Your Hendrix Odyssey

October 2010 Odyssey Grant Recipients

Hendrix Odyssey Program 

Project Funding 

October 2010 


The Committee on Engaged Learning (CEL) has awarded $74,181.22 in Odyssey grants to 28 projects proposed by faculty and students. The grand total for funding since the Odyssey Program’s inception in 2005 is $1,526,962.63.  The CEL gratefully acknowledges the generous support of both the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language and the Crain-Maling Center of Jewish Culture in this funding cycle. 


Students will create a mural in downtown Conway, study an iconic American play, battle each other in a solar powered car derby, and research innovative treatment methods for cancer. 


The Odyssey Grant recipients include: 



Michael Chavez 

Let it Rust 

Category: Special Projects 

Sponsor: Sunny Haynes 


Michael Chavez plays guitar and does vocals for the band Rogue Martian, which also features fellow Hendrix students Nick Marks on piano, David Aspesi on bass and Logan Rice on drums. Chavez notes that the current reliance on electronic downloads of music shortchanges both the listener and the artist. “Since the most popular songs and musicians have their highest success on the Internet, the general public misses out on tangible cover art, booklets and the high recording quality of analog recordings and vinyl releases,” he said. Rogue Martin plans to go back to the basics of recording for their first studio album titled “Rust.” They will use vintage amps and gear in an open setting to create an older sound, which will be recorded and made available only on vinyl. Proceeds from the album’s sales will benefit Campus Kitty, the Hendrix fundraising effort for local charities. 


Eric Cockman 

Effect of Metformin and 2-deoxy-glucose on Stem Cell Population and Tumor Growth in Pten-deletion Model of Prostate Cancer 

Category: Undergraduate Research 

Sponsor:  Dr. Varsha Kaushal 


One of the frustrating things about treating cancer is that it can go into a remission period and then return. The cancerous tumor can regenerate if any cancer stem cells survive a seemingly successful treatment. Using specially bred mice with prostate cancer, Eric Cockman will evaluate the effects of metformin, a drug that may lead to decreased cancer risk for diabetics, and 2-deoxy-glucose, a created glucose molecule that may starve the cancer.  “The results of the experiment may point to a new method of treating cancers to lower the chance of relapse,” Cockman said. 


David Hagan and Kate Moran 

Cooking Local: A Life of Food in the Wine Country 

Category: Special Projects 

Sponsor: Scott Pickens 


The rich soil of the Napa Valley in California is renowned for its vineyards and world-class wines. The area is also home to orchards and farms, including gardens owned by restaurants. The local produce is prepared and served fresh for the customer. David Hagan and Kate Moran will explore the process of fine dining in Napa Valley from the ground to the plate. “We have contacted several top chefs, winemakers and ranchers who will aid in our education and help us discover why the Napa Valley is so unique,” they said. They will learn how the farmers grow and harvest the food, how the chefs build a menu around seasonal offerings, and--in special cooking classes--how the fresh produce is prepared and served.  


Blake Haller 

Gobabis, Namibia: Rural Medicine at the Edge of the Kalahari 

Category: Professional and Leadership Development 

Sponsor:  Dr. Tom Goodwin 


Namibia is a country that epitomizes a recurring problem in health care: doctors prefer to practice in larger, urban areas. In many cases, this means that people who live in rural areas must often travel extreme distances to seek medical attention.  For a month, Blake Haller will work at the small Bushman clinic that helps provide care in the remote area around Gobabis, a village located at the edge of the Kalahari Desert. “Not only will I gain exposure to a vibrant, culturally-rich nation and its people, but this project will also undoubtedly have a dramatic effect on my development as an individual and as a future practitioner of medicine,” Haller said. During his time at the clinic, he will have the opportunity to conduct health outreach sessions and research public health operations in Namibia. 


Torey Hayward 

Exploring the Everyday: An In-Depth Study of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" 

Category: Special Projects 

Sponsor: Prof. Ann Muse 


Our Town, the play written 72 years ago by Thornton Wilder, is an iconic staple in American theater. In the last decade, there have been thousands of productions of the play in venues ranging from off-Broadway to high school gymnasiums. Torey Hayward will lead a group of fellow students on an exploration of the play starting with its history, followed by a campus reading of selected scenes with a discussion of its universal themes, and culminating in a presentation of what they have learned at the Southeastern Theater Conference Fringe Festival in Georgia. “It is through this work that I hope to discover the importance of this particular plan in American literature and drama, and come to a better understanding of why and how a simple play can withstand time,” Hayward said. This grant was underwritten by the generous support of the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language. The campus reading is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, in Staples Auditorium. 


Colin Hoy 


Category: Special Projects 

Sponsor:  Dr. George Harper 


TED is a non-profit organization that originally brought together speakers from Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) and now draws from its continuously expanding scope individuals who are challenged to condense their own core message into a concise, powerful speech. These TEDTalks by notables such as Nobel Prize winners are available on-line to the public at no charge to share new ideas as widely as possible. As part of its outreach program, the organization licenses its name for local events as “TEDx.” This spring, Colin Hoy will organize TEDxHendrix--the first-ever Arkansas conference--around the theme of “Great Minds and Great Societies.” He plans to invite speakers with a particular interest in cognitive science. “Together, the synergy of the pre-recorded TEDTalks, live presentations, and audience participation will culminate in engaging conversation that hopefully produces inspiring new ideas worth spreading,” Hoy said. 


Bryce Martin 

Circuit-Bending and Musical Composition with "Bent" Objects 

Category: Special Projects 

Sponsor:  Dr. Damon Spayde 


A toy that emits a buzz instead of a blip. A Furby that makes a noise that almost sounds…musical. These new and unintended sounds in small, battery-powered toys, dolls, and games are the result of circuit-bending. For this, the circuit board is opened, the variety of possible sound is explored, and new connections are created. “The production of unique circuit-bent sounds depends largely on chance and experimentation,” Bryce Martin said. He will record the resulting unique sounds and use them in a musical piece, combining electronics and wiring with sound composition and manipulation. 


Hannah McGrew, Maya Lemon and Katie Jones 

Vinho Divino: Heritage, Globalization, and Agricultural Processes in the Portuguese Wine Industry 

Category: Global Awareness 

Sponsor:  Dr. Jon Arms 


Port is a sweet, strong wine traditionally produced in the city of Porto in Portugal. However, with globalization, beverages from other countries have been labeled as “Port” without following many of the historical production practices of the authentic product. Hannah McGrew, Maya Lemon and Katie Jones will explore the Portuguese wine industry, learning more about globalization, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, heritage crops and cultural identity. “We feel that this project is important because it is a small way that we can contribute to the preservation of a process that has shaped the identity of a nation,” they said. 


Molly McGuire 

Fifty Years of Human Rights: Amnesty International 50th Annual General Meeting 

Category: Special Projects 

Sponsor: Jim Wiltgen 


Amnesty International, the global movement to protect the basic human rights of individuals around the world, will celebrate its 50th anniversary at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in San Francisco in March. Five members of the Hendrix Amnesty International chapter will attend the meeting, which draws international human rights activists, experts in civil rights and social justice, and speakers who can address atrocities from personal experience.  “It is a medium for the exchange of ideas and a chance for Hendrix students to connect, share and apply different ways of looking at the justice aspect of international relations,” Molly McGuire said. After the AGM, each student will organize a campus event about a human rights issue discussed in a lecture, panel or workshop session at the meeting. 


Conner McMains 

Church Birthday Concert 

Category: Special Projects 

Sponsor:  Dr. Nancy Fleming 


Conner McMains is the director of music at Grace Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, and he has plans to help the congregation celebrate its 50th birthday. He is organizing a special free concert featuring the Grace Adult Choir performing with the members of the Hendrix Chamber Orchestra, Choir, and Wind Ensemble under McMains’ direction. “I will arrange some of the music, other music will be purchased, and I’ve written an original final piece as well,” McMains said. In order to have a successful celebration, he’ll bring together the realms of choral directing and orchestral conducting. 


Stewart Morgan 

An Art Class for the Homeless 

Category: Service to the World 

Sponsor: JJ Whitney 


Stewart Morgan knows that he is most rewarded when he uses his artistic abilities to help others. This spring, he will conduct an art class for the homeless at the Stewpot Soup Kitchen in Little Rock. Morgan will serve lunch and eat with the participants of his class. His hope is to show the class that each person has value and worth. “Beyond cultivating my vocational interests in art therapy, I also hope to grow spiritually over the course of next semester,” Morgan said. Eventually, paintings created by the class will be exhibited in galleries in Conway and Shreveport, La., with proceeds from any sales divided between the artist and the Stewpot Soup Kitchen. 


Lydia Nash and Megan Childress 

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,” Lydia Nash and Megan Childress said. They will travel to Oahu to work with the Oahu Invasive Species Committee, which has targeted ten invasive plants for extermination. Nash and Childress will assist with an expedition into some of the island’s most endangered areas to combat invasive species. 


Lance Riley and Chad Binns 

Tanzanian HIV/AIDS Prevention and Health Education 

Category: Global Awareness 

Sponsor:  Dr. Joe Lombardi 


Lance Riley and Chad Binns are both considering careers in the medical field.  They are also interested in the culture of Tanzania and the health of its people. They will volunteer with Global Service Corps to combat the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country with educational outreach programs.  By living with a host family and exploring the natural environment of the country, they will fully immerse themselves in Tanzania. “Through this experience we hope to grow as future healthcare professionals, as biologists and nature enthusiasts, and as members of the global community,” Riley and Binns said. 


Avery Roller 

Determining the Role of Autophagy in Prostate Cancer using the PTEN Deletion Mouse Model 

Category: Undergraduate Research 

Sponsor:  Dr. Varsha Kaushal 


Autophagy is the process used by starving cells to “recycle” themselves, using degraded products to provide energy and cellular building blocks necessary for their survival. Autophagy has been seen to affect cancers in both positive and negative ways. “This dual role of autophagy in tumor survival and tumor suppression needs to be clearly defined so as to devise appropriate strategies to prevent or to control cancer,” Avery Roller said. She will induce autophagy in mice and then assess tumor induction and inhibition. 


Sam Siegel 

The Jewish Service Organization: Linking Hendrix College to Conway High School and Beyond 

Category: Professional and Leadership Development 

Sponsor:  Dr. Marianne Tettlebaum 


As the only Jewish student at his high school, Sam Siegel realized that his peers didn’t understand his religion. He founded the Jewish Service Organization (JSO) to teach about Jewish culture and to create opportunities for students to interact with each other. “Once I began to remedy the lack of knowledge about Jewish culture and tradition, I found there was an increase in tolerance for other cultures,” Siegel said.  His project will involve the Hendrix community with the JSO in joint service projects, dinners, movie nights and guest lectures by professors. This grant was underwritten by the generous support of the Crain-Maling Center of Jewish Culture. 


Sarah Spencer 

NCUR Presentation of Odyssey Undergraduate Research Project: The Public and Private Places of Worship 

Category: Undergraduate Research 

Sponsor:  Dr. Sasha Pfau 


During the summer of 2010, Sarah Spencer traveled to England to assess the changes in religious iconography and architecture in public and private places of worship resulting from Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church. Spencer will present her project at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in Ithaca, New York, this spring. “The multi-disciplinary environment NCUR provides is the ideal location to present the undergraduate research I conducted in England, which contains architectural, historical, religious, and anthropological elements,” Spencer said. 


Kristen Staples 

Solar Radio Controlled Car Derby 

Category: Special Projects 

Sponsor:  Dr. Ann Wright 


“The purpose of this project is to inspire critical thinking, an interest in science, and ultimately, an interest in clean renewable energy,” Kristen Staples said. He’s referring to his goal of having ten teams compete on campus to create viable radio-controlled cars that are powered by the sun. The teams will participate in a campus derby on Earth Day, April 22, 2011, in honor of the concept that with the right technology and creative thinking, solar energy can be as effective as batteries at a lower cost and with minimal environmental impact. 


Emily Uhar 

Recycling Education in Panama: An Application of Environmental Studies 

Category: Global Awareness 

Sponsor:  Dr. Joe Lombardi 


Emily Uhar will travel to the city of Boquete, Panama, where she will volunteer with a local agency that encourages recycling. She will give speeches about recycling in local schools and offer training seminars to teachers so they can educate their students.  Uhar plans to learn more about the goals and challenges of recycling in Panama, how the citizens perceive it and whether it is feasible to enact recycling programs on the national level. “This project affords me with the opportunity to apply my environmental studies to a real-life context,” Uhar said. 


Jennifer Zilly 

Plotting Goodness: Countercultural Ministry and Community Development in the Inner-City 

Category: Service to the World 

Sponsor:  Dr. Karen Oxner 


Jennifer Zilly will spend several months working with The Simple Way, located in a low-income section of Philadelphia.  “This organization is composed of a dynamic group of people who are committed to bringing about urban renewal in imaginative and transformative ways,” Zilly said. She hopes to work with children on literacy and participate in the organization’s inner-city outreach and ministry. 


Dr. Karen Fannin 

Festival of Winds Honor Band 

Category: Special Projects 


Hendrix will host the third annual Festival of Winds Honor Band, a select group for high school students. The band members will work with a guest conductor and then present a concert. Two Hendrix students will serve as co-chairs for the festival, planning and organizing the event, preparing music, and helping with publicity. 


Dr. Anne Goldberg 

Transcribing and Translating Rural Women of the United States-Mexico Border 

Category: Special Projects 


Last summer, Dr. Anne Goldberg and Prof. Maxine Payne interviewed and photographed rural women living on both sides of the border between the United States and Mexico. Ellen Granger and Sharon Cordova will use their Spanish language skills to translate and transcribe 17 interview in preparation for an exhibit of the project. For that, text panels in English and Spanish will accompany each photograph to tell the subject’s story.  


Dr. David Hales 

Student Travel to American Chemical Society National Meeting to Present Research 

Category: Undergraduate Research 


The Department of Chemistry will take 24 students to present their research as posters at the Spring National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Anaheim, Calif., in March.  The students will attend technical sessions and ACS functions to become better acquainted with the professional society and aspects of their chosen discipline. 


Dr. Varsha Kaushal 

American Association for Cancer Research Meeting 

Category: Undergraduate Research 


Dr. Varsha Kaushal will accompany Eric Cockman, Kimberly Pollard and Avery Roller to the international meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in April in Orlando, Fla. The students will present their research results at a special undergraduate session and attend lectures to learn more about the current status of cancer research from world-renowned scientists. 


Dr. Jeffrey Kosiorek 

The Literature and Image of Culture and the Environment 

Category: Special Projects 


Last summer, Dr. Jeffrey Kosiorek and eight students spent three weeks exploring the culture and environment of northern New Mexico.  For a similar trip in May he will build on the connections he made last year and include Dr. Joyce Hardin, who is familiar with the area. The group will explore the impact New Mexico’s unique landscape has had on history and culture. They will tour numerous historic and cultural sites, and they will meet with biologists, community activists, forest rangers, and writers to gain insight on the region from a variety of perspectives.  They will focus on how one knows and understands culture and place through words, image, and experience. This project is co-sponsored with the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language. 


Dr. Lisa Leitz 

Improving Our Responses to Campus Sexual Assault-A One-Day Conference for ACS Schools 

Category: Special Projects 


Sarah Beth Bell, Legna Rios and Ali Sanders will work with Dr. Lisa Leitz to organize a one-day conference on sexual assault. Focusing on the issue on college campuses, they will invite students, faculty and staff from Associated Colleges of the South institutions to participate in an open forum. The participants will be encouraged to develop preventative programming, improve responses and offer support services for survivors. This project is also supported by Project Pericles. 


Prof. Maxine Payne 

Collaborative Mural in Downtown Conway 

Category: Special Projects 


Hendrix artists will work with Prof. Maxine Payne to create a collaborative mural in downtown Conway with students from The Art School. Sabrina Moore, Gracie Kloss, Claire Nassaux, Emily Depre, Audrey Lloyd, Rachel Ribando-Gros, Kit Landwehr, and Sydney Rasch will share their artistic skills on the project. The community-themed mural will show images from the city’s past and present. 


Prof. Brigitte Rogers 

ACDFA: Creative Choices 

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 Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan., 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. 


Dr. Ann Wright 

American Physical Society Meeting March 2011 

Category: Undergraduate Research 


Dr. Ann Wright will accompany several Hendrix students as they participate in the American Physical Society conference in Dallas, Texas, this March.  Udai Garimella, Hannah McWilliams and Jordan Russell will present their research at the event.