One of the great things about living in Victoria is the opportunity to better educate one's self as an ongoing project.

Victoria College's 2012-13 Lyceum Lecture Series will feature speakers whose topics include the myths of American history, extreme weather, the modern condition of the American Indian and inspiring stories from a nurse who has visited some of the world's worst war-torn countries.

Rick Shenkman, author and expert on American politics, will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 1, at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, says the Victoria Advocate. Shenkman is the best-selling author of "Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History" and most recently, "How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter." Regularly seen on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, Shenkman is an associate professor of history at George Mason University and founder of its popular "History News Network," a website featuring leading historians' perspectives on current events.

Meteorologist and extreme storm chaser Reed Timmer will speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 15, in the VISD Fine Arts Center. As a star on Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers," Timmer became the first person in history to capture high definition video inside a tornado. His book, "Into the Storm," describes how he has intercepted more than 250 tornadoes and a dozen powerful hurricanes during the last decade, including Hurricane Katrina.

At noon, Feb. 7, Sherman Alexie, author and humorist will speak on society and pop culture at the VISD Fine Arts Center. Named by "The New Yorker" as one of the top 20 writers for the 21st century, Alexie has published numerous award-winning books including "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" and "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." His presentation includes tales of contemporary American Indian life laced with razor-sharp humor and biting wit - characteristics also found in his films, including "Smoke Signals," a Sundance Film festival award winner.

Mary Lightfine, a nurse who has provided medical and humanitarian aid in many countries, will be the final speaker at 7 p.m. on April 9, in the VISD Fine Arts Center. After years of working as an emergency room nurse, Lightfine chose to visit Mogadishu, Somalia to experience a new perspective on the human tolls of war and starvation. She recounts some of her experiences in the recently published "Nurses, Nomads and Warlords." Her presentation gives an insider's account of what it's like to bring critical medical and humanitarian assistance to those living in some of the most dangerous, war-ravaged regions of the globe.