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SCARF Returns to Lyon College

On March 22, Lyon College’s Mortar Board hosted a Student Creative Arts and Research Forum (SCARF) where students shared the work they have pursued in and outside of the classroom with their peers through presentations and posters. While the College has hosted the event in the past, Mortar Board breathed new life into it, bringing SCARF back to the campus after a year of absence. Dr. Melissa Taverner, the new provost at Lyon who sponsored the event, gave the keynote speech that lent SCARF the formal structure of a research conference, allowing students to experience something like the conferences they might attend if they continue to graduate or professional schools.

“With a mix of posters and oral presentations, SCARF was an outstanding showcase of the quality of original work that is accomplished here at Lyon by students working closely with faculty or professional mentors. The presentation quality was very high; student presenters were well-prepared and able to explain their work and to answer questions from the audience members, both experts and novices alike,” said Taverner. “I am hopeful that in the coming years more Lyon students will take the opportunity to work with faculty mentors to address questions or issues about which they are passionate and, through that work, to contribute to the body of knowledge that we all share.”

Students and faculty from diverse fields such as fine arts, humanities, and the sciences participated in the event. Research topics ranged from pottery-making to the American dream in literature to the presence and perception of climate change. Both freshman and upperclassman presented in hopes of winning cash prizes for first place oral presentation, first place poster presentation, and runner up for both categories. The selection committee included Mr. Eric Bork, Dr. Paul Bube, Dr. Jeremy Chapman, Dr. Anthony Grafton, Dr. Terrell Tebbetts, and Dr. Nikki Yonts.

Dr. Irosha Nawarathne, faculty advisor to Mortar Board, said, “In my opinion, undergraduate research is the best way to accomplish the teaching objectives of a liberal arts college. SCARF 2018 was a wonderful event recognizing the creative work and research efforts of our students while appreciating the support they got from their faculty mentors. While enjoying what we accomplished this year, I look forward to the growth of SCARF in the years to come.”

Mentored by Dr. Irosha Nawarathne, Jordan Trant won first place in oral presentation for her research “Fighting Drug Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis with Modified Rifamycins.” Mentored by Dr. Jonathan Sczepanski at Texas A&M University, Ian Hall won first place for his “Selection of L-DNA Aptamers Against D-Pre-miR-155.”  The runner ups for these categories included Marisa Ayers and Hannah Templin, Rebecca Philpott, Makala White, and Alice Bewley and Luke Shackelford. Other participants included Logan Hunt, Becca Burrow, Emerson Smith and Zachary Hodge, Victoria Hutcheson, and Alexandra Keene.

“I didn’t expect to win,” Trant said, “I tried my best with my presentation, and it was great for all of my hard work to be recognized. It was great to be able to hear what everyone else at Lyon had accomplished, and I hope we can do SCARF again next year!”

Similarly, Hall said, SCARF was an exciting opportunity for students to share their ideas with the Lyon College community. I am honored to have won an award for my poster presentation.”

Mortar Board would like to thank the Lyon community, including its marketing and printing team and Sodexo catering, for its support. Mortar Board President Kristen Blagg said, “I remember attending SCARF two years ago and thinking how awesome it was for students to be able to present their hard work and be awarded for it. It was an honor to be able to organize the event this year.”