Your Hendrix Odyssey

October 2009 Odyssey Grant Recipients

Hendrix Odyssey Program
Project Funding
October 2009

Funding for Odyssey projects since the program’s inception in 2005 has moved well beyond the million dollar point. With the October 2009 funding cycle awards of $52,838.84, the grand total is $1,234,703.83.

A total of 19 projects were funded by the Committee for Engaged Learning for the coming year. Hendrix students will share an all-American sport with Italian competitors, serve the impoverished both at home and abroad, and sing the songs of the victims of the Holocaust.

The Odyssey Grant recipients include:

Sarah Alford, Elizabeth Morgan and Nicole Morgan
Buddhism at Home: Singapore’s Temples Through American Eyes
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Bill Gorvine

Sarah Alford, Elizabeth Morgan and Nicole Morgan will experience Buddhism in Singapore from a religious, anthropological, and artistic perspective, as they combine their respective individual interests in one project. To immerse themselves in the religion as it is practiced in Southeast Asia, they will participate in aspects of Buddhism that are open to the public and talk with religious leaders at temples, monasteries and shrines.  As a record of their experiences, the students will keep journals and use photography to document their exploration of China. Nicole will also create paintings inspired by what they learn.  “This project is an excellent opportunity for three diverse Hendrix students to step out of their respective classrooms and experience religious traditions completely different from their own,” they said.

Megan Andrews
South America’s Children: The Plight of Poverty
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Leslie Zorwick

Street children in Latin American countries live in oppressive poverty and struggle to survive. Some receive assistance from governmental and non-profit organizations. Megan Andrews will conduct a comparative study of the efficiency of these programs in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. “Through research and participation within these programs, I will study how they strive to compensate for the deficits that poverty produces,” Andrews said. She will conduct research interviews in Spanish, observe the functioning of each program, and serve as a volunteer to understand the organizations from the inside.

Ashley Easter and Ronni Laizure
American Identity in Puerto Rico
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Lilian Contreras-Silva

“Puerto Ricans are technically US citizens; however, despite this—and their geographical proximity to the mainland US—Puerto Ricans have a distinct Latin American and Caribbean identity,” Ashley Easter and Ronni Laizure said. Intrigued by the dual existence of Puerto Ricans, they will examine the Latino and American influences in the commonwealth’s culture.  They hope to assess the sense of American cultural and political ties on the island by conducting interviews in Spanish with college-age students.

Ashley Gish and Joseph Hayden
Hidden Poverty in the South
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt

More than 14% of the population in the South lives below the poverty line, making this the poorest region in the United States. Ashley Gish and Joseph Hayden will explore poverty in the South by volunteering with organizations that focus on food, housing and education.  These local, independent agencies have ties to the communities and to those they serve. “By participating with these organizations, we will be assisting some of the poorest of the poor, who would not ordinarily have consistent access to larger non-profits,” they said. They will work at organizations in five cities: Birmingham, Ala.; Atlanta, Ga.; Asheville, NC; and their own hometowns of Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.

Samantha Gullion
Culinary Growth and Assistance
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Karen Oxner

As a member of the Hendrix Culinary Club, Samantha Gullion has a great interest in food. This spring she will lead two classes a week for nine of her fellow students, covering topics such as the fundamental of spices and cooking methods and progressing to more complex issues about how certain dishes complement each other. After each lesson, the class members will prepare a meal using what they have learned. Each meal will then be served at Bethlehem House’s soup kitchen.  “The students in my class will learn not only the basics of cooking, but also how sharing of the culinary arts can help someone in need,” Gullion said.

Dietlinde Heilmayr
Immersion in Social Psychology
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Robert Hessling

During the summer, Dietlinde Heilmayr worked with Dr. Robert Hessling to prepare research articles for publication. Their hard work earned them an invitation to present their research at the conference for the Society of Personality and Social Psychology in Las Vegas. “This is a rare and invaluable opportunity for an undergraduate psychology major to receive,” Heilmayr said. Her research focused on how people think of themselves in terms of past, present and future in connection to exercise behaviors.

Patty Hill
Due Process v. Crime Control:  Effects of Each Model on Plea Bargaining
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Leslie Zorwick

Patty Hill will examine the difference between a due process model of criminal justice and a crime control model on the likelihood that an individual will accept a plea bargain. “A due process model functions under the belief that everyone deserves their day in court and places emphasis on court procedure, while a crime control model is more focused on prosecuting a defendant and reducing crime on the streets,” Hill said. This is an area that few researchers have explored, and Hill hopes to offer some psychological insight into the motivations for plea bargains and the impact they have on the court system.

Harmony Hudson, Matt Youngblood and Katie Jones
Solar Lights: Helping Kids Achieve a Brighter Future
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Dr. Anne Goldberg

Without electricity, there is no light for many children of the world after the sun sets. With no light, there is no chance for these children to study in the evening.  When the expense of a kerosene lamp or candles is too much of a burden for their families, these children are forced to curtail their study hours. A safer, more economical alternative is provided by One Million Lights, a non-profit that gives solar-powered lights to children in communities all around the world. Katie Jones, Harmony Hudson, and Matt Youngblood will fundraise to obtain lights, travel to Peru to distribute them, and document the distribution “We will donate all of these pictures and videos to One Million Lights so that they may show what a profound impact each light can make,” they said. The students will also research how the lights have affected the communities that have received them. The organization can then use the images and collected data to support future fundraising efforts.

Alyssa Moran
Photo Documentary Project: Taxidermy in Arkansas
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Prof. Maxine Payne

Alyssa Moran describes herself as a developing documentary photographer with strong interests in visual anthropology. She will put her two interests to the test this spring as she explores the concept of taxidermy as an art form.  “In my own attempt to objectively present overlooked or unusual aspects of rural culture, I hope to reveal new ideas and perspectives on this particular subject matter. I also desire to illustrate photography’s relevance to Cultural Anthropology,” she said. Using a combination of photographs and interviews with owners of taxidermy studios in Arkansas, Moran will focus on both the cultural impact and the artistic skill of the profession. She will include this as part of a larger body of work in an exhibit on campus in February.

Alexandra Reilman
My Song is My Witness: A Holocaust Study
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Nancy Fleming

“It is an impressive testament to the power of music as a form of human expression and the strength of the human spirit when, even in the darkest of circumstances, music flourishes,” said Alexandra Reilman. She is referring specifically to the music created by the prisoners of the ghettos and concentration camps during the Holocaust.  As an accomplished singer, she is interested in this music that had rebellious undertones, inspired hope for those in desperate conditions, and served as a reminder of identity and tradition. To understand the camp experience in the composition of these songs and to explore why people sing in times of suffering, she will visit Theresienstadt, a show camp used by the Nazis to convince foreigners of the preserved humanity and culture of their prisoners, along with the Auschwitz and Majdanek death camps. When she returns, she will present her research, which will include a performance of songs from the camps. This project is co-sponsored by the Crain-Maling Jewish Cultural Center.

Beatrice Roger
The Development and Practice of Sexual Education Policies in the Netherlands
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Jay Barth

Although her academic interests are tied to her double major in politics and anthropology, Bea Roger acknowledges that her passion is for advocacy and social change.  She will conduct a cross-cultural comparison of the United States and the Netherlands. These countries represent the extremes in the industrialized world, with America having the highest teen pregnancy and abortion rates and the Netherlands having the lowest. Roger believes that this can be tied to the sexual education methods in the two countries. “I have chosen this topic because youth education on such a critical matter as sexual health is deeply important to me,” Roger said. She hopes to use what she learns in her study to be an effective advocate for change.

Avery Roller
Lo stile del pallacanestro italiano (Basketball: Italian Style)
Category: Global Awareness
Sponsor: Thad McCracken

Avery Roller and eight other members of the women’s basketball team will travel to Italy this summer to compete in games with Italian players and to train with internationally renowned coaches. By seeing how their competitors view the typically American sport, the team will gain a greater international understanding of the game. “In a foreign country the game of basketball has the potential to be completely different, and may even have a few minor rule changes and/or discrepancies,” Roller said. The group will also participate in educational and cultural tours of Italy, including the Coliseum, Rome’s historic sporting venue.  Along with Coach Thad McCracken and Roller, the other participants are Katy Ashley-Pauley, Samantha Deragowski, Samantha Devlin, Jordan Henderson, Caty Hensy, Erin McKinney, Anna Roane, and Monica Sitzer.

Alex Schroller
Red Alert! Rising Costs and Socialized Medicine: A Comparative European Health Care Study
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Peter Gess

“With an eye toward reforming the American health care system, I will explore the various ways in which European health care systems differ,” Alex Schroller said. He’ll analyze the cost, access, quality, wait times, and government involvement in several countries. From a home base in Belgium, he will travel to England, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden. He notes that there is a diversity of health care systems in these countries, which will give him a comprehensive understanding of multi-faceted European policies that he can compare with the American system. His goal is to offer suggestions for improvement, since America’s per capita health care costs are the highest in the industrialized world.

Kevin Watford
Strategic Shiwu-Strategic Business in an Increasingly Chinese World
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Prof. Bob Glidewell

Kevin Watford, the first student selected to participate in the new Hendrix-in-Shanghai study abroad program, will use his time in China to learn more about the country’s business culture. He’ll intern with a Chinese company, which will help him prepare for a future career as an international strategic business consultant.  “This internship will certainly teach me all about Chinese business culture and business analysis, and it will also allow me to hone my skills in financial management,” Watford said. Shanghai is the financial center of China and is one of the largest cities in the world with 18.8 million residents.

Dr. Jeffrey Kosiorek
The Literature and Image of Culture and the Environment in Northern New Mexico
Category: Undergraduate Research

Dr. Jeffrey Kosiorek and eight students will spend three weeks exploring the culture and environment of northern New Mexico. “Throughout, we will focus on how one knows and understands culture and place through words, image, and experience,” Kosiorek said. They will tour sites like the Washita Battlefield, Acoma Pueblo, Chaco Canyon, and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, and they will meet with biologists, community activists, forest rangers, and writers to gain insight on the region from a variety of perspectives. This project is co-sponsored with the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language.

Dr. Sarah Lee
Engaged Learning Project for Linguistic Anthropology: Description, Analysis and Cultural Context of Kinyarwanda
Category: Special Projects

Kinyarwanda is a Bantu language spoken primarily in Rwanda, where it and English are the national languages. Rwanda is in the process of making the transition from French to English as the primary language for schools, business and government—a move that will impact the place of Kinyarwanda in the country’s culture. In her Linguistic and Cognitive Anthropology course, Dr. Sarah Lee will conduct a study of the language. She will pair each linguistics student with a Hendrix student from Rwanda, who will serve as the language and culture expert.  “This project is not only an intellectual exercise, but also a way to see direct evidence of the role of language in culture and the opportunity to reflect on cultural identity,” Lee said.

Prof. Brigitte Rogers
Embodied Minds and Spirits ACDFA Central Region Conference
Category: Special Projects

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 the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the festival emphasizes the importance of dance in higher education and provides a wide assortment of classes, lectures and performances by leading experts. The festival offers an intensive study of dance movement and theory,  along with class instruction and performance feedback from renowned dance professionals. The 20 student participants will work in leadership positions as choreographers, as well as in artistic positions as performers for two dance pieces that will be adjudicated at the festival.

Other funding:
The Committee on Engaged Learning is also helping send a member of the chemistry faculty with students to the American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco to present research results. In addition, Dr. Todd Tinsley received funding to accompany physics students to the American Physical Society Conference in Washington, D.C.