Incoming Lyon freshmen got a firsthand look at the opportunities available on campus and in the Batesville community Friday, July 19, at Sneak Peek Day.
Coordinator of the Lyon Experience Dana Bennett said Sneak Peek Day gives students another chance to be on campus during the summer between paying their deposit and actually moving into their dorms.
Students met their roommates, saw their rooms, and got an idea of how they want to organize them.
“We invite vendors from the town to come meet students and show off their wares,” Bennett said. “If a student needs a rug for their room, they can go ahead, order one from a vendor, and have it delivered here on campus and waiting for them.”
Admissions Counselor Allison Patty said over 50 students and their families attended the event.
“That’s a pretty large group,” she said. “Each year it’s going to grow, and we hope that one day most of our incoming students will attend.”
Patty said the number of vendors also grew.
“We have 10 vendors from the Batesville community,” she said, “in addition to our Lyon faculty and staff, like the library, the registrar, financial aid, and the information technology department (IT).”
“Sneak Peek Day is a good time for any last minute questions. We have everything in one area for students so they can just enjoy the day with a nice meal on campus.”
Bennett said students were able to check important things off the list before moving into their rooms this August.
“IT put their Microsoft Office software on their computers so they don’t have to do that when they get here,” she said.
“They also got their parking passes for when they bring their car,” Patty said. “The Scot Shop had deals for them, and we had a nice welcome bag from community members who couldn’t be at the fair.”
The Mabee-Simpson Library and the Independence County Library partnered at the event to help Lyon students register for free library cards, and the Batesville Community Center was available for students to sign up for memberships while their parents were present.
Sneak Peek Day also gave Batesville a chance to welcome its new community members.
Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director Kyle Christopher, ‘12, hosted a welcome table at the event.
“Sneak Peek Day gives us a fantastic opportunity to welcome new Lyon students to our community,” said Christopher. “There may be no force greater than Lyon College at attracting visitors and new residents to Independence County. Their diverse student body has a considerable social and economic impact on our area and we want to make sure they feel welcomed from the start.”
Several businesses from Main Street Batesville were also present.
“All of Main Street is very excited,” Patty said. “We have a lot of businesses, and I think that’s one area the students will really enjoy when they’re here.”
Bennett said it was great to see the collaboration between the College and Batesville community.
“[Patty] and Michayla Shanks both have done an excellent job going to businesses and visiting with them,” she said. “I am so thrilled to see the community come onto our campus and be so generous to our students.”
Lyon College junior Kaleb Newcomb has lab skills in his blood.
Newcomb is interning with the medical technologist (MT) at Stone County Medical Center in Mountain View, and he says he now plans to pursue an MT certification after graduation.
An MT is a medical professional who tests and analyzes blood.
“My favorite part is preparing a blood smear and looking at it under a microscope and being able to see the different types of leukocytes,” said Newcomb.
The biology major says working with the MT in the hospital’s lab has also taught him how to operate several machines, including the chemistry analyzer, hemoglobin analyzer, and homeostasis analyzer.
“I have also learned how to prepare bacteria cultures [and] blood typing,” he added.
Newcomb finds lab work “enjoyable” and wants to apply to a medical laboratory science program along with his MT certification.
“I’m glad I’m getting to apply the skills I gained from my science classes in the lab environment,” he said.
Lyon College is located in Batesville, Arkansas, a historic town of 10,000 that serves as the commercial, medical, social, and governmental hub for an eight-county area and was named by USA Today as the best city to live in in Arkansas. Named one of the “top American colleges” by Forbes, the College currently enrolls almost 700 undergraduate students from 24 states and 15 countries.
Lyon College President Dr. W. Joseph King emphasized the importance of the liberal arts education for today’s Generation Z by sharing his own experience in Liberal Education.
In his article “A Creative Legacy: Liberal Arts Colleges Build on Their Innovative Foundations,” King reveals how his undergraduate requirement to take a drama class significantly impacted his career. The course’s final project was a three-minute monologue, and much to King’s surprise, he successfully performed despite severe stage fright.
“I would not have been on the founding team of F5 Networks, taking the company public and ultimately replacing Kodak on the S&P 500, if I had not taken that drama class,” he writes. “That monologue and my honors project gave me the courage and the creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial tools that I needed to be successful.”
King goes on to make the point that a liberal arts education’s encouragement of creativity is imperative for today’s college students, Gen Z.
“Liberal arts colleges and universities are at the forefront of preparing students to navigate this future world of work and have aggressively integrated creative inquiry into their student experiences,” he explains.
King also notes that Lyon is “embedding creativity, innovation, and interdisciplinary thought across all four years” in its revitalized core curriculum.
Read President King’s article in Liberal Education here
Lyon students connected with classical artwork in an unforgettable way on the Nichols Trip to Italy this May.
The Nichols International Studies Program provides financial assistance to students so they can take two-week long Nichols Trips led by Lyon faculty, studying abroad while earning college credit.
Led by Associate Professor of Art Dustyn Bork, the students explored the aesthetics and culture of Italy, including sites such as the Colosseum and Vatican City, as well as original works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and Raphael.
“Being able to see these preeminent works in person connects students to that history and the layers of culture that are thousands of years old,” Bork said. “The students get better at appreciating and critiquing the art and interacting with the culture at large.”
Junior Hayley Cormican said the most awe-inspiring moment was stepping out of the train station in Rome and immediately seeing the Colosseum.
“Seeing it for the first time in person, I knew I had chosen the right field of study for my career.”
Morgun Henson, ‘19, said her favorite sight was Michelangelo’s David.
“We had all seen multiple pictures, but there is no experience like seeing that in person! It felt unreal to see all of these things in real life.”
In the prerequisite course, each student picked an object or location they would be seeing on the trip and did a 15-minute presentation on it for their classmates.
“That makes seeing the art more impactful because they have that connection,” Bork said, “and students can ask that expert more about those pieces when we see them.”
Cormican said she had the chance to share her knowledge on Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi with other viewers.
“[Gentileschi] chose to depict artwork that made her voice heard, which was very controversial for a female artist at the time,” she said. “The piece is significant to me because it depicts the artist in the work. It was an unforgettable moment for me getting to share the story of a piece I am so passionate about.”
The local cuisine made an impact on the group, too.
“The food was amazing and affordable. It was basically Batesville prices for Italian cuisine,” Bork said. “We had the true Italian family-style experience with course after course and carafes of wine.”
“Eating there is more of an experiential thing as opposed to just a meal. You’re supposed to take your time, enjoy the food, and have conversations at the table.”
Cormican said students crossed a lot of items off their bucket list on the trip.
“It inspired me to have a deeper appreciation for the art I am blessed to study every day,” she said, “and made me more passionate about my future career as a teacher. The way [Bork] instilled his excitement for art in us truly rubbed off on me.”
Henson said she has never been “so moved” by artwork before.
“You can’t get a feel for the Sistine Chapel and the emotional and religious experience it has until you are in that packed, silent room,” she said.
Bork said several students developed a passion for traveling.
“The students were interacting with the works and really had their eyes opened,” Bork said. “They want to see more and go experience other cultures now.”
“Italy alone is a work of art. I have always dreamed of going there,” Henson said. “Now that I have been, I would love to go back.”
Cormican said she will never forget the artwork she saw or the memories she made with friends in Italy.
“It was the best trip ever. I am thankful for Lyon College most of all for providing these experiences for students, and I have never been more thankful to attend this school,” she concluded.
A Lyon College education prepares students for the rigors of graduate school, even the long road to a double M.D.- Ph.D.
Francesca LoBianco, ‘15, said she was drawn to the physician-scientist program because it combines her passions for research and helping patients.
“When I was in a lab doing research for my master’s program, I missed the experience of interacting with other people,” she said, “so I thought ‘Okay. I’ll go to med school. I’ll try that.’ ”
“In med school, I realized that I missed the research—delving deep into and critically thinking about the material.”
The physician-scientist path seemed perfect, LoBianco said, because she could obtain her M.D. and Ph.D. at the same time. However, the program also meant eight years of graduate school.
Fortunately, Lyon prepared her for the challenge.
“Throughout my master’s program, the courses were not anymore difficult than a Lyon course,” LoBianco said. “I felt comfortable and like I could easily manage the course load and my research load, too.”
Lyon taught her skills in analysis and critical thinking that helped her obtain an M.S. in interdisciplinary biomedical science, she said, and finish her thesis project in two years.
LoBianco said Lyon also imbued her with a volunteer spirit that she has carried on in medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
“I’m constantly volunteering at the UAMS student clinic. I saw three patients last night, and it was great.”
LoBianco is even serving as the president of the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) chapter at UAMS. She said the organization is vital because meeting other physician-scientists helped her realize the program was something she wanted to do and not just more school.
“Our meetings are about inspiring our M.D.- Ph.D. students because it’s such a long, difficult road,” she said. “It’s easy to forget your end goal when you’re bogged down in grad school with experiments not working.”
She has conducted research at the University of Illinois with Dr. Ron Gaba, sponsored by the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) Foundation. She is also conducting research at UAMS with her primary advisor Dr. Nukhet Aykin-Burns through the College of Pharmacy Division of Radiation Health.
Her research has explored radiation-induced liver diseases and how to prevent damage to healthy tissues when patients receive radiation therapy for cancer treatments.
“We cure your cancer, but then we hit a lot of normal tissue on the way, especially in the liver,” LoBianco said. “So we cured your cancer, but now you have fibrosis and liver sclerosis.”
“A lot of my research is focused on developing and classifying animal models for radiation-induced liver disease so we can work on therapeutic methods to relieve the damage to normal tissue.”
She will be presenting on her research experience at colleges this fall, potentially including Lyon.
“It would be awesome to present at Lyon,” LoBianco said. “There are a lot of great research opportunities I had absolutely no idea about as a student. I didn’t know about the M.D.-Ph.D program.”
Lyon produces excellent students who succeed in all sorts of things, LoBianco said, and she is excited to pay her own experience forward.
“Lyon really helped me realize my ability to connect to the community around me and succeed in school.”
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