarah Irons
Neuroplasticity: Understanding Organization of Language in the Brain Using Single-Case Neuropsychology
Dr. Irons and students Emilie Watkins, 2025, Emma Callahan, 2025, and Shermar Simmons, 2025, will spend the summer learning about and applying the principles of cognitive neuropsychology, working with people with language deficits following stroke to study the organization of language in the brain. 

Kaitlyn Kelley ’25
Understanding the Effects of Social Support on Distress Toleration
Supervisor: Leslie Zorwick
As a research assistant at the University of Arkansas’ Treating Emotion and Motivational Processes Transdiagnostically laboratory (TEMPT), Kaitlyn will assist in studying the effects of social support on distress toleration. 

Satya McCarthy-Rotella ’26
Title: Synthesis and Characterization of a Non-Heme Ni-N4 Model Complex of Ni F430 Cofactor
Supervisor: Phan Truong
Methyl coenzyme M reductase utilizes the redox-active Ni F430 cofactor to catalyze the formation of methane; however, the exact mechanism of operation is still a matter of debate. Satya will use a variety of organic and inorganic synthetic techniques to synthesize analogues that mimic Ni F430 cofactor for investigating the mechanism of methyl coenzyme M reductase.

Kelsey Sample ’25
Measuring the Oxidative Capacity of the Locomotor Muscle of Spinner Dolphins 
Supervisor: Jenn Dearolf 
Kelsey will look at the oxidative capacity of spinner dolphin locomotor muscle to determine how it grows as the mammal ages.

John Schaller ’25
A continuation of studying replication of G-quadruplex DNA by translesion polymerases
Supervisor: Julie Gunderson
Over the summer, John will work with Dr. Eoff at UAMS on his research on translesion polymerases through the Arkansas INBRE summer mentored research program. He will spend ten weeks gaining hands-on research experience and refining his scientific communication skills.

Cecelia Schneider ’24
Exploration of Cultural Discourses on Sexuality in Chile
Supervisor: Ruth Yuste-Alonso
Cecelia will explore culturally influenced motivations to engage in and refrain from having sex in Valparaíso, Chile. Investigating how religious, political, folkloric, and other factors influence motivations to have sex and how these motivations correlate with women's rights, LGBTQIA acceptance, and sex education levels in Chile will help inform her thesis project. 

Emma Self ’25
Analyzing and Comparing Muscle Fiber Profiles Within Adult and Calf Spinner Dolphins 
Supervisor: Jenn Dearolf
Over the summer, Emma will analyze the muscle fibers within samples of adult and calf spinner dolphins to understand how these differences affect spinner dolphin swim speed and then use this information to gain insight into recorded calf mortality rates within the tuna fishing industry.