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Newest Murphy Scholars Inducted

Murphy Scholars Induction Ceremony 2017CONWAY, Ark. (October 20, 2017) – Thirty Hendrix College sophomores recently have been named to the newest class of Murphy Scholars in Literature and Language. This year’s group is the third cohort to take advantage of the enhanced opportunities in literature and language the program offers.

The new Murphy Scholars were formally inducted at a special ceremony Tuesday, October 17, in Reves Recital Hall. They joined the 20 inaugural Murphy Scholars named in 2015, and the 25 named in 2016. 

Murphy Scholars explore literature and language at a more intensive level by participating in designated study, travel, research, and service experiences in literature and language. Members of this year’s cohort represent 17 different majors and three different minors.

“This is another fantastic group of Scholars,” said Hope Coulter, director of the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language, which developed and oversees the Murphy Scholars program. “They’re passionate about everything from foreign policy to theatre, Jane Austen to Gabriel García Márquez. Collectively they’re fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Urdu, and American Sign Language—and those are just the languages they’ve happened to mention so far!”

The Class of 2020 Murphy Scholars in Literature and Language are:

  • Hannah Austin of Little Rock, Arkansas (Psychology and Neuroscience)                                              
  • Megan Bellfield of North Little Rock, Arkansas (History and Spanish)
  • Emily Bowie of Cabot, Arkansas (Undecided)
  • Bailey Brya of Rogers, Arkansas (International Relations)
  • Nicola Bryan of Little Rock, Arkansas (Psychology and English–Literary Studies)
  • Liam Carey of Tulsa, Oklahoma (English–Creative Writing)
  • Leah Crenshaw of Texarkana, Arkansas (Biology and English–Creative Writing)                        
  • Jessica Frazier–Emerson of Texarkana, Texas (Undecided)
  • Emily Gardner of Little Rock, Arkansas (Theatre Arts and English–Creative Writing)
  • Mackenzie Gearin of Osceola, Wisconsin (Interdisciplinary Studies and English–Literary Studies)
  • Emma Gimenez of Madrid, Spain (Psychology and Neuroscience)
  • Haven Griffin of Little Rock, Arkansas (Neuroscience)
  • Olivia Hardick of Austin, Texas (History and Spanish)
  • Jane Henderson of Benton, Arkansas (Psychology)
  • Clay Johnston of Benton, Arkansas (English–Creative Writing)
  • Charlie Jones of Benton, Arkansas (Psychology)
  • Sam Kalmbach of Shreveport, Louisiana (Classics)
  • Ashton Leach of Benton, Arkansas (History & English–Film Studies)
  • Kaitlin Lowe of Little Rock, Arkansas (English–Literary Studies)
  • Emma Morton of Marmaduke, Arkansas (English–Literary Studies)
  • Kennedy Reynolds of Conway, Arkansas (History and Spanish)
  • Ana Romero Flores of Memphis, Tennessee (Spanish with a minor in Sociology)
  • David Samuel of Albuquerque, New Mexico (Undecided)
  • Madeleine Scott of Tucson, Arizona (Biology and French)
  • Maddy Shaddox of Cabot, Arkansas (English–Creative Writing)
  • Carlee Shepard of Greensboro, North Carolina (Biology and Environmental Studies)
  • Rachel Shepherd of Fort Smith, Arkansas (Psychology and Religious Studies)
  • Jonah White of Mountain Home, Arkansas (Theatre Arts with a minor in German)
  • Shelbey Winningham of Searcy, Arkansas (English–Creative Writing with a minor in History)
  • Jasmine Zandi of Little Rock, Arkansas (International Relations and Environmental Studies)       

Examples of current Murphy Scholars’ projects:

  • Last winter break, Murphy Scholars headed to both warmer and cooler climes. David Tate ’18 immersed himself in Spanish while living with a family in San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala. Lexus Raney ’18 braved the Paris winter to study French intensively at the France Langue School.
  • Laela Zaidi ’18 forged her own “tale of two Oxfords”: while studying abroad at Oxford University, she held an editorship at the Oxford Review of Books; and back in Arkansas for the summer, she interned with the Oxford American magazine in Little Rock.
  • Annika Miller Patterson ’18 and nine other Murphy Scholars undertook a spring study of “Family Storytelling and the American Experience.” After reading and discussing short stories about family experience, they wrote and shared their own vignettes from family histories.
  • Last summer, Graydon Carter ’19 took courses at the University of Arkansas’s journalism school to investigate “Tools of the Trade: An Introduction to Journalistic Storytelling.” 
  • Rebecca Levin ’19 plunged deep into “Learning Biblical Hebrew” in an intensive online course offered by Erasmus Academy: “The multitude of reading, parsing, conjugating, and translation exercises frequently left me drained, but also vitalized by the learning. The instructor was not, despite my expectations, an older Rabbi. Instead, he was a young Ph.D. candidate in Old Testament studies who often cracked jokes relating to modern-day popular culture (most of which went over my head).”
  • At the International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen, China—which she was already attending with her botany mentor, Dr. Ann Willyard—Hanna Liebermann ’19 not only got to improve her Mandarin, but made a side study of international science communication and the role of multilingualism. 

About the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language

Since 1978, the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation has enriched the study of literature and language for the Hendrix community. It was established by the late Mr. Charles H. Murphy, Jr., former Chair of the Board of Murphy Oil Corporation and former member of the Hendrix Board of Trustees, in memory of his mother, Mrs. Bertie Wilson Murphy, who possessed a lifelong love of literature and language. Current Hendrix-Murphy offerings include the Murphy Scholars Program, the Distinguished Visiting Writer series, immersive foreign language experiences, a playwriting contest and other literary competitions, a student reading series for original works, study abroad opportunities, literary discussion groups, internships, and local outreach to strengthen literature and language in the community beyond Hendrix.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit

Photo by Mike Kemp