Your Hendrix Odyssey

April 2009 Odyssey Grant Recipients

Hendrix Odyssey Program
Project Funding
April 2009

 Funding for Odyssey projects since the program’s inception in 2005 has moved well beyond the million dollar point. With the April 2009 funding cycle awards of $63,586.86, the grand total is $1,181,864.99.

A total of 25 projects were funded for the fall and the Winter Break. Hendrix students will explore Easter Island, help map the universe, and follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen in England.

The Odyssey Grant recipients include:

Sarah Alford
Profile of Regulatory MicroRNAs in Conditional PTEN Knockout Mouse Model of Prostate Cancer
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Varsha Kaushal 

Using mice specially bred to mimic all the stages of prostate cancer in humans, Sarah Alford will research the molecular mechanisms of tumor growth and metastasis, focusing on the PTEN gene. She hopes that by investigating the genetic regulation of cell division, new theories may emerge about the growth, progression and spread of cancer. “By completing this Undergraduate Research project, I would be furthering my experience in a laboratory setting, fulfilling my dream of doing cancer research, and giving myself an insight into a possible future career,” Alford said.

Jennifer Byerly and Alex Sego
In the Footsteps of Jane Austen
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Carol West

Jennifer Byerly and Alex Sego will experience the world of Jane Austen in a four-week journey across England. They will explore places related to Austen and locations found in the pages of her novels. In historical and family archives, Byerly and Sego will examine Austen’s original manuscripts and personal correspondence. “In our research, we hope to become further acquainted with Austen’s family history, her style of writing, and the society in which she grew up,” they said. This project was underwritten by the generous support of the Hendrix Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language.

Kaelen Calvin and Catherine Curtis
Costa Rican Home Building
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. George Harper

“Although Costa Rica is the most developed of the Latin American countries, about one-fifth of the population still lives in poverty,” said Kaelen Calvin and Catherine Curtis. Through the I to I volunteer program, they will work to help build homes in San Ramon, an impoverished rural area in Costa Rica. They will learn the basics of construction from roofing to flooring, along with participating in other building projects. Eventually the home they help construct with other international students will be given to a deserving local family.

Leigh Ann Jensen and Sean Mehl
Exploring Music Production
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Stella Capek

This fall, Leigh Ann Jensen and Sean Mehl will develop their creative skills and learn about professional musicianship as they create an album of their music. “It is upon us to write and arrange the musical compositions, record the material, mix and master the recorded material, and prepare the finished album to be sent to a pressing plant,” Jensen and Mehl said. They will explore recording techniques, room acoustics and the science of sound as a musical composition is prepared for recording. They will produce 500 12-inch promotional albums as their final product.

Taylor Kidd
Wilbur D. Mills: Congressman, Advocate, Arkansan-A Historical Timeline
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Deb Skok

Taylor Kidd and members of the Buthman Historical Society at Hendrix will create a timeline that chronologically follows the life of Congressman Wilbur D. Mills. At 176 feet long, the display will cover the years between Mills’ birth in 1909 and his death in 1992. The timeline will be housed in the Mills Center, the academic building that was named in his honor. “While educating the public, the timeline will also act as a permanent memorial to the late Mills,” Kidd said. The students will research, design and plan the educational timeline, and they will present it to the campus at a reception this fall.

Andrew Kryder
Examination of Photoreceptive Capability in Mammalian Coral Snake Predators
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. George Harper

Using a new scientific procedure that he invented, Andrew Kryder will study the ability of several mammals to see different wavelengths of light. He will use eye tissue samples from coyotes, bears, foxes raccoons and cats for the study. These animals are known to prey upon coral snakes and the snakes that mimic them in appearance. “This research will help to answer the question of why the mimicking strategy deters some predators and not others,” Kryder said.

Maya Lemon and Claire Burns
Unschooling: An Exploration of Education
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Peszka

Unschooling is based upon the belief that when given freedom and opportunity, children’s natural curiosity will lead them toward learning experiences that are richer and more fulfilling than those available in conventional educational settings. Maya Lemon and Claire Burns followed nontraditional curriculums for their educations. “Traditional educators, elected officials, parents, neighbors, and friends are often uncomfortable with the idea that children are allowed to shape their own educational experiences, as is it contrary to how western society defines a successful education,” Lemon and Burns said. They plan to attend the Rethinking Education Conference, where Lemon will be a participant on two panels.

Dmitriy Nurullayev
Serving as Staff Member for American Model UN
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Daniel Whelan

Dmitriy Nurullayev has been invited to serve on the staff of the American Model United Nations conference in Chicago this fall. “The staff members insure that the conference goes smoothly; they build networks, find funding, create agendas for the conference and perform many other duties,” Nurullayev said. He is anticipating learning more about the structure of the United Nations in this leadership role.

Kelsey Parker
Internship at HAVEN House
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Trista Grieder

HAVEN House of Conway is a shelter for young women who have been abused, neglected or abandoned or those who are homeless. Kelsey Parker will spend 12 weeks working as an intern for the shelter. “This experience will demand that I combine my past working experiences with children as a residential camp counselor and my anthropological education so that I may work for HAVEN with a greater contextual understanding of both the house and the people within it,” Parker said.

Catherine Piazza and Grace Yokem
City Harvest: Hunger Relief in New York City
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Stella Capek

City Harvest is an innovative non-profit organization dedicated to ending hunger in New York city. Donated food from restaurants, grocers, cafeterias and farms is distributed to community food programs throughout the city. Catherine Piazza and Grace Yokem will volunteer with the organization, learning more about work with non-profits with an eye to the future. “We hope that our volunteering experience with City Harvest will help us to measure the value of the organization and the possibilities for the application of a similar program in Arkansas,” Piazza and Yokem said.

Alice Riley
Easter Island: The Exploration of a Mysterious History and Culture
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Jeffrey Kosiorek 

Easter Island is famous for its giant, tight-lipped stone statues. Alice Riley will visit the island to examine archeological theories around the construction, transportation, and cultural meaning of the statues. She will also research the “bird man” cult that celebrated finding the first egg of spring laid by the sacred Manu Tara bird. “I will research these traditions and theories and explored the assortment of speculations archeologists and historians have put forth explaining how the inhabitants of such a small island interacted with each other and with outsiders,” Riley said.

Chelsey White
Warrior S.T.A.R.S.
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Thad McCracken

Members of the Hendrix College Women’s Basketball team will share both their love of the game and the basic principles of mental and physical health with children from Marguerite Vann Elementary School in a free basketball skills program. The students will be the first Warrior S.T.A.R.S, which is an acronym for sportsmanship, teamwork, accomplishment, responsibility and self-esteem. Chelsey White sees these as the core components of becoming a successful student athlete. “As we teach basic basketball skills and techniques, the students will be able to bond with their mentors, bond with each other, and learn about the importance of exercise, teamwork, and sportsmanship,” White said. At the end of the program, the children will showcase their new skills during half-time of a Hendrix Men’s Basketball team home game.

Mallory Young
Simulating the Stars: A Research Project on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Ann Wright

In 2014 in Chile, a Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will begin a decade-long survey of the cosmos, eventually resulting in the production of  three-dimensional maps. “New data will provide scientists and the public with a more thorough understanding of the universe, as billions of astronomical objects will be seen for the first time,” Mallory Young said. In conjunction with Purdue University, she will create computational simulations to help understand how well current LSST designs will perform. She will attempt to predict how light will be affected by gravity, dark matter, the atmosphere, LSST hardware and other variables.

Dr. Jennifer Dearolf
Travel to the 2010 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Meeting in Seattle, Washington
Category: Undergraduate Research 

Almas Chughtai, Franchesca Lau, Jerry Maldonado, John Schroeder, Haley Warsinske and Lewis Wharton will present research at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting in Seattle, Wash. The students have worked with Dr. Jennifer Dearolf on projects related to prenatal steroids and their impact on the breathing muscles of guinea pigs.

Dr. Nancy Fleming
SWACDA Collegiate Honor Choir 2010
Category: Artistic Creativity

Dr. Nancy Fleming will take eight students to represent Hendrix at the American Choral Directors Association Southwest Region convention. As part of a Collegiate Honor Choir, the students will join participants from 29 other colleges and universities throughout the region. Dr. Craig Jessop, former conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will direct them for a public concert.

Prof. Melissa Gill
ARTH-430 Practicum: Professional Development-Galley/Museum Trip
Category: Special Projects

Art department seniors will travel to New York City with Prof. Melissa Gill 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. George Harper
Costa Rica: A Model in Sustainability and Conservation
Category: Special Projects 

Emily Kymer-Davis, Megan McCaghey, and Hannah Sintek will accompany Dr. George Harper to Costa Rica for three weeks. They will collect specimens and photographic data for a study on the origins of coral snake mimicry. The group will learn about the country’s conservation and sustainability efforts. Finally, they will conduct service projects on environmental education for the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center.

Dr. Damon Spayde
Conference Experience for Undergraduates: Third Joint Meeting of the Nuclear Physics Divisions of the American Physical Society and Japanese Physical Society
Category: Undergraduate Research

Timothy Nichols and Becca Leonard will present the results of their summer physics research projects at the premier annual meeting of nuclear physicists in America and Japan. The Nuclear Physics Divisions of the American Physical Society and the Japanese Physical Society are holding a joint meeting in Hawaii in October. The Hendrix students will present posters on their projects.

Dr. Leslie Templeton and Dr. Jennifer Penner
Arkansas Symposium for Psychology Students 2010
Category: Professional and Leadership Development

In 2010, the Hendrix Department of Psychology will host the meeting of the Arkansas Symposium for Psychology Students, a statewide conference devoted to undergraduate research. Four students will take on leadership roles, including coordinating submissions, scheduling moderators, arranging publicity and making lodging arrangements. As the point persons, they will help ensure that the conference is successful while developing their leadership skills.

Dr. Daniel Whelan
The Post-Ethnic Development Frame in Rwanda
Category: Global Awareness/Undergraduate Research

Ashley Gish, Amanda Keifer, and Rob Lord will join Dr. Daniel Whelan for a group project in Rwanda. Gish and Keifer will conduct undergraduate research projects on microlending and infectious diseases respectively while Lord expands on his interest in the country’s land management system. Although each student has an individual research project, they will work together as a group and participate in joint site visits in Rwanda.

Dr. Ann Wright
Competitive Robotics Team
Category: Special Projects

Hendrix students, faculty and staff will work with local high school students and their teachers to form the Hendrix Competitive Robotics Team. The team will meet regularly in the fall to design, build and practice with a competition robot. The competitions are intense, sports-like environments that help motivate students to pursue their interest in the sciences.