• Life Launch @ Hendrix

    Career and College: Exploring your Aim and Purpose

    June 9 - 14, 2024

      Life Launch Centerpiece

  • Life Launch @ Hendrix

    Hendrix has a rich tradition of providing unique and engaging summer programs for students. Programs are offered on our beautiful campus in Conway, conveniently located in Central Arkansas. Beyond the enrichment in the classroom, you’ll find that the campus offers everything from comfortable residence halls and an award-winning dining hall to stunning recreational facilities and much more. Best of all, the Hendrix community is made up of dedicated educators and staff who care about students and want to welcome you to campus.

    At Hendrix, we are committed to providing summer experiences that are not your typical summer camps. Summers spent at Hendrix involve the exploration of personal interests and passions, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and growth through a combination of hands-on instruction and creative experiences. All of this is done in a safe and inclusive environment where all perspectives and ideas are welcomed.

    Master Classes

    2024 Masterclasses

    Dr. Lyle Rupert

    Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business
    BUSI 110 - Personal Finance

    Rupert.LyleThis course covers critical thinking and quantitative skills in making decisions regarding personal financial issues. Specifically, the issues include money management, budgeting, payroll, taxes, student/auto/house loans and how interest rates work, consumer credit, insurance, retirement and estate planning, and general financial security. The course includes extensive spreadsheet modeling and data analysis.  The class sessions for Life Launch will focus on interest rates and debt, especially debt related to student loans.

    Dr. Andrew M Schurko

    Associate Professor of Biology and Health Sciences
    BIOL 340 - Microbiology: Human Health and Food

    Masterclass Professor - Dr. Andrew M Schurko

    Bacteria are everywhere! While we often associate bacteria with causing disease, these tiny organisms are important for keeping our bodies healthy and for making many types of food. In this hands-on laboratory course, students will learn to sample and grow bacteria from the environment and use biochemical/genetic methods to identify different microbes. We will also use bacteria to make food that students can sample and enjoy at the end of the session. Students with interests in health sciences, medicine, biology and pharmacy often take this course, but the topics are appropriate for anyone who is curious about the fascinating world of microorganisms.

    Dr. Izat El Amoor

    Assistant Professor of Sociology
    SOCI 120 - Media and Technology: Sociological Perspectives

    2024 Izat El AmoorStudents will learn about media and technology from a variety of sociological perspectives: specifically, how sociologists perceive the evolution of technology and media; definitions sociologists adopt for technology and media using both historic and contemporary lens; the theories they employ to think about technology and media; the role media and technology have in shaping social life; technological inequality around the world; and the global implications of media and technology. This course will be interactive, engaging, and thought provoking.  

    Dr. Jennifer Peszka

    Distinguished Professor of Psychology
    PSYC 185 - Sleep Well to Learn WellPeszka

     This research-based course examines the relationship between sleep and emotional, social, cognitive, and physical well-being with a particular focus on the role sleep plays in learning: acquisition, consolidation, and recall.  Student sleep practices, techniques used by sleep professionals to improve sleep, and an option to measure student sleep quality and quantity at night between classes will be covered. We’ll answer additional research questions looking at studies like: Can you learn in your sleep and why can’t I remember things that happened during sleep and just before sleep? 

    Dr. Wenjia Liu

    Associate Professor of Chinese
    ENGF 100 - From Superman to Ironman: Interpreting American Superheroes

    Wenjia LiuIn the past 15 years, superhero movies, especially the ones of MCU, have been one of the most prominent phenomena in American popular cultures. In fact, superheroes appeared in popular cultures as early as in the early 20th century and have always been an important part of American popular cultures. Some most popular superheroes like Superman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Ironman, etc. not only defined the landscape of superheroes, but reflected competing ideologies, discourses, and social issues during their time. This course will use the methodology of Cultural Studies to interpret various popular superheroes in their historical conjunctures, exploring topics like nationalism, gender studies, technology, and ethics.


    Dr. Jonathan Hancock

    Associate Professor of History
    HIST 230: Three Sisters and Three Deerskins: History of Native America
    John Hancock - 2023 Headshot

    Using examples and concepts that anchor the HIST 230: Native North America class: tribal sovereignty, kinship, gender relations, and adaptation and survival, this MasterClass will explore the history of Native America. Within the U.S., there are over 500 Native American nations - each with its own language, culture, and history. The Three Sisters were crops cultivated by women for centuries (corn, beans, and squash). They represent both an important dimension of gender relations in Native American societies and a farming method that was beneficial for soils and human diets. The three deerskin maps exhibit Native American ideas about diplomacy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a time when Indigenous nations were more powerful than they've been commonly characterized.

    Dr. Kiril Kolev

    Professor of Political Science
    POLI 200 - The Politics of Happiness
    MasterClass Professor Dr. Kiril Kolev

    The Politics of Happiness, is a course appropriate for students interested in the social scientific method and how it can be utilized to answer a question we rarely ask of politicians: "What can you do to make citizens happy?" To address this, students will learn about the happiest countries in the world and put the United States in comparative perspective. They will then examine the political, economic, and societal factors that seem to be related to fulfilled, cohesive, and happy societies. Finally, they will discuss actions they can take to make their own communities happier.

    Dr. Andrew Morgan

    Associate Professor of Music
    MUSI 101 - Culture and Music: Throat Singing
    Masterclass Professor Dr. Andrew Morgan

    Over the years, viral videos have circulated in which singers are purported to sing two notes at the same time using a technique known as throat singing. What's really going on here? How are singers able to accomplish this, and what does throat singing tell us about the nature of vocal music across global cultures? In this session we examine throat singing from various perspectives, including scientific analysis and ethnomusicology. Plus, you'll learn to do this yourself a bit!

    Prof. Maxine Payne

    Margaret Berry Hutton Odyssey Professor of Art
    ARTS 491 - Alternative Photographic Processes
    MasterClass Professor Dr. Maxine Payne

    In this hands-on studio art class, we learn about the earliest scientific discoveries that led to what we know now as photography or, drawing with light. The history of photography is rich with tinkerers, dreamers, and self-aggrandizers and its "discovery" came at the end of a time, in the Western World, called the Romantic period in which many were obsessed with spiritualism, or communicating with the dead. Students in this class will learn about that early history, the players, technology, and chemistry, and how those all came together to get us where we are today, making billions of images every day on our hand-held devices. Then we will make our own 19th century salt prints, using the same process and materials as those early scientists did in 1839. This experience provides students a taste of what studio art classes at Hendrix have to offer; history, science, craft, and ultimately self-expression combined with personal vision.

    Dr. Andrew M Schurko

    Associate Professor of Biology and Health Sciences
    BIOL 340 - Microbiology: Human Health and Food
    Masterclass Professor - Dr. Andrew M Schurko

    Bacteria are everywhere! While we often associate bacteria with causing disease, these tiny organisms are important for keeping our bodies healthy and for making many types of food. In this hands-on laboratory course, students will learn to sample and grow bacteria from the environment and use biochemical/genetic methods to identify different microbes. We will also use bacteria to make food that students can sample and enjoy at the end of the session. Students with interests in health sciences, medicine, biology and pharmacy often take this course, but the topics are appropriate for anyone who is curious about the fascinating world of microorganisms.

    Dr. Damon Spayde

    Professor of Physics
    PHYS 235/245 - Workshop Physics
    MasterClass Professor Dr. Daymon Spayde

    This course is required for students majoring in physics, chemistry, or biochemistry and molecular biology and for students interested in pursuing an engineering degree. It is also often taken by students interested in health sciences and medical school or those wanting to develop a general understanding of physics.

    An introduction to the scientific process as it pertains to the physical world with an emphasis on topics such as mechanics (Newtonian, quantum, and statistical), waves, heat, electricity, and magnetism. This course is taught in a hands-on, discovery-based style with lab, computer, and course work integrated into each class meeting.

    Dr. Leslie Templeton '91

    Professor of Psychology
    PSYC 210 - Developmental Psychology
    Masterclass Professor Dr. Leslie Templeton

    "Does childhood temperament predict adult health, wealth, and criminal activity?" Temperament is a concept in developmental psychology that encompasses differences in our physiological and emotional reactions (reactivity) and our ability to control our behaviors, thoughts, and emotions (self-regulation). I'll be discussing research that examines how our ability to self-regulate in early childhood is connected to adulthood outcomes such as physical and mental health, financial well-being, and criminal activity.

    Students interested in Psychology, Health Sciences, medical school, and education often take this course.


    Exploring what YOU want to do with your life begins with learning what you love to do and having conversations with mentors and professionals.

    Media Coverage:

    "Hendrix's Life Launch program prepares high schoolers for college" (THV11, June 14, 2023)

    Life Launch participants will have the chance to:

    • Choose from a variety of Master Classes taught by Hendrix faculty.
    • Discover strengths and interests through assessments and activities.
    • Ask BIG questions: explore ideas of meaning and purpose.
    • Participate in small group discussions with faculty, staff, & peer mentors.
    • Learn from inspirational keynote speakers about life and career paths, finding motivation, and more.
    • Prepare for college application/selection process.
    • Practice professionalism and gain networking skills.

    Bring on the Fun

    The college residence life experience is just as important as what happens in the classroom. Engage in fun activities with other students, peer mentors, and Hendrix faculty and staff.

    • Meet new friends from around the country! Students from 12 different states have attended the program.
    • Live on campus in one of our newly renovated student residences
    • Eat in our award winning dining hall (Ranked #1 in the US)
    • Enjoy activities each night ….game nights, movies, trivia, etc.
    • Hang out and talk with peer mentors (current college students) about applying to college and being a college student.
    • Get your sweat on at the Wellness and Athletics Center .


    Justice Rhonda K. Wood

    2024 Opening Keynote Speaker


    Justice Rhonda WoodJustice Rhonda K. Wood is in her eighteenth year on the judicial bench. After being elected and serving six years as a circuit judge, she was elected and served two years on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. In 2014, she was elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court, and reelected in 2022. Justice Wood just began her tenth year as an Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court. Her 2014 election made the court a majority female court for the first time in the state’s history.

    Justice Wood earned her B.A. with distinction in politics, magna cum laude, from Hendrix College, and her J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law with highest honors. She earned the highest score on the Arkansas Bar Exam, and by logging 300 hours of community service during law school became the first recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Certificate of Service. Before becoming a judge, Wood practiced law and was an Assistant Dean at Bowen School of Law.


    Roby Brock

    2024 Closing Keynote Speaker

    Roby BrockRoby Brock is the CEO of Talk Business & Politics, a 25-year-old multimedia news organization reporting on business and politics in Arkansas.

    Brock directs content through many distribution channels, such as the Talk Business & Politics television show, which airs Sunday mornings at 9:30 am on KLRT Fox 16 in Little Rock, 9:30 am on KAIT Channel 8 in Jonesboro, and 9:30 am on KFTA Fox 24 in Northwest Arkansas. He also hosts Capitol View, a Sunday morning political show that airs at 8:30 am on KARK Channel 4 in Little Rock and 10:30 am on KNWA in Northwest Arkansas. Additionally, Capitol View airs in multiple adjoining markets, including El Dorado/Monroe, Louisiana; Texarkana/Shreveport Louisiana; and Harrison/Mountain Home/Springfield, Missouri. 

    Brock moderates radio programs on NPR affiliates statewide and a daily digital newscast at TalkBusiness.net. In partnership with Hendrix College—of which Brock is a graduate—Talk Business & Politics conducts statewide polling on political and business issues throughout the year. 


    Julia Gaffney

    2023 Opening Keynote Speaker
    Julia Gaffney - Olympic Metal Headshot

    World Champion swimmer and Paralympic Medalist Julia Gaffney, 22, has been swimming competitively since 2015. She is currently training for the upcoming World Championships with Hendrix College Coach Tony Marleneanu. Julia will kick off the Life Launch week speaking with participants about overcoming obstacles in life, finding motivation and purpose, and what she's learned (so far) in her international professional swimming career.

    Justin Warren (HDX '09)

    2023 Closing Keynote Speaker
    Keynote Speaker - Justin Warren

    Filmmaker Justin Warren , an Arkansas-native, got his start editing short documentaries for Oscar Winner, Morgan Neville ( Twenty Feet From Stardom , Won't You Be My Neighbor? ) and hustling on shoots with Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder. After graduating from USC's School of Cinematic Arts with his M.F.A., Justin produced and directed his first narrative feature film, THEN THERE WAS JOE in 2018, debuting at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles. Shortly after, Justin co-wrote and edited a psychological-thriller, DRIVER 113 , which debuted at the Pasadena International Film Festival in 2021.

    An avid international traveler, Justin journeyed to Malawi, Africa, where he produced and directed Heart of Africa , a short-documentary shining a light on human compassion in the midst of extreme poverty and conflict. It was in Malawi where Justin cemented his passion for fighting for equality through media.

    A finalist at Sundance, Universal, and Final Draft competitions, Justin has gained recognition for his bold screenwriting and was hailed by Franklin Leonard's Blacklist as an "unhinged visionary." In addition to gearing up for his next feature film project, Justin currently leads the editorial department at Hush Harbor Media, battling misinformation and amplifying social justice issues. He lives in Southern California with his wife, son, and dog.

    Amanda Brooks (HDX '08)

    2022 Opening Keynote Speaker
    Keynote Speaker - Amanda Brooks

    Amanda Brooks is an award-winning sports public relations veteran, with a career spanning 15 years across collegiate and professional sports, Team USA, and now in television as the Public Relations Manager for ESPN's college networks. She leads day-to-day public relations strategy for ESPN's college football portfolio, including the College Football Playoff, as well as serving as the spokesperson for SEC Network, among other responsibilities. Amanda is a proud graduate of Hendrix College (2008) with a bachelor's degree in religion and English. She earned her master's degree in ethics from Vanderbilt University. She began working in the field while she was still a student at Hendrix College. While earning her master's degree at Vanderbilt University, she worked in communications for both the Commodores and the Nashville Predators (NHL).

    Bracken Darrell (HDX '85)

    2022 Closing Keynote Speaker
    Keynote Speaker - Bracken Darrell

    Bracken Darrell is president and chief executive officer of Logitech International. As president and chief executive officer of Logitech, Bracken is responsible for Logitech's strategy for growth and profitability, for the vision for the brand as well as for the company's operations. He joined Logitech as president in April 2012, and assumed the role of chief executive officer in January 2013.

    Bracken has more than twenty years of experience in business management and brand management in successful global consumer companies, including Whirlpool, Procter & Gamble and General Electric. His broad executive management experience has spanned manufacturing, supply chain, product innovation, consumer services and marketing - targeting customers in mature and emerging markets. He has led growth and reinvention for iconic brands such as Old Spice, Gillette, Braun, KitchenAid and Whirlpool.

    Bracken holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and a BA degree in English from Hendrix College (1985).

    Info + Apply

    What will I do at Life Launch?

    Check out our  sample daily schedule  to get an idea for the typical day at Life Launch!

    Who can apply?

    All rising high school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply.

    In general, applicants should demonstrate that they are well-rounded , and they both engage and excel in many different educational, social, and recreational activities.

    How do I apply?

    The full application process is online for your ease and convenience. There is no cost to apply , deposits are only required after notification of acceptance. Follow these simple steps to complete your application.

    1. Review the application and prepare your responses.
    2. Choose someone to submit a reference for your application.
    3. Complete the application and submit.

    How much does it cost?*

    *You choose... really, we mean it! Our voluntary three-tier tuition recognizes that some families can pay the full cost of the program, while others would be more comfortable paying less. Families may choose the tuition amount that is most suitable for them. No questions asked. Regardless what amount you choose, the amenities, activities, and experiences are the same.

    • $900  (discounted rate for those who choose to pay less)
    • $1,200  (partially discounted rate for those who choose to pay a little more)
    • $1,500 (most closely reflects the full cost of the program)

    When do I apply? When will I find out if I am accepted?

    November 1 st Application Opens/Rolling Admission  
    April 15  th Application Closes  
    April 26  th Final Review of Completed Applications  
    May 1 st Registration Deadline for Invited Students  

    What does tuition cover?

    What if I have private financial assistance to help with the cost of tuition?

    We've had several students attend the program who had sponsors from their home communities help with the cost of tuition. We encourage students to engage their local community (school, community/civic organizations (rotary, Kiwanis), church, family and friends). Connecting with local resources is a valuable tool for funding Life Launch and beyond. We will work closely with you and any sponsors to support private assistance. Contact us to make arrangements before completing registration. 

    What else do I need to know?

    Deposit: A minimum $500.00 deposit for tuition is required at registration (there is NO COST to apply) . You may also choose to pay the full tuition amount. If you choose to pay the minimum deposit, then the remaining tuition amount will be due by May 1.

    Cancellations and Refund Policy: Cancellations received on or prior to May 15 will be eligible for a full refund less a $250 program planning fee. Cancellations after May 15 are not eligible for a return of funds. Cancellation requests should be emailed to lifelaunch@hendrix.edu .

    COVID-19: Hendrix College monitors public health guidance from local, state, and federal agencies regarding COVID-19. The College's COVID-19 Response Team provides guidance to all campus offices and HDX Life Launch will adhere to all campus guidelines and protocols .

  • Contact Us

    Life Launch @ HDX
    About Life Launch

    Hendrix College
    1600 Washington Avenue
    Conway, AR 72032

    Phone: (501) 450-1279

    Email: lifelaunch@hendrix.edu