Your Hendrix Odyssey

February 2008 Odyssey Grant Recipients

Hendrix Odyssey Program
Project Funding
February 2008

In the February 2008 funding cycle, the Committee on Experiential Learning awarded Odyssey Grants totaling $197,584.92 to 55 projects.  This cycle is record-breaking in both the total dollar amount awarded and the number of projects funded. Since the Odyssey Program’s inception in the fall of 2005, the CEL has awarded almost $810,000 to support student and faculty projects.

This summer, Hendrix students will combine words and images to document the Holocaust, participate in international religious and cultural celebrations, share their expertise abroad, and learn from professionals who excel in their fields.

The Odyssey Grant recipients include:

 Kevin Autry
Is N350 attention dependent?
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Peszka

After graduation, Kevin Autry intends to attend graduate school in experimental psychology. This summer, his Odyssey project will help make him more appealing to graduate schools. He will write a professional grade research paper for submission to Psychophysiology. “Experiencing the publication process first hand will prepare me for work both in graduate school and beyond,” Autry said. His paper will be based upon research conducted with Dr. Jennifer Peszka on N350, a type of electrical activity in the brain in response to a stimulus.

Mallory Bader
The Road Less Run: An Examination of the Social and Competitive Side of Running Throughout History
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Patrick MacDonald 

In the early 1800’s in public schools in England, children would run a trail, which was marked by a lead runner--known as a “hare”--who would drop paper along the route. This paper chase was the beginning of the modern sport of cross country running. Mallory Bader has been running competitively for almost eight years, and this summer she’ll get to understand the origins of the sport she enjoys. Bader will examine both the competitive side and the social side of cross country running. “For the competitive side, I will travel to England and run with the oldest running club in the world, the Thames Hare and Hounds,” Bader said. She also will run with the Hash House Harriers, a social running society with interesting traditions such as having new members sing to the group during the run.

Lauren Bartshe and Julie Champlin
“I had things to say, but not the words to say them” A Photo-Essay Response to Holocaust Memoirs
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Todd Berryman

Inspired by a quote from Elie Wiesel on his books, Lauren Bartshe and Julie Champlin plan to give him—and others who write about the Holocaust—a visual medium of expression through photography. They will travel to Germany and Poland to visit concentration camps, which were used primarily to house and detain prisoners, and death camps, which were used as killing centers. At each site, they will record the camp’s current state and eventually pair each image with writings by Holocaust survivors, American soldiers, and SS guards. The images and writings will be used in a book they design and produce. Through public presentations, they also hope to combat the desensitization they have seen among their peers about the emotional force of the Holocaust. “Holistically, we hope this project, a culmination of the past and the present, will serve as a springboard for discussion inside the classroom and throughout the Hendrix community,” they said.

Wendell Cathcart
A Six-Week Internship with the Mississippi Federal Judge Henry Wingate in Jackson, MS
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Kim Maslin-Wicks

Federal Judge Henry T. Wingate presides in the Mississippi Southern District circuit court and was the first African-American to serve as a federal judge in that state. Wendell Cathcart will intern with Judge Wingate this summer, working with his law clerks and performing basic research for upcoming cases. Cathcart is eager to have experience dealing with criminal law under the supervision of such a widely respected member of the judicial system. “The rule of law is central in our culture. Whether law rules justly or not depends, more than I would ever have believed when I was younger, on the values of the practicing members of that profession. I wish to be one of the ‘good guys,’” Cathcart said.

Lauren Daly and Kerry Evans
World Youth Day: Many Cultures, One Faith
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Rod Miller

Lauren Daly and Kerry Evans will undertake a modern pilgrimage—not to a sacred site, but to a spiritual destination. They will join 500,000 other Catholics in Sydney, Australia, for World Youth Day this summer. Catholics from around the world will participate in the event.  “It will be a time of fellowship and camaraderie as we form close bonds through faith with our peers from all across the world,” they said. Daly and Evans will document the pilgrimage of faith through photographs and video. They will also interview other international participants to discover their motivation to attend and how they put their faith into action in their home cultures.

Rachel DeCuir
Je me Souviens: A Look at the Identity Shaped by 400 Years of Francophonie
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Marylou Martin

The French phrase “Je me souviens,” meaning “I remember” is the official motto of the Canadian province Québec, which has deep French roots. Rachel DeCuir, a French major from Louisiana, will also have the event of a lifetime to remember when she attends exhibitions and ceremonies this summer commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec. At this international celebration of francophone culture, she plans to interview French-speakers from around the world to gain perspective about their backgrounds and home countries. “I also expect to bring this experience back to Louisiana, making presentations in several high school and middle school French classes, thereby encouraging students to see the importance of the French language, not just in their own state, but on a global level,” she said.

T.C. Elliott
Rwanda: Building Toward My Future
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Dearolf

T.C. Elliott has two goals for his experience in Rwanda this summer. First, he will work with Dr. Joseph Nkurunziza, a medical school professor at Columbia University, to develop comprehensive emergency protocols at the primary health care level in Rwanda.  Drawing on his background in emergency medicine as an EMT, Elliott will prepare protocols—practical guidebooks with flowchart instructions—to be used by local health care staff in the event of major traumas and emergencies. He will also provide protocols to help reduce the transmission of HIV in childbirth. The second part of his project involves assessing HIV clinics throughout the country to provide feedback on improving efficiency, structure and overall patient care. Elliott said he hopes “to gain the technical knowledge and experience that will aid in what I hope to be my life’s work:  planning, building and sustaining clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Robert Fureigh
Ridin’ Dirty with Science
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Liz Gron

Building on the momentum of the successful first year, Robert Fureigh and Sam Clark will lead the second annual “Ridin’ Dirty with Science” on the Hendrix campus. There will be two, two-day lab sessions at Hendrix in collaboration with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Faulkner County. This innovative program offers fun, interesting, and interactive experiments that bring basic scientific principles to life for local 7th and 8th grade students. 

William Gaskins

Economics and Politics Internship
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Prof. Lyle Rupert

William Gaskins will combine his interests in economics and politics this summer as he interns with Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, serving in his Washington, D.C., office. He will get a comprehensive view of the practices and procedures of a United States Senate office, along with an insider’s view of how the legislative process works. In addition to his service in the capital, Gaskins may also work in the Senator’s office in Shreveport.

Alex Graddy-Reed
Summer Public Policy Internship
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Kim Maslin-Wicks

Alex Graddy-Reed is a Comparative Pubic Policy major. This summer, she’ll gain real-world experience in the field by working as an intern with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, a non-profit organization. She will be working in the Advancement Department under the Advancement Operations Manager working in the field of development and fundraising.  “I will also be learning about how funding is received and distributed from both private and public sources,” Graddy-Reed said. 

Zach Green
Leadership and Apologetics in Collegiate Ministry
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. John Sanders

Zach Green has been a leader for religious programming for students on campus, and this summer, he’ll have the opportunity to expand his leadership skills. He has been invited to Colorado to participate in Kaleo, a program for 30-50 students from colleges around the country. The participants will develop their skills in apologetics (the defense of Christianity), on-campus ministry, and the building of student leadership. He will learn the details of leading a bible study, the practical application of theology in casual conversation, and ways to be a role model for his peers. “This will be an opportunity to lay the foundation for my future success as a leader both on campus and beyond,” Green said.

Fraser Holmes
Political Internship for Summer of 2008
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Kim Maslin-Wicks

Fraser Holmes has an academic interest in politics, international relations and public policy—this includes peace studies, human rights work, and international law. By interning with an agency that focuses on these areas, Holmes will have the opportunity to fully explore the routine and lifestyle of academic professionals who have made a career in the fields. He is also anticipating discussions with other students and professionals with an interest in policy analysis.

Adam Iddings
Internship at Astralwerks Records, New York
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Jessica Cates

Astralwerks Records is a Manhattan-based record label that specializes in alternative and electronic music by popular artists like Digitalism, the Chemical Brothers and Hot Chip. Adam Iddings will intern with the company this summer, learning about marketing, distribution, public relations and business procedures. “This internship experience will equip me with the proficiency and knowledge needed to reach my goal of full-time employment at a record company, and ultimately, be founder and president of my own independent record label,” Iddings said.

Jennifer Imbro
The Composition of an “Italian”: History, the Arts, and Culture
Category: Global Awareness
Sponsor: Dr. Ian King

Jennifer Imbro is of Italian descent, and she’ll have the chance to explore the culture of the country during a two-week stay in Palermo this summer. She will live with a host family, immersing herself in the language, culture and environment of the region where she has many distant cousins. She plans to find the similarities and differences between her own family and resident Sicilians, paying particular attention to the family traditions and rituals of daily life—this will also include cooking lessons. “I will get to experience the life of a contemporary Sicilian—a real Italian,” Imbro said.

Alissan Jones
Levelizing and Utilizing Non-Fiction Shared Reading Texts
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Susan Perry

Alissan Jones plans to be an early childhood teacher. This summer, she will explore innovative Shared Reading techniques as an important part of literacy fundamentals in the classroom. Teachers select a text that meets the needs of the students—preferably one that is slightly above the students’ current reading level—and invite classroom participation. The text can be seen by all students simultaneously, and they can discuss it during the lesson.  Jones will study ways of helping teachers select the best non-fiction Shared Reading texts to prepare their students for standardized tests. “The Shared Reading experience provides a solid foundation for reading and writing, while fostering a sense of community, as children collaborate with each other,” Jones said.

Katie Jordan
Discovering the Different Aspects of a Wedding Photography Business
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Prof. Maxine Payne

Photographer Katie Jordan has been working toward a concrete goal: owning her own wedding photography business. “A business owner must offer a well-designed product, sell that product, market the business and manage finances. Knowing each of these aspects is imperative for any business to succeed,” Jordan said. This summer she plans to attend two workshops that focus on different areas of her future career. First, she will attend a seminar on style and photographic technique offered by Jesh de Rox, a leader in the wedding and portrait photography industry. She will also learn about branding and marketing from Jen and Steve Bebb, who will give her guidance on developing the style—and an immediately noticeable brand--for her future business.

Amanda Keifer
An Internship in International and Community Development in Washington D.C.
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Carol West

“As an interdisciplinary major in International Development Studies and as a minor in Africana studies, I have a great interest in sustainable development practices and human services in the developing world,” Amanda Keifer said. This summer, she will be an intern in Washington, D.C., for an organization that focuses on these issues. She hopes that she will build on her existing knowledge of the subjects—with an eye for a future career in international development.

Lauren Kendall and Caelan O’Sullivan
Tangier Island: A Philological and Economic Investigation
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Eric Binnie

First settled in 1686, Tangier Island is a tiny community located in the Lower Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The 604 residents of the tiny island are noted for their distinctive manner of speech, which closely resembles Elizabethan English. “The isolated nature of the community has rendered the population relatively untouched by average American life, including modern American speech,” said Lauren Kendall and Caelan O’Sullivan. The island also has a small, self-sustaining economy based on the crabbing industry. Kendall and O’Sullivan will visit the island this summer to conduct research on it from both a linguistic and an economic standpoint, creating a video documentary of their experience.

Emily Lenard
Career Services Internship: Getting at the Root of Homelessness
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. John Toth

Emily Lenard hopes to have a career working to help solve the problems of poverty and homelessness. She will intern at St. Patrick’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The center’s mission is to provide opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity for the homeless and those at risk. While she helps those in need in her community, Lenard will also learn more about the administrative side of running a human service agency. “An internship at a provider of homeless services will allow me to see the bigger picture of homelessness and poverty and further understand what is needed to begin to solve these problems,” Lenard said.

Kelly Limoncelli
Summer Internship:  Wilderness Counselor at SUWS of the Carolinas
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Chris Campolo

This summer, philosophy major Kelly Limoncelli will be a Wilderness Counselor at SUWS of the Carolinas.  The therapeutic program incorporates wilderness experiences as a means of treating troubled youth. A counselor keeps the students safe and they hike, camp, and learn self-reliance as they receive treatment for issues like substance abuse, eating disorders or depression. “When the opportunity is appropriate, I will use philosophy to get the students to understand the bigger picture of life and what it takes to be a successful young adult,” Limoncelli said.

Claire Luikart
TechsMex: Computers South of the Border
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Carl Burch

Two orphanages in Cordoba, Mexico, will join the computer age this summer. Computer Science major Claire Luikart is participating in a service trip to bring in outside internet connections, network the orphanages, and set up computer labs. “Once the physical lab is in place, we plan to teach the children how to use the software,” Luikart said. Cordoba is the sister city to Baton Rouge, Luikart’s home town. She will lend her technical expertise to the project, along with her experience with a variety of software programs.

Becca Mayeux
Volunteer with the National Sports Center for the Disabled
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. John Toth

Becca Mayeux will volunteer at the Summer Woods Camp for Families in Colorado. Organized by the National Sports Center for the Disabled, the goal of the camp is to provide life-enriching experiences for those with physical, cognitive, emotional or developmental disorders—and their families. Activities like hiking, rock climbing or horseback riding have been modified so all participants can feel a sense of accomplishment. “This camp will provide a fun occasion for every family member by adapting the activities so all members can participate together,” Mayeux said. She will facilitate the activities of the summer experience, functioning as a camp counselor.

Megan McCaghey
Heal the Earth:  Environmental Training and Awareness in New Zealand
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Joseph Lombardi 

One day, Megan McCaghey hopes to work for a global non-profit organization. This summer, she will travel to New Zealand to volunteer with a new conservation-centered program titled “Heal the Earth: Environmental Training and Awareness.” She will learn about conservation, restoration and research in addition to ways to educate others about climate change and environmental issues.  “Heal the Earth offers an opportunity to assist with environmental restoration in a beautiful setting while learning a great deal about the world and nurturing future aspirations,” McCaghey said.

Krista Messer
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Karen Oxner

“After graduation, I plan on attending graduate school for either business management or international business,” Krista Messer said. This summer, she will work as an intern with a company in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. As an accounting major, she will learn a variety of business skills that will give her a background for future work in graduate school. These could include market research, event planning, or fundraising.

Lydia Nash and Amelia Wildenborg
A Comparative Look at Agribusiness and Organic Gardening in Ireland and the U.S.
Category: Global Awareness
Sponsor: Dr. Matt Moran

Organic farming, or farming without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, has grown in popularity both in America and around the world. Lydia Nash and Amelia Wildenborg will compare how farms in the United States and Ireland are using organic farming techniques. First, they will explore two organic farms in the Salinas Valley in California. One is operated by the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the other is owned by Earthbound Farms, which is the largest producer of organic foods in America. Next, they will head to Ireland to volunteer at a small organic farm and then to visit one of the country’s larges organic farms. “After exploring relatively large and small farms in both countries and having worked on an organic farm will give us a well-rounded pool of data which will help us produce a research paper on the topic,” they said.

Rachael Newberry
Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis, and Its Cultural Influences
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Tim Maxwell

Psychology major Rachael Newberry will explore the native culture of one of the field’s most prominent leaders, Dr. Sigmund Freud. He is best known for his complex and controversial theories of human personality. In Austria, she will visit the Sigmund Freud Museum, which is housed in his former apartment and workspace. The museum also offers lectures on Freud’s theories, which will give Newberry a unique perspective on how his theories are presented in his homeland. “I also plan on exploring the culture of Germany and Austria while abroad to better understand Freud’s environment and external influences,” she said. The atrocities of WWI had a strong influence on Freud’s theories about the existence of an inborn aggressive drive, so Newberry will also visit battle sites and museums that focus on the war in Germany and Austria.

Aditya Oza
Live from Bollywood
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Prof. Danny Grace

“Bollywood” refers to the popular film industry based in Mumbai, India. Bollywood’s annual film output is about 40% higher than its American counterpart with one interesting twist. Bollywood movies are known for their wholesome appeal:  any Indian movie is made to attract audiences of all ages. These films are popular around the globe, with Indian films grossing over $100 million a year at the US box office alone. Aditya Oza will get to experience India’s filmmaking industry “behind the scenes” as an assistant to the production crew for a movie scheduled to begin filming in June. “Getting the chance to work on the set of a movie will give me the opportunity to observe and meet the numerous professionals that have made their own careers in films,” Oza said.

Liza Poris
Agricultural Adventure:  An Exploration of Organic Farming in Central America
Category: Global Awareness
Sponsor: Dr. Linda Gatti-Clark

This summer, Liza Poris will work at farms in Central America, giving her unique insight into organic farming techniques. As a volunteer, she will be put in contact with local farmers who provide room and board in exchange for farm labor. “This system allows the flexibility for all participants within the program to create his or her own unique experience, and also provides and inexpensive opportunity for people to become exposed to the organic movement,” Poris said. She plans to improve her Spanish language skills as she works alongside local people.

Hollis Profitt and Gregory Cooper
Dollars and Doulas: A Multi-Faceted Look at Life in Intentional Living Communities
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Anne Goldberg

Hollis Profitt and Greg Cooper plan to visit several intentional living communities, also known as communes, located in the United States. Profitt, who is training to be a doula (childbirth assistant) is interested in the birth process, childrearing and parenting in the communities. Cooper will examine economic, leadership and social issues in the communities, including how they gather income and operate commune-based businesses. “We plan on focusing on different areas of life, and together gain a more holistic understanding of life and social structure within communes, co-ops, and other forms of intentional living,” they said.

Joshua Recobs
Peru Mission Trip
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Eric Binnie

On August 15, 2007, the fishing village of Pisco, Peru, was at the epicenter of the deadliest earthquake to hit the country in 35 years. More than 85% percent of the homes in the town were destroyed, leaving 17,000 people homeless and 500 dead. Fourteen churches in Pisco were also leveled. Joshua Recobs will join other volunteers from Grace Presbyterian Church in Montclair, New Jersey, on a mission trip to help rebuild one of these destroyed churches. The groups will work side-by-side with local craftsmen and church members during the construction process, and they’ll provide ministry to area children whose schools were destroyed. “The people of Pisco desperately need outside support. Our church is willing to step forward. So am I,” Recobs said. With experience in construction, Recobs is eager to help rebuild the town.

Rita Rein
Iguana Squad: Medical Mission Trip to Succotz, Belize
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Linda Gatti-Clark

Iguana Squad is a non-profit organization that focuses on mission trips and service opportunities in Belize. This summer, Rita Rein will travel with a team of doctors, nurses, dentists and other volunteers on a medical mission trip. “The primary focus of this trip will be providing medical, dental, and vision care,” Rein said. She will serve as a clinical assistant with the squad, helping with routine procedures and taking vital signs. Rein is a medical assistant in the Emergency Department at Conway Regional Medical Center and will use her expertise during the trip to Belize. In addition to these clinical activities, the group will organize a bible school for youth and set up a general education school.

Jessica Reynolds
Working with Orphans in the Republic of Georgia
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. David Larson

In the Republic of Georgia, there are more than 5,500 children living in shelters and orphanages. In urban settings like Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, thousands of children live on the streets. Jessica Reynolds will work at Lampioni and Satnoeba, two orphanages in the city. Lampioni is a family-type rehabilitation center for homeless children, while Satnoeba provides long-term shelter, food and medical aid to orphans and disadvantaged children.  “It is my desire to provide the children and employees at Lampioni and Satnoeba with any form of physical aid, educational aid and childcare needed to better improve their everyday lives,” Reynolds said.

Molly Robbins
Service to the World through International Medicine
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Mark Schantz

“Medicine has always been my career goal, but I became interested in international medicine as I realized how little healthcare and medical treatment is available in other countries,” said Molly Robbins. She plans to concentrate on international medicine as a career to help contribute to solving this problem. This summer, she will explore medicine as a volunteer in Ayacucho, Peru, through Cross Cultural Solutions. She will assist local health professionals and observe how medicine differs in Peru. Robbins will also use her Spanish language skills to communicate with the local medical professionals to gain a better understanding of healthcare in their country.

Ben Samuelson
Hendrix Community Garden
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Linda Gatti-Clark

Ben Samuelson, James Depper and Emily Nichols will take the Hendrix Community Garden to its next level this summer. The garden was initiated as an Odyssey Project in the fall of 2005. Located in a lot near the Public Safety Building at the edge of campus, the garden has seen several harvests of significant amounts of produce. In this new phase, additional plots will be developed and the soil will be enriched with mulch and fertilizer. “Our society is structured in a way that demands instant gratification, but gardening is a patient activity in which steady working and waiting make results more deeply satisfying,” Samuelson said.

Brittany Shachmut
World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Gabe Ferrer

Organized by the Catholic Church, World Youth Day is the largest event of its kind. Catholics from all around the world will gather together for masses, teaching sessions and activities to promote spiritual growth. The goal is provide a pilgrimage of faith while reaching out to the next generation of Catholics. This summer, World Youth Day will be held in Sydney, Australia. Brittany Shachmut will experience it all firsthand. “Through this experience, I hope to reaffirm my Catholic faith and deepen myself spiritually by witnessing the unity of Catholics from all the diverse countries around the world,” Shachmut said.

Erica Siebrasse
Ridin’ Dirty with Science: Kansas
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Liz Gron

Erica Siebrasse helped organize the innovative Ridin’ Dirty with Science program at Hendrix last year. This year, she’s taking the experience to Kansas. Siebrasse will work with a chemistry/physics instructor and juniors and seniors at Labette County High School in Altamont, Kansas. Together, they will foster an interest in science in middle school-aged students through interesting and fun experiments. The program will be offered in two, four-day sessions.  She also plans a “Kansas Adventure” to introduce the students to botany and ecology on native prairie land. “In addition, I hope to expose the students to career paths in the natural and physical sciences that the may not have previously considered,” Siebrasse said.

Rachel Smith
Exploring Careers for Historians through the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Allison Shutt

This summer, Rachel Smith will put her interest in history to the test in an internship with David Ware, the historian in the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office. One major project will be fact-checking and proof-reading the Historical Report of the Secretary of State, which is published every ten years.  She’ll also help set up educational displays and guide tours of the Capitol building. Her internship will give her exposure to both the technical and relational aspects of a public historian’s job. “The area of public service seems intriguing to me because it invites the general population to explore the exciting world of the past,” Smith said.

Michelle Story
Peruvian Presidents
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Ian King

“As a political science major, I am extremely interested in the political sphere of Peru,” Michelle Story said. Specifically, she will examine how three of the last four presidents of Peru represent the variety of cultures in the country. First, she’ll focus on Alberto Fujimori, the son of a Japanese immigrant who became one of the most popular Peruvian presidents as he transformed both the government and the economy of the country. Next is Alejandro Toledo, the son of an indigenous farmer who addressed the problem of poverty. Last, she’ll examine Alan García, who has been dealing with a destabilized economy. Story will conduct her research in sites including Peru’s National Archives, Congressional Library, and the office of the President.

Jessica Varnell
Houston Museum of Natural Science Internship
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Anne Goldberg

Jessica Varnell hopes to pursue a career at a museum, ultimately working as a curator. She’ll get to experience the inner workings of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Founded in 1909, the HMNS is one of the most popular museums in the country with more than 2 million visitors each year. It was the first in America to display the skeleton of Lucy, the earliest known hominid. Varnell will be interning in the museum’s Department of Public Relations. “As a future curator, I think that it is important for me to understand how to interact with the media and to know how my exhibits will be perceived by the media and ultimately the community,” Varnell said.

Connie Yue
Protein Bonding to Activated Charcoal under Various Conditions
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Randall Kopper

“Lab experiences are motivating and interesting: it often starts with a curiosity about the nature and takes intelligence and dedication to solve the mystery,” Connie Yue said. This summer, the mystery she will take on is allergic reactions to peanuts and possible treatment options involving activated charcoal. Emergency rooms use activated charcoal to treat ingestions of toxic substances, and Yue will see if the treatment also works on binding peanut proteins that cause allergic reactions.

Dr. Carl Burch
Summer Software Development Experience
Category: Professional and Leadership Development 

Dr. Carl Burch will provide an intensive experience of the software development life cycle for a team of students this summer. The participants will work together to design and produce a highly finished software product. The students will be able to choose one of two possible software projects. Some students may work on an educational program for use by faculty and students on campus. Others might use their artistic skills in designing entertainment software in the form of a small game. The goal of the three-week full-time experience is to learn about software industry careers while getting hands-on experience with full-time software development as a team.

Dr. Andres Caro
Mechanisms of alcohol-induced liver toxicity
Category: Undergraduate Research

How does alcohol damage liver cells? Does it affect mitochondrial DNA, leading to dysfunction and eventually cell death? Dr. Andres Caro will lead Eric Joseph, Tyler Lewis and Jonathan Tackett on a project that introduces them to science research techniques as they explore how alcohol consumption can lead to liver disease. In addition, Dr. Caro hopes to create awareness of the risks of alcohol abuse and alcoholism in adults in general, and in the college student population in particular.

Dr. Jennifer Dearolf
The effects of multiple courses of prenatal steroids on the guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) external abdominal oblique muscles
Category: Undergraduate Research

Prenatal steroids are now routinely used in the care of women at risk of giving birth to premature infants. The steroids stimulate lung development and can contribute to a successful outcome for the premature infants. But do the steroids have an effect on the muscles used in ventilation? Sarah Marshall and Dr. Jennifer Dearolf will research this topic in guinea pigs this summer, focusing on the external abdominal oblique muscles.

Dr. David Hales
Ion-molecule chemistry of sulfur compounds with possible atmospheric applications
Category: Undergraduate Research

In many scientific circles, researchers are interested in the possibility that drastic action might be needed to slow global warming. Jay Porter and Luke Erickson will work with Dr. David Hales this summer as they explore the use of sulfur as a possible short-term means of dealing with the situation.  The Hendrix group will produce clusters of sulfur-containing molecules to see which ones have the desired reaction when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Dr. George Harper
Evolution of Appearance: Mimicry, Predation and Other Factors
Category: Undergraduate Research

Snakes. Venomous snakes. Harmless snakes that look like deadly ones. It’s going to be a reptile-filled summer for Dr. George Harper, Patrick Huddleston, Ketan Patel and Lincoln Riley. They will focus on the brightly colored and venomous coral snakes—and harmless snakes that mimic their color patterns—using field experiments, molecular lab techniques, museum samples and living snakes from the south central United States. The students will also prepare clay replicas to test if predators will avoid coral snake mimics.

Dr. James Jennings
Above the Line Project 2008:  A Summer Enrichment Program in the Arkansas Delta
Category: Service to the World

Dr. James Jennings is bringing his innovative “Above the Line Project” back to Forrest City this summer. He and a group of Hendrix students will offer three weeks of intensive remediation and enrichment in literacy, grammar, mathematics and science to 25 disadvantaged 3rd grade students. In addition to the academic focus, special attention will be devoted to both work skills and social skills to help the students succeed.

Dr. Varsha Kaushal
Coagulation Proteins in Growth and Dissemination of Prostate Cancer
Category: Undergraduate Research 

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Nathan Hill and Sinehan Bayrak will research the molecular mechanisms of growth and spread of prostate cancer with Dr. Varsha Kaushal at the Central Arkansas Veterans’ Healthcare System in Little Rock. The students will utilize prostate cancer cell lines, xenograft and transgenic mouse models to design experiments. They will examine the role of coagulation proteins in the metastasis of prostate cancer in these experimental systems.

Dr. Kim Maslin-Wicks
Assessing Candidates’ Emotive Displays: The Role of Gender
Category: Undergraduate Research 

If a political candidate displays an emotion such as anger, does it matter if the candidate is a man or a woman? How does gender impact how such emotional displays are perceived?  This summer, Dr. Kim Maslin-Wicks and Meghan Joiner will design a study on this topic and collect data on campus. Using video clips, they will examine how viewers react to different displays of emotion from male and female candidates.

Dr. Richard Murray
Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors and Neurogenesis
Category: Undergraduate Research

Angela Bennett, Alberto Gomez, Emily Nichols, Sam Freyaldenhoven, Maxwell Nguyen and Matthew Reid will collaborate in Dr. Richard Murray’s lab this summer for a cutting-edge research project in molecular and developmental biology. They will study the genes that are involved in the generation of neurons that form the mammalian nervous system. Their goal is to understand the cascade of gene expression that occurs when stem cells and progenitor cells become specialized types of neurons. Their work could provide insight into nerve regeneration following disease or injury, and possible ways to relieve chronic pain.

Dr. Damon Spayde
Testing the Standard Model with Electron-Proton Scattering
Category: Undergraduate Research

Timothy Pote and Edward Holcomb will explore a new frontier in physics with Dr. Damon Spayde this summer. The Standard Model is the theoretical framework that physicists have constructed to explain their observations of the fundamental structure of the universe—but it has shortcomings and limitations. The development of a “New Standard Model” is a top priority of the nuclear physics community. The Hendrix team will participate in an experiment that will measure one of the fundamental parameters of the existing model.  A deviation from the expected value could reveal that previously undiscovered “new” physics was responsible.

Dr. Todd Tinsley
Neutrino-Stimulated Pair-Creation in Supernovae
Category: Undergraduate Research

Using a state-of-the-art computer system, Laura Johnson and Mallory Young will work Dr. Todd Tinsley to explore the process in which a neutrino produces electron-positron pairs as it travels through a magnetic field. The research could be of use to astronomers running models to determine how a star explodes.

Dr. Todd Tinsley
Thinking Forward: Skills for a Future in Physics
Category: Professional and Leadership Development 

Members of the Hendrix Physics Department will join together for ten weeks of intensive training for Jean Pierre Rukundo, a promising physics student from Rwanda. He will learn the basic scientific skills he needs to continue his work in the field. Traig Born will help Rukundo develop general computer skills and introduce him to science and engineering software. Dr. Robert Dunn will show him how to operate a ring laser to measure geophysical phenomenon. Dr. Damon Spayde will give him hands-on experience with specialized tools used by experimental physicists. Dr. Todd Tinsley will give him lessons in FORTRAN and how to work with another student on an ongoing experiment. Finally, Dr. Ann Wright will incorporate Rukundo into her work on hybrid rockets. At the end of the summer, Rukundo will have been introduced to the methods of both experimental and theoretical physics.

Dr. Ann Wright
Astronomy Lab Development
Category: Special Projects 

One challenge to offering an Astronomy Lab at Hendrix is what to do when weather conditions do not permit the observation of the night sky. Ryan Strickland will assist Dr. Ann Write in developing lab exercises to be offered as in indoor alternative. These could include optics (mirrors and lenses) in telescopes, measuring distances or the speed of lights, or even virtual labs using computers and data collected from research telescopes. Strickland will help develop the lab curriculum and write the lab instruction handouts for the class.

Dr. Ann Wright
Six Degree-of-Freedom Thrust Sensor for Hybrid Rocket
Category: Undergraduate Research

Hybrid rockets use a solid fuel and a gaseous oxidizer for combustion. They also roll during flight. Using a new sensor for hybrid rockets, Dr. Ann Wright and Ryan Strickland hope to measure the amount of weight the rocket could lift off the ground and the amount of torque it experiences as it rolls. The Hendrix team will conduct experiments at the UALR Hybrid Rocket Facility.

Dr. Leslie Zorwick
The effect of gender stereotypes on behavior
Category: Undergraduate Research

Do gender stereotypes influence behavior? Dr. Leslie Zorwick and Dietlinde Heilmayr will put this theory to the test. They will ask study participants to think of gender groups, such as men or women, or of groups that have specific gender stereotypes, such as businessmen or homemakers. Next, they will determine how these primes affect a map-reading test. “This research will hopefully shed some light on novel ways that stereotypes might shape behavior (e.g., when giving directions) and the difference in thinking of small and large gender groups on our behavior,” Zorwick said.