Senior Derek Lyons wins Rhodes Scholarship

Derek Lyons, a senior from Pullman, Washington, was selected on December 4 as Reed College's 31st Rhodes Scholar. Lyons, a chemistry major who was named a Goldwater Scholar in 1998, is one of only 32 Americans chosen, out of 935 applicants nationwide, to receive this prestigious scholarship.

Lyons has held research positions at Stanford, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Washington State University. "What makes Derek so special is that he is as good in the laboratory as he is in the library," said Reed chemistry professor Pat McDougal, who is advising Lyons's thesis, in which Lyons is attempting to unravel the mechanism of action for the antibiotic bacitracin A. "He has a natural talent for research," McDougal added.

Lyons is the recipient of numerous honors: he has been named a 1996 United States Presidential Scholar, a 1996 Washington State Senate Scholar, and a 1996 National Merit Scholar. While at Reed, he has been active in the community, teaching biology to elementary and middle school students as part of Reed's biology outreach program and leading a Reed orientation trip to work with Habitat for Humanity. Lyons also plays on the Reed squash and handball teams. At Oxford, Lyons plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science, studying artificial intelligence and artificial life. Lyons hopes to use his computer science skills to develop robots that are capable of helping people with disabilities, including his legally blind stepfather. Lyons's parents, Tina and Ron Lorenz, live in Sisters, Oregon.

"Reed has given me so much during my time here, I'm thrilled to be able to share this honor with the college," said Lyons. "I am greatly looking forward to continuing my studies at Oxford, and I hope that this success can begin to repay some of the enormous investment that my professors and family have made in me over the years."

Reed is second only to Williams in the distinction of having produced the most Rhodes Scholars of all colleges of the liberal arts and sciences.

Rhodes Scholarships provide two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. The Rhodes Scholarships, oldest of the international study awards available to American students, were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and colonial pioneer.

Applicants are chosen based on their high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees and provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations. The total value averages approximately $25,000 per year.

Next Page
Next Page