Your Hendrix Odyssey

April 2010 Odyssey Grant Recipients

Hendrix Odyssey Program
Project Funding
April 2010

  The Committee on Engaged Learning has awarded $87,813.75 in Odyssey grants to 25 projects proposed by faculty and students. The grand total for funding since the Odyssey Program’s inception in 2005 is $1,452,781.41.

  Students will research politics and Italian art, learn about business and health on an international scale, explore the Appalachian Trail, experience live theater on Broadway, and serve the homeless in San Francisco.

  The Odyssey Grant recipients include:

Jessica Alwell
Hierarchy in the Monastery: A Look into Hierarchical Relationships in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Bill Gorvine

  The Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, houses a group of exiled Tibetan Buddhist monks. Jessica Alwell will spend two weeks with the monks as she explores the relationships between the members of the order. “I would like to examine how the monks understand the concept of hierarchy in relation to Buddhism and their place within the monastery,” she said. This includes how hierarchy is demonstrated, such as through gestures or indications of respect for a senior member of the order.

  Elizabeth Foster
Afro-Brazillian Culture in Northeast Brazil: A Comparative Study
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Anne Goldberg

  “Brazil is an economic power in Latin America, but among this rapid development, there also exist some of the most extreme cases of poverty,” Elizabeth Foster said. She will conduct a study of the Afro-Brazilian sub-culture, comparing two cities in the northeast area of the country. Although they share a colonial past and are capital cities in their respective provinces, Recife and Salvador offer vastly different perspectives on the Afro-Brazilian population. Recife is cosmopolitan and highly urbanized, while Salvador suffers from poverty although it is culturally rich.

  Jayce Hafner and Lydia Nash
Backyard Chickens: A Study of Applied Sustainable Urban Agriculture
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Joe Lombardi

  To answer a very old question, in this Odyssey project, chickens come first—and then the eggs. Jayce Hafner and Lydia Nash will raise a flock of approximately ten Rhode Island Red chickens. They will build a portable enclosed pen and attached shed for the birds as they relate the ideals of sustainable food systems to an urban setting. Student volunteers will learn about small-scale farming and agriculture. As the chickens get older, the students are anticipating a steady egg production. “Each week we will donate at least a dozen eggs to a local food bank in the Conway area, so that the Conway community will also benefit from this project,” they said.

Olivia Harrington, Jennifer Baker, Reena Badyal and Rose Thomson
The Face of Islam in Europe
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Todd Berryman  

Olivia Harrington, Jennifer Baker, Reena Badyal and Rose Thomson will examine the treatment of Muslims, particularly immigrants, in Sweden and Finland. In Sweden, Muslims face discrimination and Islamaphobia, while those in Finland have an easier time being assimilated. They will work closely with academics and community leaders in the countries as they conduct their research. Each student will complete an individual research project, and they will combine their work for a presentation on campus. “As four students from different academic fields, our united project is an interdisciplary study that will lead us to more holistic conclusions,” they said.

  Sara King
A Study of Democracy through Romanian Eyes
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Allison Shutt  

The end of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist regime over Romania in 1989 allowed the country to follow its own path, with the ultimate goal of becoming a democratic nation.  Democracy in Romania is a relatively new concept and one with varying expectations from citizens of all ages. Sarah King will live with a family in Iasi, Romania, as she learns more about this new government.  “By visiting Romania, I will not only get to see the progress that Romania has made toward democracy, I will also gain an understanding of what democracy means to Romanians,” King said.  

  Mollie Long
Longbranch Stables Management
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Prof. Lyle Rupert

  Longbranch Stables is an equine business that offers horse boarding and horseback riding lessons. As co-manager this summer, Mollie Long will write a business plan, introduce new accounting systems, organize fundraising events and work on developing a more professional appearance for the stables. Her goal is to help the business make and maintain a profit while planning for future growth.  “This experience combines my lifelong love of horses with my academic studies in business and accounting,” Long said.

Brennan McGinn
Becoming a Wrench: Bicycle Repair and Overhaul  
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Dr. Chris Campolo

  As the head mechanic for the Hendrix on-campus bike shop, Brennan McGinn is already using his knowledge of how bicycles work and what is required to repair and maintain them—but he recognizes that he needs more training. He will get that by attending a 12-day Bicycle Repair and Overhaul seminar at the Barnett Bicycle Institute.  He hopes to build on his experience and eventually open his own shop. “In working with the Hendrix shop I am getting a small glimpse of what it is like to own and operate a shop, as I am simply doing that just on a much smaller scale,” McGinn said.

  Alyssa Moran
Documenting Contemporary Youth
Category: Artistic Creativity
Sponsor: Prof. Maxine Payne  

Alyssa Moran will focus her lens on those closest to her as she explores the world of documentary photography. Using herself and other young adults as subjects, she will delve into personal histories, the decision-making process, and emotions.  “This photography project, titled ‘The Absurdity of Youth,’ will reveal the excessive rituals and activities young subcultures partake in and the related questions of anxiety, respect, responsibility and self awareness that arise from them,” Moran said. She will rely on the look and feel provided by conventional film instead of digital photography for her project.

  Safia Nawaz
Broadway:  Calling All Strong Female Protagonists
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Lisa Leitz

  Safia Nawaz will conduct a study of the portrayal of heroines in five Broadway productions to explore how gender issues are depicted on stage.  She will assess the role of the female lead, the relationships between her and other characters, how she presents herself during times when she is alone on stage, and the audience reaction to her.  “These factors will help me determine what effect Broadway has on its audience members and what messages they take away from the plays based on the heroine’s character/personality/actions,” Nawaz said.

  Heather Newell and Michelle Stiles
The Pursuit of Happyness: A Week at Glide United Methodist Church
Category: Service to the World
Sponsor: Wayne Clark

  For the past several years, Heather Newell and Michelle Stiles have volunteered with non-profit organizations, government initiatives and churches. “Over and over again, we have been struck by the complexity, disparity, and depth of the crisis of homelessness both in our country and around the world,” they said. In January, they will volunteer at Glide Methodist Church in San Francisco, where the homeless receive a helping hand. The church has a goal to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.

  Kimberly Pollard
Metastasis-Regulatory microRNAs in Mouse Model of Prostate Cancer
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Varsha Kaushal

  Having seen family members struggle with cancer, Kimberly Pollard has a personal interest in studying the disease. Prostate cancer causes the second-highest percentage of cancer-related deaths among men. “The deadly nature of this cancer can be greatly attributed to how little is understood about its mechanisms and the way it spreads,” Pollard said. She will research these topics, using mice in her laboratory experience.

  Lauren Ricci
Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Category: Global Awareness
Sponsor: Dr. George Harper

  This fall, Lauren Ricci will be discovering a part of America that few people ever explore. She will spend five months on a solo trek on the entirety of the Appalachian Trail, a journey of 2,178 miles that will take her through pristine wilderness in 14 states. “During this solitary experience, I will need to rely on my own capabilities to plan daily itineraries, prepare my own meals and carry every necessary supply on my back,” Ricci said. She is looking forward to the quiet introspection of being in the natural environment.

Curtis Richards
Internship in International Business
Category: Professional and Leadership Development
Sponsor: Prof. Lyle Rupert

  Curtis Richards will explore foreign business culture first-hand as he works with professionals in France, Germany and Sweden. “While business everywhere has similarities and shared objectives, there are abundant differences in culture, behavior, and practices that need to be understood in order to successfully function and compete in international business,” he said. This background will help him as he plans a future career in the international business sector.

  Brent Rowley
Undergraduate Research Proposal to Study Mannerist Art in Italy
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. Rod Miller  

Mannerism is a style of art that emerged in the 16th century. It introduced artifice, obscurity, exaggerated figures, discordant color and distorted perspectives into classical motifs, thus contrasting with the static perfection of High Renaissance paintings. Brent Rowley will explore the world of Mannerism by seeing some of its most representative works on-site in Italy. “I propose to study the ways in which Manneristic elements first emerged in the later works of Raphael and Michelangelo, and then examine how this style was fully developed by the next generation of artists such as Giulio Romano, Pontormo, Coreggio, and Parmagianino,” Rowley said.

  Ryan Stuckey
Potential New Species of Queen Snake Located in Arkansas
Category: Undergraduate Research
Sponsor: Dr. George Harper

The Queen snake is a non-venomous, docile water snake that largely inhabits the area east of the Mississippi River in the southern United States. The exception is a small population in northern Arkansas, which is the only location they’ve been found west of the river. This fall Ryan Stuckey will conduct genetic analysis of samples taken from both sides of the Mississippi to see if there is enough genetic difference between them for the Arkansas snakes to be declared a new species. “Research on this trans-Mississippi river distribution ranges from little to none,” Stuckey said. He will use mitochondrial DNA for his research since it can track a species back for hundreds of generations s as it passes from parent to offspring unchanged.

  Kemper Tell
Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Troubles
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Lisa Leitz

  “Conflicts caused by religious tensions are not new. However, what is interesting about the Northern Ireland conflicts is that it is a fight between two parts of the same religion,” said Kemper Tell. She’ll learn more about the history of violence in Northern Ireland, its lingering effects, and societal perceptions about the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants that have been a dominant factor in the country’s history. In Ireland, Tell will visit museums, libraries and artworks that provide insight into the conflict.

  Kristi Vo
A Journey in Vietnam: Cultural Enrichment and Self-Discovery
Category: Global Awareness
Sponsor: Dr. George Harper

  Kristi Vo is of Vietnamese descent, but she’s never had the opportunity to experience the language or cultural traditions of Vietnam.  As a volunteer with Cultural Embrace, she will spend her winter break teaching English to a Vietnamese community and living with a host family.  Afterwards, she will embark on a journey of self-discovery as she connects with relatives in the country, meeting them for the first time. “Although America and Vietnam may greatly differ, the cultures of both countries are integrated in me,” Vo said. This experience will give her the chance to understand Vietnam, its environment and its people as she connects with her heritage.

  Elizabeth Whittington
Service on the American Model United Nations Staff 2010
Category: Special Projects
Sponsor: Dr. Daniel Whelan

  Elizabeth Whittington will attend the American Model United Nations (AMUN) conference this fall, serving as a staff member. She will have many responsibilities to ensure that the sessions run smoothly, including helping to research and write topic briefs that will be distributed to participants. “As a staff member, not only will I be representing AMUN, but I will also proudly serve as a representative of my college,” Whittington said.

  Prof. Melissa Gill
Mid America Print Council Conference Trip
Category: Special Projects

  The “New World/Old World” professional printmaking conference presented by the Mid-America Print Council in October will give six Hendrix students an introduction to the tradition and innovation of the art form. They will present their own original works and learn about print techniques such as intaglio, woodcuts, etchings and silkscreens from experts in the field.

Dr. Sarah Lee
Ecology and Health Through the Cultural Paradigm
Category: Undergraduate Research

Over the winter break, Dr. Sarah Lee and Dr. Peter Gess will take six Hendrix students on a research trip to India on a cross-cultural study of ecology and health. They will explore how culture and religion impact land and resource use, health, and nutrition. On the tour of the country, they will see national parks, urban areas, major religious sites and a variety of ecological zones ranging from desert to mountains to wetlands. The group will also evaluate locations for a potential “Hendrix-in-India” study abroad project.

  Dr. Rod Miller
ARTH 430 Practicum: Professional Development Gallery/Museum Trip
Category: Undergraduate Research  

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 deeper understanding of art history. The students will visit contemporary art galleries and modern/historic art museums; the sites will connect to each individual’s area of interest and research paper topic, which will be presented on campus in the spring.

  Dr. Jennifer Penner
Advanced Research in Comparative Animal Behavior: Issues in Evolutionary Psychology
Category: Undergraduate Research

  Dr. Jennifer Penner will lead her class in conducting research in evolution and human behavior, focusing on the mechanisms of attraction.  The class will research testosterone-dependent traits in men, such as facial symmetry, athleticism, body odor and attractiveness. Then each student will develop an individual evolutionary psychology project, serving as primary researcher.

  Dr. Jennifer Peszka
Psychology 480: Advanced Research: Sleep Research
Category: Undergraduate Research

  Ten psychology majors in Dr. Jennifer Peszka’s Advanced Research class will examine the effect of caffeine on a possible physiological measure of drowsiness. Using physiological measures in the sleep lab at Hendrix, they will measure changes in volunteers’ brain activity in response to stimuli during baseline and caffeine use nights.

  Dr. Tom Stanley
Economics Research: Econ 497
Category: Undergraduate Research

  Economics Research offers students the opportunity to conduct economic experiments as part of their research projects. Funding from the Odyssey Program will help provide monetary incentives for student volunteers and thereby allow Hendrix students to contribute to economists’ research knowledge about economic behavior.

  Dr. Daniel Whelan
ISA Midwest Conference: Hendrix Student Panel on Research in Rwanda
Category: Undergraduate Research  

Dr. Daniel Whelan and Rob Lord will participate in a panel about student-led research at the International Studies Association-Midwest Conference in St. Louis. Whelan will serve as panel chair, and Lord will discuss research he conducted for the “Post-Ethnic Development Frame” project in Rwanda, which was supported by an Odyssey grant.