Your Hendrix Odyssey

October 2007 Odyssey Grant Recipients

Hendrix Odyssey Program
Project Funding
October 2007

This fall, the Committee on Experiential Learning awarded Odyssey Grants totaling $103,231.77 to 30 projects. These projects involve nine faculty members and 94 student participants. This funding cycle brings the total of Odyssey Grants awarded since the Odyssey Program’s inception in the fall of 2005 to $612,083.56. 

Students will explore exotic locations in Tibet and Turkey, dance in the Czech Republic, come face-to-face with the Elgin Marbles, and interact with fans at the Cotton Bowl. These projects also showcase the altruistic and artistic spirit of Hendrix students at home and around the world.

The Odyssey Grant recipients include:

Liz Blackman, Amanda Brooks, Andrew Fiser, Will Green, Rachel Johnson, Katy Kirk, Katie Robinson, and Hilary Stine
Academic Explorations of Religion
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. John Sanders

After attending the American Academy of Religions and Society of Biblical Literature Conference in San Diego this fall, Liz Blackman, Amanda Brooks, Andrew Fiser, Will Green, Rachel Johnson, Katy Kirk, Katie Robinson, and Hilary Stine plan to organize an undergraduate religion conference at Hendrix. Each student will present a paper on a religious studies topic for peer and faculty review. Students from Hendrix and surrounding colleges will be invited to participate in the conference, which will be co-sponsored by the Department of Religion and the Hendrix Religious Life Council. “We will have the opportunity to discuss our experiences with each other and the religion department faculty, making us all better scholars and better students,” the group said.

Laura Broederdorf
Chemical Ecology Research with Elephants in Africa
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Tom Goodwin

African elephants are an endangered species, and very little is known about chemical communication among elephants in the wild. Laura Broederdorf has been working with Dr. Tom Goodwin on a research project to detect the use of chemical signals connected to elephant reproduction. “Our research specifically looks for whether a chemical is responsible for signaling when a female African elephant is ovulating so that a male elephant can detect that she is ready to breed,” Broederdorf explained. For four weeks, she will take her research to the field by traveling to the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa to participate in ongoing projects under the direction of Dr. Goodwin’s research collaborator, Dr. Bruce Schulte of Georgia Southern University. She’ll also attend seminars on African ecology and animal behavior at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. In addition, she plans to learn about non-lethal methods of reducing conflicts between elephants and humans from wildlife managers, conservationists and local villagers.

Sarah Dunaway and Trang Van
Serving Through Art with Tanzanian Children
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Rev. J.J. Whitney

Sarah Dunaway and Trang Van will volunteer at the TunaHAKI Centre for Child Development, an arts-based shelter for AIDS orphans and street kids in Moshi, Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania. The Centre’s name, TunaHAKI, is Swahili for ‘We have a RIGHT’, and it is a phrase that the street children of Moshi came up with themselves as they set about to find a better life. Dunaway and Van plan to provide six different educational arts projects for the children who live at the Centre. These include making beaded bracelets, tie-dyeing t-shirts, compiling scrapbooks, creating masks, and building a popsicle stick frame. “In addition, the god’s eye, a simple weaving made across two sticks that originated from Mexico, will give the children a hint of another culture,” they said. Along with their on-site work in Tanzania, fundraising efforts on the Hendrix campus this fall will support the purchase of “wish list” items such as textbooks and clothes that the students will send to the Centre. These contributions will be vital because Tanzania is one of the poorest nations in the world, and the infant and child mortality rates are among the highest on the planet.

Mary Flanigan and Joseph Muller
Guatemala Odyssey:  Service to the World in Quetzaltenango
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Anne Goldberg

Mary Flanigan and Joseph Muller share a strong interest in volunteerism, experiencing other cultures, and improving their Spanish skills. Their project in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, combines these three factors. Through the volunteer organization United Planet, they will work for two weeks at a shelter for women and children who have fled abusive situations.  The shelter is managed entirely by women and has daycare and after-school tutoring for the children. Both Flanigan and Muller have many hours of volunteer work at women’s shelters in America, and they are excited “to serve others while immersing ourselves in a culture other than our own,” they said.  They will share their stories and photographs at a campus presentation when they return.

Ingrid Geisler
Grove Gymnasium Memorial Sculpture
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Prof. Maxine Payne

Grove Gymnasium was the athletic center of the Hendrix campus for decades before the construction of the new Wellness and Athletic Center. Before Grove was demolished, tiles were collected from the pool. Artist Ingrid Geisler will use these tiles to create a sculpture for the new building that memorializes the old gymnasium. “The greatest challenge of the project will be to create a sculpture that is both creative and interesting from an artistic standpoint, but also suitable and professional enough to do homage to Grove given the special limitations of the Aquatic Center,” Geisler said. The sculpture will either be a wall-mounted piece in the center’s lobby or a free-standing work displayed in the adjacent sun porch. The sculpture will feature a plaque memorializing Grove. It will be completed in the spring and will be presented to the Hendrix community.

Rainey Gibson and Amanda Mooneyham
The In Crowd: A Look at Super Fans and the Role of Social Identity
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Leslie Wade

Super Fans lose their identity in a sports team; they travel to every game; they paint their faces; they name their children after their team’s best player—for these fans, loyalty to their team is not part of their life; it IS their life. Rainey Gibson and Amanda Mooneyham will consider these fans from a psychological perspective. They’ll find out from the Super Fans themselves what drives them to connect so completely with a team. “To best study Super Fans’ needs for inclusion and distinctiveness in terms of their fandom, it is best to study them firsthand,” they said. And to do that, Gibson and Mooneyham will travel to the Cotton Bowl in January and the NCAA Basketball Championships in April to compare Super Fans of two different sports at an equivalent competitive level.

Umer Malik
Using Cell Culture to Characterize Nerve Stem Cells and Subtypes
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Mark Sutherland

Umer Malik, a junior biology major, will research how nerve stem cells are formed during embryonic development. He’ll focus on determining the optimal conditions for growing the cells in cell culture and investigating whether the cells have particular markers that identify different cell types. Malik will use tissue from both normal mice and mice with genetic defects that affect nervous system development.  “Because the cells that I will be looking at have genetic problems, cultures will make looking at mutated cells easier,” Malik said. At the conclusion of the project, he will give a campus presentation about his lab findings.

Timothy Martin
Growth Patterns of Cyathus stercoreus and Crucibulum laeve on MEA wood infusion plates
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Linda Gatti-Clark

Timothy Martin will explore new scientific territory in a field that still has many mysteries for the biological community. He’ll focus on mycology, the study of fungi, with an investigation of how two members of the Nidulariaceae family grow on wood. Martin will utilize a growth medium with varying concentrations of five types of wood. With no prior research on these growth patterns to use as a model, Martin will make his own wood infusion plates for his experiment. “This type of research is important because it could have ecological implications,” Martin said. The timber industry could base planting decisions on trees’ resistance to fungal growth, or subsequent researchers could use the results to determine the best ways to culture and grow high-quality fungi quickly in controlled settings.

Susan Meyer and Jonathan Nichols
Czech Your Steps: A Study of Ballroom Culture
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Prof. Earlene Hannah 

Susan Meyer and Jonathan Nichols will be on their toes—literally—for their Odyssey project. Ballroom dancing has a long history in the Czech Republic, and it has traditional significance for the culture. Each year, ball season begins in January and runs through March, and it is an important part of social interaction. At the Lucerna Palace in Prague, Meyer and Nichols will experience an upscale, cosmopolitan ball. They will also visit other ballroom venues to learn about the logistics in hosting a ball and visit a dance school to get a perspective on some differences between American and Czech dancing. Later, they will travel to the small town of Prostejov to participate in a ball in a rural setting, which will allow them to compare balls in two distinctly different areas of the country.  When they return, they will share music and dance steps in a presentation on campus—and possibly organize a ball for their fellow students.

Aaron Nachmann and Beth Smyer
Ostalgie and the Future of a Reunified Germany
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Garrett McAinsh

Aaron Nachmann and Beth Smyer will investigate one reaction to the reunification of East and West Germany. Although both sides initially hoped for economic renewal, this hasn’t been the case for the former East Germany, which has experienced soaring unemployment rates. The current economic situation has led many former East Germans to reflect upon life in a socialist regime with nostalgia for its guaranteed employment, low-cost housing and social programs. The German term for this type of nostalgia is “Ostalgie,” from the German words Ost (east) and Nostalgie (nostalgia). The culture of East Germany is becoming more popular, leading to a conflict over whether the nostalgic view of an oppressive regime is appropriate. Nachmann and Smyer will visit Berlin, Dresden, and Hamburg. One highlight will be a trip to Ossi World (East World), a new theme park in Berlin that recreates life in East Germany—including the Berlin Wall and border patrol guards with fake machine guns.

Erin Nixon
Galloway Garden
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Connie Gardner

Inspired by Galloway Hall’s distinctive Tudor architecture, Erin Nixon plans to add a garden to one of Hendrix’s most beloved residence halls.  A brick enclosure near the hall formerly housed electrical transformers, and has been empty and neglected. “When I found the bricked enclosure last year, it reminded me of the walls of a little English garden, which would fit well with the personality of Galloway Hall,” Nixon said. One possibility for the flower choice would be a Shakespearean garden that incorporates varieties mentioned in his works. Her vision for the garden includes a bridge-like entrance, lattice for roses and ivy, an area for students to sit and study, and a display of student sculptures.

Alana Stephens
International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on Medicine Commonwealth of Australia
Category: Global Awareness
Sponsor: Dr. Mark Sutherland

Alana Stephens knows that she will be a part of the medical profession. This May, she will participate in the prestigious International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on Medicine, focusing on medicine in Australia. The program will immerse her in the international world of medicine, with discussion of the political, economic and social issues facing the medical community in that country. In Melbourne and Sydney, Stephens will visit Australian hospitals, clinics and universities, where she will gain particular insight into how medical professionals administer care to Australia’s many ethnic groups. She is aware that the globalization of medicine is essential in all areas of the medical field, including research, development of new technology, and topics like universal health care. “We must develop relationships with other countries in this regard and learn from one another and work together in order to conquer the many problems facing the world today,” she added.

Melissa Taylor
Sierra Club Service Trip: Arizona Trail Service
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Connie Gardner

Melissa Taylor’s Odyssey project won’t be easy. She won’t have a soft bed. She won’t even have a roof over her head. Working with the Sierra Club, she will help build a section of the Arizona Trail. This will involve a seven-mile hike to the worksite camp, where she will use hand tools to extend the trail toward the Gila River.  Her interest in natural resources and wildlife drew her to this project. The non-motorized Trail is intended for hikers, cross-country skiers, bikers and equestrians, and it is noted for both its natural beauty and its low impact on the environment. When it is complete, the Trail will be approximately 800 miles long and reach from the Mexico border through Arizona to Utah. There are only 57 miles left to build, and Taylor is eager to help create a trail that visitors will enjoy for generations. “This project will require me to learn new skills, discover more about the ecological system of the area, and perform intense physical labor,” Taylor said.  

Amanda Thomas
A Practical Combination of Art and Computers
Category: Artistic Creativity
Sponsor: Dr. Carl Burch

Can a computer be a beautiful piece of art? Can art be technologically functional? Amanda Thomas will answer those questions with her Odyssey project. She will build a computer that will hold a database of past years’ senior art projects, and then design an artistic piece to disguise the computer’s true nature.  Her goal is to have a searchable database of the projects that can display the images without the need to load separate disks and slides. She also has a specific plan for the user interface to the database. “It will contain artistic elements such as the repetition of line and form, color, and dynamic use of space, while simultaneously remaining as usable as possible,” Thomas explained.

Jed Thomas, Brian West, and Jacob Williams
Perception and Presentation of the Parthenon: Nashville, London, and Athens
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Rebecca Resinski 

Jed Thomas, Brian West, and Jacob Williams will investigate an architectural icon:  The Parthenon. The structure was completed in 433 BCE in Athens and was both a temple to the patron goddess Athena and a treasury for imperial spoils and state wealth.  Gutted by a gunpowder explosion in 1687, the structure is now a shell. In 1816, the Earl of Elgin sold some of the ornate marble work from the Parthenon to the British Museum of London; these are the controversial Elgin Marbles. Thomas, West and Williams will examine the current perceptions of the Parthenon and how these relate to its past, with a special focus on how the structure and its components are presented to the public.  They will begin with an exploration of the Parthenon of Nashville, Tenn., which was erected as the centerpiece of the 1897 Centennial Exposition and is the only full-scale replica of the Parthenon in the world. Next, they will visit the British Museum in London to see how the Elgin Marbles are displayed. Is the emphasis on their history or on their status as art? Does the museum acknowledge the controversy over their ownership? Finally they will travel to Greece to see the Parthenon itself. “The Parthenon has been a way for modern Greeks, and the Greek government, to reconnect with and rally around its past,” they said.

Matt Youngblood
Municipal Food Scrap Composting in Suburban Settings
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Matt Moran

In the San Francisco Bay area, restaurants and residents are given a bin to collect food scraps, including meats, fats, vegetables and grains. These bins are collected daily and taken to the Jepson Prairie Organics facility in Vacaville, Calif., where they are processed and put in a compost pile. Matt Youngblood will travel to the Jepson facility to learn how their municipal composting system became successful. Next, he will interview Dr. Ruihong Zhang at UC Davis about her innovative research into anaerobic composting to collect methane to generate electricity. Finally, he will explore the possibility of establishing a similar food scrap composting program with local officials and environmental interest groups. Youngblood’s interest in this project has a spiritual basis. “There is something deeply religious to me about compost piles. They symbolize our tie to the earth and complete the cycle of life,” he said.

Prof. Brigitte Brumbelow
American College Dance Festival Association
Category: Artistic Creativity 

The Odyssey Program and the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance will team up to send members of the Hendrix Dance Ensemble to this year’s American College Dance Festival. Held at Friends University in Wichita, Kan, the festival emphasizes the importance of dance in higher education and provides a wide assortment of classes, lectures and performances by leading experts. The 15 student participants will collaborate with Prof. Brigitte Brumbelow to create a modern dance piece that will be performed and adjudicated at the festival. The Dance Ensemble will be judged on the performance, choreography, costume design, lighting and music selection. The piece will be presented during the Spring Dance Concert on campus in April.  “By attending ACDFA, students will not only grow as artists, but will also gain a deeper understanding of the importance of academic dance,” Brumbelow said. The participating students include Rachel Arnold, Allyson Curry, Derek Easttom, Lauren Fletcher, Rachel Floyd, Michael Goodbar, Laura Hamby, Katie Jones, Sara King, Lauren Klaskala, Junia Massey, Caitlin Mulkern, Molly Robbins, Rachel Smith, and Savanna Sneeringer.

Dr. Nancy Fleming
SWACDA Collegiate Choir
Category: Artistic Creativity

Eight vocalists from Hendrix will perform at the Southwest Region of the American Choral Directors Association (SWACDA) biennial convention in Kansas City, Mo., in February.  Sopranos Lira Mondal and Margaret Rountree, altos Kate Cook and Melissa Garrard, tenors Jeff Craft and Ben Marcello, and basses John Casey and Ryan Hoyle will participate in a Collegiate Choir comprised of singers from colleges and universities throughout the region.  The choir will rehearse intensively for three days under the direction of Dr. Eph Ely, internationally-recognized American choral conductor and clinician, before presenting a concert to the convention participants.  The theme of this regional convention is to “get back to where it all started,” which is a reference to the first-ever ACDA national meeting held in Kansas City 48 years ago. Therefore, the repertoire for the concert will feature music by Kansas City area composers. 

Dr. Anne Goldberg
Transcribing and Translating the Women of San Luis, Costa Rica
Category: Special Projects

Anthropology students Lara Morrow and Sara Hunter will put their Spanish skills to the test this spring. They participated in a summer project with Dr. Anne Goldberg and Prof. Maxine Payne to photograph and interview women living in San Luis, Costa Rica. Morrow and Hunter attended the interviews and helped with the questioning. Now they are ready to transcribe—and translate—the interviews. They need to produce a full transcription in both Spanish and English for a planned exhibition, website and book based upon the summer project. “Transcription is an essential part of most ethnographic research, and few students have the opportunity to work with the extensive interviews that this project has provided,” Goldberg said. She added that the students are excited about working to combine their anthropology and Spanish training.

Dr. William Gorvine
In the Pilgrim's Footsteps: The Religious World of Tibet in Language and Literature
Category: Undergraduate Research

The concept of a pilgrimage is important in Tibetan literature and culture, and Dr. William Gorvine and six of his students will go on a 26-day pilgrimage of their own. They will investigate Tibet, with particular emphasis on the country’s literature of travel and place, both in English and especially in Tibetan sources in translation. Each student will formulate a research paper, and the on-site explorations of Tibet will give valuable insight and direction to these papers as they are developed. Highlights of the trip include the important pilgrimage sites in and around Lhasa, including temples, monasteries and other sacred sites. The group will visit Jokhang, Tibet’s most revered temple, and the Potala Palace, the former home of the Dalai Lama and the seat of the old Tibetan government. “Ultimately, this Odyssey-Murphy sponsored trip will greatly facilitate an increased knowledge of Tibetan literature, language, and religious culture among both participants and the campus community as a whole, and it promises to foster further interest in Asian Studies and in the development of undergraduate research projects abroad,” Gorvine said.

Dr. Rod Miller
Turkey Tour
Category: Global Awareness/Undergraduate Research 

Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Asia, and in many ways, it blends aspects of Eastern and Western culture. It is one of the only democratic Islamic nations, and it has been home to some of humanity’s earliest and most dynamic civilizations. With a history that ranges from the Assyrians, Babylonians, Hittites, Greeks, Romans, and Gauls to the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Turks, Turkey has a wealth of important cultural sites. Dr. Rod Miller and 16 students will explore the country on a 13-day tour. Highlights include the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the Temple of Artemis. Each student will research the history of one of the sites on the tour. “They are to present a short lecture on that topic either in situ or on the same day as our visit to that site,” Miller said. This information will also be shared in a campus presentation about the trip. Students who wish to receive Undergraduate Research credit will explore the topic further in a research paper.

Dr. Meghan Probstfield
Practicing Sociology Through the Examination of Self
Category: Undergraduate Research

Four students in Dr. Meghan Probstfield’s “Self, Society, and Everyday Life” sociology course will present their research at the Southwestern Social Science Association Conference in Las Vegas this spring. This is the oldest interdisciplinary social science association in the United States, and more than 1,000 social scientists attend the conference.

Andrew Pryor -  Helping the Disabled: An Experiment in Role Reversal
Crystal SmithThe Sociological Impact of an Online Self
Jade WittySocial Expectations of Dating for Young Adults: The Single Experience
Cassie Wood - An Ethnomethodological Exercise in Conversation Between Strangers

Students Presenting Research at the American Chemical Society Meeting
Category: Undergraduate Research

Fourteen Hendrix students will present the results of their undergraduate research projects at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans this April. Each student will attend technical sessions and ACS functions to become better acquainted with the professional society. Approximately 12,000 professional chemists and chemical engineers will attend the meeting.

Supervised by Dr. Tom Goodwin

Laura Broderdorf - Complementary chemical and biological studies of elephants in captivity and in the wild: A route to understanding mammalian chemical communication
Stephen Jackson - Combination of solid phase dynamic extraction (SPDE), chiral column gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry for analysis of compounds found in elephant excretions and secretions
Margaret Rountree - SPDE/GC-MS analysis of volatile organic compounds in maned wolf urine; comparison of males and females in breeding and non-breeding seasons
Chelsea Washington - Use of automated solid phase dynamic extraction (SPDE)/GC-MS as a solventless, green chemistry technique for headspace analysis of tea: An undergraduate lab experiment

Supervised by Dr. Liz Gron

Megan Ayres -Maleimide and Anthracene Kinetics in High Temperature Water
Rachel Parish Diels-Alder Reactions:  Syntheses in High Temperature Water

Supervised by Dr. David Hales

Luke Erickson - Investigation of Sulfur Compounds for the Reduction of Global Warming by Increasing the Earth's Reflectivity

Supervised by Dr. Randall Kopper

Chaela Sickbert - Factors affecting the adsorption of peanut proteins onto activated charcoal
Ara Kim - Release of soluble protein from peanuts and adsorption onto activated charcoal
Trang Van - Characterization of the interaction between proteins and activated charcoal
Sagar Patel - Factors affecting the release of peanut protein allergens from peanut
Natashia Piazza - Effect of a food matrix on the adsorption of proteins onto activated charcoal

Supervised by Dr. Warfield Teague

Patrick Ford - UV Spectroscopic Measurement of Rocket Motor Efficiency vs. Oxidizer Flow
Myles Murray - Measurement of Dissolved Metals in Brewer Lake, Arkansas
Sara Williams  - Measurement of Dissolved Ions in Brewer Lake, Arkansas