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Mountain Lines December 2011

Young Harris College Participates in Operation Christmas Child

Young Harris College recently contributed 108 shoe boxes filled with Christmas presents and a check for $250 to Operation Christmas Child, an international outreach project facilitated by Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that aims to provide worldwide spiritual and physical aid. YHC’s participation is organized each year by the Young Harris College Dorcas Society and Inter-Religious Council.

“I love working on this outreach every year because it brings the whole campus together,” said sophomore musical theatre major and Dorcas Society President Emily Espy of Cumming. “It’s amazing to me that despite all our differences and schedules, organizations, teams and individuals can come together to impact children’s lives around the world.”

“We often forget that geographical location does not determine who our neighbors are, but God's heart is global; therefore, we are all each other’s neighbors,” added senior English major and Inter-Religious Council President Amanda Noonan of Smyrna. “Operation Christmas Child provides a present for a child overseas who otherwise may not have had a Christmas. It is also a reminder that the greatest gift is the love of Christ, and that students can impact the world from right where they are.”

Young Harris College’s involvement in Operation Christmas Child began in 1999. Each year, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to make individual contributions or participate in group service projects within organizations or teams.

According to YHC Baseball Head Coach Rick Robinson, participating in Operation Christmas Child is an annual tradition for the YHC baseball team. This year, the team’s 29 players each donated a shoe box that was presented at a special Thanksgiving Chapel service on Nov. 16. 

By using an EZ Give barcode on the label, the baseball team will be able to track each shoe box gift. The team will receive e-mails revealing the destination of each gift, along with information about Operation Christmas Child in that specific country.

“During this special time of year, we try to add a little Christmas love and joy for the children around the world. It’s amazing to think that each of these boxes will bring a smile to a child’s face halfway around the world,” Robinson said. “We have a lot of opportunities to connect with our local community, but this gives us an opportunity to connect with others across the globe. It is such a joy to able to give.”

For more information about Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, visit

(Left to right) Jessie Robinette, a freshman education major from Madison, Caitlin Davis, a sophomore music major from Baxley, Erica Neese, a sophomore religious studies major from Marietta, Kelsey Herbert, a sophomore allied health major from Covington, Dorcas Society President Emily Espy, a sophomore musical theatre major from Cumming, and Sarah Hearn, a sophomore biology major from Cumming, helped collect the shoe boxes in Susan B. Harris Chapel.

The Young Harris College baseball team’s 29 players each donated a shoe box that was presented at a special Thanksgiving Chapel service on Nov. 16.

Young Harris College Athletics Partners with Make-A-Wish Foundation

Young Harris College will host “Breakfast with Santa” tomorrow, Dec. 3, from 8-11 a.m. in the Recreation and Fitness Center to benefit the Georgia & Alabama Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The event is co-sponsored by the YHC Department of Athletics, YHC Recreation and Fitness Center and Waffle House.

Young Harris College student-athletes and coaches will serve breakfast during the event. The cost for breakfast is $5 per person and photos with Santa Claus provided by S & S Pix are $10, with nearly all proceeds benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“The mission of Make-A-Wish is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions and to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. It is our hope that we can assist in providing a ‘dream’ for a local child,” Director of Athletics Randy Dunn said.

In addition to “Breakfast with Santa,” Young Harris College is also partnering with Make-A-Wish Foundation to present “Paws for a Cause” throughout the 2011-2012 basketball season to raise additional funds to benefit a local child.

“Our goal is to generate $10,000 by the end of the basketball season to ensure this child’s wish comes true,” YHC Recreation and Fitness Center Director Sharon Stanton said. “Students are challenged to raise money through their residence halls, clubs and organizations. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to get involved and help this child have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Young Harris College was recently accepted as a candidate for membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division II level, which has a strong tradition of supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.

The Division II National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee led the NCAA in 2003 with its first national community service initiative by embarking upon a fundraiser with Make-A-Wish. Over the course of its seven-year relationship with the foundation, this advisory committee has overseen efforts to raise more than $1.5 million to assist young people with life-threatening health conditions.

For more information about “Breakfast with Santa” and “Paws for a Cause,” call the YHC Recreation and Fitness Center at (706) 379-4472.

Honors Students Participate in Appalachian Trail Restoration Project

Kyle Huneycutt, junior
Communications and Marketing Intern

Sixteen Young Harris College students participated in a new Honors Program course during fall semester named “Writing the Appalachian Trail,” which provided the students with the unique opportunity to engage in a service project on the Appalachian Trail.

On Nov. 19, students hiked on the Slaughter Creek Trail and an old mule trail until they reached the Blood Mountain Shelter, located at the summit of Blood Mountain. This shelter is the oldest on the entire Appalachian Trail and is currently being restored to its original condition. Pack animals used to transport supplies during the refurbishment of the Blood Mountain Shelter caused additional damage to the trails and soil erosion. According to Assistant Professor of English James Bishop, Ph.D., the YHC students’ efforts focused on returning the mule trail to a "natural" state that will discourage future use by horseback riders, mountain bikers and ATV riders, helping to minimize erosion.

“My hope is that this service project gave students a greater awareness of the work that goes into maintaining trails for public use,” said Dr. Bishop. “I hope, too, that the students found the work and the camaraderie with other volunteers enjoyable, since volunteers are always needed to keep these trails open and accessible.”

Although Dr. Bishop has taught English courses with an outdoor/experiential dimension before, this was the first time he taught a college-level course on the Appalachian Trail.

“The original idea for the course came from a group of YHC Honors students, who invited me to offer the course as a one-credit seminar,” Dr. Bishop explained. “As a former A.T. through-hiker, I've spent a lot of time on the Appalachian Trail and was excited about the opportunity to teach this course.”

In the class, students read a variety of material about the significance of walking on or off the Appalachian Trail and shared philosophical discussion. Prior to the service project, students participated in two other hikes along the Appalachian Trail and were required to write reflective essays on their experience.

“I had gone hiking before, but never at this level,” said Grace Patterson, a freshman art major from Blairsville. “The hikes were long and hard, but I felt accomplished when we were finished, and I had a lot to think about by day’s end.”

The service project served as part of the students’ final project, and their final assignment was to write a reflective piece on their experience during the service project and the class in general.

“I have never felt closer to nature and been more aware of my abilities than when I was hiking on the Appalachian Trail,” said Brett Rodgers, a junior English major from Blue Ridge. “I do not think I will ever have another final quite like this one.”

Georgia Appalachian Trail Club President Roy Stallings spoke to the class about trail maintenance.

Honors students enrolled in the course "Writing the Appalachian Trail" work to help return the trail to its natural state.

Sally Petty, a sophomore music education major from Cumming, carries a branch away from the walking path.

Young Harris College Students Return to Asheville for Homelessness Awareness Project

Ali Neese, senior
Communications and Marketing Intern

Eleven Young Harris College students, faculty and staff members kicked off National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week early by making a day trip to the Haywood Street Congregation of Central United Methodist Church in Asheville, N.C., on Nov. 9.

The group participated in outreach activities and heard personally from a former homeless man who had benefited from the church. They had the opportunity to eat lunch with the nearly 300 homeless men and women who came to the church that day, as well as attend the church’s weekly Wednesday service with them. After the service, the YHC group helped with lunch clean up and took some time to process the day with the volunteer coordinator and the minister who started the church.

This is the second time a group from YHC has worked with the Haywood Street Congregation in connection with homelessness awareness.

“This trip came about from one of last year’s S.E.R.V.E. events, where we went to Asheville during YHC’s Homelessness Awareness Week to explore issues surrounding urban homelessness,” said Rob Campbell, Bonner Leaders program director and academic service learning program coordinator. "Last year, we were there over a Saturday and Sunday, but since the church has the meal and the worship service on Wednesdays, we thought it would be neat to come back this year on a Wednesday.”

S.E.R.V.E. (Service, Education, Responsibility, Voice and Engagement) is a task force at YHC that plans and implements campus-wide community outreach opportunities throughout the academic year in collaboration with the Office of Campus Activities, the Office of Religious Life, and the Bonner Leaders Program.

“The trip went very well. A fundamental part of a liberal arts education, I believe, is to build connections and relationships with people and contexts that may seem very different from the people and the contexts with which one grows up, and this trip seemed to do that. I think the trip offered a broader understanding of what church is and what a church can be,” Campbell added.

“The Asheville trip was the most rewarding and touching event I have ever experienced, “said Nathan Hughes, a junior business and public policy major from Young Harris. “The people we interacted with had some of the most profound things to say. I would strongly recommend this trip to anyone who desires to help others and to serve our world and make it a better place.”

Every year, one week before Thanksgiving, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness co-sponsor National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During this week, many schools, communities and cities take part in a nationwide effort to bring greater awareness to the problems of hunger and homelessness.

In addition to the Asheville trip, YHC students had the opportunity to participate in a “Rice Day” on Nov. 16 to raise awareness for global hunger. Diners in Grace Rollins Dining Hall had the option to substitute the regular lunch menu with a bowl of rice equal to what the majority of the world’s population eats for a meal. Nearly $400 saved from preparing regular menu items was matched by Sodexo to purchase food that was donated to the Towns County Food Pantry.

Young Harris College Students and Faculty Attend Adventure Education Conference

Thirteen Young Harris College outdoor leadership majors, Assistant Professor of Outdoor Leadership Drew Cavin, Ph.D., and Instructor of Outdoor Leadership Danae Turchyn recently attended the 19th Annual Adventure Education Conference held at North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C., Nov. 11. The one-day conference allowed students to engage in professional development opportunities and network with current practitioners in the field.

The conference was also attended by faculty members from outdoor leadership programs across the southeastern United States at institutions like Brevard College, Montreat College, Georgia College, University of North Carolina at Asheville and Warren Wilson College, as well as instructors from adventure education programs such as North Carolina Outward Bound and Landmark Learning.

“This conference really solidified the reason I love outdoor leadership,” said senior Zach Thompson of Cartersville. “It showed me that people outside of Young Harris, my professors and peers all have the same convictions I do towards education. This conference really helped me see that I’m doing what I’m meant to do.”

Sessions featured specialized topics related to specific elements of outdoor leadership, from developing marketable job skills, to defining educational philosophy, to starting a fire using a bow drill.

“Students were able to participate in conversations about current trends and issues in the field, allowing them to apply their knowledge to practical, real-world settings,” Turchyn said. “I hope our students came away from the conference inspired to take their skills to the next level and excited by the opportunities that exist for them as future teachers, instructors and leaders in the adventure education field.”

During the conference, junior Callie Stevens, of Clermont, presented a session titled “Experiences in Education” regarding the theories of psychologist and educational reformer John Dewey that included a discussion about their relevancy to today’s outdoor education practitioner.

“I’ve led small groups and taught before, but presenting before a group of my peers and future colleagues seemed like the next step in developing my leadership skills,” Stevens said. “My confidence has definitely increased as a result of presenting at the conference.”

Stevens also recently attended the Annual International Conference of the Association for Experiential Education in Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 3-6, and notes that her participation in these conferences helped solidify her career goal to work in the environmental education field upon graduation.

“I have learned a great deal about myself and the ways I can continue to grow and develop as a leader in the outdoor education field,” Stevens said. “I now know that my passion is teaching children about nature and their connection to the environment.”

Thirteen Young Harris College outdoor leadership majors, Assistant Professor of Outdoor Leadership Drew Cavin, Ph.D., and Instructor of Outdoor Leadership Danae Turchyn  attended the 19th Annual Adventure Education Conference held at North Greenville University.

During the conference, junior Callie Stevens, of Clermont, presented a session titled “Experiences in Education” regarding the theories of psychologist and educational reformer John Dewey.

Young Harris College Students Inducted Into Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society

Fourteen Young Harris College students were recently inducted as charter members of the Alpha Sigma Omicron chapter of the international English honor society Sigma Tau Delta during a special ceremony held in Susan B. Harris Chapel on Nov. 9.

The primary objective of Sigma Tau Delta is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies. The society also recognizes the accomplishments of professional writers who have contributed to the fields of language and literature.

The organization strives to provide cultural stimulation on college campuses, serve society by fostering literacy and promote interest in literature and the English language in surrounding communities. Founded in 1924, the society has more than 800 active chapters.

Election to membership in Sigma Tau Delta is open to undergraduates enrolled as English majors or minors with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0, at least three semesters of coursework completed and a class rank in the highest 35 percent.

The Alpha Sigma Omicron chapter of Sigma Tau Delta is organized in conjunction with the English Majors Organization (EMO) at Young Harris College. Senior Allie Matulia, of Fayetteville, serves as president for Sigma Tau Delta and EMO, while Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Gianfalla, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Hughes, Ph.D., serve as co-advisors for both organizations.

In addition to Matulia, new members include junior Don Bracewell of Alpharetta, senior Linda Budd of Clarkesville, senior Kiara Carchi of Waterbury, Conn., junior Emalyn Cork of Marietta, junior Kendra Cowart of Murrayville, senior Megan Gribble of Hiawassee, junior Naomi Hyde of Talking Rock, senior Ivar Lazo of Lawrenceville, senior Mayeli Medina of Dalton, senior Amanda Noonan of Smyrna, junior Brett Rogers of Blue Ridge, senior Beth Sharpe of Sylvania, and senior Heidi Sherlock of Warne, N.C.

Young Harris College President Cathy Cox and Amanda Lawrence, Ph.D., English department chair and associate professor of English, welcomed the new members during the inauguration ceremony that was held in conjunction with the College’s weekly chapel service.

Charter members of the Alpha Sigma Omicronchapter of the international English honor society Sigma Tau Delta include (front row, left to right) senior Allie Matulia of Fayetteville, senior Megan Gribble of Hiawassee, senior Amanda Noonan of Smyrna, senior Heidi Sherlock of Warne, N.C., (back row, left to right) junior Donald Bracewell of Alpharetta, senior Ivar Lazo of Lawrenceville, junior Kendra Cowart of Murrayville, senior Mayeli Medina of Dalton, senior Kiara Carchi of Waterbury, Conn., junior Brett Rogers of Blue Ridge, junior Naomi Hyde of Talking Rock, Ga., junior Emalyn Cork of Marietta, senior Linda Budd of Clarkesville, and senior Beth Sharpe of Sylvania.

Faculty and Staff Notables

Assistant Professor of Music Karen Calloway and musical theatre majors T’Arica Crawford, a freshman from Buford, and Ashley Johnson, a sophomore from Canton, attended the Georgia Chapter Fall Workshop and Masterclass of the Georgia National Association of Teachers of Singing at Columbus State University, Nov. 4-5. Crawford and Johnson were selected to sing in a session led by guest clinician and Broadway coach Jeanette LoVetri, and Crawford received the Cheryl Boyd-Waddell Award presented to the student who showed the most significant progress at the end of the workshop.

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Jennifer Hallett attended the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association Annual Symposium and Meeting in San Diego, Calif., Nov. 10-12. She also attended the 97th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association in New Orleans, La., Nov. 17-20, and took a short course called “Preventing Intellectual Zombies by Treating Students as Creative Researchers” designed to help professors find new ways to engage students and link concepts to other disciplines and courses. Dr. Hallett also recently became a member of the Society for Conceptual Logistics in Communication Research.

Resident Director Brittany Hopson was recently appointed to the committee for the 2012 National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) South Conference and will serve as the special events coordinator for the organization’s 2012 conference in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Rosemary Royston, ’89, vice president for planning and assessment, chief of staff and instructor of English, served as a panelist during a session titled “Authors of Appalachia” at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2011 Fall Conference in Asheville, N.C., Nov. 18-20. Her poem, “Dictum,” was nominated by New Southerner Magazine for a Pushcart Prize.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Christopher Sass presented a lecture titled “Circle Packing: Combinatorics and Geometry” during the Kennesaw Mountain Undergraduate Mathematics Conference held at Kennesaw State University, Nov. 11-12. Dr. Sass also attended an inquiry-based learning workshop for faculty members during the conference.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Xianzhi (Amanda) Song coauthored a paper titled “Application of Pyrolysis Cryogenic Trap Gas Chromatography /Atomic Emission Detection (Py-CryT - GC/AED) for the Study of Nitrogen Forms and Dynamics in a Grassland Soil” that will be published in the peer-review journal Analytical Letter, Volume 44, Issue 17.

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Natalia Starostina, Assistant Professor of Spanish and French Dr. Isabelle Therriault and senior history major Connie Wallace, of Hiawassee, co-presented a panel at the 83rd Annual Convention of South Atlantic Modern Language Association in Atlanta, Nov. 5. Dr. Therriault presented a paper, titled “Symbolism and Female Subjectivity in Comfort Woman and Breath, Eyes, Memory,” while Dr. Starostina presented a paper titled “Making a Ski Resort Chamonix and Reinventing a New Woman in Post-1918 France.” Dr. Therriault also recently co-authored a volume in Moreto’s Characters Dictionary published in Madrid, Spain. Dr. Starostina also presented a paper titled “Train Travel as Mythmaking: Technology and Bourgeoisie in Interwar France” to faculty and graduate students at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Nov. 14.

Department of Religion and Philosophy Chair and Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. Jamie Watson presented a paper titled “Exploitation and International Clinical Research” at the 13th Annual Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum Conference in St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 3.