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Lyon College Gospel Choir will perform Spring Concert on March 15

The Lyon College Gospel Choir will host its Spring Concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 15, in the Brown Chapel Fine Arts Building. Special guests include The Anointed Ones and other college choirs from across the state.

Lyon students present STEM research at Capitol

A group of Lyon College students presented their research to state legislators and the public at the Arkansas Capitol.

The 2020 Posters at the Capitol event featured over 140 undergraduate students from 17 Arkansas colleges presenting their original work in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) research on Feb. 19.

“It is a wonderful way to disseminate STEM research to the general public and legislators,” said Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Irosha Nawarathne. 

Senior Daniel Armstrong, of Cabot, and junior Téa Mason, of Batesville, presented “C-8 Modifications of Rifamycin Core Leading to Potential Antibiotic Agents.” Mason said they worked with Nawarathne on deriving and purifying Rifamycin derivatives to target drug-resistant Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTB).

“It was a great learning experience,” said Mason. “I was nervous before presenting, but once we started I actually really enjoyed discussing our research and accomplishments with others.”

Junior Allison Mundy, of Bryant, and senior Victoria Prater-Rochier, of Lowell, presented “Assessing Water Quality and Macroinvertebrate Communities along a Gradient of Poultry Agriculture in Northeast Arkansas.” 

“I enjoyed getting to tell politicians the effects of poultry houses on local waterways,” said Mundy.

“Apparently this exact issue is being addressed this legislative session, and we got requests to share our data with them.”

Junior Jordan Webb, of Mount Pleasant, presented “Impact of Nonpoint Source Pollution on Crustacean Physiology in Northeast Arkansas” with Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Maryline Jones. They researched the water quality in the Eleven Point and Black River watersheds. Poultry houses cause phosphorus and nitrogen runoffs, which can create harmful algae blooms in the water.

“These blooms can deplete the water of oxygen,” said Webb. “We’re studying how this pollution is affecting the crayfish species that live in these watersheds.”

Sophomore Ethan Turner, of Searcy, presented “Refining Slater’s Rules of Electron Shielding and Effective Nuclear Charge,” using the research he and Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Burt Hollandsworth have been conducting.

“Getting to share so much active research in a real, open forum full of other students doing just the same was a unique experience that I'd love to have again and again,” said Turner.

Junior Michael Humphrey, of Cave City, presented “Modified Michael Addition Leads to Biologically Significant Naphthoquinones.” 

Junior Hannah Zang, of McKinney, Texas, presented “The Evolution of Novel Neuropeptides in Cnidaria: Investigating the Function of a Lineage-Specific Neuropeptide RPamide during N. Vectensis Development,” using research she worked on with Dr. Nagayasu Nakanishi at the University of Arkansas last summer.

“It was a lot different than research conferences I attended in the past because the audience was widely variable,” said Zang. “A lot of high school students came by to ask questions, and it was almost a way for me to reflect on where I was five years ago.”

“I realized how far I’ve come and how important my mentors at Lyon have been for me to get where I am.”

Students had the chance to work on career skills like public speaking.

“You had to be able to communicate complex topics effectively, regardless of who exactly you were talking to,” Turner said. 

The event was also a good opportunity to network.

“I got the chance to speak with a water quality specialist,” Webb said. “She informed me of several graduate programs available to continue my research on water quality and about organizations working on water quality that are looking to hire new scientists.”

“We had so much interest in participating that we ran out of available slots,” Nawarathne said. 

“Our students did a wonderful job presenting their research to peers and state officials,” Jones said. “They have bright futures ahead of them.”

Lyon convocation: Authors argue for empathy despite political, religious differences

Two pastors encouraged the Lyon College Community to not only accept differences in faith and political beliefs but also to explore the ways they can grow through these differences.

Authors Angela Denker and Layton Williams discussed the intersections of faith and politics at the Holy Disunity Convocation at Lyon College. During the Feb. 19 discussion, they hoped to bring their novels, which discuss managing and accepting these differences, into conversation with each other.

Both authors emphasized the importance of open conversation in a time when much of the nation is marked by this division. 

“If you have commonalities with people and you can talk to people, then it’s important to put yourself in that space,” Denker said, arguing against the growing tendency to reject those with different opinions. 

Seeking connection with those one disagrees with will allow people to accept other differences as a healthy part of life, she said, when one avoids giving in to stereotypes or personal prejudices.

The authors pointed out that human beings are nuanced, so disagreements are to be expected even within the same religion, denomination or church.  Opening deeper conversations can bring to surface what may seem like contradictory beliefs or hypocrisy, they argued, but these beliefs are only further evidence of those nuances. 

“It’s easier to dismiss a caricature, because we don’t have to confront the God-belovedness of a cartoon villain,” Williams said, encouraging people to avoid rejecting human complexity.

Denker is a Lutheran pastor, journalist and author. Her novel, “Red State Christians: Understanding the Voters Who Elected Donald Trump,” aims to combat stereotypes and bring an empathetic light to a diverse group of people and experiences.

The book was inspired by Denker’s desire to combine the concepts of journalistic and religious truth through an empathetic lens. During the convocation, she discussed the strong divisions born out of ideological differences, especially in light of the 2016 election, and how those divisions continue to affect church communities.

“As a pastor, I was still going to be pursuing the truth, telling the truth, and doing it in a way that would ring true,” Denker said, “and that would also enable people to find their own stories in God’s story.”

She wanted to portray that truth in her novel, telling people’s stories in their own words.

Williams is a Presbyterian minister and author. Her novel, “Holy Disunity: How What Separates Us Can Save Us,” argues that disagreement is a healthy aspect of faith and human nature. It encourages people to develop their spiritual, personal and social lives by actively engaging with those they disagree with. 

Much of this argument was born from Williams’s experience holding different political beliefs from her family. She discussed the importance of acknowledging the roles politics play throughout our entire lives rather than attempting to compartmentalize the topics so as to avoid conflict.

“It’s so easy to subsume people into this monolith of understanding,” Williams said. “But our relationships with people that we love are a constant invitation to remember one another’s God-given complexity.”

Neither Denker nor Williams began writing with the goal of discussing politics; however, both soon recognized the role politics play in dividing nations and groups that might otherwise share similar values and standards.

Watch the Holy Disunity Convocation on the Lyon College Facebook page.

at Friday, February 21, 2020

Beal to give Williamson Prize Lecture on March 3

Dr. Wesley Beal will deliver the Williamson Prize Lecture at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 3, in the Maxfield Room of Edwards Commons.

Lyon College awarded the Lamar Williamson Prize for Excellence in Teaching to Beal for the 2018-19 academic year. The College awards this prize annually to the faculty member considered the most outstanding in four categories: professional competence, scholarly ability, exemplary humane values and contributions to the community.

Beal, Associate Professor of English, will present “Reading Campus Fiction (from a Distance)” and discuss his project studying the academic novel. 

“In this paper, I’m trying to grapple with the academic novel genre as a whole unit,” he said, “which is somewhat unconventional for literary studies.”

Beal used digital humanities techniques he developed with Visiting Professor of Computer Science Anthony Davis and research assistant Zach Ward to let the genre speak for itself.

He is honored to join the ranks of Williamson Prize winners. While he is looking forward to the prize lecture, he is not looking forward to passing on the trophy to the next winner.

“My office will be sad and less shiny without it,” he said, laughing.

at Friday, February 21, 2020

Lyon College will host Spring Fest on March 14

The Lyon College Student Activities Council will host Spring Fest from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14, on Couch Garden. 

“Spring Fest is in its fourth year, and we’re excited to bring more activities and new experiences to campus!” said Activities Director Unswella Ankton.

Indie-Folk band Dawson Hollow will perform. There will be a hot air balloon giving rides from 2 to 4 p.m. Lyon students have priority. Spring Fest will also feature carnival games, custom leather bracelets, and a cash cube. 

Spring Fest is free and open to the community.

“Not only does SAC strive to build community through campus programming for our students,” Ankton said, “but we also aim to connect them to the Batesville community and vice versa.”

“One of the ways that we achieve this is by inviting the community to campus for this event. The weather might be a little chilly, but we encourage everyone to bundle up and enjoy everything we have to offer!”

There will be a VIP Lounge available for $20. It includes beer and wine, a special selection of food, a meet and greet with the band, and a special gift.

The first 40 students will get a free t-shirt. Don’t miss out on Spring Fest!

at Thursday, February 20, 2020