Dr. Freed Named President-Elect of ArATE

Dr. Allison Freed, director of teacher education and assistant professor of education/science education at University of the Ozarks, has been selected as president-elect of the Arkansas Association of Teacher Education (ArATE).

Her term as president-elect will run from January 2021 until July 2021, at which time she will take over as president of the state-wide association. The Arkansas chapter includes members from all Arkansas colleges and universities. Some of the responsibilities of the president include, attending the National ATE conference on behalf of the Arkansas chapter and organizing and hosting the annual state conference next fall.

“I am pleased to serve as the president-elect of the Arkansas Association of Teacher Educators, one of the most active state chapters of the Association of Teacher Educators,” Freed said. “I became a member in 2015, after beginning my position at University of the Ozarks. From the start, the ArATE members were supportive, engaged, and willing to share ideas to continue to promote the education profession. I look forward to collaborating with other Arkansas teacher educators to organize and host the 2021 Arkansas conference and to represent Arkansas at the national conference in February.”

Memorial gift honors Ouachita student Charlee Morrison, invests in cancer research at Ouachita

Ouachita Baptist University has received a gift from Russell and Patti Morrison in memory of their daughter, Charlee Morrison, a former Ouachita student who passed away in 2000 during her senior year at Ouachita. The gift will be used to enhance Ouachita’s first undergraduate research laboratory dedicated to cancer cell biology.

Last month marked the 20th anniversary of Morrison’s passing. Originally from Benton, Ark., she battled cancer from the young age of 13 and passed away due to complications on Oct. 30, 2000, in Little Rock. Morrison was a sociology major, a member of Tri Chi women’s social club and respected by her Ouachita professors and peers.

“She was always happy, even when she was hurting, and had the most positive outlook possible for her life,” said Emily Goode, a fellow Ouachita senior and friend, in a tribute to Morrison in the 2000 Ouachita Circle alumni magazine.

The same tribute reads, “Students at Ouachita will not likely remember the way that Morrison died, but the way that Morrison lived.”

“I immediately remembered the story about Charlee when I was informed of the Morrisons’ gift,” said Dr. Tim Knight, dean of the Patterson School of Natural Sciences. “Though I did not know Charlee personally, we are a small campus family, and we consider all students as ‘our own.’”

The monetary gift by the Morrisons will allow the Patterson School of Natural Sciences to create a cancer cell culture research experience for Ouachita students, a first for the university. This includes augmenting Ouachita’s existing molecular biology research facility and expanding the quality and quantity of research opportunities for students.

“Several hundred students will benefit, as well as several faculty members,” Knight said. “We have a small cohort of faculty already working in cancer- or cell biology-related research.”

“We have been working on this concept for a while,” said Nathan Reyna, associate professor of biology. “However, the gift has given us the leverage to enhance a facility that will ensure a large portion of our students will be able to participate in unique, class-based research experience.”

“Charlee would have been delighted to see this used toward an educational program,” said her father, Russell Morrison of Benton. “We’re fully aware of the importance of medical equipment and training which saves lives. Excellent medical training and equipment equals better outcomes for those that are struggling with life threatening diseases such as adult leukemia that threatened and finally took Charlee’s life.

“Charlee loved Ouachita Baptist and was so happy to be a student there,” he added. “I know she would be honored to share this gift.”

In 2018, Reyna led a team to create Ouachita’s Cell Biology Education Consortium (CBEC), a National Science Foundation-funded consortium that focuses on the development and modification of cell culture techniques that can be incorporated in the undergraduate classroom. Since that time, Reyna said the “development of novel research methods and the student demand for participation in these projects outpaced our resources and facilities.”

With the help of the Charlee Morrison memorial gift, the adaptation of Ouachita’s current research facility will allow for more Ouachita students to be involved in the research, Reyna explained, as well as “strengthen critical thinking skills in the classroom, facilitating the transition from student to scientist.”

“Ouachita is committed to undergraduate education through an active, inquiry-based, hands-on approach to learning in the classroom,” said Reyna. “The opportunity for students to conduct mammalian cell culture and cancer biology research using this new facility with current molecular techniques in class is consistent with our goal to integrate research into the classroom.”

For more information or to give, visit obu.edu/give and list “In memory of Charlee Morrison” in the special instructions field or contact Susan Warren, senior director of donor engagement, at warrens@obu.edu or 501-920-1042.

Lyon students named ‘outstanding delegates’ at Model UN

Lyon students were recognized as “Outstanding Delegates” for the first time at the Arkansas Collegiate Model United Nations (ACMUN) on Nov. 6.

Kristen Towery, Samantha Baxley, Timmy Tignor, Charles Fancyboy, Taylor Fitterling and Jihye Jung participated in this year’s conference. Baxley and Tignor were named Outstanding Delegates, and Towery, Fitterling and Fancyboy were named Honorary Outstanding Delegates.

“Lyon did really well this year,” said senior Timmy Tignor. “We had three new students who had no Model UN experience, and we did awesome!”

He continued, “The standout moment was that Lyon had never won an Outstanding Delegate before. I was so happy to see that we were able to do this well.”

Jihye Jung said the students have been meeting every Thursday with Assistant  Professor of Political Science Dr. Jaeyun Sung to practice opening statements, speech scripts and how to write resolutions for Model UN. They even virtually practiced in a preliminary session with the Model UN team at Harding University before the conference.

The ACMUN conference is usually held at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway, but the event was held virtually over Zoom this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think everyone adjusted pretty quickly,” Jung said. “Also, since the Zoom meeting makes us change our username and background, it was even easier to notice delegates and their representative countries.”

Jung said this year’s topic was “Preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.” The students worked to solve the problem by establishing a new council, which they named the Arab Cooperation and Defense Council (ACDC).

“It was impressive that we made our own council, named it, and made our own rules,” Jung said. “Our first resolution was unanimously agreed upon, and we all applauded together.”

“The hard work put into drafting and passing two committee resolutions by other members of the Council of the Arab League was truly inspiring,” said junior Taylor Fitterling said. 

Fitterling chose to represent Syria and enjoyed researching his country’s stances on particular issues. 

He said he learned three mains lessons at the conference: be careful when choosing a country that has not engaged in much international activity, be certain to “go beyond or expand upon your country’s ‘official’ position to deliver persuasive arguments and obtain support for your resolution,” and be willing to collaborate and compromise with other student delegations in order to foster a friendly and cooperative “international” environment.

Jung enjoyed how a small group of students was able to share their thoughts, resolve the problems at hand and achieve peace.

“Seeing us come together, I imagined a world without conflict and dispute.”

She is planning to attend graduate school to study international affairs, peaceful resolution and human rights in particular.

“Even though it’s just a Model UN, all the delegates were serious and critically thinking about the issues that the Middle East has today,” Jung said. “I found that we can definitely make a better world.”

Lyon’s Model UN team will compete again at the Midwest Model UN (MMUN) in February.

“The Model UN team this year brought well-deserved outcomes. They really worked hard throughout the semester,” Sung said. “I believe our students are prepared to face the next level of competition.”

Hendrix Odyssey Program Announces Project Funding for October 2020 Cycle

Despite the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hendrix students and faculty are still engaging in Odyssey projects and receiving funding. The Hendrix Committee on Engaged Learning is pleased to announce the recipients of Odyssey grants for the October 2020 cycle. Since 2005, the Committee on Engaged Learning has awarded $4,427,335.71 in competitive Odyssey grants to support 2,093 projects by Hendrix students and faculty. In this cycle, 10 projects received $13,988 in grants.

Jayla King

Scientists for Social Justice Podcast

Category: Global Awareness

Sponsor: Dr. Laura MacDonald

Jayla King and Dr. Laura MacDonald will work together to develop a new podcast that incorporates the unique perspective of scientists. They will focus on issues of social injustice in the higher educational system, especially as they relate to the scientific disciplines. In the podcast, they will highlight and discuss work done by scientists from diverse backgrounds, celebrate the accomplishments of scientists from historically marginalized groups, review literature, and talk with guest speakers about actionable solutions that lead to impactful change.

Bianca Littlepage

Tracking Revolutionary Art With Brooklyn Art Museum

Category: Artistic Creativity

Sponsor: Prof. Melissa Gill

Bianca Littlepage will participate in The Brooklyn Art Museum Sketchbook Project. Each participating artist fills a small book and returns it to the museum. In her sketchbook, Littlepage will track the evolution of revolutionary visual art movements, beginning with what is considered by art historian Kenneth Clark to be the “first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention”: The Third of May by Francisco Goya. When completed, her sketchbook will join others in the museum’s archived collection that travels to popups, exhibitions and installations across North America.

Cole McVay

decARcerate Solitary Confinement Cell Reconstruction

Category: Service to the World

Sponsor: Prof. Ann Muse

Cole McVay will design and build a model solitary confinement cell that can be a teaching tool to raise awareness about prison abuses. McVay will work with decARcerate, an organization whose goal is ending the use of solitary confinement in Arkansas. The finished piece will be the actual scale of a real cell, and it will be transported across the state for viewing by citizens and policy makers.

Kashti Shah

Elite Hospice Volunteering

Category: Service to the World

Sponsor: Julie Brown

Kashti Shah will volunteer with Elite Hospice to provide companionship and assistance to hospice patients near her hometown in North East Arkansas. She hopes to gain experience interacting with patients, which will increase her emotional competence when dealing with the grief and troubles of patients and family. Working with hospice patients will also allow Shah to serve her community while comforting and supporting others during a vulnerable time.  

Rachel Stewart

Health and Legal System Lab Research

Category: Undergraduate Research

Sponsor: Dr. Jennifer Peszka

This fall, psychology student Rachel Stewart has been working remotely for the Health and Legal System Lab (HEALS) as a research assistant under the supervisor of Dr. Melissa Zielinski at University of Arkansas Medical School. She has participated in projects such as the COVID-19 Prison Project and Implementation and Effectiveness of Cognitive Processing Therapy in Community Corrections. Stewart will present the findings of her work at the lab to a group of both Hendrix students and fellow UAMS colleagues through Zoom due to COVID-19.

Dr. Mark Goadrich

Solving Real-world Problems with Tools from Mathematics and Computer Science: The COMAP International Contest in Mathematical Modeling

Category: Special Projects

The 37th International Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) will be held Feb. 4 – 8, 2021. Sponsored by COMAP, a non-profit organization focused on promoting modeling and applications in mathematics education, this contest requires students to work in teams of three over a weekend to tackle real–world mathematical modeling problems. Dr. Mark Goadrich will supervise nine students, divided into three teams, for this virtual contest. Over the previous six years, four Hendrix teams earned an Honorable Mention, placing them in the top 50% of all teams, and three teams earned a Meritorious distinction, placing them in the top 11% worldwide.

Dr. Julie Gunderson

Food and Agribusiness Webinar Series

Category: Professional & Leadership Development

One Hendrix student will work remotely as an intern at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture during the Spring semester of 2021, in this project coordinated by Dr. Julie Gunderson. The internship focuses on the development of a Food and Agribusiness Webinar Series, which will feature nationally and internationally recognized speakers. The student will be involved in the development and management of the hardware and software, the promotion of the Webinars via social media, and the editing and posting of the Webinars to online platforms.

Dr. Rod Miller

Paris Residency 2021

Category: Undergraduate Research

Conditioned on the lifting of travel bans, Dr. Rod Miller will take art students Anna Bivens, Jalache Davis, Julia Hooper, Addie Race to Paris in May to investigate the art of the late eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Each student will select a work of art based on personal interests, put that work of art into an historical and physical context, and understand it from the point of view of the artist.  Each participant will produce an in-depth research paper on the chosen artwork.

Dr. Caitlin Scott

Lesson-plan development to introduce diverse scientists to general chemistry students

Category: Special Projects

According to the National Science Foundation and the PEW Research Center, Black and Latinx people are underrepresented in the STEM fields for reasons including, but not limited to implicit bias, race-based discrimination, the lack of Black and Latinx role models, and discouragement to enter these fields. To encourage and support more students from marginalized groups to continue their studies in the sciences, Dr. Caitlin will hire three student assistants who will research and interview chemists from groups traditionally under-represented in the sciences. The student assistants will identify readings and create discussion boards for students enrolled in the Spring 2021 General Chemistry II course. Based on the questions posed in the discussion board, student assistants will contact their chosen scientists and conduct an interview over Teams to learn about the scientist and their background, which will be shown to the General Chemistry students.

Dr. Martin Shedd

Hendrix Latin Play

Category: Special Projects

Dr. Martin Shedd will lead students in The Hendrix Latin Play project, which challenges students to translate and adapt Classical literature to modern audiences. Students select a comedy by the Roman playwright Plautus to transform into a 30-minute script, balancing the need to preserve the structure and situations of the ancient comedy with the goal of producing a work that conveys humor in the present day. The script is composed through a collaborative process that requires each student involved to consider the author’s intention, the source and construction of comedy, and how best to portray these features to an unfamiliar audience. The Latin Play culminates with performances for the Hendrix campus and, if possible, the University of Arkansas. This project is also underwritten by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language.

Ouachita’s Hamilton awarded $297,000 Arkansas IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence grant

Ouachita Baptist University’s Dr. Sharon Hamilton, assistant professor of chemistry, has been awarded $297,431 in funding over the next two and a half years by the Arkansas IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) to support her research of incorporating proteins into novel modern wound dressings. Hamilton, who joined the Ouachita faculty in 2018, is working in collaboration with Dr. Suresh Thallapuranam, chair of bioinformatics research and professor at the University of Arkansas.

Hamilton’s research with Thallapuranam aims to accelerate the wound healing process by exploring the cellular responses to fiber mats and its release of larger molecules that aid in the healing process. She also will work alongside Ouachita students in the Department of Chemistry to conduct research during the academic year.

“This grant ensures that I am able to conduct high quality undergraduate research here at Ouachita,” Hamilton said. “It will allow me to provide our undergraduate researchers with projects that could significantly impact the fields of biomaterials, biomedical research and wound healing.”

Hamilton and Thallapuranam will work together in respect to their labs’ strengths; Thallapuranam’s lab will synthesize proteins, which will then be delivered to cells using nanofiber mats built in Hamilton’s lab at Ouachita.

“The mats we make in our lab contain materials that are designed to mimic features in the extracellular matrix in our bodies to encourage wound healing and cell growth,” Hamilton explained. “Overall, the goal of this proposal is to develop protein-loaded biomimetic fiber mats that promote positive cellular responses.”

“Dr. Hamilton jumped right in upon arrival at Ouachita and quickly established her research area,” said Dr. Tim Knight, dean of the J.D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences and professor of biology. “Students were quickly drawn to her research because it is so unique. Her research is pertinent for our pre-health profession students and I expect will be very popular.”

The application for Arkansas INBRE Research Development Grants is very competitive. According to the INBRE, only about 36 percent of applicants receive funding for their proposals.

“I was elated to learn that my proposal had been selected – and also quite relieved,” Hamilton said. “It takes a lot of time and effort to write and edit grants, so to have secured funding for the next two and a half years meant that I had a little bit of breathing space.

“It’s nice knowing that I have money to support my projects, and it allows me to take my time and explore other funding opportunities and agencies, as well as future project ideas,” she added.

Hamilton joined the faculty at Ouachita in 2018 and teaches several chemistry and CORE classes. In 2019, she received an Arkansas INBRE Summer Research Grant and an Arkansas Space Consortium Research Infrastructure Grant to support her development of a variety of synthetic polymers that mimic biopolymers found in the human body.

Hamilton earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University in 2004 and her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 2009.

According to its website, the Arkansas INBRE program was “created to expand the distribution of National Institutes of Health funding for behavioral and biomedical research.” It builds upon the Arkansas Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN), which “established a statewide network that links Arkansas institutions of higher education in support of a growing effort to build a biomedical research capacity in Arkansas.”

For more information about the J.D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences, visit obu.edu/natsci. For more information about the INBRE grant, visit  www.inbre.uams.edu or contact Dr. Sharon Hamilton at hamiltons@obu.edu or (870) 245-5092.

Sunderland Foundation Provides $500K Grant for Science Center at University of the Ozarks

University of the Ozarks has received a $500,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation of Overland Park, Kan., for the University’s new science center project.

The gift is part of the University’s Climb Higher Campaign that recently surpassed the $68 million mark, significantly exceeding the campaign’s initial goal of $55 million. The campaign will conclude on April 14, 2021.

The Sunderland gift will go toward an $18.6 million renovation and addition to the University’s science center. The University has raised $17.5 million for the project to date.

“We are honored to have a new partnership with the Sunderland Foundation,” said Lori McBee, vice president for advancement and alumni engagement. “This investment will develop the careers of students from diverse economic and educational backgrounds, improve the environmental and health demands of society, enhance community partnerships through technology and research, and advance the career opportunities of graduates in Arkansas while keeping student costs down.  It’s exciting to move forward with them.”

The science center project will add 18,000 square feet to the current facility for the University’s natural and health science programs, including biology, environmental sciences, chemistry, health sciences, physics and psychology. The complete renovation to the existing building, which was built in 1969, will include state-of-art classrooms and laboratories as well as new dedicated research areas.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring on what will be the single largest capital construction project in the University’s 186-year history.

The Sunderland Foundation was established in 1945 by Lester T. Sunderland, who served as President of the Ash Grove Cement Company for 33 years as a highly respected leader in the cement industry. Since its inception, the Foundation, which continues to be led by Lester T. Sunderland’s descendants, has focused on supporting construction projects, awarding grants to nonprofits in the Kansas City region and other markets traditionally served by the Ash Grove Cement Company.  Grants are awarded in western Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, western Iowa, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Montana.

Artwork display at Harding University portrays influential African Americans in the Churches of Christ

The Harding University Brackett Library is featuring an exhibit titled “Every Voice” through Friday, Nov. 20. The display is centered around an art piece, commissioned by Harding School of Theology in Memphis, that highlights seven influential African Americans who have made significant contributions to the Churches of Christ. 

Artist Ella Kennin created the piece, titled “Every Voice: A Portrait of African American Churches of Christ in the Art,” in 2019 as a first-year student at the University of Memphis. In addition to Kennin’s work, the exhibit includes seven vertical panels positioned on the campus quadrangle outside the library entrance featuring each subject of the work and their biography. The individuals portrayed in the painting include: 

  • Fred Gray – an influential minister and civil rights attorney who represented Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. 
  • Richard Nathaniel Hogan – a preacher and an editor of the Christian Echo who used his editorship to fight racism in the Churches of Christ
  • George Philip Bowser – a prominent 20th century preacher
  • Samuel Robert Cassius – a preacher and racial reformer
  • Annie Clay Tuggle – a writer and educational advocate
  • Marshall Keeble – one of the most prominent preachers among the Churches of Christ
  • Sylvia Rose – an author, musician, songwriter and teacher (a 1977 Harding University graduate) 

The exhibit will be on display from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Brackett Library until Nov. 20. For more information visit harding.edu/everyvoice.

Harding President Dr. Bruce McLarty announces retirement effective November 30, 2020, Dr. David Burks to serve as president

Harding University Board of Trustees announced this afternoon that after careful and prayerful consideration, Dr. Bruce McLarty will retire as President of Harding University effective November 30, 2020.

“We are grateful for Dr. McLarty’s service over the past seven and a half years. He has made a powerful impact with his leadership, with an emphasis on community and commitment to living the Harding mission,” said Dr. Robert Walker, chairman of the Board of Trustees for Harding University. “Recent economic and higher education trends have created an extremely challenging business environment that has impacted the institution, leading the board to make a change. Chancellor Dr. David Burks will bring his experience and proven business acumen back to the University as a guiding hand through these unprecedented times.”

Dr. Burks, who is well-respected in the higher education and Church of Christ communities, served as president of Harding University from 1987-2013 and will become president effective December 1. A committee will be formed to evaluate a broader Presidential search.

“I am deeply grateful to the Harding University Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to serve as Harding’s president for the past seven and one-half years,” said Dr. McLarty.  “The University has had a profound impact for good on everyone in my family, and I owe it a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay. Now as I retire from the University, I am reminded of Robert Frost’s line, ‘and miles to go before I sleep.’ There is so much I want to do. I am a preacher at heart, and I look forward to using my new freedom to teach, preach, encourage and write. I have been so blessed to have this time at Harding, and I am excited to find out what God may yet have in store for my wife, Ann, and me.”

Dr. McLarty looks forward to spending time with students, alumni and other members of the Harding community at homecoming this weekend and graduation on November 21.

“Dr. McLarty is a dear friend and colleague,” said Dr. David Burks. “I appreciate his many contributions to the University over the past seven and a half years. I certainly wish him well during this period of transition in his life. I know he will continue to make wonderful contributions to the Lord’s kingdom in the future.”

Hendrix College Students Receive Best Overall Delegation Award at Model UN for Third Year Running

At this year’s virtual American Model United Nations (AMUN) Conference, held Oct. 23-25, Hendrix College won seven awards, including a “Best Overall Delegation” Award for Exceptional Representation of Japan. The team brought home the same honor last year, when they represented Austria, and the previous year, when they represented Italy.

Because limitations of the virtual conference platform meant that delegation sizes needed to be cut in half, the Hendrix team also represented Côte d’Ivoire at this year’s conference. 

“We were fortunate to have been able to pick up Japan, which another school had dropped,” said politics and international relations professor Dr. Daniel J. Whelan, who coached the team. “And because they moved the conference from November to October — basically a month earlier than normal — I had to re-engineer the entire course. I was concerned the students would not have nearly enough preparation time, but they rose to the challenge and met it brilliantly.” 

The following Hendrix students received individual Exceptional Representation Awards for committee work:

  • Raven Johnson ’23 for the General Assembly First Committee (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Max Parker ’21 for the General Assembly Second Committee (Japan)
  • Maya Kreczmer ’23 for the UNESCO Executive Board (Japan)
  • Olivia Larson ’23 for the FAO Governing Council (Japan)
  • Kailey Miller ’21 for the Historical Security Council of 1967 (Japan)
  • Rachel Allen ’22 for the Historical Security Council of 1990 (Côte d’Ivoire)

The other students, and the simulations/country they represented, included:

  • Gideon Drake ’23, General Assembly Second Committee (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Maggie Kleck ’22, General Assembly Third Committee (Japan)
  • Katlyne Gilliam ’21, Commission on Narcotic Drugs (Côte d’Ivoire)
  • Grace Wiggins ’21, Commission on Narcotic Drugs (Japan)
  • Lauren Capes ’21, Human Rights Council (Japan)
  • Thalia Fort ’22, Historical Commission of Inquiry (Japan)

Olivia Kelley ’21 served as the Permanent Representative for Japan, and Charlie McMahon ’21 served as the Permanent Representative for Côte d’Ivoire. These peer leaders were in charge of strategy and logistics for the delegations as a whole at AMUN.

About 70 UN Member States and Observers were represented at this year’s virtual conference.

“This is the first time Hendrix has won seven awards, breaking our record of five set just last year,” Whelan said. “And it was very pleasing to all of us to have won a ‘Best Overall Delegation’ award three years running. I couldn’t be prouder of the hard work all the students accomplished.”

At AMUN 2021, Hendrix will represent Austria and New Zealand.