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Lyon College Inducts 14 New Members into Alpha Chi Honor Society

Fourteen Lyon College juniors and seniors celebrated their induction into the Alpha Chi National Scholarship Honor Society on Thursday, October 11. The college’s Arkansas Eta chapter inducts students whose academic achievement places them in the top ten percent of their class.

This year’s inductees from Arkansas are Alice Bewley of Russellville, Evelyn Embry of Huntsville, Linda Fowler of Sherwood, McKinley Fox of Batesville, Keifer Hartwig of Cabot, Matthew Kirkpatrick of Sheridan, Olivia Lynch of Alpena, Allison Mundy of Bryant, Robert Shackelford of Smithville, and Emerson Smith of Little Rock.

Inductees outside of the state are Ayden Henry of Thayer, Missouri; Iva Popovic of Novi Sad, Serbia; John Pruden of Allen, Texas; and Kristyn Skelton of Kennett, Missouri.

After their induction, new members and their families gathered in Maxfield Room of Edwards Commons for a banquet. Following introductions from Alpha Chi’s faculty sponsor, Dr. Brian Hunt, and current Alpha Chi president Jordan Trant, Alpha Chi’s Professor of the Year Dr. Jennifer Daniels led a keynote address.

In her address, Daniels talked about healthy fear and life after Lyon, encouraging the audience to embrace the unknown. “Whatever comes next for the graduates of Lyon, one year, five years, or decades down the road, they will be ready because they will have a plan in place for whatever lies ahead,” said Daniels. “They will be proactive rather than reactive and face the future with less apprehension than most because they know their actions and choices will make a difference."

When asked what she most enjoyed about Alpha Chi, Trant said, “My favorite part of being in Alpha Chi has been getting to know a lot of the faculty and other students that I wouldn’t normally see. I’m also incredibly excited to initiate this new class! One of the most exciting times for the chapter is bringing in and getting to know all the new members and seeing their accomplishments over the course of the year."

Founded almost a century ago, Alpha Chi has some 300 chapters across the country and over 500,000 members. It holds a National Convention annually, at which students present their scholarly work and compete for scholarships. The Lyon College chapter of Alpha Chi is the society’s most distinguished chapter, having been named a Star Chapter multiple times and having won the society’s President’s Cup twice, the only chapter so honored.

at Monday, October 15, 2018

Lyon Athletics to Host Canned Food Drive

In an effort to come together as a department, Lyon College Athletics has announced it will host a canned food drive to support Our Father’s Table in Batesville, Arkansas. Our Father’s Table is a non-profit organization that helps feed the needy in the local community.

The canned food drive will take place on Oct. 28, 29 and Nov. 1 at three different athletic events.

The first event during the canned food drive will be the women’s basketball scrimmage versus Henderson State on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. inside Becknell Gymnasium. Students, fans, and community members can get their first look at the women’s basketball team before they begin their quest for an eighth straight NAIA National Tournament appearance by donating canned food items upon entrance to the scrimmage.

The second event of the canned food drive will take place on the following day during the JV volleyball match against Henderson State at 6 p.m. on Oct. 29. The team will host a Trunk-or-Treat after the match, in which upperclassmen players will be dressed up in costume and passing out candy donated by the men’s wrestling team to children in attendance. A costume contest will also be held between the second and third sets with prizes given to the top three costumes. In order to participate in the Trunk-or-Treat or the costume contest, a canned food item must be donated upon entrance to the match.

The final event will take place on Nov. 1 with the softball team hosting a Halloween intersquad scrimmage. The softball team will be dressed up in their Halloween costumes during their scrimmage. Fans can come out and enjoy the fun and drop off a canned food item at the entrance to House Field.

at Friday, October 12, 2018

Where in the World is Dr. Beal? October Update

Hello from Hong Kong!

Plenty to learn about the differences here: learning a few Cantonese phrases, learning how to cope with the brutal humidity, learning the customs and etiquette. Examples of the latter include what Seinfeld fans would call “close talking” or asking for a check at a restaurant by making a writing gesture in the air.

One of my favorite customs is this: when giving and receiving items, each party uses both hands. This is especially true of giving and receiving gifts, but it also characterizes mundane transactions such as swapping business cards. It’s not totally unique to Hong Kong, appearing also throughout China and across East Asia—for instance in Korea, I’ve heard. Not everybody does it, and certainly not everyone does it all the time, but it stands out when it takes place.

I haven’t seen an explanation for this custom—not in the way that we mythologize the custom of shaking hands as proof that we come in peace, that we’re not harboring a weapon. Perhaps a reader can enlighten me about the origins of the two-hand transaction. But whatever the origins, the custom has this effect: it demands that you give someone your full attention, full respect, even if only for a moment.

I encourage you to try it sometime. The next time you’re ordering a coffee, for instance, you might offer your card to the barista with both hands and receive your coffee with both hands. You might find that there’s an extraordinary amount of things your off hand wants to do—reach for your keys, move your wallet about, scroll through messages on your phone. And bringing that off hand into the transaction, while probably unnecessary in the most pragmatic way and likely to earn you a sideways look, will require you to focus your attention in ways that may be a little uncomfortable at first.

Because Hong Kong is settled on such mountainous terrain, you’ll see a lot of sidewalks like this one, open to a street on one side and with a retaining wall on the other. It has the look of an urban terrace, often because that’s precisely what it is. Trees grow along these walls, spreading their roots down in search of water, creating a very Hong Kong tableau of city hustle and persistent nature. (Remind me to tell you some time about the wild boars.)

Until next time.

Wesley Beal is an associate professor of English at Lyon College. This fall he is serving as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar at the University of Hong Kong, where he teaches two courses in American literature and continues a study of the campus novel genre. Please reach out to him at if you have Hong Kong- or Fulbright-related questions for him to investigate. He’ll do his best to oblige in subsequent blog posts.

at Thursday, October 11, 2018

Lyon College Radio is Live

On Monday, October 8, students, faculty, and staff gathered to celebrate the launch of the new Lyon College radio station, KILT. Those attending enjoyed pizza and refreshments as they discussed the success of current shows on the station as well as plans for new ones.

Lyon’s Director of Institutional Research Andrew English played his guitar live on the air during the event.

Junior Miguel Hernandez is thrilled that Lyon has started a radio station. He has plans of participating in a show called “Sad Boi Hour” that will be airing on Wednesdays and Fridays from 7-8 p.m.

“I think it’s really neat that we finally have a radio platform,” said junior Navy Griffin. “I am really excited about it! I think that it’s a great way to have our students’ voices be heard.”

KILT’s faculty advisor, Dr. Radek Szulga, is pleased with all the interest the campus community has shown in KILT so far.

“We have eleven shows right now,” said Szulga. “Some are live, and some are pre-recorded, and everyone is super enthusiastic. We’re having a lot of fun.”

KILT is an online radio station, so anyone anywhere can listen. Check out KILT at For more information, contact Szulga at

at Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Dr. Tharanga Wijetunge Discusses Data Collection in Faculty Colloquium

On Friday, October 5, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Lyon College Dr. Tharanga Wijetunge presented the second faculty colloquium of the semester. In his talk, “Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Mathematics Education,” Wijetunge described various ways to collect data in a classroom.

At the beginning of his talk, Wijetunge demonstrated a teaching tool he uses in his classroom: the device uses SMS text or wifi to submit answers to his questions. He posed a question to the audience and requested that they answer it; as the answers came in, they were displayed on the projector screen at the front of the room, and Wijetunge read them off and addressed them.

This tool, commonly known as a remote “clicker” has in recent years been adapted for compatibility with cell phones and other portable wifi devices. This method allows students in larger classes to connect in a more direct way with the professor. This method also allows a professor to easily collect data in the classroom.

In the pursuit of understanding what kind of feedback he can give to best aid the students’ learning, Wijetunge analyzes exams and carefully notes the most common student mistakes.

Caleb Ray, a sophomore mathematics major with a computer science minor and a secondary education concentration, said that he “enjoyed seeing the process [Wijetunge] uses to determine the outcomes of the test on the effectiveness of feedback.”

When testing these effects in the classroom, Wijetunge says he “cannot ethically design a study knowing that feedback is important and knowing that some students would possibly have a negative effect.”

To further the research without ethically compromising it, Wijetunge must come up with “creative ways of giving different types of feedback” and observe which types yield the most consistent and positive results. For instance, he may give one group a hint, one group a complete answer, and one group he may instruct to redo the problem with guidance.

This semester’s faculty colloquium series continues to consistently draw large crowds of about 25-30 attendees and reaffirm Lyon’s commitment to the liberal arts, demonstrating to its students the importance of its interdisciplinary sharing and strength.

“The Lyon College community is vibrant and close-knit,” said Visiting Assistant Professor of English Dr. Cori Gabbard, “but its size also means that there is either one or few faculty members on campus in any given field. The colloquia therefore provide an opportunity for faculty to expand and deepen the intellectual connections they create on campus through increased familiarity with one another's scholarship.”

at Monday, October 8, 2018