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Nawarathne secures grant for student summer research

Irosha Nawarathne, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Lyon College, recently received a $33,228 summer research grant funded by the Arkansas IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) developmental research program.

The grant, supported by an exploratory grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH), will go toward student research into new medicine for multi-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), an organism that causes TB.

Nawarathne and students LaShawna Miller, ’19, Tanner Duty, ’18 and John Sifford, ’18 will use synthetic chemistry, spectroscopy, biochemistry and molecular biology to develop new rifampicin (RIF) like compounds to combat TB drug-resistance. Other students currently involved in the summer research program include Jordan Trant, ’19, Brian Bompous, ’18 and Natalie Milligan, ’18.

To date, Nawarathne has secured a total of over $120,000 in federal funds, including a summer research grant in 2016, competitive instrumentation award and supplemental instruction grant.

Funds from these grants have allowed student researchers to travel and present their accomplishments at regional and national conferences and become co-authors of peer-reviewed publications. They have also allowed the chemistry department to purchase a state-of-the-art Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer.

Students previously involved in the summer research program include Michael Gareth Stout, ’17, Shawn Howell, ’17, Samuel Brineman, ’17 and Will Staton, ‘17.  

Posted by Alexandra Patrono-Smith at Thursday, July 13, 2017 | 0 comments

Brown Chapel closed for renovation

The Brown Chapel and Fine Arts Building on the Lyon College campus will be closed to the public due to renovation from May 30 to August 15, 2017.

Built almost 60 years ago, Brown Chapel currently suffers from decades of deferred maintenance. This summer, its auditorium will receive a facelift, including refurbished seating, new windows and shades, repainting and floor tiles.

The exterior of the entire building will receive much needed work on windows, columns, outer brick and drainage.

Current and former students, Batesville citizens and college friends who have long enjoyed and benefited from Brown Chapel know its importance as an events venue and place of worship. Lyon hopes these renovations will allow the chapel to continue to serve and thrive.

Brown Chapel will reopen and continue to play its role in the community once renovations are complete.

If you are interested in reserving a space, please contact Facilities Coordinator Kay Rush at 870-307-7325.

Posted by Alexandra Patrono-Smith at Thursday, June 1, 2017 | 0 comments

Lyon hosts youth soccer camp

Lyon College kicked off its soccer youth camp for boys and girls today at 9 a.m. on the college's soccer field.

The camp features instruction from the Lyon soccer coaching staff, soccer skill work, team work and cooperation skill drills.

The camp will continue Wednesday, May 31, through Friday, April 2. Children aged 5 to 14 may still register to attend. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration is $60. Campers should bring work-out clothes, cleats (if they have them), shin guards and sunscreen. For more information, call coach Chris Bocanegra at 870.307.7517.

Posted by Alexandra Patrono-Smith at Tuesday, May 30, 2017 | 0 comments

Gitz named 2017 Williamson Prize recipient

Bradley Gitz, the William Jefferson Clinton professor of international politics, was named the winner of the 2017 Lamar Williamson Prize for Faculty Excellence at Lyon College’s commencement ceremony May 6.

Gitz joined the Lyon College faculty in 1994. A highly-respected professor, he regularly teaches courses in world politics, comparative politics and national security policy. Since 1999, he has also educated Arkansans across the state with his thought-provoking weekly political column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper.

Gitz has served the College in a variety of leadership roles throughout the years, chairing the Humanities Division twice as well as a multitude of committees and advising student organizations such as the Highlander, the Social Council and the Model United Nations Club.

Gitz’s name will be engraved, along with those of the previous 36 winners, on a silver cup. He will also receive a stipend and deliver a scholarly lecture at a convocation during the 2017-18 academic year.

The Williamson Prize is awarded annually to a Lyon College faculty member deemed outstanding in four areas: professional competence, scholarly ability, exemplification of humane and Christian values and contribution to the community.

Faculty and students solicit nominations in March, and the Board of Trustees selects a recipient in the spring on the recommendation of a selection committee. The selection committee consists of the chair of the Education Committee of the board, the president of the College, the dean of the faculty, the chair of the Faculty Assembly, the members of the Promotion and Tenure Committee and two students selected by the Student Assembly.

The Board of Trustees established the Williamson Prize in 1979 in memory of Lamar Williamson (1887-1974) of Monticello, Ark., a distinguished lawyer, businessman and civic and Presbyterian church leader who attended Lyon College from 1901 to 1903 and remained a friend of the College for the rest of his life. A memorial fund established by the late J. Gaston Williamson of Little Rock in honor of his father support the silver cup and stipend awarded to the Williamson Prize recipient.

Posted by Alexandra Patrono-Smith at Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | 0 comments

Leadership students meet with local Little Rock professionals

Pictured front, left to right: Morgun Henson, Tressa Linson, Madisson Williams, Taylor Donnerson, Angelina Anderson Spohrer. Pictured back, left to right: Cassie Morin, ShaNae Snow, Matthew Kirkpatrick, Damon Akin, Cassidy Mitchell, Keifer Hartwig, Brooks Harral, Ridge Hestor, Tanner Harris.

On Tuesday, April 4, Lyon College’s Introduction to Leadership class traveled to Little Rock to visit three exemplary leaders.

Instructor Annette Castleberry and students first met with Gretchen Hall, ’09, at the newly renovated Robinson Center. A Sheridan native, Hall currently serves as president and CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) as well as on the Lyon College Board of Trustees.

After shaking hands with Hall outside the Robison Center, students followed her to the Gail David Conference Room for a one-of-a-kind presentation describing the renovation. Hall took students through the project from conception, reality, projected economic impact and to-date economic impact.

After the presentation, Hall treated students to a guided tour of the facility, relaying the challenges the LRCVB met during the project and detailing each solution.

“It’s exciting to see what alums from Lyon do,” said psychology major ShaNae Snow of Cave City.

“It proves there’s no limit to what can happen in life with a solid education.”

From the Robinson Center, students headed west to Cajun’s Wharf where they met Arkansas State Senator Joyce Elliot for lunch. Due to the legislative session drawing to a close the previous evening, this was a rare opportunity.

Students listened to Elliot describe her path from teaching to politics and her dedication to education in Arkansas. The senator shared her story of growing up as a poor, African-American girl in rural, segregated Arkansas. Determined to become a leader from an early age, Elliot was one of the first African-American students to integrate with the local all-white high school. She soon graduated and went on to earn her bachelor and graduate degrees.

Reflecting on her visit with Elliot, sophomore biology major Cassandra Morin of Paragould said, “One thing that stuck with me was that as a leader, we should always try to collaborate instead of compromise.”

Morin emphasized that after talking with Elliot, she felt as though she could do anything she wanted.

“She was a gentle reminder of how a strong personality is not something to be afraid of, but embraced.”

Keifer Hartwig of Ward, another sophomore biology major, added, “She left us with a quote that I wrote down: ‘Success is slow, but don’t make it slower by quitting.’”

Students bid Elliot goodbye and headed to the River Market District, where they met their final leader, Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service. A former instructor at Lyon and current member of the Board of Trustees, Rutherford shared snippets of wisdom through his past experiences and expressed the importance of taking advantage of any opportunity that presents itself.

Damon Akin, a 2017 Lyon graduate, noted how after students thanked Rutherford for taking the time to talk to them, Rutherford responded that he was just an “old man” who wanted to help young leaders find their paths and purposes.

“That spoke volumes to me,” Akin said.

“Humility is a trait that few leaders hold in today’s political and social climate.”

Akin recently earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in outdoor leadership from Lyon. He is enrolled in the recreation and sports management graduate program at the University of Arkansas and was selected as a graduate assistant for the 2017-2018 term.

The trip culminated with a visit to the William J. Clinton Library and museum and a special tour from Ann Kamps, manager of volunteer and visitor services at the Williom J. Clinton Foundation. Kamps is the mother of Leanne Kamps, ’02, and David Kamps, ’00.

The LED 201 Introduction to Leadership class is a one-hour experiential course designed to give students opportunities for in-depth conversations with leaders around the state. The course emphasizes the value of perseverance in leadership as well as the human qualities successful leaders employ: humility, collaboration, empathy and the drive to pay it forward.

Posted by Alexandra Patrono-Smith at Tuesday, May 23, 2017 | 0 comments