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Glammies to Share Research on Calling at Denver Conference

Glammies to Share Research on Calling at Denver Conference

University of the Ozarks Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Isaac Hunter and five of his students are heading to the Mile High City this spring to share their research on calling as it applies to vocation and profession.

The U of O contingent will participate in the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association conference in Denver in April. The trip is sponsored in part by the Dr. Helen McElree Enrichment Endowment, a fund established in 2015 by the Ozarks alumna and long-time professor of biology at Emporia (Kan.) State. Dr. McElree created the fund to support faculty scholarly and creative activities at Ozarks.

The students who are participating are a part of a research team that Hunter pulled together called the Good Life and Meaning Making Lab, GLAMMLab for short.

The self-proclaimed Glammies include, Katerin Alvarado, a sophomore psychology major from Honduras; Laura Gochez, a senior business administration and psychology major from El Salvador; Isabella Matute, a sophomore psychology major from Honduras; Diana Ocampo, a junior psychology major from Paris, Ark.; and Angel Wyatt, a sophomore psychology major from Lamar, Ark. Allie Alayan, a visiting psychology professor at Ozarks and a graduate student at Colorado State University, is also a part of the team and will attend the conference.

Calling, as it applies to meaningful life domains, has been a recent academic area of interest for Hunter, a native of Idaho who earned his Ph.D. from Colorado State. He will present some of his most recent research on calling across generations at the conference.

“This research is an extension of my published master’s thesis work and is focused on better understanding how the term ‘calling’ is understood within the Generation Z population, or current college students,” Hunter said. “I have around 400 students in my sample size and can compare this to the millennial data I examined for my master’s thesis.  Calling research is a hot topic in the field of psychology right now and is a construct that is growing in popularity in general. I conceive a part of my job as professor, advisor and mentor as someone that is helping students grow and find work that feels like a calling in this world. The more we can understand this the more we can help promote it and live into our mission of helping students live life fully.”

The students will also present oral reports at the conference regarding the GLAMMLab’s research on how personality dimensions and parent influence affect meaning and calling.

Hunter said about one in a thousand psychology undergrads have the opportunity to present oral research at a major academic conference.

“Not only were these projects accepted, but they were accepted as oral presentations, which is very much something to celebrate for these five students,” Hunter said, “None of them have ever attended a psychology conference or given such a presentation. This will be tremendous educational opportunity for them, and their enthusiasm will no doubt ripple outward with their peers when they return. Very few undergrads have this opportunity at a regional conference, and I am thrilled for them and for us being able to represent University of the Ozarks. These types of high-impact learning experiences will not only help our students love their education and this school, but also set them up well for whatever future goals they have.”

One of the more interesting findings in the Glammies research was the impact of parents on the Gen Z population.

“Students were asked to identify if their parents approached their careers as a job, career or calling and then we also asked the student to identify what sort of message their parents or guardian gave them, regarding a job or career,” Hunter said. “Essentially, we wanted to find out what had a greater influence on students — what parents did or what parents told their kids to do. Our findings showed that the message had a more positive impact on both meaning and calling for college students; Do as I say, not as I do seems to be true in this case. It’s cool stuff.”

McElree funding also went to the following professors for upcoming research and professional development projects:

  • Dr. Edward Ardeneaux IV, assistant professor of English, will be attending the Popular Culture Association (PCA) conference in Philadelphia in April. He will serve as a session chair of the panel, “The Dark Side of Technology,” which covers topics related to his literature courses and the digital technology unit in the academic writing curse.
  • Dr. William Clary, professor of Spanish, will attend the Central American Studies Conference at Cal State Irvine in April, where he will present his current research project that focuses on the novel “El informante nativo” by Ronald Flores and its reflection on the long history of colonialist archeology projects carried out in Guatemala.
  • Dr. Greta Marlow, professor of communication, will enroll in a 15-week online screenplay story and structure workshop offered by the New York Film Academy during the summer of 2020.
  • Dr. Amy Oatis, associate professor of English, will attend the American Literature Association conference in San Diego in May. She will present a paper based on her scholarly research on Nathaniel Hawthorne and will also present a paper at a pedagogy panel sponsored by the Society of Early Americanists.
  • Dr. Warren Sconiers, assistant professor of biology, will present at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) Joint North Central and Southwest Branch meeting in March in Oklahoma City, Okla. He will also attend a research symposium during the 2020 ESA meeting in Orlando, Fla., in November. The symposium is "Entomology in Urban Food Systems: Growing Food for All", and the topics include the challenges growers in urban system face.
  • Dr. Danielle Young, assistant professor of political science, will attend the International Studies Association (ISA) annual conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, in March.

University of the Ozarks senior art major Willow Stratton of Fayetteville, Ark., will showcase her Senior Art Exhibit, titled, “Flock Life,” from Nov. 18-23 in the Stephens Gallery.

Willow, who is minoring in education and psychology, will present an artist talk at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, in Baldor Auditorium. There will be a reception to meet the artist at 5 p.m. on Nov. 23 in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

In her exhibit, “Flock Life,” Stratton honors her life-long attraction to birds.

“Most of my childhood was spent watching the birds and wishing for the ability to fly,” she said. “Now, birds are the main focus of the works due to my natural draw towards them. Each bird that I depict has a meaning, some from Celtic, European and Native American cultures. In each culture, items have different significance, occasionally sharing similar symbols. The cultures and symbols I am inspired by connect to my family lineage, making the works more personal to me.”

Stratton said each bird in her artwork represents a person in her life.

Wilow Stratton artwork“For example, the hummingbird represents my mother,” she said. “A hummingbird symbolizes endless insight and wisdom, and it seeks out the good and beauty in life. My mother, to me, has endless knowledge about the world and she is always the person I reach out to for problems. In addition to the bird totems, the drawings include items that represent each person, whether it is something they like or something in their possession. Each symbol and bird is researched and noted so that the imagery will represent the person before I start the piece.”

Stratton said that in Native American culture, the yellow cactus flower represents motherhood and unconditional love. 

“The Native Americans described the yellow flower as symbolizing patience and endurance,” she said. “My mother forever acts maternal towards me; taking care of me when I am sick or giving me motherly advice. The hummingbird and flower together represents her infinite patience and love for her children, resulting in its name, ‘Infinite Infinity.’ After the imagery is determined, sketches are created to plan a layout that includes their personality through cultural symbols and objects.  Colored pencils are used to form the bird while an array of mixed media are used to create the background.  The bird is drawn separately and then meticulously cut out and attached to the background. Other pieces are cut out and collaged in.”

Stratton said that not all of her artworks in “Flock Life” represent a positive relationship.

“One of the pieces, ‘You Ran Over Me,’ presents a dead owl, symbolizing the destruction this person caused on my life and self-esteem,” she said. “The background embodies the feeling of slowly being consumed by the feeling of dread and hopelessness, which ended up being a healing experience. The pieces will represent the positive and negative relationships in my life, some past and some present.”

University of the Ozarks senior Shelby Bosken will present her butterfly-inspired Senior Art Exhibit titled, “Betterfly,” from Nov. 11-15 in the Stephens Gallery.

There will be an artist talk by Bosken at 3 p.m., Nov. 15, in Baldor Auditorium as well as a reception to meet the artist at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 in the gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

Bosken, an art major and psychology minor from Valley Center, Kansas, is scheduled to graduate in December.  She said the exhibit is a reflection of her personal journey.

“It is an accumulation of artworks that emerged from a time in my life where I was consumed in a cocoon of uncertainties and pain and that transformed into a journey of self-liberation,” Bosken said. “I am better. I will fly. I am a ‘Betterfly.’”

She said that the transformation of a butterfly, starting as a larva, forming into a cocoon, and finally as adult has “captivated and inspired humans for centuries.”

Bosken artwork“The process of metamorphosis is not easy; it is filled with many challenges, and the end result changes the character and appearance of anyone that goes through it,” Bosken said. “My artwork is focused around the physical appearance of butterflies, but it is deeply influenced by the rebirth, realigning and renewal of my life over the past year.”

Bosken utilizes a mixture of mixed media, such as charcoal drawing, watercolor, printmaking, collage and decorative materials in her artwork.

“My subconscious thoughts and emotions drive the overall composition and in turn create a therapeutic experience,” she said. “The majority of my show is focused on mixed media collage, however I have also incorporated two series of charcoal drawings.”

Bosken said that in two of her artworks, “Acknowledging” and “Deciding,” she focuses on the more somber aspects of transformation.

“The symbolic significance of ‘Acknowledging,’ is that oftentimes it takes an introspective look at oneself and deciding that change starts from within,” she said. “’Deciding,’ shows the other side, when support is needed, the butterfly must land on flowers for pollen, just as humans must also gain emotional nutrients from the environment around them.”

Bosken plans to apply for art therapy graduate programs after graduating from Ozarks.

The exhibit will be on display in the gallery from Nov. 11-15 and is free and open to the public.

Only about 500,000 people in the world speak the Mayan language called Kekchi and University of the Ozarks junior Marcelina Pop of Belize is proud to be one of those native speakers. This past summer she was able to put those skills to use as an interpreter in an immigration case.

Pop, an English and psychology major, is from the southern Belize community of San Pedro Columbia, a village of about 1,200 people and the country's largest settlement of Kekchi. The community is known for its hand-woven embroidery that dates back to the peak of the Mayan civilization in 900 A.D. Most of the population of San Pedro Columbia came to Belize from the Petén region of Guatemala in the late 19th century.

“I grew up in a small, rural Kekchi village with chickens in the yard, cacao drink in the making and women slapping clothes on slabs of rock by the river banks,” Pop said. “The elders emphasize speaking Kekchi more than the younger people in the community. My parents are very traditional in the sense that they always, always speak in Kekchi at home. Almost everyone you meet in my village either speaks Kekchi or, at the very least, understands Kekchi.”

Pop was asked to interpret this summer by an attorney in Northwest Arkansas for an immigration case on the Mexican border involving a child separation of a family from Guatemala that only spoke Kekchi. The attorney found Pop through U of O Spanish Professor Dr. William Clary's connection with the court interpretation network in Arkansas.

Pop was able to assist the family through several phone conferences during the summer and was paid for her interpretation services.

“When Dr. Clary asked me if I would be willing to assist on the case, I was surprised,” Pop said. “It was wholly unexpected since Kekchi is a native language and very few people speak it outside where I’m from. I knew from the moment Dr. Clary asked that I would do it because it isn’t every day that I can use my language to provide assistance. It was a privilege to serve as an interpreter, even though it was a difficult situation for the family. I only wish that the circumstances would have been different.”

Pop said that growing up in San Pedro Columbia, she spoke Kekchi at home and learned English in school. She rarely gets to speak Kekchi when she's at the University.

“I only speak Kekchi when I call my parents back home and sometimes when my friends would ask me to say something,” Pop said. “I have had a couple friends who wanted to learn some words in Kekchi, but they quickly gave up since, according to them, it was such a throaty language.”

Pop said she chose her double major in English and psychology because she “wanted a balance between what I’m passionate about and what would challenge me. English is more of a hobby and psychology is a challenging interest." She plans to pursue a career in educational or social psychology.

Whatever career she chooses, Pop said her Kekchi heritage will always be a big part of her life.

“My culture instills core values of humility and industriousness, which speaks volumes in how we treat people,” she said. “If you were ever to visit any Kekchi house, you would surely be offered a hot cup of cacao drink and our famous dish, Caldo with poch. I'm just very grateful for and proud of my Kekchi heritage.”

In an informal survey conduct by Clary, he found approximately 30 native languages spoken on the U of O campus by students, faculty and staff. Those languages include Moroccan Arabic (Darija), Indonesian, Malay, French, Karen, Javanese, Swahili, Georgian, Lingala, Kikuyu, Kinyarwanda

Mashi, Jamaican Patois, Azerbaijani, Shona, Kaqchikel Maya, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Japanese and Uzbek.

"That's quite an amazing aggregation of languages for a school of around 850 students," Clary said.

When University of the Ozarks psychology major Tanner Young learned late last spring that he had gained a summer internship in a prestigious research lab at Duke University, he experienced a wide range of emotions. “I was happy, I was intimidated, I was fearful and I was excited—all at the same time,” Young said. “I really didn’t know what to expect but I knew that it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and that I was going to soak up every bit of information and knowledge I could from it.” That’s exactly what Young, a junior from Euless, Texas did. He spent nine weeks working along-side some of the top psychology researchers and students in the country at the Wilbourn Infant Lab at Duke, commonly known as WILD. WILD is a developmental research lab in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the private university in North Carolina. The lab studies how children learn language and how different modes of input influence early language and cognitive development. Young learned about the summer internship through one of his psychology professors at Ozarks and scrambled to meet the application deadline. “I had about a week to get everything in,” Young said. “I collaborated with Ruth Walton, director of career services, on my CV, my personal statement, as well as my essay questions. She helped me tremendously to prepare for my interviews.” After an interview with WILD lab managers. Young had his final interview with the lab’s director and namesake, Dr. Makeba Wilbourn. “It was a little stressful but I look back and it was a great experience to go through the process,” Young said. “To know that I was able to get into a competitive internship program on my own merits meant a lot to me.” Young primarily worked on an ongoing research study called iPac, a cross sectional-study that is examining how parents interact with their children in basic tasks that resemble dyadic situations that most often take place at home. “I worked a lot on updating birth records, calling prospective participants and scheduling them, and transcribing and entering data,” Young said. “Outside of those few hours, the lab encouraged us to continue our independent studies, in which we would read relevant studies, organize the information and build our presentation. We also had classes like GRE prep, statistics workshops, CV and personal statement workshops, graduate student panels and meetings with professors of different backgrounds within the field. These things will be invaluable when I start applying for graduate schools.” A first-generation college student, Young said the internship solidified his interest in pursuing a career in psychology “It was really beneficial in giving me insight in what it would be like to be a graduate student in psychology,” he said. “I know now without a doubt this is where I belong.” The summer internship also provided another insight for Tanner. “The whole experience showed me the amazing support I have from my family and friends as well as my professors, classmates and staff here at Ozarks,” he said. “I have people around me who believe in me and want nothing but the best in the world for me. The people who encourage me, inspire me and push me, I give so much of the credit to and I will never be able to thank them enough. It was an amazing summer and it has changed me as a student more than I can ever explain.” Dr. Isaac L. Hunter will join the University of the Ozarks faculty in the fall as an assistant professor of psychology. Hunter has served as a visiting assistant professor at Earlham College in Indiana since 2016. He previously taught at The College of Idaho, Oregon State University, and Colorado State University. After earning his undergraduate degree from The College of Idaho, Hunter went on to earn his master’s degree and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Colorado State. He did his pre-doctoral internship in counseling psychology at Oregon State. Hunter said he is a strong advocate for small, liberal arts universities such as Ozarks. “I graduated with my liberal arts degree almost 13 years ago. Since then I have had a number of experiences teaching, living abroad, researching, mentoring, counseling and consulting,” he said. “The world is fast-paced and ever-changing and the next generation of students must be able to adapt, adjust and re-invent. That is the beauty of a liberal arts education; it provides the depth, breadth, and confidence for students to thrive in a complex society. I am confident that my experiences and skills will allow me to understand, teach and guide my students on their own unique paths as they accept the responsibility that comes with education and awareness.” One of Hunter’s recent research interests is in the area of “calling,” as it applies to meaningful life domains. “Recent questions have included looking at calling cross-culturally as well as over various generations,” he said. “Ultimately, I want to apply research to help students be more interested in and motivated to find life paths that are meaningful to them.”


A native of Idaho, Hunter has lived primarily in the Northwest part of the United States. He has also lived and traveled extensively around South Korea and East Asia. “I have lived in small country towns and huge cities and try to carve out my own happiness wherever life takes me,” he said. “I have a playful and curious personality and tend to see life as an adventure with many opportunities to learn and grow along the way. The best part of the adventure is the authentic relationships I make along the way and derive a lot of meaning seeing those I care about flourish. Being a professor at a small liberal arts college is the perfect venue for me to live my version of the good life.” An avid cyclist and mountain biker, Hunter helped secure a grant that established Earlham College’s first official bike share program in 2016. In addition, he created and started a course called Cycling for Sustainability. He also lists hiking, tennis, traveling, art, woodworking, piano and filming among his hobbies. Dr. Sean Coleman, professor of biology, has been appointed dean of the Division of Sciences and Mathematics at University of the Ozarks, effective June 1, 2018. Coleman replaces Stacy Key, associate professor of practice of mathematics, who has served as dean since 2012. “I am thrilled that Dr. Coleman has accepted the position of dean of the Division of Sciences and Mathematics,” said U of O Provost Dr. Alyson Gill. “As professor of biology, he has moved the University forward with innovative teaching and research throughout his tenure here. I know that the division will benefit from his leadership, dedication and vision.” Coleman, who has taught at Ozarks since 2000, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from Luther College in Iowa. “The emphasis on teaching and the liberal arts is what attracted me to University of the Ozarks and allowed me to do what I am passionate about,” Coleman said. “I am delighted to have an opportunity to give back to Ozarks and to the Division of Sciences and Mathematics. I am excited about the opportunity to be the dean of a vibrant division with talented and hard-working faculty.” Coleman takes the leadership position during the University’s $55 million campaign, Climb Higher, that includes an emphasis on enhancing facilities and student opportunities within the division. “I look forward to working with faculty, staff and administration as the University designs and builds an addition onto and renovates the science building,” he said. “We are in the midst of a thrilling period of growth in our division, and it will be rewarding to help faculty maximize their teaching and professional development during this exciting time.”

Key returns to classroom

Key will return to full-time teaching at Ozarks. “While I have only had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mr. Key for two months, I have appreciated his leadership of the division, his willingness to help me as I walked through new territory when I came here, and his unfailing commitment to University of the Ozarks and love of this place,” Gill said. “At the same time, I am happy for all of our students who will be taking his classes as I hear that his classes are sought after and remembered. He is a rare talent.” A love of coffee and an ongoing quest to improve study habits led Victoria Stiner directly to her psychology senior capstone project. The senior psychology and English major from Texarkana, Texas, is doing her senior research project this semester on the effects of caffeine on memory. She plans to have the study completed by early May. "My friends and I are always looking at different methods to improve the acquisition and retention of information in order to make better grades," Stiner said. "We also all love to drink coffee. That got me thinking about how caffeine can affect memory and how they interact with each other. It was something that I was very curious about, so it seemed like the perfect research project for me." Titled "Caffeine and Memory: Pinpointing the Interaction," Stiner's research project will eventually include about 50 test subjects, or in this case her Ozarks classmates. She will administer caffeine ? in the form of black coffee ? at different points of the memorization process to reveal at what point caffeine affects memory. The study will control for the placebo effect by providing decaffeinated coffee to groups not receiving caffeine. The memory test will be a list of 17 words.
"VictoriaSenior psychology and English major Victoria Stiner's psychology senior capstone project is titled, "Caffeine and Memory: Pinpointing the Interaction."
"One recent study showed that in recent years there was a 70 percent increase in the number of college-aged individuals who reported consuming caffeine daily," Stiner said. "Another study showed college freshmen are consuming, on average, three to five times the recommended amount of caffeine daily. That's a lot of caffeine being consumed by college students and there hasn't been a lot of studies about how that is affecting their memory." Stiner said she came to Ozarks as an English major but quickly found a love for psychology after taking an elective class as a freshman with Dr. Joel Hagaman, associate professor of psychology. "I took that first class and I found it not only interesting but also very challenging," Stiner said. "I just kept taking more psychology classes and I found that they continued to push and challenge me. The more I got into it, the more I loved it. Dr. Hagaman and Dr. [Karen] Jones have been wonderful professors and mentors to me." Stiner said she will take a "gap" year working at a summer youth camp between her May graduation from Ozarks and the beginning of graduate school. She plans to pursue a career in college personnel or student affairs. "I love the college environment and I believe my background in psychology and English can be beneficial working at a college," she said. "So much of psychology is human behavior and studying it can help you understand, appreciate and respect people who are not like yourself. When you're working with college students, you are interacting with so many different personalities, backgrounds and lifestyles. [Psychology] seems like the ideal background for working with college students." Stiner, who admittedly drinks about four cups of coffee daily, said she hypothesizes that her research will show caffeine enhances the acquisition of memory while leaving retention unaffected. "I've been planning and working on this project for almost a year and I can't wait to find out what the results are," she said. The University of the Ozarks' psychology program as well as the student-led Psychology Club will host a series of events on campus in conjunction with the national Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 3-7. Sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), Mental Illness Awareness Week is held during the first week of October to bring public awareness to mental illness issues and provide support. Elias Loria, a junior psychology and marketing major from Costa Rica and president of the Psychology Club, said “stigma free” is the primary message for the week. “We want to encourage the Ozarks community to raise their voice against the stigma that has been created in regards to mental illness,” Loria said. “We want to challenge everyone to spread awareness and to engage in conversations about how to take actions to be stigma free.” Gabriel Lavoi, a sophomore psychology and English major from Harrison, Ark., added, “Mental health awareness week is a time of reflection, education, and activities concerning a ‘stigma free’ perspective, when looking at people with disorders and mental conditions.” The schedule for the week:

Mental Illness Awareness Week October 3-7, 2016 Presented by the Psychology Department and the Psychology Club

Monday, Oct. 3 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.:  “Be Smart About Mental Illness.” Outside the cafeteria. 6:30 p.m.: Movie “Call Me Crazy.”  Room 133, Walker Hall Tuesday, Oct. 4 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: “Sleep is a Lifesaver.” Outside the cafeteria. 7 p.m.:  Candlelight Vigil outside Munger-Wilson Chapel. Tuesday is National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding Wednesday, Oct. 5 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.:  Ozarks Mindfulness Center Open House, Voorhees Hall Stop by and learn about the services provided by the Stress Management Clinic and Applied Positive Psychology Clinic Thursday, Oct. 6 11 a.m.-Noon: “Have a Chocolate Day.” Outside the cafeteria. Stop by for some chocolate and learn about eating disorders Noon-12:50 p.m.: “Understanding Autism.” Bean Room, Rogers Conference Center Mr. Matthew Eubanks, Jones Learning Center specialist, will speak about the Autism Spectrum Disorder Friday, Oct. 7 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.: “Shred Your Negative Thoughts.” Outside the cafeteria. University of the Ozarks Associate Professor of Psychology Karen Jones' positive psychology class is hosting a week's worth of activities geared toward boosting positive feelings and well-being across campus. Positive Psychology Week, scheduled for April 11-15, will include an opportunity to write letters of gratitude, a "stop and savor" activity to encourage people to slow down and enjoy things, an opportunity to shred negative thoughts, free hugs and several other mindfulness activities. There will also be a photo booth available every day, complete with props. Members of the class remarked about how the classroom activities have increased their awareness of their own attitudes toward every day stresses. They hope to bring that same awareness to the rest of campus. "I love how applicable the concepts found in positive psychology are," said senior Margie Portera. "Being more mindful, writing letters of gratitude, and savoring can be practiced and improved. It positively affects the lives of the person practicing it, as well as everyone around them. It's a step in the right direction for society in general." Senior psychology major Clayton Rodgers said, "Using positive psychology I have learned so much about how to take simple activities and help myself and others flourish in our lives. In my own research I have found that having a week of positive activities does increase happiness and well-being among college students." Sophomore Elias Loria said,  "Taking the positive psychology class has helped me understand a complete new world of psychology. I love how this field can be applied to every situation every day in order to improve our well-being. I am really excited for the Positive Psychology Week because I know that there are many students who are going to benefit from the activities that we have planned in order to develop a positive mindset." Sophomore Jose Salinas added, "Thanks to the positive psychology class, I think more positively since I have acquired coping skills to better deal with difficult situations. I have learned to value simple things in life that we usually take for granted. I have also learned a lot about my strengths. I am a witness to how positive psychology provides individuals with essential coping skills that will lead them to increase their well-being." A full schedule of the week's events is below. For more information regarding Positive Psychology Week, please contact Elias Loria at or Professor Karen Jones at  
"PositiveClick or tap the image for a PDF version of the schedule.