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Hendrix Odyssey Program Project Funding, February 2022

CONWAY, Ark. (March 15, 2022)—The Committee on Engaged Learning has awarded $54,422.31 in Odyssey funding to 11 projects which will allow Hendrix students to study topics ranging from the art of pastry baking and the historical and contemporary importance of cafés to the contraction speeds of the locomotor muscles of spinner dolphins and beluga whales and the role of histone proteins in the DNA repair of tiny aquatic animals, and more. 

Since 2005, the Committee on Engaged Learning has awarded $4,670,720.02 in competitive Odyssey grants to support 1,457 projects by Hendrix students and faculty.

ODYSSEY CATEGORY: Artistic Creativity

Keeley Ausburn ’24

Beautiful Bakes: The Artistry of Pastry

Supervised by Jennifer Penner & Dawn Hearne

Through an online course from the Kiev International Culinary Academy, Keeley will explore a passion for and expand skills in pastry baking over the course of the summer. The student will share learnings from the experience and edible artistic creations in a presentation to the Hendrix community upon return to campus in the fall.

ODYSSEY CATEGORY: Global Awareness 

Keira Boop ’23 & Jacob Newland ’23

Sequoia-Kings Canyon Backpacking

Supervised by Peter Gess

In a two-week, 210-mile hike in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Keira and Jacob will immerse themselves in an unfamiliar natural environment, test their self-reliance and problem-solving skills, and reflect on the daily obstacles and opportunities of the adventure, the relationship between people and nature, and their own personal growth.

ODYSSEY CATEGORY: Professional & Leadership Development 

Rebecca Burks ’23 & Jaclyn Reifeiss ’23

Children's Eternal Rainforest Professional Field Experience

Supervised by Matthew Moran

Working with the Children's Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica this summer, Rebecca and Jaclyn will gain professional experience in conservation and ecology by studying the effects of chytrid fungus on amphibians and assisting in the maintenance and daily activities of the preserve and its facilities. The students will live with host families and will use Spanish as their primary language. They expect to learn more about biodiversity, ecology, and disease impacts on wildlife as well as to better understand the role of conservation organizations in preserving biodiversity and mitigating anthropogenic influences while also exploring potential career paths as conservation biologists.

Cassandra McLaughlan ’23

HEALS Lab Research Assistantship

Supervised by Carmen Merrick

Cassandra will serve as a research assistant in UAMS’ Health and the Legal System (HEALS) Lab, which will allow her to broaden her research experience and explore career interests as a psychological researcher. She also anticipates learning more about how she operates as part of a research team, which she hopes will make her a better researcher.

Noura Musallam ’23

Internship: Research Assistant at the HEALS (Health and Legal System) Lab at UAMS

Supervised by Lindsay Kennedy

As a research assistant, Noura will work as a member of a team on a number of research projects and will have the opportunity to conduct participant assessments, analyze and enter data into software programs, conduct literature summaries, and finish administrative tasks. The student expects the internship will further her vocational interest in scientific research, allow her to explore her values, interests, strengths, and abilities, and grow her critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, professional and advanced statistical skills.


ODYSSEY CATEGORY: Special Projects

Olivia Larson ’23, Josh Thomeczek ’23, Raven Johnson ’23, & Gideon Drake ’23

Fuel for Thought: A Documentary of Historical and Contemporary Cafés in Europe

Supervised by Sasha Pfau

These four students will research a number of historic cafés in preparation for a two-week trip to England, France, Italy, and Austria where they will visit a number of coffee shops in an exploration of the modern-day and historical roles of coffee shops. The project will culminate in the presentation of an original documentary that compares their research with their in-person observations.


ODYSSEY CATEGORY: Undergraduate Research

Jennifer Dearolf

Development of the locomotor muscles of spinner dolphins and beluga whales

Dr. Dearolf and two Hendrix students will determine the fiber-type profiles of the locomotor muscles of neonatal, juvenile, and adult spinner dolphins and beluga whales. These profiles will be used to estimate the contraction speeds of the cetacean (dolphin, whale, and porpoise) muscles and investigate why calves are frequently at risk of being separated from their mothers. Both students will present their summer research at either the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting next winter or the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium next spring.

Regina Delgadillo Galaviz ’23

Exploring the role of proline in peptide folding through ion mobility spectrometry and mass spectrometry

Supervised by David Hales

This summer, Regina will study a particular peptide decomposition process in labs at Hendrix College and Indiana University. Through this research experience, Regina expects to become a better scientist, gain insight into working in a graduate-level research lab, and confront her fear of failure.

Rod Miller

Residency in Florence

Students Grace Capooth ’22, Ayden Huckelberry ’25, Hannah Samuel ’22, and Ashley Warrick ’24 will expand on their spring semester Renaissance and Baroque Art History course with a six-day visit to Florence, Italy, in May where they will experience the architecture and art in person, better grasp the historicity of the works, use those experiences/knowledge in their research projects, and apply their intellectual inquisitiveness in a different culture. Findings from students’ individual research projects will be presented publicly in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Taylor Aishman ’24

Undergraduate Research in the Modeling and Refinement of the Human Mu-Opioid Receptor 

Supervised by Caitlin Scott                                         

In this summer research project, Taylor will explore the mu-opioid receptor’s role in opioid addiction. Building on the findings of previous students’ research, Taylor will use software to test and refine the computational model of the receptor’s bonding reactions. Findings from this research will be presented at the MERCURY Conference for Undergraduate Computational Chemistry and could lead to the development of alternatives to highly addictive opioid pain-relieving pharmaceuticals.

Kendal Rainey ’24

Using CRISPR to Determine the Role of Histone H2A Proteins in Bdelloid Rotifers

Supervised by Andrew Schurko

Using a genome editing system called CRISPR, Kendal will spend the summer studying the role of histone proteins in the remarkable DNA repair of bdelloid rotifers, microscopic, aquatic animals which are resistant to ionizing radiation at levels that are 100 times higher than the lethal dose to humans. Findings will be presented at the Arkansas INBRE (Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) Conference and the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Conference.