Your Hendrix Odyssey

April 2008 Odyssey Grant Recipients

Hendrix Odyssey Program
Project Funding
April 2008


In the April 2008 funding cycle, the Committee on Experiential Learning awarded Odyssey Grants totaling $97,284.20 to 25 projects, which is more than the previous two April cycles combined. Since the Odyssey Program’s inception in the fall of 2005, the CEL has awarded more than $906,000 to support student and faculty projects.

This fall, Hendrix students will explore the world of fashion design, create a limited edition comic book, and help others in the community be prepared for emergency situations. They will travel the world to research on topics ranging from the development of Spanish castles to the historic architecture of
Florence to the evolution of AIDS organizations.

The Odyssey Grant recipients include:

Blake Burkert
Zanzibar Medical Internship: An Immersion in East African Healthcare
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Bruce Haggard

Blake Burkert wants to become involved in the movement to provide healthcare services in Africa. For one month this fall, he will participate in a medical internship on the East African island of Zanzibar. He will work at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, the major provider of health services in the country. He will take patient histories and shadow physicians as he learns more about the inner workings of the hospital.  “Besides the effects this experience will have upon my understanding of medicine and my future decision to serve in a region lacking basic medical services, I hope that this internship will allow me to learn more about a different culture and form relationships that will help inspire me to educate others about the importance of providing service to the world,” Burkert said.

Aaron Crawford
Odyssey in Fashion
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Prof. Matthew Lopas

Aaron Crawford will experience his own “Project Runway” as he learns about the fashion design business from nationally renowned Jamileh Kamran, a prominent designer based in Little Rock. Kamran is offering a fashion design program through her studio, focusing on fashion sketching, fabric merchandising and portfolio building—all valuable skills for an aspiring designer. Crawford hopes to eventually be the lead designer for a company or possibly create his own line. He also plans to share what he had learned with his fellow students. “After completing her program, I will present the works I have done for her class as well as a cornerstone piece in a fashion show on the Hendrix campus,” Crawford said.

Tommy Dornhoffer
Corals vs. Algae: A Study of the Various Competitive Strategies Employed by Aquarium Corals
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Dearolf

With more than nine years of experience maintaining marine aquaria, Tommy Dornhoffer has noticed something. Tanks that house large colt corals tend not only to have less algal growth, they have algal communities that have very different make-ups. He will examine the methods colt corals use to inhibit the growth of algae in tanks with a particular focus on detecting anti-algal chemical secretions from the corals. “Although scientists possess a fairly thorough understanding of coral reef ecology in the wild, there has been little to no research on such ecology within a closed system such as an aquarium,” Dornhoffer said. His experiment could have practical applications toward controlling nuisance algae in tanks.

Alberto Gomez
Hospital Service Internship in Acámbaro: An Overview on Mexico's Urban Healthcare System
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Dearolf

Alberto Gomez is a certified Emergency Medical Technician, and this winter he will use his skills in a service internship at a large hospital in Acámbaro, Mexico. The city has a population of about 50,000, and its hospital operates under the country’s Social Security insurance system. Covered individuals are treated in hospitals, but the insurance is expensive. The hospitals also provide medical care to an overwhelming number of uninsured patients, draining resources and staff. Working under the supervision of a local physician at the hospital, Gomez will have “the opportunity to observe the healthcare system of an urban hospital in Mexico.” He also plans on interviewing staff and patients about their experiences with the healthcare system and using a camera to record their responses.

Adam Iddings
The Makings of a “Cool” Culture: Electro in Europe
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Rebecca Resinski

Adam Iddings has created a project that combines two of his interests:  writing and music. He will explore the cultural movement built around electronic music (electro) in Paris and London. Both cities have magazines, clothing lines, and clubs devoted to electro artists and labels. Iddings will explore the underlying motivations and attitudes about electro culture and the factors that have led to its meteoric rise in popularity. “I intend to learn about how culture is constructed, defined, and made popular and ‘cool’,” said Iddings.

Katie Jones
The Effect of Globalization on the Cultural Image of Peripheral Communities in the Dominican Republic
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Jose Vilahomat

What influence does the United States have on the culture of other nations? Katie Jones will find out this fall when she explores the extent of America’s impact on the native culture of the Dominican Republic. In the communities of Los Negros and Barreras, Jones will interview citizens of all ages to assess the impact of technology and consumerism, along with changing trends in clothing, hairstyles and cultural influences. “I am combining the critical thinking of a sociologist with historical research in an anthropological field study,” Jones said.

Katie Jordan
Learning the Concepts of Business through Photography
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Karen Oxner

Aspiring photographer Katie Jordan will learn more about the photography business at a seminar and a convention this year. Through the Professional Photographers of America, she will take a five-module business class. “This class covers the economics of a photography business, the components of financial statements and key elements of crating a successful business plan,” Jordan said. Then she will travel to Las Vegas for the Digital Wedding Forum’s annual wedding photography convention, where she will attend seminars on owning and running a wedding photography business.

Jordan Kennedy
Recording the Faces of Ghana
Category: Artistic Creativity
Sponsor: Prof. Maxine Payne

For two months this summer, Jordan Kennedy will be a civil service volunteer in the Volta region of Ghana. She will live with a local family and do community development work in rural areas.. She has a goal of documenting her relationship with the citizens of Ghana through a formal photo shoot of community members. Kennedy’s project includes taking school portraits of local children, many of whom have never seen a photograph of themselves. This fall she will edit and print the photographs and display them on campus as her senior art show to raise awareness of the lifestyles in Ghana and give her subjects a voice. “I want a viewer to leave intrigued, wanting more of the person,” Kennedy said.

Jonathan Lee
Large Scale Public Art
Category: Artistic Creativity
Sponsor: Prof. Erik Maakestad

“A concept that I like to emphasize in my sculptures is that viewers of my work can have a new experience with it from a different angle,” said artist Jonathan Lee. His Odyssey project involves creating a large-scale public sculpture that pushes this concept to include the outside—and inside—of a sculpture. He will construct a steel sculpture that the viewer can enter and walk through. The piece will have a bench for seating inside, viewing windows, and a ladder leading to a child-safe balcony with guardrails on top of the sculpture.

Matt Leopold
Statehouse Campaign Volunteer Internship
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Daniel Whelan

Emma Nemecek is running for the statehouse in Iowa’s district 29. Matt Leopold will serve as her campaign’s volunteer and coalitions director. He’ll recruit supporters from three groups: students, homeschoolers and educators. Closer to Election Day, he’ll organize these groups in a “get out the vote” operation. “While working with this campaign, I will learn about the organization of campaigns and gain valuable experience necessary for future jobs in this field,” Leopold said.

Tiffany Lofland
Pop Mythology:  A Hands on Look into the History, Evolution, and Creation of the American Comic Book
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Prof. Matthew Lopas

Tiffany Lofland is a comic book enthusiast, and she admits to a particular fascination with Batman. Her Odyssey project will build on her interest in an academic way. She will research the history of DC comics, explore the evolution of Batman and delve into the process of developing a character and concept into a series. Next, she will apply what she has learned to create her own comic book, involving creating a character, writing the story, and finalizing the artwork in a limited edition for campus distribution. “It is my hope that through my work I may spread a passion for comics from myself to others,” Lofland said.

Molly Miller and Darci McFarland
Culture of People Living with HIV/AIDS: 27 Years Later
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Daniel Whelan

In 1984, scientists discovered that AIDS (auto immunodeficiency syndrome) is caused by the HIV virus. “Twenty-seven years later, approximately 33 million people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS and more than 25 million people have died from AIDS,” said Molly Miller and Darci McFarland. They will travel to San Francisco, Calif., and New York, N.Y., to explore the culture of AIDS and activist movements. They chose these two cities because they were the first places were AIDS became prevalent in America, and they are the homes of many activist organizations and advocacy groups. They plan to explore both the changes the AIDS projects have undergone over the years and the effects that they have had on their respective cities.

Caitlin Murphy and Abby Cape
Survey of Post-Conflict Bosnia
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Ian King

Abby Cape and Caitlin Murphy will travel to Bosnia, where they will conduct a survey of the nation and the impact of the conflict there in the 1990s. The Bosnian war resulted in the deaths of 200,000 people—including civilians—and the displacement of approximately one million. Abby will focus on the country’s Triumvirate political system that features three presidents and three legislatures to encompass the Bosnians, Croatians and Serbians. Caitlin will study the role of nationalism and identity in the conflict, particularly in the religious, ethnic and national groups found in Bosnia. “Both political and social factors will determine the future of Bosnia,” Murphy and Cape said.

Lydia Nash
The Battle Against Invasive Species: Saving Hawaii One Plant at a Time
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Rick Murray

The state of Hawaii is known for its biodiversity, and it is the only place on earth where certain rare plants can be found. These unique plants are important economically and agriculturally, but with the pressure of keeping up with demand, more imports and exports are traveling through the state—and these imports are often carrying aggressive, non-native plants. These invasive species can range from fireweed to the Himalayan blackberry.  “As invasive species continue to grow and hurt the unique, valuable plants, many anti-invasive species groups have been cropping up,” Nash said. She will travel to Oahu to work with the Oahu Invasive Species Committee, which has targeted 10 invasive plants for extermination. Nash will assist with an expedition into some of the island’s most endangered areas.

Robert Price and Alan Lemmi
Hendrix Disaster Preparedness Group
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Tim Maxwell

Would you know what to do in a disaster? Could you handle an emergency and survive in the wilderness? Robert Price and Alan Lemmi will help members of the Hendrix community create “bug-out bags,” which are basic, portable emergency kits designed to be carried in a vehicle or backpack or kept in a dorm room or house. The kits contain first aid equipment, flashlights or light sticks, emergency signals and similar items needed to survive a disaster. Price and Lemmi will have informative public discussions about emergency preparation and then give a group of participants the opportunity to test their skills and their bug-out bags at a campsite. “Attendees will be expected to make a fire, make shelter, practice their first aid techniques, and prepare for potential weather situations,” Price and Lemmi said.

Courtney Taylor and Dietlinde Heilmayr
Cultural Influence and Integration: Spanish Castles and Palaces
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Rod Miller

How did culture influence the architecture of castles and palaces in Spain? Courtney Taylor and Dietlinde Heilmayr will explore this topic as they visit three historically distinct regions of the country—Andalusia, Castile and Catalonia. “We hope to trace the changing structural styles and functions to discern not only how castles and palaces reflect the culture, but also how these structures are integrated into culture, both past and present,” Taylor and Heilmayr said. They will focus on castles from the religiously divided medieval Spain and more recent palaces that represent the rise of nationalist states. They also intend to examine the current status of castles and palaces as symbols of Spain and their roles as tourist attractions.

Kat Wallace
Intern with the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Jay McDaniel

This fall, Kat Wallace will be studying at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. While she is there, she will be an intern with Dr. Michelle Jones, the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad. “Dr. Jones’ primary focus within the Public Affairs division of the Embassy is on developing and presenting programs for the undereducated, and in particular, women,” Wallace said. She anticipates working with Dr. Jones on presentations about the American education system and possibly the U.S. presidential election process with mock elections at schools.

Dr. Jennifer Dearolf
Travel to the 2009 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts
Category: Undergraduate Research

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology will meet in Boston, Mass., in January of 2009. The meeting attracts scientists from many disciplines, and participants can hear talks on a variety of topics, including ecology, biochemistry, and anatomy. Dr. Jennifer Dearolf will bring her students Chelsea Cupp, Sarah Marshall and Heejun Woo to make presentations about their research projects at the meeting.

Dr. George Harper
The evolution of the mimetic appearance in Lampropeltis: a molecular phylogenetic approach
Category: Undergraduate Research

If you’re a harmless snake that mimics a venomous reptile like a coral snake, you can either be a “good” mimic—or a “bad” one. And if you’re a bad one, it benefits you to interbreed with a good one. Dr. George Harper and students Kate Stuppy and Patrick Huddleston will use molecular phylogenetics to analyze the mitochondrial DNA of mimic snakes to determine if the mother was a member of a good mimic species or a bad one.  By discerning how individuals are related, they can trace how mimicry arises and changes within a group of species.

Dr. Rod Miller
Research in Florence-May 2009
Category: Undergraduate Research

Dr. Rod Miller will take eight students from his Renaissance and Baroque Art History class to Florence, Italy.  The students will experience the city’s art and architecture in person, giving them the opportunity to see how the works functioned when originally created—and in many cases including churches and government buildings—how they continue to function today. Each student will conduct research in the city on a topic selected before departure. In addition, participants will be encouraged to explore Florence and the surrounding area to build confidence in their travel and research skills.

Dr. Rod Miller
ARTH 430 Practicum: Professional Development--Gallery/Museum Trip
Category: Special Projects

Art department seniors will travel to New York City with Dr. Rod Miller in a project that combines an appreciation of art as a creative medium, the professional understanding of how artworks are displayed for public viewing and a working historical knowledge of art history. The students will visit contemporary art galleries and modern/historic art museums; the sites will connect to the individual’s area of interest and research paper topic.

Dr. Rick Murray
The Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience
Category: Special Projects

Dr. Rick Murray will take Angela Bennett, Alberto Gomez, Emily Nichols, Maxwell Nguyen and Matthew Reid to the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C., this November. It is the largest scientific meeting in the world, attracting more than 30,000 neuroscientists together to discuss the latest cutting-edge research and advances in the field. The students will present papers, attend professional seminars and network within the neuroscience community.

Dr. Jennifer Penner
Advanced Research in Animal Behavior
Category: Undergraduate Research

One drawback to the tradition method of researching the caching behavior of squirrels was that scientists had to dig up the hidden food stores—thereby disturbing the site contaminating the area with the scent of humans. To avoid this issue, Dr. Jennifer Penner will place aluminum tags on pecans that can be tracked unobtrusively above ground with metal detectors once the nuts have been hidden in a cache. She and Lucy Holifield will also use camouflaged observation stands to remotely record the caching and foraging behavior of wild squirrel populations.

Prof. Brigitte Rogers
American College Dance Festival Association at Hendrix
Category: Professional and Leadership Development

Prof. Brigitte Rogers and a team of 20 students will coordinate all the details when Hendrix College hosts the prestigious American College Dance Festival in March of 2009. Participants from more than 25 colleges and universities across the nation will study and perform dance on the Hendrix campus. The students will experience conference management, classroom supervision and the production of a dance performance.

Dr. Damon Spayde
Conference Experience for Undergraduates:  Testing the Standard Model
Category: Undergraduate Research

Dr. Damon Spayde will take students Tim Pote and Edward Holcomb to the fall meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics in Oakland, California. This is the premier national conference for nuclear physicists and includes a special program for undergraduate attendees. Pote and Holcomb would present the results of their recent campus research in a poster format during the conference. They will also have the opportunity to interact with the physics community and learn about advances in the field.