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Hendrix Odyssey Program Announces Grants for October 2022 Funding Cycle

Program’s cumulative engaged learning grants now total more than $4.8 million

CONWAY, Arkansas (December 1, 2022) – The Committee on Engaged Learning is pleased to announce $53,910.08 in Odyssey funding to eight projects which will allow Hendrix students to explore the connections between environmental and human wellness in Costa Rica and in the U.K. and Ireland, to contribute to the translation of marine biology research and to the educational and professional development of young Rwandans, and more! Since 2005, the Committee on Engaged Learning has awarded $4,838,994.34 in competitive Odyssey grants to support 1,492 projects by Hendrix students and faculty.

Global Awareness

Ria Joshi ’23
Yeh Hai Rajasthani
Supervised by Ann Muse
In early January 2023, Ria will travel to Rajasthan, India, to study the impact of an array of traditions curated by Rao Bikaji, a younger scion of the Jodhpur royal family in the 1400s who transformed the area from one of ruins to one of riches. Through historic research, interviews, photographs, videos, and written journals, the student will capture findings and experiences and will share in a presentation upon return to campus for the spring semester.

Maya Kreczmer ’23 & Avery Olmstead ’23
Examining the Connection Between Healthcare and Women’s Representation in Sweden

Supervised by Rebekah Nelson
In March 2023, Maya and Avery will visit Stockholm, Sweden, to examine the connection between healthcare and women’s representation. Through this project, which combines each student’s academic area of study, Maya and Avery expect to better understand both topics, how they intersect, and why Sweden tops the charts for universal healthcare and percentage of women in the national legislature.

Jennifer Penner (faculty, Department of Psychology)
Returning to Nature: Nature, Identity, and Human & Environment Well-Being in Costa Rica

In May 2023, Dr. Jennifer Penner and a group of students from various disciplines will spend two weeks exploring three distinct ecosystems in the Bellbird Biological Corridor of Costa Rica. The group will develop an understanding of biodiversity through multiple lenses and study the connections between nature, identity, and community. Of particular focus will be investigating and reflecting on the relationship between the wellbeing of the planet and the wellbeing of humans.

Savanna Watts ’23
Spanish Marine Biology Translation Project in Costa Rica
Supervised by Ruth Yuste-Alonso
Working with a branch of the Costa Rica Ministry of Environment and Energy over Winter Break, Savanna will help with the daily activities associated with locating and protecting the endangered Leatherback sea turtles who nest in the Playa Grande area and will contribute to the translation of local research findings. In this project, the student will build on previous marine biology experience, expand Spanish language capacity, and explore the language gap in scientific writing.


Service to the World

Gaelle Agahozo & Swalat Jamirah Issa ’25
Professional Development Bootcamp
Supervised by Rebekah Nelson
During Winter Break, Gaelle and Swalat will work with the nonprofit Born2Serve in Rwanda to plan, conduct, and follow up on a weeklong bootcamp aimed at supporting students with the skills to finish high school and prepare for professional life after graduation. In their role as program managers for the camp, Gaelle and Swalat are especially eager for the responsibility of assigning mentors to the participants who will work with the high schoolers longer term. In addition to giving back to young people in their home country, these two students also expect to gain organizational and event planning skills that will strengthen their own professional skills.


Special Projects

Maxine Payne (faculty, Department of Art)
Society for Photographic Education, 60th Annual Conference Attendance
Professor Payne and a group of her students will attend the annual conference of the Society for Photographic Education in March 2023 where they will connect with others who are similarly dedicated to the study, practice, collection, and evaluation of photography. In addition to attending panel discussions, keynote addresses, technical demonstrations, and a media fair, students will serve as conference volunteers, view various exhibitions, and engage in a professional review of their portfolios with established artists. Upon return to campus, students will exhibit their photography and speak about the ways their conference attendance influenced them at an exhibition reception.

Jaclyn Reifeiss ’23 & Maggie Ryan ’23
Conservation from Within: Analyzing Sociological Effects of Residential National Parks in the UK and Ireland
Supervised by J.D. Gantz
Over Winter Break, Jaclyn, a biology major, and Maggie, an English major, will travel through the United Kingdom and The Republic of Ireland to learn about the sociological effects of living inside national parks and federally protected lands. Through interviews, observations, and visits to local museums and information centers, the students will explore how having large settlements in natural areas changes the public’s perception of nature and their roles in conservation.

Diogo Costa Sa ’25
Atlantis 360 Shadowing (Lisbon)
Supervised by Peter Kett
Diogo will spend three weeks in Lisbon, Portugal, shadowing doctors in three hospitals, observing differences in medical specialties and healthcare systems, and gathering insight into what contributions he desires to make as a future medical professional. Beyond the hospital experiences, the student will have the opportunity to explore the city and engage in cultural excursions.

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