Your Hendrix Odyssey

February 2014 Odyssey Grants

Hendrix Odyssey Program
Project Funding
February 2014

This summer, Hendrix students and faculty will explore their interests, dig into history, and serve others.  The Committee on Engaged Learning (CEL) awarded $153,898.87  in Odyssey grants to 40 projects proposed in the February 2014 cycle. The grand total for funding since the Odyssey Program’s inception in 2005 is $2,638,930.90.

Students will explore their musical talents, serve others in distant lands, conduct innovative research, and work on archeological digs.

The grant recipients include:

Shannon Abbott
Service in Ghana: An Exploration of Culture, Connections and Vocation
Category: SW
Sponsor: J.J. Whitney

Shannon Abbott will volunteer with Experiential Learning International in Ghana this summer. “I will be working in an orphanage, feeding, playing with, and generally taking care of children, and working to create programs and raise awareness of AIDS,” Abbott said. The experience will allow Abbott to explore the topic of non-profits and government funding while seeing how AIDS affects the people of Ghana.

Noah Beggs, Keegan Fletcher and Krystal Kim
Hendrix iGEM Team
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Rick Murray

The International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) is an undergraduate research competition in synthetic biology held annually in Boston. Noah Beggs, Keegan Fletcher and Krystal Kim are working to form the first ever Arkansas team in the competition. Each student team is given a kit of biological parts that they use to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. “Participating teams work to design and create a synthetic organism (usually a bacterium) with applications ranging from electricity generation using sugar to detection of heavy metals in fluids,” they said.

Reed Brewer, Sydnee Davis, Andrew LeMay and Hayley Hervey
A Spiritual Journey on the El Camino: A Visual Odyssey
Category: SP
Sponsor: Dr. Jose Vilahomat

For four Hendrix students dealing with loss and spirituality issues, making the pilgrimage to walk the historic El Camino de Santiago presents an opportunity to examine their lives. Reed Brewer, Sydnee Davis, Andrew LeMay and Hayley Hervey will create a documentary film of their spiritual experience during their journey. “By capturing our experience visually, we will create a unique reflection on the effects of this journey by presenting it as it actually happened to us, not as how we merely described it in a journal,” they said. The students hope that they will all come to terms with the losses they have experienced and deal with them with support of their close friends.

Susie Burton
Organic Farming in Rural Costa Rica: A Linguistic and Cultural Immersion Experience
Category: GA
Sponsor: Dr. Joyce Hardin

This summer, Susie Burton will blend her interests in sustainable agriculture, the Spanish language, and Latin American culture as she volunteers at an organic farm in Costa Rica. “Farming is a slow and time-intensive process so spending as much time as possible on the same farm will afford me a more nuanced understanding of the significance of the temporal aspects of agriculture,” Burton said.

Peter Butler
The Year of the Democratic Comeback
Category: PL
Sponsor: Dr. Jay Barth

“In 2014, Arkansas will have a gubernatorial election, a U.S. Senate election, and four elections to decide who goes to the House of Representatives to represent the state,” said Peter Butler, who sees these races as influential in the national political landscape. He will have an internship with the Democratic Party of Arkansas and hopes to work for Senator Mark Pryor’s re-election campaign. During the summer, he will get a detailed picture of the life of a political campaign and the nature of the work it entails.

Lila Coco
The Impact of Israeli Policy: How Policies affect Mental Trauma for Military Personnel
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Kiril Kolev

Lila Coco will explore the mental health policy in the Israeli Defense Forces from cultural, individual, administrative, and historical perspectives. She is interested in knowing how military mental health policy can affect the mental health of service members. “I identified Israel as the ideal location for research on military mental health policy as they recently exemplified the effectiveness of policy in reducing suicide rates,” Coco said.

Jackson Cohen
An Economic Analysis of Team Play
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Megan Leonard

Jackson Cohen will connect basketball and economics in a project to learn how to improve team play. Assists are a measure of a player’s role in helping a team make a basket, and players who lead the team in assists are prized in professional teams. “I want to investigate how to optimize assists and find an equilibrium that improves a team’s chance of winning a championship,” Cohen said.

Brian Commerford
Ultimate Training Camp
Category: SP
Sponsor: Jennifer McCracken

Brian Commerford will participate in Athletes in Action’s Ultimate Training Camp (UTC), which is limited to 150 college athletes who gain leadership skills in a Christian setting. The UTC integrates faith and sports to help every athlete experience how the gospel impacts them on and off the field, culminating in a 20-hour competition. “During this camp and through engaged learning I seek to gain more leadership capabilities, grow more in my faith, and learn how to make an impact on other people’s lives by teaching them what I’ve learned,” Commerford said.

Thomas Eddlemon
Building Bridges to the Future in Challenged Neighborhoods
Category: SW
Sponsor: Coach Buck Buchanan

Thomas Eddlemon will work with youth in the disadvantaged Gardere projects in Baton Rouge, La., through SportQuest-Playing with Purpose. Christian college athletes share their faith through sports camps and community service. Eddlemon will lead a children’s football camp, where he will encourage focusing on academics with athletics. “With all the new academic standards in college athletics, the emphasis on a quality education before college is even more important if they wish to pursue playing at the next level,” Eddlemon said.

Katey Gillispie
The Effect of Modeled Sexual Communication on Protective Behavioral Intentions
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Lindsay Kennedy

Katey Gillispie will study the importance on communication style on the development of sexual empowerment and health-oriented behavioral intentions. “It is my belief that emotionally focused communication is extremely important in encouraging individuals to explore their sexual identities and preferences, along with strengthening their sexual self-efficacy,” she said. Understanding the role of communication styles could improve health standards and positively contribute to reshaping modern sex culture.

Mallory Glick and Meaghan Epperson
Exploring Sustainability and Permaculture in Costa Rica to Make Positive Changes in our Environment
Category: PL
Sponsor: Dr. James Dow

“Our current methods of food production, waste disposal, energy expenditures and general way of living are not only unsustainable, but also are rapidly destroying the environment on which we depend to survive,” said Mallory Glick and Meaghan Epperson. They will travel to Costa Rica to volunteer at two sustainable permaculture farms, where applied science and ecology are ethically designed to work with the environment to meet human needs.

Anna Jolliff
Impact of Mother-Daughter Relationships, and Close Female Friendships, on Disordered Eating Behavior in Young Women
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Lindsay Kennedy

Anna Jolliff will build on her long-time interest in body esteem and eating disorders with a research project this summer. “Through this on-line survey, I will be studying the potential impacts of mother-daughter relationships, and relationships between female friends, on the eating behavior of young women,” Jolliff said. She will examine disordered eating behavior and messages received either explicitly or implicitly from mothers and friends.

Emily Jones
Developing a General Synthesis of Indolizidine Alkaloids
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Chris Marvin

Emily Jones will work in Dr. Chris Marvin’s lab this summer, using a versatile compound to synthesize two biologically active compounds. “This key compound is interesting because it can be used to prepare a diverse number of medicinally relevant compounds,” said Jones.

Sophie Katz
Caherconnell Archaeological Field Experience
Category: PL
Sponsor: Dr. Anne Goldberg

The fields of archeology and anthropology will converge in Ireland for Sophie Katz this summer as she works with the Caherconnell Archaeological Field School at a dig site that dates to the seventh century. “I will be participating in archaeological digs, listening to lectures, and keeping journals of my studies, time, and discoveries (should I make any),” Katz said.

Taylor Keplin and Jonathan Bauer-Erickson
Volunteering with a Sea Turtle Conservation at the Pacuare Nature Reserve
Category: SW
Sponsor: Dr. Mark Sutherland

Taylor Keplin and Jonathan Bauer-Erickson will help save endangered sea turtle species at the Pacuare Nature Reserve in Costa Rica, which is a nesting ground for the Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback varieties. “Conservation work and environmental protection will be beneficial for the endangered species of turtles as well as the local community, while additionally feeding our passion for marine life,” they said.

Emily Kleinfelter
Internship with the Nashville Civic Design Center
Category: PL
Sponsor: Dr. Joyce Hardin

The Nashville Civic Design Center is a leading nonprofit organization in Nashville's urban redevelopment movement, aiming to elevate the quality of the city's built environment. Emily Kleinfelter will work with the center on a variety of projects connected to urban planning, public health and neighborhood design. “I will be able to identify policies and strategies that different neighborhood types can utilize for forming a built community that will promote a healthy lifestyle,” Kleinfelter said

Lora Adams
Nation-Building and Ethnic Conflict in the Balkans
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Kiril Kolev

Lora Adams will explore ethnic conflicts and its role in the evolving nation-state building efforts in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. What she discovers in archives and conversations with experts will be incorporated into her senior thesis. “There has been much research (historical and political) on this region, but not all of it is accessible by the virtue of the internet or American libraries,” Adams said.

Meghan McFadden and Elizabeth Kasper
Volunteering at the Punta Mona Center for Sustainable Living and Education in Costa Rica
Category: PL
Sponsor: Dr. Joyce Hardin

Meghan McFadden and Elizabeth Kasper will travel to Costa Rica to work at the Punta Mona Center for Sustainable Living and Education. They will learn agricultural practices and permaculture maintenance techniques that are designed to protect the native species in the neotropical regions. “The skills we will learn at Punta Mona will prepare us to accomplish our long-term goals of maintaining our own permaculture farms and contribution to the growing movement for sustainable agriculture,” they said.


Hope Montgomery
A Pilgrimage to India: Exploring my Spirituality through Service
Category: SW
Sponsor: J.J. Whitney

An interest in Hinduism and Buddhism inspired Hope Montgomery to volunteer with Cross Cultural Solutions in Dharmsala, India. Her project received financial support from both the Miller Center and the Committee on Engaged Learning. Details about her Service Scholar experience appear below.

Samson Ndindiriyimana
Research on Special Education in East Africa
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Dionne Jackson

Samson Ndindiriyimana of Rwanda is deaf and experienced the educational system of his homeland. “Deaf children who manage to complete with primary education find that it is not easy to pursue their secondary education in high schools that do not accommodate them,” he said. He will research the education of the deaf in East Africa, explore economic and social factors that are impediments to the process, and investigate what the government and others are doing to meet the needs of these students.

Patrick Niyongabo
Sports, Poverty and Hope
Category: SW
Sponsor: Dr. Sarah Lee

As a member of the Hendrix soccer team, Patrick Niyongabo recognizes sports as a way to help people build trust, friendship and hope in hard times—especially for disadvantaged children. He will participate in a sports program in Brazil through International Volunteer HQ to share his experience with children from low-income families. “The sport program in Brazil helps children in Rio and has become a vital outlet for children, as it provides them with organized competitions in a safe and fun environment,” he said.

Michael Occidental
Determination of the Metal Ion Cofactor Requirements of the PLA2 Enzyme in Snake Venom
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Randall Kopper

“Coral snakes produce a venom that is very neurotoxic; it paralyzes the prey in order to incapacitate it,” said Michael Occidental. He will study one of the venom’s main enzyme components and its relation to calcium and other metal ions.

Taylor Pate and Nini Hoang
Vietnamese Food Culture : Exploring the Linkage between Vietnamese Cuisine and Urban Agriculture
Category: GA
Sponsor: Dr. James Dow

Taylor Pate and Nini Hoang will explore both the traditional and non-traditional Vietnamese style of cuisine and the influence of urban agriculture on it in both New York City and Little Rock. “During our Odyssey, we hope to determine whether or not local agriculture is prevalent in Vietnamese restaurants,” they said.

Vinikarn Phahurat
A Journey in Thailand: Educational and Cultural Enrichment
Category: SW
Sponsor: Leigh Lassiter-Counts

Vinikarn Phahurat will help others and explore her cultural heritage this summer as she volunteers as a language assistant to teach English at the Pholwitaya Bilingual School in Thailand. She will assist in the development of conversational English in the classroom. “I believe that communication and traveling are key tools in improving collaboration, and ultimately respect between people or cultures,” she said.

Ian Shrum
Wavelet Denoising and Analysis
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Bob Dunn

Ian Shrum will create a new algorithm for analyzing geophysical data from ring lasers to identify and separate the signals of interest from the unwanted noise that can obscure them. “The algorithm is expected to enhance the analysis of seismic waves from earthquakes and infrasound from hurricanes, tornadoes, and volcanoes,” Shrum said.

Matthew Simmons
Summer Internship: DBU Athletic Department
Category: PL
Sponsor: Dr. Megan Leonard

Matthew Simmons is considering a career in sports administration. He has accepted an internship with the Athletic Department at Dallas Baptist University, where he will learn more about administrative, operational and coaching roles. “One of the great benefits of having an internship at a smaller school like DBU is that their athletic department is very interactive, relying on the collaboration and cooperation of people with different roles within the department,” Simmons said.

Sowmya Sivakumar
Adsorption by Activated Charcoal of Snake Venom
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Randall Kopper

Building on previous studies regarding the treatment of peanut allergens after consumption with the use of activated charcoal to bind the proteins, Sowmya Sivakumar will conduct similar research for its application regarding snake venom. “Possible uses of charcoal for venomous snake bites could possibly decrease the number of deaths due to snake bites by potentially removing the poison or delaying the spread until anti-venom can be administered,” she said.

Jordan Spennato
The Effect of Expressive Art on the Psychological Wellbeing of Injured Athletes
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Victoria Evans

Jordan Spennato will investigate the effects of art therapy on the psychological well-being of injured athletes who are undergoing physical therapy. “Through my own experience with injury and rehabilitation, I discovered how pertinent maintaining psychological well-being is, and I continue to use expressive art daily to speak to this need,” Spennato said. Art therapy may enhance recovery and preserve the psychological health of injured individuals.

Ples Spradley
Variation of Protein Components in Successive Regenerations of an Individual Coral Snake's Venom
Category: UR
Sponsor: Dr. Randall Kopper

Ples Spradley will conduct the first study of differences in successive regenerations of venom within an individual coral snake and between different snakes of the same species. “These results will be important in determining the factors that contribute to differing compositions of coral snake venom,” he said.

Dr. Chris Campolo
Roman Archeology in Portugal
Category: SP

Dr. Chris Campolo will take four students to participate in the Santa Susana Archeology Project’s excavation of a Roman villa near the town of Redondo, Portugal this summer.

Dr. Jennifer Dearolf
Morphology of neonatal guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) breathing muscles
Category: UR

Students in Dr. Jennifer Dearolf’s lab will use neonatal guinea pigs to determine if prenatal steroids accelerate breathing muscle development. These steroids are commonly used to accelerate the development of the lungs of premature human babies.

Dr. Peter Gess
The International Public Service Project: A Partnership Among Hendrix College, The Clinton School, and Community Service Organizations
Category: SW

This summer, up to four Hendrix students will join Clinton School of Public Service students on 10-week, international public service projects in health, children’s issues, and sustainability in Nicaragua, Uganda and Vietnam.

Dr. Tom Goodwin
Green Chemistry: Development of Potential Antibiotic Compounds and a New Organic Chemistry Laboratory Experiment
Category: UR

Stephanie Hernandez and Justin Murdock will work on two green chemistry projects this summer. The first synthesizes some novel compounds that potentially possess antibacterial properties. The second involves the development of a new microscale, microwave experiment for the organic chemistry lab.

Dr. Liz Gron
Ridin' Dirty with Science 2014
Category: SW/SP

Ridin’ Dirty with Science is a one week summer science camp to excite and educate children from the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County. Hendrix students will lead the sessions, focusing on fun and interactive chemistry, biology, and physics experiments.

Dr. Daniel Henderson
Feedforward regulation of the exercise ventilatory response under conditions of normocapnia and hypnocapnia
Category: UR

Conner Gibbs and Elia Concavage-will study end tidal carbon dioxide pressure to reflect arterial carbon dioxide pressure after hyperventilation at rest and how it differs during exercise after hyperventilation.

Dr. Toni Jaudon
The Material Book in a Digital Age: A Study of Pop-Up and Movable Books
Category: UR

Dr. Toni Jaudon will take a small group of students to conduct archival research on a collection of pop-up and movable books. The students will consider how the material form of the book shapes the experience they have of the narrative contained within. This project was underwritten by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language.

Dr. Sarah Lee
A Narrative of Encountering: The Rwanda Student Experience
Category: SP

Dr. Sarah Lee and Prof. Ann Muse will collaborate with students from Rwanda to develop a theatrical piece with themes relating to how they have encountered America, college and themselves. They will be challenged to process and narrate events in their lives and consider how these events may be shaping their futures.

Dr. Wayne Oudekerk
Germany Live 2014
Category: GA

Dr. Wayne Oudekerk will take Charlie Garcia, Victoria Petty, Alexa Ritter, Ian Shrum, Ryan Spainhour, Ty Spradley, Marina Sweeten, Jerry Thomecek and Kelsey Williams on a two-week trip to Germany, exploring the history, culture and language of the country.

The following students received Miller Center Service Fellowships:

Mitchel Griffin
Miller Center Service Fellowship with International Volunteer HQ in Quito, Ecuador
Category: SW
Sponsor: Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt

Mitchel Griffin will spend his time in Quito, Ecuador working in a street-market daycare, which provides an educational environment for children whose parents work in the market during the day.  Griffin will be applying his experiences as a Sociology major to understand the effects of education on the social interactions in Ecuadorian street-markets.  “With this work,” said Griffin, “I am hoping to gain real-world skills, like creating positive structured educational environments for children, working with parents and children to enhance the family unit, and engaging intimately with people of diverse backgrounds.”

Hope Montgomery
Miller Center Service Fellowship with Cross-Cultural Solutions in Dharamsala, India
Category: SW
Sponsor: Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt

Hope Montgomery believes that “service is the key to understanding interconnectedness”.  It is this interest in the interconnectedness of all beings that has led Montgomery to serve six weeks in Dharamsala, India, where she will work side by side with locals to help lead activities with a youth group.  Montgomery hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the religious traditions in Dharamsala – specifically, Hinduism – by being an active participant in community life.

Savannah Skaggs
Miller Center Service Fellowship with Bean’s Café in Anchorage, AK
Category: SW
Sponsor: Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt

“I have volunteered with several non-profit organizations, and I have yet to find one as dynamic and community-centered as Bean’s Café,” says Savannah Skaggs of the non-profit organization she will be volunteering with this summer.  Skaggs will be working in many parts of Bean’s Café, from cleaning and preparing food and sleep spaces, to assisting with the youth nutrition program.  This experience will be great preparation for a future career in the non-profit sector, which is where Skaggs’ interests lie. 

Michelle Stockwell
Miller Center Service Fellowship with GaDuGi SafeCenter, Inc. in Lawrence, KS
Category: SW
Sponsor: Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt

Michelle Stockwell hopes to someday “address issues like sexual assault and reproductive justice in the political arena as a candidate or activist”.  This summer, Stockwell will be working with GaDuGi SafeCenter to educate people about sexual assault.  She will also collaborate with the Douglas County AIDS Project and Lawrence Queer Youth Voice on a project called Real Talk to promote safe sexual practices to youth and adults.

Jasmine Welch-Beardsley
Miller Center Service Fellowship with the New England Center for Children in Southborough, MA
Category: SW
Sponsor: Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt

Jasmine Welch-Beardsley has a passion for working with children with special needs, and is very excited to have the opportunity to work with the NECC.  She will be a full-time intern, working one-on-one with the same group of children throughout her time at NECC, applying behavior analysis principles and maximizing the students’ independence.  Welch-Beardsley believes this internship will “be the capstone of my experience exploring my vocation while at Hendrix College, leading me to my final decision of a career as a behavior analyst”.