Hendrix College to Host Regional Law School Fair Sept. 16

The SouthWest Association of PreLaw Advisors (SWAPLA) and Hendrix College will co-host the Arkansas Regional Law School Fair at Hendrix College on Monday, September 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the Hendrix Student Life and Technology Center’s Worsham Student Performance Hall. More than two dozen law schools have already announced plans to attend. The event is open to anyone interested in law school: high school students, undergraduates, alumni of Arkansas’s colleges and universities, graduate students, and people who have been in the workforce for years.

“It’s great to have an understanding of the educational and professional environment that you’ll be entering into when trying to choose what school to attend, and the law school fair provided an excellent avenue for obtaining this information,” said Holden Branscum ’19, who attended last year’s fair and is now enrolled at the University of Memphis Humphreys School of Law. “Personally, I think that being able to meet the faces of the admissions counselors was very valuable and something that could ultimately be the difference in being accepted to the school you want to go to.”

“I attended the fair both at the start and end of my time at Hendrix, and it was an incredibly helpful experience,” said Blythe Bull ’19, who is taking a gap year to work as a legal secretary and will attend Albany Law School in Albany, New York, next fall. “My admissions decisions mainly stemmed from the conversations I had with the schools! No matter where you are in the process, the Law Fair can answer so many questions and help you explore what it is you’re looking for in life after Hendrix.”

“Last year’s Arkansas Regional Law Fair was incredibly informative,” said Cordell Campbell ’19, who is taking a gap year before law school to work as a legal administrative assistant. “I personally connected with a handful of law school representatives, bypassing the often impersonal and bureaucratic process by which most undergraduate students learn more about law schools. I have maintained these personal connections via email and phone, and am looking to apply to select schools precisely because of the networking opportunities at last year’s fair.”

As of an Aug. 5 update to this news release, the still-growing list of participating law schools includes:

  • Albany Law School
  • American University Washington College of Law
  • Baylor Law School
  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  • Brooklyn Law School
  • BYU Law
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
  • Chapman University Fowler School of Law
  • Emory University School of Law
  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
  • Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
  • Oklahoma City University School of Law
  • Seattle University School of Law
  • SMU Dedman School of Law
  • South Texas College of Houston
  • St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Texas Tech University School of Law
  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
  • The University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • Tulane University Law School
  • University of Iowa College of Law
  • University of Memphis School of Law
  • University of Missouri School of Law
  • University of Richmond School of Law
  • University of Tennessee College of Law
  • University of Texas School of Law
  • University of Tulsa College of Law
  • University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
  • UNT Dallas College of Law
  • Washburn University School of Law
  • West Virginia University College of Law

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.

Hendrix Science Students Explore Research Careers through EPROACH

Five Hendrix College students explored careers and career paths in atmospheric chemistry research in an intensive two-week program at Storm Peak Lab and across the Colorado Front Range.

In 2014, Professor of Chemistry Courtney D. Hatch ’00 developed Experiences in Professional Research Organizations and Atmospheric Chemistry at Hendrix (EPROACH) with the support of the Morris and Ann Henry Odyssey Professorship. The National Science Foundation currently funds EPROACH, which provides Hendrix students the opportunity to gain engaged learning credit through the Hendrix Odyssey Program while exploring their interests in pursuing research careers in the sciences, with a focus on atmospheric chemistry. Hatch accompanied the students — Cayman Botner ’20, Karen Morris ’21, Krishna Patel ’21, Olivia Eddings ’21, and Rebecca Parham ’21 — and guided them through EPROACH activities, including:

  • informal meetings with a variety of research scientists at all stages of their careers
  • personal tours of professional and government laboratories, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), and the National Ice Core Lab (NICL)
  • visits to academic graduate programs at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado – Boulder
  • taking high-altitude atmospheric measurements at Storm Peak Laboratory atop Mt. Werner in Steamboat Springs, Colo.  

“Visiting a variety of research facilities allowed me to realize that there are careers out there with the moral value that I desire,” said Eddings, who plans to focus her career path on addressing environmental issues. “In addition to this, having the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with graduate students, post-docs, and Ph.D. researchers reminded me of how grateful I am to have a liberal arts education that can provide me with the interdisciplinary tools to attempt to better solve environmental issues in a collective way that considers multiple perspectives.”

Parham recommends EPROACH to fellow students who are curious about careers in environmental chemistry or graduate school. “EPROACH has exposed me to different career paths, and also has provided insight on leading research in the atmospheric chemistry field,” she said. “In meeting a variety of researchers, I was able to get answers to my questions about research and graduate school, and even be challenged to answer new questions about my personal career goals that I hadn’t thought of before. By the end of the trip, I felt confident in my career ambitions and aware of the obstacles I may face as a future researcher.”

Hatch created EPROACH in response to her own lack of awareness of the vast array of fields and careers in the environmental sciences as an undergraduate. 

“It is true that you don’t know what you don’t know. The intended outcome of this program is to expose students to career pathways, research opportunities, graduate programs, and technical and professional skills that pave the way to successful careers in the chemical and geochemical sciences,” she said. “My hope is that the students who participated in EPROACH this year are now more aware of opportunities for research careers and will give themselves time to reflect on the experience to help them gain a greater understanding of their future role in the sciences.”

Service-Learning Trips Engage, Inspire Hendrix College Students

Two groups of Hendrix College students, faculty, and staff began summer break with service-learning trips to New York City and Rwanda, where their experiences serving others led them to learn more about themselves and the world.

Organized by the Hendrix College Office of Religious Life and sponsored by the Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling, service-learning trips welcome individuals from any faith tradition or non-religious perspective. Participating students work on projects that benefit communities experiencing material or social disadvantages while building relationships with those they serve. Students also spend time exploring their own values and social concerns, beliefs and commitments, gifts and limitations through guided discussions and journal writing.

“Service-learning trips give students an opportunity to connect with cultures and people who hold different perspectives of the world,” said the Rev. J.J. Whitney ’96, chaplain and director of the Office of Religious Life for the College. “Through service that leads to significant interactions in the community, students continue to discern their vocations, discovering how their gifts and passions can make a difference in meeting the needs of our time.”

The 2019 Service-Learning group from Hendrix that traveled to New York City

The New York City trip was coordinated through Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP), a Quaker organization grounded in the Quaker values of respect, simplicity, and service with students from any faith or belief system and those who do not ascribe to any faith. Director of student activities Tonya Hale and biology professor Dr. J.D. Gantz led this trip, which included students Lexie Burleson ’21, Christina Choh ’19, Brittany Chue ’21, Christine Donakey ’21, Nina Faidley ’20, Chelsea Flowers ’21, Audrey Mutoni ’22, and Harper Purifoy ’19. The group spent their days serving at soup kitchens, organizing supply closets for shelters, distributing food and toiletries, and tutoring young readers in an elementary school. Evenings and the week’s end brought opportunities to see the sights of New York City.

“This service-learning trip ignited a new passion to serve that I never knew was in me,” Flowers said. “Typically, as Americans, we see the homeless as more of an object of misfortune rather than an actual person. We tell the homeless what they need to survive in society without much concern for providing that aid.”

Flowers embraced the change in perspective the trip brought her, and recommends that others take advantage of similar opportunities. “I promise you that learning things about someone’s experience will leave a lasting impact on you and them, and it may teach you some things. Be open to that,” she said. “The little things truly go a long way for people, and this trip helped me realize that. I am forever grateful for it.”

The second service-learning group traveled to Gashora, a small village in rural South Rwanda, to spend a week at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology (GGAST), a long-standing partner with Hendrix College. During lunch, Hendrix students interacted with GGAST students and talked with them about the U.S. college experience. In the mornings and afternoons, the group volunteered with Dihiro Public School, which serves primary and secondary students. They worked with teachers and students of Dihiro to strengthen English language instruction there, and at week’s end, they watched the Dihiro English Club hold a debate on the topic of unplanned teen pregnancy.

Before returning to the U.S., the group engaged with Rwanda’s history of genocide and reconciliation, and took some time to explore Akagera National Park by safari.

Dr. Peter Gess, a politics and environmental studies professor, and Gwen Stockwell, director of ESOL and International Student Services, led the Rwanda trip. Hendrix students Greer Ayers ’22, Aleck Bratt ’20, Sumaira Sardar ’21, and Alexandra Scott ’20 participated, and were assisted by Dr. Jennifer Penner, a Hendrix psychology professor who spent part of her recent sabbatical teaching at GGAST, and by Hannah Eldred ’21, Hannah Henderson ’20, and Reagan Kilgore ’20, Hendrix students completing summer internships at GGAST.

The 2019 Service-Learning group who made the trip to Gashora, Rwanda

“Our teaching topics included various aspects of grammar, vocabulary, and literature, as well as lesson-planning,” Gess said. “We also trained the teachers on the use of technology—the LCD projector we donated was so happily received!”

“Rwanda is full of beautiful people whose smiles are contagious and whose joy is infectious,” said Ayers. “I am so thankful for this experience from the Miller Center, as it has once again allowed me to experience cross-cultural servanthood as a way of deepening my understanding of the world and all the beautiful things it has to offer.”

Baoua to Serve as Interim Chief Diversity Officer for Hendrix

Hendrix College President William M. Tsutsui has appointed Kesha Wingfield Baoua, the Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, to serve as the College’s interim Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. Baoua will serve in this capacity while the College conducts a national search for the successor to Dr. Dionne Jackson, who departed earlier in May to take the helm of AR Kids Read.

Kesha Wingfield Baoua

Baoua has served Hendrix as Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities for seven years, and before moving into that role, she spent six years heading the College’s Office of Multicultural and International Student Services, working with international and exchange students, students from diverse backgrounds, multicultural student organizations, and diversity programs. Her previous work experience includes working at Bethlehem House in Conway as a case manager.

“Both of Kesha’s positions here at Hendrix have dealt with the importance of upholding the rights of students and promoting a safe community, which will serve her well in her work for diversity and inclusion on campus,” said Hendrix President William M. Tsutsui. “The College will benefit from her willingness to use her experience and gifts in this interim role.”

Baoua has been active in numerous diversity-related activities on campus, including initiating the Multicultural Leadership Retreat for student organization leaders; administering a community-wide Multicultural Expo; advising several multicultural student organizations, including helping to organize the Muslim Student Association; leading a student committee that heard concerns related to diversity and provided solutions; and conducting diversity training for student leaders.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with diversity initiatives throughout my time at Hendrix, so I’m thrilled to be able to return to this work full-time for this interim period,” Baoua said. “I’m even more excited to lead the new 1stGen@HDX program. As a first-generation college student who benefitted from the Upward Bound program in high school, and from having an amazing college mentor, I know firsthand the positive impact of these initiatives. I look forward to continuing to build relationships and collaborations with students and their families, faculty, staff, and community partners.”

A native of Gum Springs, near Arkadelphia, Baoua graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Arkansas’ Honors College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and continued her studies there to obtain a Master of Science degree in training systems. She and her husband, Boukary, have a three-year-old son.

Kolev Named New Director of Hendrix Odyssey Program

Hendrix College politics and international relations professor Dr. Kiril Kolev has been named director of the Hendrix Odyssey Program, the College’s nationally recognized engaged learning initiative. He takes on this new role following Commencement in May.

Dr. Kiril Koleb

Launched in 2005, the Hendrix Odyssey Program requires students to complete at least three hands-on learning experiences chosen from six different project categories. Students and faculty may also apply for funding, on a competitive basis, for grants to support engaged learning projects, ranging from internships to travel to undergraduate research. Since its founding, the Hendrix Odyssey Program has awarded more than $4 million for student and faculty Odyssey projects.

Kolev, an associate professor who currently chairs the Hendrix College Department of Politics and International Relations, joined the Hendrix faculty in 2011. After graduating from Whittier College with a degree in economics, he earned his Master of Science and Ph.D. in comparative politics at Duke University. He has taught courses on political economy, democratization, elections, research methods, and contemporary global issues. Since 2017, he has held the James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professorship, which has funded his recent research on election quality, electoral systems, and political clientelism.

“Engaged learning is among the most exciting aspects of being a student, faculty, or staff member at Hendrix,” Kolev said. “The Odyssey Program stimulates creativity, encourages reflection, and develops a long-lasting sense of ownership and exploration of one’s academic and vocational pursuits. It facilitates the out-of-the-box thinking that today’s society really needs. I am looking forward to doing my part to continue this collective tradition.”

“Kiril brings much experience to his new role, including his service on the Committee for Engaged Learning, as well as advising and leading numerous Odyssey projects and an Odyssey Professorship,” said Dr. Peter Gess, associate provost for engaged learning at Hendrix. “I look forward to working with him as we continue to grow and enhance our engaged learning opportunities for students.”

First-generation college students to benefit from grant to Hendrix by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations have awarded Hendrix College a grant of $267,225.00 to support the Office for Diversity and Inclusion’s 1stGEN@HDX program, a five-year program that addresses the national challenge of supporting and retaining students who are the first in their families to attend college.

The goal of 1stGEN@HDX is to improve the college experience for students who are the first in their families to obtain a four-year degree, and to produce graduates who are prepared for the workforce and graduate school. 1stGEN@HDX anticipates serving up to 20 incoming students each year, providing targeted programming for their first two years of college.

“We are grateful that The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations value the objectives of 1stGEN@HDX,” said Dr. Dionne Jackson ’96, vice president for diversity and inclusion and the College’s chief diversity officer. “We believe what we’ve developed for our first-generation students provides a prototype that could prove helpful for other colleges facing similar challenges. As a first-generation college student, I personally know that this program will make a difference for students at Hendrix, both now and for the rest of their lives.”

Participants in 1stGEN@HDX engage in cohort-based activities that begin their first year and continue through the fall semester of their third year; develop meaningful, guided relationships with trained staff mentors who also were first-generation college students; and design and complete a community-based project or internship. In addition, the program invites family members to participate in workshops and on-campus activities that help increase their understanding of both a liberal arts education and the overall college experience.

“This grant will go directly to help students lead lives of accomplishment integrity, service, and joy—the very values we name in our Statement of Purpose,” said Ginny McMurray, associate vice president of development for the College. “Quite simply, it will give them the tools they need to step into promising futures.”

Hendrix Awards Three New Odyssey Professorships

Hendrix College recently awarded Odyssey Professorships to three faculty members. Each Odyssey Professorship carries an endowment to support faculty projects that offer students new opportunities for engaged learning, such as internships, travel, and undergraduate research. 

“Odyssey Professorships give faculty the resources to pursue a particular project over an extended period of time,” said Dr. Peter Gess, the College’s associate provost for engaged learning and a politics and environmental studies professor. “The program has encouraged a wide variety of in-depth projects and significant cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, and will continue to do so through this latest group of professorships.”

Individual faculty members or small groups of faculty may apply for the professorships on a competitive basis. The Committee on Faculty reviews and recommends the proposals, which are approved by the President. The new Odyssey Professors are:

Dr. Daniel Whelan, Professor of Politics and International Relations: The Dr. Brad P. Baltz and Rev. William B. Smith Odyssey Professorship (2019-2020). Title: Human Rights Research.  

This Odyssey Professorship has a research component supporting two activities: student research for the next edition of International Human Rights, a textbook published by Routledge for which Dr. Whelan is a co-author; and research travel support for a separate project on human rights and development. The professorship will also provide financial support for fielding a 12-student Model UN team to attend the American Model UN Conference in Chicago in November 2019.

Dr. Allison Shutt, Professor of History: The James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professorship for Global Awareness (2019-2022). Title: Designing Games for History.

Dr. Shutt will work with students to research, design, write, and play an original role-playing game. The professorship will provide opportunities for students from any major to participate at any level, from enrolling in a game design class and attending a roleplaying conference to doing primary source research and test-playing the game in progress. Selected students will also have the opportunity to mentor other students and to act as classroom instructors for HIST 201, Doing History. In addition, the professorship will support Professor Shutt’s academic research and writing. 

Professor Ann Muse ’83, Professor of Theatre Arts: The Cynthia Cook Sandefur Odyssey Professorship (2019-2022). Title: The Moment is Now! 

This professorship will bring opportunities for engaged learning in social justice, creative activity, and career development for students, staff, and faculty members of the Hendrix Theatre Arts and Dance Department. Students and Professor Muse will create performance programming for incarcerated women at Hope Rises in Little Rock. A teaching artist from Tectonic Theatre Project will support a course in Theatre and Social Justice. Students will travel to the SouthEastern Theatre Conference with Brandon Smith, technical director, where they will attend master classes and a job fair, and interview with graduate schools. Holly Payne, designer, will develop “The Show Must Go On…after graduation,” a program to prepare students for a life in theatre after college. Professionals from the industry will speak to the students about the nuts and bolts of career building to vocational paths in theatre.

The Odyssey Professorships are an extension of the College’s nationally recognized engaged learning initiative, the Hendrix Odyssey Program. Since 2005, the Hendrix Odyssey Program has required students to complete at least three hands-on learning experiences before they graduate. Students and faculty can apply for funding to support a proposed Odyssey project. The College has awarded more than $4 million in Odyssey grants since the program’s inception.

Hendrix College Signs MOU with Girls Academy in Rwanda

Hendrix College and the Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology (GGAST) in Rwanda have finalized an agreement that will offer assistance for up to two of the Academy’s graduates per year to attend Hendrix. The memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed today at the Academy, builds upon relationships between Hendrix and organizations in Rwanda that began more than a decade ago.

Hendrix College played a significant role in creating the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program, a partnership with the Rwandan government to enroll highly talented Rwandan science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students at colleges and universities in the United States. The first four Rwanda Presidential Scholars arrived on campus in the fall of 2007, and since then, the College has awarded degrees to 41 Rwandan students. Additionally, Hendrix built a consortium of 18 colleges and universities across eight southern states; an additional 145 Rwandan Presidential Scholars have matriculated at these institutions. In 2017, Hendrix awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to Bridge2Rwanda founder and CEO Dale Dawson, who was instrumental in aiding the College’s involvement in the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program. And as the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program concluded, Hendrix expanded its partnership with Bridge2Rwanda to admit additional Rwandan students; currently five B2R scholars are enrolled at Hendrix.

Under the terms of the MOU, Hendrix will cover up to the full cost of attendance—including tuition, fees, on-campus housing, and meal plans—beyond what the selected students from GGAST can afford. The MOU builds on the work done by psychology professor Dr. Jennifer Penner and politics and environmental studies professor Dr. Peter Gess under the Dr. Brad P. Baltz and Reverend William B. Smith Odyssey Professorship. Their project is titled, “Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning about Conservation & Science in the U.S. and Rwanda: A Partnership between Hendrix College & Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology (GGAST).” Penner is currently teaching at GGAST during a sabbatical from Hendrix.

“There are not a lot of support services in Rwanda for young women who are interested and talented in STEM fields,” Gess said, adding that Penner, her Hendrix Department of Psychology colleague Dr. Lindsey Kennedy, and GGAST interns from Hendrix have launched a substantial wellness program to enrich the experience of students there.

Financial obstacles affecting Rwandan students’ ability to study abroad, the excellent academic performance of many students at GGAST, and a conversation begun several years ago with Gashora’s headmaster, Peter Thorp, led Gess to introduce the possibility of an MOU to Hendrix President William M. Tsutsui.

“Gifted students from Gashora go off to university—often in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, or Uganda, but also at schools in the U.S. and United Kingdom,” said Gess. “Some students have larger financial obstacles than others, and we hope this agreement will make it possible for more of them to pursue higher education.” Gess says that international students have an extra obstacle standing between them and Hendrix because they need about $4,000 more for travel and living expenses than a student from within the U.S. requires.

For the visit to GGAST, Gess and Tsutsui were accompanied by Board of Trustees member David Knight ’71 and retired Hendrix chemistry professor Dr. Tom Goodwin. While in Rwanda, they have visited businesses started by Arkansans, and made a stop to meet with leaders of the Bridge2Rwanda program. Later this year, a group from the College’s Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling will interact with GGAST students as they travel to the area for a service-learning trip at a nearby public school.

McMurray Named Associate Vice President for Development at Hendrix

Ginny McMurray has been named Associate Vice President for Development at Hendrix College.

Ginny McMurray

McMurray is already familiar with the Hendrix community, having served as Director of Development and Foundation Relations for the College since 2010. Before her arrival at Hendrix, she worked as Grants and Research Manager for CHI St. Vincent Foundation and Director of Development at Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts in Little Rock. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Agnes Scott College with a B.A. in English and Music, and earned her M.A. in Business with an emphasis on Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. 

McMurray fills the vacancy created by the appointment of the Rev. Wayne Clark ’84 to serve as president of the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas. She had filled the role in an interim capacity following Clark’s departure. 

“Ginny has done an outstanding job in her interim capacity and as has worked diligently to continue the momentum of the Be Hendrix campaign during this time of transition,” said W. Ellis Arnold ’79, Senior Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Dean of Advancement for the College. The $110-million Be Hendrix campaign includes support for endowed scholarships; the under-construction Miller Creative Quad, which features student living space, resources for the music and film studies programs, and the Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College; and investment in new on-campus centers for Career Services, Inclusive Community, and Teaching and Learning. 

“I am honored and eager to assume a leadership role at Hendrix,” McMurray said. “We have a strong development team, and I look forward to working with them to continue our momentum in the Be Hendrix campaign.”