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Hendrix College Odyssey Program Announces Projects Approved for October 2021 Funding Cycle

CONWAY, Ark. (November 17, 2021) – The Committee on Engaged Learning is pleased to announce $50,357 in Odyssey funding to 12 projects which will allow Hendrix College students to study topics ranging from cowboy culture in the American southwest to cemeteries in New York City, participate in a conference for women in physics and a contest in mathematical modeling, explore vocational development opportunities from gubernatorial campaigns to international medicine, and more! Since 2005, the Committee on Engaged Learning has awarded $4,616,297.71 in competitive Odyssey grants to support 1,446 projects by Hendrix students and faculty.


Global Awareness Projects:

Grace Bryant

The Exploration of Different Cultures and Medicine in Merida, Spain

Supervised by J.D. Gantz

Through an Atlantis pre-med shadowing study abroad program, Grace Bryant will spend two weeks in Spain immersing herself in Spanish medicine, language, and culture. Grace is particularly interested in observing the impact of Spain’s universal healthcare system on health disparities compared to the private healthcare systems in the United States.


Emilie Cassar & Kyle Bounds

Exploring Cultural and Environmental Differences in Emergency Medicine in Costa Rica

Supervised by Irmina Fabricio

Emilie Cassar and Kyle Bounds will explore the intersection of culture and medicine through a course on Emergency Medicine and Wilderness in Costa Rica. Emilie and Kyle, who are both involved in emergency medicine in the US, will learn about how the environment influences emergency medical intervention and how cultural differences influence patient interactions.


Sophie O’Reilly & Ben Blankenship

Writing Under the Mother Tree: Creative Writing, Ecology, and Scotland

Supervised by Anne Goldberg

Sophie O’Reilly and Ben Blankenship will participate in workshops led by renowned folklore and writing specialists, receive individual writing critiques, and attend storytelling sessions as part of the Badenoch: Storylands Sessions in Edinburgh, Scotland. As scientists, Sophie and Ben will study the ways their given disciplines interact and influence Scottish folklore and use the skills and knowledge gleaned from the trip to write a collection of creative work that captures both the natural and supernatural landscape of Scotland to be submitted for private publication.


Elise Ormonde & Rachel McGhee

Ecuador: Buen Vivir

Supervised by Lilian Contreras-Silva

Elise Ormonde and Rachel McGhee will investigate the Ecuadorian ideology of Buen Vivir, the interconnected wellbeing of people and their environment. A value so important that it is constitutionally recognized, Elise and Rachel will explore the concept from cultural, economic, and environmental standpoints.


Katie Pratt, Tristan Becker Hoerschelmann, & Shelby Burrow

Tenderfootin’ Out West: Exploring Cowboy Cultures Past and Present in the American Southwest

Supervised by Anne Goldberg

Katie Pratt, Tristan Becker Hoerschelmann, and Shelby Burrow will immerse themselves in Western Black, Indigenous, and cowboy cultures in a journey through five states in the American Southwest. By visiting museums, parks, nature preserves, monuments, and historic cities, the group will investigate what it means to be a cowboy—both today and historically—and how a diversity of racial and ethnic groups fit into cowboy culture.


Professional & Leadership Development Project:


Jayla King

Intern: Campaign Fellow for Dr. Chris Jones, Arkansas Gubernatorial Race

Supervised by Delphia Shanks & Tricia Burris

Through the spring of 2022, Jayla King will serve as a Campaign Fellow for Dr. Chris Jones, a candidate in the Arkansas 2022 Gubernatorial Race. In this role, Jayla will gain a deeper understanding of how campaigns work and improve team communication skills as she helps with implementing all aspects of the campaign strategy, including events, press and voter outreach, social media, and campaign research.


Service to the World Projects:


Mohannad Al-Hindi & Joseph Lara

Impact of Natural Disasters on Ecotourism in Puerto Rico

Supervised by J.D. Gantz

Mohannad Al-Hindi and Joseph Lara will dedicate one week to exploring the impact of natural disasters on the ecotourism economy in Puerto Rico. Mohannad and Joseph will interview community members, talk to hurricane relief and ecotourism experts, visit ecotourism sites, and volunteer with hurricane relief organizations.


Ellen Alston

Building Bridges through Service-Learning: A Service to the World Project in Puerto Rico

On this Miller Center Service-Learning Trip, participants will work alongside community members to assist with rebuilding homes destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017. In addition to a greater understanding of the complexities of disaster recovery, group members will gain an appreciation of the rich culture and heritage of Puerto Rico and develop a deeper sense of their own vocational journey.


Maxine Payne

Transforming the current art complex garden into a beneficial, native pollinating garden

This project will transform a small garden in the Art Complex yard into a beneficial pollinating garden featuring native plants. The garden effort will foster a sense of community with the natural environment on campus, raise public awareness of native plants and the benefits of pollinators, and address the issue of climate change on a small, local, and feasible scale while offering the campus community a beautiful, natural space to learn, rest, and reflect.


Special Projects:


Robin Salinger

An Exploration of the American Cemetery

Supervised by Alex Veselka-Bush

Through visits to nine cemeteries in New York City, Robin Salinger will further their interdisciplinary research on death culture in the U.S. In this project, Robin aims to learn more about symbolism and aesthetics in American death culture, to learn how perceptions of death have shifted within America over time, and to gain a more holistic view of the history of death in America.


Mark Goadrich

Solving Real-world Problems with Tools from Mathematics and Computer Science: The COMAP International Contest in Mathematical Modeling

Three teams of three Hendrix students each will participate in a remote contest to tackle real-world mathematical modeling problems. Each team will spend 96 hours over the course of a weekend researching, developing, and evaluating mathematical and computational models culminating in the submission of a final report which is typically around ten pages and includes the technical details of the team’s proposed solution, supporting figures, diagrams, and equations, and a layperson explanation in the form of a news article or stakeholder report which is then evaluated by contest judges who are academicians and industry professionals.


Ann Wright

2022 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

Dr. Ann Wright and six physics students will attend the 2022 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) in January 2022 at Tulane University. The goal of the conference is to encourage undergraduate women to pursue careers in physics by giving them the experience of a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas.


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