News Center

Galapagos Trip Brings Students the Benefits of Engaged Learning


CONWAY, Ark. (June 25, 2019) – In his first year at Hendrix College, biology professor Dr. Adam Schneider has facilitated summer research trips to a learning environment that made a dramatic impact on his own education: the Galapagos Islands. Schneider, a botanist, just returned from three weeks in the Galapagos, where he volunteered in the Charles Darwin Research Station’s herbarium and shadowed three Hendrix students as they began their projects. He has returned to the U.S., but the students—Kaylen Holman ’22, Rosie Ronca ’20, and Yaraseth Elorza ’22—will stay in the Galapagos until mid-August.

Galapagos-120-Planting_web.jpgHolman and Ronca are working with tortoise rehabilitation and breeding centers through the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative with the Galapagos Conservancy and Galapagos National Park. They will conduct field work for a migration study on multiple islands in the Galapagos, some of them uninhabited by humans. Elorza is working with the Galapagos Verde 2050 Project, implemented by the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) with support from the Galapagos National Park Directorate to restore degraded ecosystems and develop sustainable agricultural practices.

Holman and Elorza, both rising sophomores, are in the first cohort of Hendrix STEM Scholars; their summer research is funded through a $650,000 National Science Foundation S-STEM grant awarded to the College. A Hendrix Odyssey Program grant funds the trip for Ronca, a rising senior. Schneider’s travel was made possible through Odyssey and faculty development funding.

As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC), Schneider participated in this same program, so he contacted the researcher he had worked with at CDRS to explore possibilities for Hendrix students. Schneider was among the first participants in the program through UWEC, and on this year’s trip met the current cohort of UWEC students and faculty. Seeing the continued vibrancy of the program that inspired him nearly a decade ago and knowing that he is still realizing its benefits has fueled his hope to create a sustained program that sends Hendrix students to the Galapagos every year.

Top photo: Rosie Ronca, Kaylen Holman, Yaraseth Elorza, and Dr. Adam Schneider at Galapagos National Park.

Middle photo: Yaraseth Elorza (left) plants seedlings on Baltra Island, a former World War II-era airbase.

Bottom photo: Rosie Ronca and Kaylen Holman sampling tortoise feces for parasite cysts.

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