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HATS off: Lyon freshmen present research

The new Humanities, Arts, Sciences and Technology (HATS) event on Dec. 5 gave Lyon freshmen the chance to showcase the original research they have worked on during their first semester.

Provost Melissa Taverner said the event, sponsored by Mortar Board, is a “first-year bookend” to the Student Creative Arts and Research Forum (SCARF), a spring event where upperclassmen share their research and scholarship.

“We wanted to start freshmen off with the experience of presenting their work,” Taverner said. “The students worked on topics the entire semester. This is the culmination of their research, and they get to present as experts.”

Freshmen Jonah Glover, Christian Lemp, and Madeline Newman presented “Talking Beasts,” covering their research on animal rights and animal citizenship in Dr. Scott Roulier’s Year One class.

“We went to the Little Rock Zoo and got a private tour with the elephants,” Glover said. “We learned about how they interact with the zookeepers. This project taught me about the similarity between humans and animals.”

Newman said the group learned a lot about ethics, especially from the movie “Nim.” The film is about a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised by humans.

“He acted human at first but then displayed animal behaviors,” Lemp said. “He would bite people because he was jealous of his mother giving attention to them.”

“Animals are animals,” Newman said. “You can’t expect them to act human at all times.”

Freshmen Joseph Hutchison, Alyssa Buentello, and Cindy Rainbolt presented “Are We Athens? The Fall of Athenian and American Democracy,” studying the rise and fall of Athenian democracy and how the United States mirrors that process.

“We found that we all need to learn how to communicate better and not be stuck in our ways,” Buentello said. “We have to learn to compromise.”

“People need to be more aware of what’s going on around them,” Rainbolt said. “Don’t focus only on your opinion. That’s how the various sides get polarized.” 

Faculty members judged the poster presentation for organization, clarity, documentation, completeness, and delivery. Each winning group received a $50 gift certificate for a pizza party. The winners were as follows:

  • “There Is No Plan B” - Dr. Irosha Nawarathne’s Year One Section

  • “What’s Lurking in the Deep?” - Dr. Mary Jones’ Year One Section

  • “Bean to Bar: Developing a Model of Cacao/Chocolate Industry in Arkansas” - Dr. Melissa Taverner’s Year One Section

Taverner said HATS was a great introduction to scholarship for freshman students.

“The responsibility of scholars is to share their knowledge. It opens the conversation,” she said. “It’s what we’re always trying to do at Lyon College.”