Hendrix College Receives Largest Outright Gift in College History

Hendrix College has received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundation, the largest outright gift in Hendrix’s history.

“We are grateful for the support of the Windgate Foundation,” said Hendrix President W. Ellis Arnold III. “More than ever, it is critical that we continue moving forward, to meet today’s challenges and to continue to be a leader in higher education in the future.”

[This $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundation surpassed the previous largest non-estate gift of $11 million, making it the second largest gift overall. The $26 million gift from the estate of Mary Ann Dawkins in 2015 remains the largest gift of any nature in the College’s history.]

This year, the College surpassed its $110 million campaign goal a year ahead of schedule with $114 million in gifts and pledges. The campaign, which was scheduled to end in 2021, will be expanded to $150 million and will extend to 2023. The campaign now stands at $129 million.

“During this campaign, thanks to the support of alumni and friends of the College, we have strengthened the academic and student life experience with new programs and initiatives,” said Arnold. “We have added new facilities that celebrate the residential experience and support student recruitment, and we have continued to make Hendrix more affordable and accessible for students and families.”

This spring, as part of the campaign expansion, Hendrix will launch a multimillion-dollar Residence Hall Renewal Project, beginning with renovations of Veasey Hall. Fundraising efforts for the project will also support renovations of historic Martin Hall.

In addition, the expanded campaign will seek additional funds for the College’s endowment. $10 million of the Windgate gift will provide endowed scholarships for Hendrix students.

“These priorities – the Residence Hall Renewal Project and increasing the College’s endowment – will support student recruitment and retention,” said Arnold. “They will keep Hendrix accessible and affordable to students and families, and they will ensure that Hendrix remains one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for academic quality, innovation, and value.”

The expanded Hendrix campaign will be called A Time to Lead: The Campaign for Today and Tomorrow.

“The time for Hendrix to lead is now. We know that many students and families are concerned by the cost of higher education today,” said Arnold. “That is why we recently announced a tuition reset and lowered our tuition by 32% for new students.”

“We also know that our current students’ residential experience at Hendrix was disrupted by COVID-19,” he said. “That is why – in addition to our tuition reset for new students – we developed a tuition-free fifth year program for current students to provide the opportunity to have a complete residential student experience at Hendrix.”

Arnold added that these recent offerings are just two examples of how Hendrix is leading today. “We must continue to lead in quality, innovation, and value,” he said. “The Residence Hall Renewal Project will reinforce the vital role of the residential campus experience at Hendrix and growing our endowment will strengthen the College’s financial position to support students today and tomorrow.”

Hendrix Students Explore Research Careers and Career Paths through EPROACH

The pandemic may have changed how we interact with each other, but it did not stop Hendrix students from engaging in meaningful professional activities this past summer. During the break, 12 undergraduate science majors participated in a special Odyssey project titled Experiences in Professional Research Organizations and Atmospheric Chemistry at Hendrix (EPROACH). 

In 2014, Professor and Chair of Chemistry Dr. Courtney D. Hatch ’00 developed the EPROACH program with the support of the Morris and Ann Henry Odyssey Professorship. Now supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, EPROACH provides Hendrix science 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. 

EPROACH participants this past summer included Eric Horan ’21, Adam De Groodt ’21, Catherine Mariza ’23, Kameron Molloy ’21, Kyle Bounds ’23, Tyler Odell ’21, Grace Bryant ’22, Jennifer Wu ’23, Miles Johnson ’21, Madelyn Klinkerman ’21, Linh Phung ’23, and Julia Dick ’23. Hatch served as their faculty mentor while guiding them through a variety of professional development and networking activities, including:

  • designing personal learning goals to guide reflection of program activities
  • attending the virtual American Chemical Society Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference
  • attending virtual research seminars with leading scientists in the academic, government, industry, and non-profit sectors
  • networking with graduate students and research professionals
  • exploring STEM research careers
  • reflecting on vocational purpose and professional aspirations.

“This year has thrown a wrench in many students’ opportunities to participate in undergraduate research, so what better time to learn about new fields of research and reflect on vocational interests and aspirations?” Hatch says. While the program was initially designed as an intensive two-week experience in Colorado, the pandemic required the program to pivot to a virtual platform.

Despite the remote nature of EPROACH for the summer of 2020, it remained successful as it continued to “spark the curiosity of student interests, encourage self-reflection and understanding, provide mentorship for aspiring scientists, and support ‘engagement that links the classroom to the world’ (Hendrix College Statement of Purpose).”

“While some students find the EPROACH experience helps solidify their career aspirations, others find new scientific interests they haven’t had the opportunity to explore,” says Hatch. Linh Phung, who is pursuing a B.A. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (BCMB) agrees: “My experience in this program has significantly aided in the transformation of my career aspirations,” Phung said.

Julia Dick, a computer science major, also found inclusion “amongst a sub-community of Chemistry and BCMB majors.”

“It was surprisingly easy for me to find a career path into a major research lab where someone from my discipline could potentially fit,” she said. “Making these realizations was the most exciting part of each meeting.”

“Every year, but particularly during the pandemic, the level of personal growth and professional awareness that the students achieve by participating in EPROACH is amazing to watch in real-time,” Hatch says. As Madelyn Klinkerman, a senior Murphy Scholar double majoring in chemistry and Spanish, prepares for her own post-Hendrix career, she confides that she will “definitely rely on what I’ve learned from my time with EPROACH.”

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.

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.

Hendrix College to Lower Tuition by 32%

This fall, U.S. News & World Report listed Hendrix College on its 2021 Best Value Schools list among nationally ranked liberal arts colleges. For students entering Hendrix for the first time in the Fall 2021 semester, it will be an even better value. The College announced today that it will reduce tuition by 32%.

“Hendrix has one of the most generous financial aid programs in the country,” said Hendrix President Ellis Arnold. “Nevertheless, we know that there are students who would thrive at Hendrix but don’t apply because they’re concerned about the published price.”

In recent years, costs have risen dramatically at institutions across the country, including Hendrix. While rising costs are concerning, families rarely pay the full published cost of tuition after financial aid and scholarships are awarded, making the actual cost of attending college difficult to discern.

“By lowering our tuition, we want to let those students and families know that we hear their concerns and, most importantly, they can come to Hendrix,” said Arnold, adding that the College is able to offer generous need- and merit-based financial assistance thanks to philanthropic support from alumni and friends.

Hendrix will continue to offer competitive academic- and need-based scholarships and financial aid to students who apply and are accepted.

“We recognize that Hendrix is still a significant investment,” said Ryan Cassell, vice president for enrollment. “Reducing tuition is part of a comprehensive commitment to keeping Hendrix within reach for students and families.”

Among the available financial aid and scholarship opportunities is the Hendrix Tuition Advantage program, which matches the published in-state tuition and fees at the flagship university in a student’s home state, Cassell said.

State and federal grants, as well as outside scholarships, may further reduce tuition at Hendrix. In addition, the College offers a variety of ways to assist families in paying for education, including installment plans and access to loans.

With COVID-19 causing increased financial uncertainty for many households, it is a perfect time for Hendrix to be responsive to families’ cost concerns.

“For students who seek a high quality residential liberal arts experience, now is the time for us to assure families that Hendrix is within reach,” said Cassell.

Lowering tuition does not mean lowering quality, Cassell added.

Not only is Hendrix among the U.S. News & World Report Best Value Schools, the College is the publication’s only top 100 nationally ranked liberal arts college in Arkansas and continues to appear on the Most Innovative Schools list among national liberal arts colleges “making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”

“The Hendrix Odyssey Program is a nationally recognized model for engaged learning, and the College continues to develop new curricular initiatives and other experiences that enhance the educational outcomes of Hendrix graduates,” said Cassell. “These opportunities increase the value of a Hendrix education, even as we lower tuition.”

To be considered for academic-based scholarships, students simply need to apply for admission, preferably by the November 15 non-binding Early Action I deadline. Families wishing to be considered for need-based aid should complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA by the selected admission application deadline. Families can begin submitting the 2021-2022 FAFSA in early October 2020.

Hendrix will also reduce tuition for its M.A. in accounting program for students who enter in Fall 2021.

Current students enrolled at Hendrix will continue under their current financial aid, scholarships, and tuition. Hendrix will further offer current students the option of a tuition-free fifth year (ninth and tenth semester). The College will provide returning students more information on this option in mid-October.

“We understand that it has been a challenging year,” said Arnold. “While we cannot undo the disruption created by COVID-19 for our current students this year, we hope that a tuition-free fifth year will allow them the opportunity to have a richer residential and learning experience at Hendrix.”

For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu/tuitionreset.

For prospective students and families interested in Hendrix, the College is currently offering in-person and virtual visit experiences. To learn more, see www.hendrix.edu/visit or contact Associate Director of Campus Visitation & Administrative Services Jenn McKenzie at mckenziej@hendrix.edu or 501-450-1362.

Let Us March On: Exhibition on Black Lives Matter in Arkansas Opens at Hendrix

Let Us March On, which documents and contextualizes the Black Lives Matter movement in Arkansas, will open at the Windgate Museum of Art on Friday, September 25, 2020, and will be on display through January 22, 2021. The exhibition will be on display in the Window Gallery, which is visible at all times from the exterior of the museum. A wide variety of virtual programs will accompany the exhibition, including virtual talks by the curator and participating artists, films, panel discussions, and podcasts. Guest curator for the exhibition is Stephanie Sims, Director of the Museum and Cultural Center at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The exhibition includes a rich mix of documentary photographs, artwork, artifacts, interactives, and narrative text. Let Us March On reveals how the efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement motivated activism amongst youth and allies to advocate against racial inequality and police brutality nationwide. The exhibition looks at those stories from a local perspective but situated within the larger national and international movement, because change begins locally.

“When thinking of the Black Lives Matter movement we often focus on its national influence while overlooking its impact on our local community,” said Stephanie Sims, guest curator for Let Us March On. “Hundreds of Arkansans gathered and began marching and demanding justice for the victims and their families, as well as accountability from police departments. As the guest curator for Let Us March On, it is my mission to dismantle negative depictions of the movement by educating our audience on the importance of the movement’s activisms and advocacies.”

“Stephanie Sims has done an outstanding job of bringing the story of the Black Lives Matter movement in Arkansas to life in our Window Gallery,” said Mary Kennedy, director of the Windgate Museum of Art. “Through a variety of media, she has captured what the movement means for all Arkansans. We are grateful to her, the participating artists and photographers, the Exhibition Planning Team, and the contributors for allowing Hendrix College to organize this timely exhibition.”

For information about various programs and activities for Let Us March On, please follow @windgatemuseum on Instagram and @WMAatHDX on Facebook. For more information, contact Amanda Cheatham at 501-328-2383 or cheatham@hendrix.edu.  

About the Windgate Museum of Art

The Windgate Museum of Art is the new art museum located on the campus of Hendrix College. With a vision to be the premier teaching art museum in Arkansas, the WMA  presents outstanding art exhibitions, compelling educational programs, and invigorating social activities for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus. Free and open to all, the museum uses hands-on experiences to train students in all facets of museum work, including curatorial research, collection management, educational and social programming, marketing and communications, as well as all aspects of exhibition research, planning, installation, and evaluation. The Windgate Museum of Art is made possible with the generous support of the Windgate Foundation and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.

Hendrix College Rises in U.S. News ‘Best Value’ Ranking

Hendrix College is once again listed among America’s Best Colleges for overall quality, value, and innovation. The College appears in multiple categories of the annual higher education rankings issued by U.S. News & World Report.

As in previous years’ U.S. News & World Report rankings, Hendrix remains the only top 100 nationally ranked liberal arts college in Arkansas.

On the 2021 Best Value Schools list among nationally ranked liberal arts colleges, Hendrix rose eight spots to claim the #32 ranking. Each year, the Best Value list considers the ratio of academic quality to price, the percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid (84% for Hendrix during 2019-2020), and the average institutional aid those students receive.

The College continues to appear on the Most Innovative Schools list, a result of nominations by presidents, provosts, and admissions deans of peer institutions in the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges category. This list recognizes schools for “making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”

“We are excited to see Hendrix continue to be recognized among the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for quality, innovation, and value,” said Hendrix President Ellis Arnold. “This recognition affirms our commitment to educating the whole person and to offering students an extraordinary experience that has life-long value.”

Other recent accolades for Hendrix include taking the top spot in Arkansas on Niche’s 2021 Best Colleges list and StateUniversity.com; as well as appearances in Forbes Top Colleges list; Money’s Best Colleges in America list; The Princeton Review’s 2021 Best Colleges list; the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance 2019 Best College Values list; a profile in The Fiske Guide to Colleges; and a listing in The Wall Street Journal / Times Higher Education College Rankings 2020.

For prospective students and families interested in Hendrix, the College is currently offering in-person and virtual visit experiences. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu/visit or contact Jenn McKenzie, Associate Director of Campus Visitation & Administrative Services, at  mckenziej@hendrix.edu or 1-800-277-9017.

Hendrix College Biology Team Sees Initial Results of Collaboration with Arkansas Game & Fish for Urban Wildlife Study

Hendrix College Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Maureen McClung ’01 has been working with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) researchers and the Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN) to launch a wildlife research project in the cities of Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Maumelle. After planning and laying groundwork since the fall of 2019, the collaboration has yielded photos from its first field season, some of which were released when the project was announced in late August. 

The Central Arkansas Urban Wildlife Project involved placing a series of 30 cameras in public parks (a mix of city and state, urban and rural locations) to observe the variety of wildlife in the area. The cameras are active for four seasons each year during the months of January, April, July, and October. The goal of the research is to learn more about how wildlife — particularly mammals like raccoons, foxes, and deer — use urban green spaces. The group is already seeing evidence of animals like foxes and hawks managing rodent populations. Select images of the study’s first season were released near the end of August and can be viewed at the project’s website, which will be updated with each season.

Hendrix students Lauren Berry ’22 and Jaclyn Reifeiss ’23 received Hendrix Odyssey Program funding for the summer research project, and Tristan Hoerschelmann ’22 joined them when his Scott Henderson Fellowship through the AGFC was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It wasn’t what I had originally planned, but it was an incredible opportunity to gain valuable research experience and explore a potential career path,” said Hoerschelmann.

Together, the three biology majors worked with McClung and AGFC researchers on camera site selection, setup and maintenance — “which involved plenty of hiking around parks in June, from urban playgrounds to Pinnacle Mountain State Park,” McClung said — maintaining and retrieving the gear, downloading the images, and tagging the photos with species identification and notes about any interesting behaviors.

For Reifeiss, all the hot-weather hiking became worth it when the team began sorting through the first round of camera photos. “We captured images of bobcats, foxes, and deer, all in some of the most frequented parks of Little Rock,” she said. “Some of these animals I have never had the privilege of seeing in person, so finding out that these creatures are right in the backyards of some of our most populated cities is incredible.”

All three Hendrix students participating in the study are biology majors, and this project gives them real-world experience studying wildlife populations using remote data collection. In addition to developing scientific skills, the students also benefit from interacting with the various AGFC personnel who make up the team, including a field biologist, social scientist, geographic information systems (GIS) specialists, watchable wildlife coordinator, and administrative analyst. 

“This was my first time working on a research project that will contribute data to the scientific community,” Reifeiss said. “I was excited to have Odyssey funding this summer to support me while doing research — I feel like I was able to get a head start on my career in science.”

2020 Urban Wildlife study bobcat_web.jpg“It’s a great opportunity to conduct field research, but students also get to see different places their biology degrees could take them in a state agency like AGFC,” McClung said.

During this semester and the next, these students will help recruit more of their peers to join the project, giving it longevity.

“The goal is to keep the project running for the foreseeable future,” McClung added, “so this project represents a research opportunity for generations to come.” 

Hendrix Sleep Researchers Study ‘Nomophobia’

While “nomophobia” isn’t a recognized disorder, many people know the feeling: a panic that arises when they are out of mobile phone contact—or a similar response to just the idea of losing contact. 

A focus on nomophobia in a recent presentation at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s SLEEP 2020 conference in late August had radio DJs mentioning Hendrix College research in drive-time sound bites.

The presentation of preliminary results from a collaboration between researchers at Hendrix and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock revealed that in a sample of more than 300 college students, 89% experienced moderate or severe nomophobia. Greater nomophobia correlated to greater daytime sleepiness and more behaviors associated with poor sleep quality. What’s more, it means the common recommendation to decrease phone use around bedtime may not help people who experience nomophobia—limiting their smartphone use before bed might actually increase anxiety and make it harder to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Peszka, Jennifer-20101007-09510755web.JPG“The recommendation to curtail bedtime phone use, which is meant to improve sleep and seems rather straightforward, might need adjustment or consideration for these individuals,” said Dr. Jennifer Peszka, the Charles Prentiss Hough Odyssey Professor of Psychology at Hendrix College and principal investigator on the study. 

Co-investigators on this project are Dr. David Mastin and Dr. Bruce Moore of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and members of the UA Little Rock undergraduate student research team: Shalonda Michelle, Benjamin T. Collins, Nataly Abu-Halimeh, Monnar Quattom, Maya Henderson, Madison Sanders, and Jeremiah Critton.

Peszka’s Hendrix undergraduate team (Hayley Chunn ’21, Justin Lockhart ’19, Graham Harris ’18, Kelly Brice ’17, Althea Strozier ’17, Kristi Scott ’18, Adrian Shuler ’17, Amy Crump ’18, Jessica Bonumwezi ’17, and Alundra Dickson ’17) came up with the idea to explore nomophobia while considering the larger topic of how technology use in the two hours before bed affects “sleep hygiene,” or the behaviors and environmental variables that can improve sleep quality. 

“I always have a big question or project that we’re working on, but I encourage my student researchers to add components to the study that are of particular interest to them,” she said. “If it makes sense, and we can ask a good question that contributes to the literature about their topic, then we add it in. The students thought that ‘cell phone addiction’ might moderate some of the relationships we examined. That group of students were all pretty high on nomophobia themselves, so they were really interested in the outcome.”  

Peszka found it particularly interesting that the percentage of college students who report experiencing nomophobia has risen by about 12% since 2012, when the nomophobia scale was developed. 

“Nomophobia may very well be on a rapid rise,” she said. “That may not seem like a very interesting or concerning development, but here we found that severity of nomophobia was predictive of sleepiness, which can have a significant impact on daily life.”