You are here

Today@YHC May 2011

Alumni Spotlight: Ferris Brewer, ’00

Ferris Brewer, ’00, was introduced to Young Harris College by her grandfather, Hoyt Robinson, ’50, during her senior year of high school. Brewer had always planned to move away from her hometown of Dahlonega after graduating from high school and never imagined enrolling in a college that had a lesser population than her hometown. But when her grandfather made her an appointment to tour YHC, she obliged.

“I had driven past Young Harris countless times, but I guess I blinked in passing and never really paid much attention. When we got to the campus, it was rainy, foggy and cold, which sealed my ideas that this was a trip more to please my Papa than to find my future alma mater,” Brewer recalled. “Now I feel forever blessed for that rainy Tuesday tour. I stood in the middle of the lawn under an umbrella in the pouring rain, and I just knew Young Harris is where I belonged.”

Brewer earned her associate degree in business from YHC in 2000 before earning her bachelor’s degree in graphic design with a minor in marketing from Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Fla.

“My favorite memory of YHC is meeting up with all my classmates after class and playing a round of Frisbee golf or throwing a blanket down on the lawn for a study session,” Brewer said. “I also value my Gamma Psi involvement in helping the community, which still thrives in my heart and soul.”

Brewer is the owner of Georgia Girls Boutique located in “The Cellar” on Dahlonega's historic square and loves running into YHC students and alumni while at work.

“I look forward to the young alumni being more involved at Young Harris College, myself included,” Brewer said.

On Saturday, May 14, Brewer will wed fellow Dahlonega native Adam Gilreath at LaPrades Marina on Lake Burton in Georgia. Her bridal party will include her best friend and fellow Young Harris College alumna Erin Shultz, ’00.

According to Brewer, it was “fate” that brought the couple back to their hometown and each other after being away for 10 years, and she looks forward to spending their special day with friends and family.

“I can't wait until my wedding, not just because it's the most important day of my life, but also because I will get to see my Young Harris family. That's really the best way to describe it—a family,” Brewer said. “We don't get to talk everyday or even every month, but we pick up right where we left off every time. These special people I met at this special place will be my friends for the rest of my life.” 

5 Questions for… Dr. Leon Lee, ’55

The Office of Alumni Services recently posed five questions to Young Harris College alumnus Leon Lee, Ph.D., '55. A native of Charlotte, N.C., Dr. Lee returned to his alma mater in 1973 to serve as professor of English. He and his wife, Judith, have been here ever since. Find out everything from Dr. Lee's fondest memory of being a student at YHC to what it's like to live down the street from his alma mater during the College's historic 125th anniversary.

What are you up to these days?

Judith and I are enjoying the freedom from schedules, calendars and clocks that retirement affords. A typical day brings reading, keeping up with e-correspondence, talking to friends and family, watching TV and naps. My wife, Judith does housework and needlework and plays the piano, while I do yard work and photography, especially travel scenes and wildflowers. I have been an avid, though amateur, photographer in my retirement, entering photographs in competition at the Georgia Mountain Fair (and even winning a few ribbons!). Judith and I also enjoy spending time with our five grandchildren: Grace, 17, Samuel, 14, Olivia, 10, Julia, 8, and Susanna, 6. During the last years of my tenure at YHC and since retirement, we have traveled in England, France, Italy, Portugal and Canada. This summer we plan to travel to Montana.

You graduated from YHC in 1955. What made you want to attend YHC and what is your fondest memory of being a student at Young Harris College?

In 1951, my brother entered Young Harris College as a freshman. He had heard of Young Harris from a member of the Methodist church we attended in Charlotte. I visited him here and fell in love with the place. There were no frills, but it was a small, close-knit community. More importantly, my mother was concerned about my growing up in an urban environment, and at Young Harris I could finish my last two years of high school as well as two years of college, as there was a high school division of the College back then called the Academy.

I have many fond memories of my three years at Young Harris. Perhaps first among them are the close friendships I made. We were like a family; the student body was so small that we knew everyone by name—and many by hometown. Most of us were here for an entire quarter without returning home since very few of us had cars. We arrived on campus by chartered bus from Gainesville and left the same way. At graduation, we bawled like babies at the prospect of separation. 

As a student I was very active in theatre at YHC and performed in many productions. During my faculty tenure at YHC, Judith and I were both active in theatre productions with the Licklog Players in Hayesville, N.C., and I also performed in three productions with Theatre Young Harris including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and The Fantasticks.

At Young Harris I was able to thrive, come out of my shell and participate in activities. I especially remember being in Bill Fox’s choir, going on tour and singing at the annual Vespers Service on the top of Bald Mountain as the sun was going down. “Day is dying in the west…”

Can you tell us a little bit about how you met Judith, what brought you both to Young Harris, and the impact Young Harris College has had on your family?

After I graduated from YHC in 1955, I returned home to Charlotte, N.C., uncertain what college to attend next. I wanted something like Young Harris and eventually chose High Point College, a small liberal arts college affiliated with the Methodist Church in High Point, N.C. That was the most important decision I ever made (even more important than coming to YHC!), because it was there that I met Judith. The first time I remember seeing that pretty little brunette was through the window of the dish room when she returned her tray. The next thing I remember is her sewing epaulettes on my costume when I performed in Shaw’s Arms and the Man. It was music that really brought us together. We were frequently together at choir rehearsals and on choir tour. After I graduated in 1957 and she had one year left, we kept in touch. Absence made the heart grow fonder. And fonder. I proposed to her during Christmas in 1957 as we stood beside the kitchen sink of her home in Mocksville, N.C. (Privacy in her small home was hard to come by!) We’ve been together ever since we married in 1958—53 years this summer.

I returned to Young Harris in 1973 to teach English. For me, it was a homecoming. For Judith, it was a big adjustment. She recalls that she had once told me she would go anywhere with me—except South Carolina and Georgia! After a long search, we found a house close to the campus, which we have been remodeling ever since. It’s so close that I could walk to work daily. I didn’t even miss class during the blizzard of 1993 (much to my students’ disappointment). During my tenure at YHC, Judith spent 18 years as advisor to the Dorcas Society and has been active with the local library, serving on both the Mountain Regional Library Board of Trustees and on the Towns County Library Board. 

All four of our children attended Young Harris College. Susan, ’79, went on to graduate from Berry College and from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She is married to Steven Hauser, an attorney with Coca-Cola. Leon Jr., ’82, an attorney with AT&T, graduated from Berry College and the School of Law at Wake Forest College and is married to YHC alumna Charlene Taylor, ’82. Peter, ’88, went on to earn degrees from Berry College and Georgia State University. He is married to Sonja Boyerand works as a systems manager with the Georgia Technology Authority. Rebekah, ’94, graduated from High Point University and has done graduate work at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She is married to Nelson Ricardoand works as a grant manager and grant writer for the City of Winston-Salem, N.C.

You previously served on the ICL board and have regularly taught classes for ICL. Can you tell us more about this?

Once a teacher, always a teacher. In retirement I have enjoyed teaching for the Institute for Continuing Learning that was founded in large part by my Spat Club brother, Dr. John Kay, ’56. I have taught a course each year since retirement, except for this year, featuring many literature-based topics including Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” during the 150th anniversary of its publication in 2004; faith and doubt in the poems of Thomas Hardy, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Lord Alfred Tennyson; philosophical optimism in the writings of Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift and Voltaire; as well as the poems of William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. I also served a two-year term as member-at-large on the ICL Board.

You live in Young Harris and will be right here in the neighborhood as Young Harris College celebrates its 125th anniversary. What has the experience been like of watching the College grow over the years and what do you think YHC brings to the community?

We haven’t been a part of the 125th anniversary festivities, but we do remember the 100th anniversary of the founding of the College. Dr. Kay rode around the gym on a horse portraying circuit-riding founder Artemas Lester, and then-President Ray Farley jumped (or rather, rose) out of a cake! On a more serious note, I remember hearing Apollo astronaut Michael Collins and ex-Senator Eugene McCarthy of Wisconsin speak in Glenn Auditorium. 

I have witnessed a fair amount of change here on campus, but I enjoyed the continuity of the College more than the change. During my 31-year tenure on the faculty, change occurred, to be sure, but it came slowly, piecemeal—the razing of the Reid Building and the construction of the Maxwell Center, the razing of Peele Hall (where I had lived for a while in my student days), the building of the campus wall, the remodeling of Sharp Hall, the razing of the Rich Building and the construction of Goolsby and the construction of Rollins Hall. Other buildings had been built while I was away, of course, but the campus was pretty much the same when I returned in 1973 as when I had left it. I could walk the same sidewalks I walked as a student, climb the same Pruitt-Barrett steps where I had had my picture taken, visit the Little Store and attend Vespers in the same chapel. 

I hope Young Harris will continue to serve the students of the mountain region and the adult community as it has in the past. Now that I am only a member of the community, I really appreciate what the College offers the community—especially the magnificent Music Department.

Dear Alumni,

How do you thank an institution for giving you the gift of incredible teachers, loyal friends and life-changing experiences?

My name is Sylvia McCoy Hutchinson, and I am a proud alumna of Young Harris College. After two years at YHC, I attended several colleges and universities, and I received my Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Georgia in 1976. I spent most of these years teaching students from pre-school to graduate school. For the last 33 years, I have been a professor and administrator at UGA. I’m retired now, but I continue to teach and study at UGA because this provides remarkable opportunities to continue learning and working with students and colleagues. Athens is a great place to live.

It doesn’t seem possible, and yet it is true, that 56 years ago Sandra Sadler Milford and her family drove up to Young Harris to see the little college in the mountains. They graciously included me in the trip. In the fall of 1956, Sandra and I came up to YHC as first-year students and roommates. By the next fall, Sandra was engaged to Dean Milford and wasn’t coming back to school. Mary Ann Garrard, ’58, and I became roommates and lifelong friends. Actually, my family and I think of her as my other sister.

In the late 1970s, when I returned to Georgia after teaching in Texas for two years, I was asked to serve on the YHC Alumni Association Board. Dr. Jimmy Dickerson, who had been one of my professors at UGA, was serving on YHC’s Board and asked if I would join him and other board members in supporting YHC. It didn’t take long for my answer. For more than three decades now, I have served on various alumni boards and am honored to have served as President of the Alumni Board at one time. I have had the privilege of telling prospective students about the Young Harris experience. I have been able to contribute to YHC scholarship funds, building funds, the furnishing of offices, named brick areas on campus and various other projects. It is a privilege to participate in helping others to attend Young Harris College.

Shortly after I moved back to Athens in 1978, I was having lunch with a group of colleagues from UGA. A lady in the restaurant came up to ask if I was Sylvia McCoy who went to Young Harris College. I proudly said that I was and we began a conversation, renewing our old acquaintance from YHC. At one point, she turned to my friends who were patiently waiting for us to finish the exchange and said to them, “Did you go to Young Harris, too?” They responded in unison that they had not attended our alma mater. She immediately said to them, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” I suppose it may be a little pompous to think that anyone who didn’t have our experience at Young Harris is deprived. On the other hand, what a privilege to contribute to opportunities for others who wish to join our YHC family!

This letter began with the question, “How do you thank an institution for giving you the gift of incredible teachers, loyal friends, and life-changing experiences?” The answer is easy!  Make it possible for others to join our YHC family of students and alumni.

Sylvia McCoy Hutchinson

Young Harris College to Confer First Four-Year Degrees During Historic Commencement Ceremony

Former U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor Zell Miller, ’51, to Deliver Commencement Address

Saturday, May 7, will be a big day for Katie Dyer of Hiawassee, but perhaps a bigger one for Young Harris College. That's when Dyer will walk across the stage at the College to receive her bachelor’s degree in biology.

The commencement marks the private school’s 125th anniversary and achievements, including its recently expanded academic offerings. Alumnus, former Georgia governor and U.S. Senator Zell Miller, ’51, will serve as keynote speaker on the historic occasion.

This year’s graduation ceremonies will also provide a sense of accomplishment for the College and President Cathy Cox. Just four years into her presidency, Cox will confer the first four-year degrees in nearly a century.

After making history this May as a member of Young Harris College’s first class of graduating seniors, Dyer will head to Augusta in the fall to begin a new chapter of her life at the prestigious Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) College of Dental Medicine.

Dyer experienced firsthand Young Harris College’s four-year transformation. While she originally intended to move on to another College after two years, her plans changed when YHC announced the arrival of a bachelor’s degree in biology.

“No other college I visited felt like home to me. Within mere weeks of completing my associate degree, I knew after prayer that my heart was with YHC—this was my niche,” Dyer said. “I knew right away that YHC was expecting a lot from the senior class, and this confidence pushed me to do my best. Through the transition, we have all grown into mature, confident students ready to take our next steps.”

During her studies, Dyer worked on research projects related to the dental field. She recently presented her findings regarding fractures and micro-shrinkage in fillings at the Georgia Academy of Science Annual Meeting at Gainesville State College in Watkinsville.

She plans on remaining an active alumna and returning to the North Georgia mountains to work alongside her father, Dr. Ronnie Dyer, at hisprivate practice in Blairsville.

“It means a lot to be one of the seniors who are setting a new standard for YHC students,” Dyer said. “I am grateful for the many opportunities that this College has given me, and it means so much to me to be able to represent the College.”

For most of the College’s 125-year history, Young Harris College only offered associate degrees for completing two years of study within a certain program. That changed in December 2008 when the College achieved four-year status and began to offer its first four-year programs.

On Saturday, 132 students will participate in the graduation ceremony at the Young Harris College Recreation and Fitness Center. Of those, 40 will graduate with a bachelor's degree in English, business and public policy, biology, music and musical theatre, which were among the first four-year programs instituted at the College two years ago.

In August 2010, Young Harris College broke all previous enrollment records with the largest fall enrollment in the College’s history of 819 students on campus. The College plans to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years.

To accommodate the anticipated rise in admissions in conjunction with its growth, the College has developed a 10-year master plan to expand its facilities. Many new building projects recently have been completed, including a 200-bed LEED-certified residence hall and the 57,000-square-foot Recreation and Fitness Center that features a state-of-the-art 1,100 -seat, NCAA-regulation arena that serves as the new home of Mountain Lions basketball. The college’s development plan also calls for a 148-bed “upperclassmen village,” as well as a 125,000-square-foot campus center that will house a new dining hall, student center and library. 

Going forward, the number of students leaving with four-year degrees will only increase as more programs are added at the school, which in turn should attract more overall students to the expanding campus.

This past fall, other majors added included those in communication studies, history, outdoor leadership, theatre and musical theatre. These new majors joined the existing bachelor’s degree programs—biology, business and public policy, English and music—for a total of nine new baccalaureate programs added since the College was awarded four-year status.

Beginning in January 2011, Young Harris College began commemorating its 125th anniversary with a year full of celebrations. The College kicked off the festivities by hosting a Founder’s Weekend. In addition to this new event, many of YHC’s annual rituals and events, including commencement, will serve as special 125th anniversary celebrations throughout the year.

Young Harris College has cultivated a number of successful alumni over its 125-year history, including Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston, ’74, Waffle House co-founder Tom Forkner, ’37, Grammy-winning country music sensation Trisha Yearwood, ’84, Baltimore Orioles first-round draft pick Nick Markakis, ’03, and distinguished politician Zell Miller.

Miller was born in Young Harris, Ga., and attended Young Harris College before serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1953-1956. He continued his studies at the University of Georgia where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in history.

His political career began in 1959 when he was elected mayor of Young Harris. In 1960, Miller was elected to the Georgia State Senate. During his two terms there, Miller also served as a professor of history and political science at Young Harris College.

Elected governor of Georgia in 1990, Miller was a strong advocate of education and is credited with making enormous improvements in the educational system of the state. Since leaving the governor's office in 1999, Miller has taught at Young Harris College, Emory University and the University of Georgia.

Miller currently resides in Young Harris with his wife, Shirley, ’54. He serves as distinguished visiting professor of history and public policy at Young Harris College.

A limited number of tickets are available to the general public through the Office of the Registrar. Call (706) 379-5125 for more information.

Watch Live Online!
Young Harris College is proud to present not only its first baccalaureate degrees in nearly a century, but also the first live streaming of a YHC Commencement ceremony.

For those friends and family members who are unable to attend, Young Harris College will stream live the 2011 Commencement. There will be a link in the center of the Young Harris College website homepage to the commencement live stream video.

The video stream will be activated at approximately 11 a.m. when commencement begins. Viewers will need the latest version of Adobe Flash Player to view the ceremony.    

YHC Students Receive Award from NASA for Participation in Cloud Observation Project

During the spring 2011 semester, 28 Young Harris College students assisted with Students’ Cloud Observations On-Line (S'COOL), NASA Langley Research Center's cloud observation project, as part of a physical geography course taught by Instructor of Physical Geography Baishali Ray, Ph.D. The group recently received a Team Achievement Award from NASA recognizing their contribution to the success of the project.

The S'COOL project aims to collect data on cloud type, height, cover and related conditions from all over the world. Observations are sent to NASA for comparison to similar information obtained from satellite. Reports from a wide range of places help assess satellite data under different conditions.

Students observe and locate vital information through “ground truth” measurements to assist in the validation of Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES), a scientific satellite instrument currently orbiting the Earth as part of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise. Scientists use CERES to study the ways in which clouds may affect the Earth’s climate.

“Our students’ research helps scientists figure out where clouds act to heat and cool the surface, how clouds are changing due to human activity and finally understand the global warming process,” Dr. Ray said.

To establish the “ground truth,” a student makes an observation on the ground at the same time as the satellite. The two observations are then compared to help evaluate how the satellite instrument and the scientific analysis methods are performing.

“Students have gained an extensive knowledge on cloud formation and identification. They have learned the concepts of pressure, temperature, humidity and various other aspects involving Earth and atmospheric science,” Dr. Ray said. “In addition, these students have become part of a scientific team by reporting their observations. This hands-on activity has also enhanced their observation skills.”

Students are still reporting observations to NASA for further verification and analysis. This ongoing project will continue at Young Harris College throughout the 2011-2012 academic year.

Young Harris College students (front row, left to right) freshman liberal arts major David Chambers of Statesboro, junior business and public policy major Ivar Lazo of Lawrenceville, sophomore liberal arts major Bart Arencibia of Hiawassee, sophomore Brianna Amsden of Cumming, (back row, left to right) freshman education major Chad Kremblas of Warne, N.C., junior communication studies major Cassidy Jordan of Byron, junior communication studies major Kelley Lyness of Watkinsville, sophomore communication studies major Matt Wilmer of Loganville, junior business and public policy major Chandler White of Powder Springs, and junior business and public policy major Ian Calhoun of Young Harris record data from a weather station they assembled.

Young Harris College students (front row, left to right) sophomore science major Robert Oesterle of Calhoun, junior theatre major Ashley Loyd of Young Harris, freshman outdoor leadership major Clayton Meeks of Athens, freshman business and public policy major Alexis Maddox of Blairsville, sophomore theatre major Nicole Conrad of Young Harris, sophomore education major Jared Brooks of Loganville, (back row, left to right), freshman business and public policy major Thomas Payton of Blairsville, junior history major Amber Spence of Marble, N.C., and sophomore business and public policy major Matthew Peeler of Williamson record data from a weather station they assembled.

Young Harris College English Major Accepts Internship at Law Firm

Young Harris College sophomore English major Naomi Hyde, of Talking Rock, recently accepted a summer internship with law firm Atkinson & Associates in Ellijay. During the internship, Hyde will learn basic functions of the firm including duties inside and outside the courtroom.

“I was offered this opportunity by one of the associates after speaking with him about my future plans and career goals,” Hyde said. “The firm was looking for a summer intern and approached me about applying for the position.”

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in history from Young Harris College, Hyde plans to attend law school to assist in her goal to obtain a career working for a District Attorney’s office before eventually becoming a District Attorney.

“I hope to do my small part in helping out the community I live in by prosecuting the criminals that come through the circuit,” Hyde said.

Hyde, who currently serves as a member of Phi Theta Kappa and an editor for the College’s Enotah yearbook, believes that a degree in English will be beneficial in helping her prepare for law school.

“I chose to obtain a degree in English because it is something I enjoy so much,” Hyde said. “When choosing my degree, there was no other option for me but English because of the opportunities that are available to students as well as the vast amount of careers to choose from.”

“I was thrilled to h e most thorough and hard-working students I’ve taught at Young Harris College.”

The Swingin’ Medallions and The Tams to Headline Young Harris College Big Dance

Concert to benefit Local Scholarship Campaign

The Young Harris College Board of Associates presents the first-ever Young Harris College Big Dance Saturday, May 21, in the YHC Recreation and Fitness Center to benefit the Young Harris College Local Scholarship Campaign, which provides scholarships for local students. Community members are invited to bring their own food and beverage and enjoy a memorable evening of beach music featuring The Swingin’ Medallions and The Tams live in concert. Doors open at 6 p.m. and music begins at 7:30 p.m. Tables for eight are available for $200, and individual tickets are available for $30. The event is sponsored by Piedmont Heart Institute, Blue Ridge Mountain EMC and Seasons Inn.

“The Young Harris College Board of Associates is very excited to host this brand new event to raise scholarship support for our local students from Towns, Union, Fannin and Gilmer counties in Georgia and Cherokee and Clay counties in North Carolina,” YHC Board of Associates Vice-Chair Angie Kelly said. “The Big Dance provides the perfect opportunity to help YHC students receive the financial assistance they need while also enjoying a fun evening out with friends.”

Famous for their signature beach music sound, The Swingin' Medallions have been based out of the Greenwood, S.C., area since the early 1960s. After a few years of touring colleges from the Carolinas to the Louisiana Bayou, John McElrath took the group to Charlotte, N.C., to record “Double Shot (of My Baby's Love),” which has been a party classic for college students for decades. Top 40 hits for the group include “She Drives Me Out Of My Mind” and “Hey, Hey, Baby.”

The members of the Swingin' Medallions have changed during the last 30 years, but the high energy, party-style stage performance of the first Medallions has been passed down to the band that performs today. The present Medallions stage show has coined them with the name “The Party Band of the South.”

The Tams have been entertaining and thrilling audiences for more than 40 years. Known for such hits as “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy,” “What Kind of Fool,” “I've Been Hurt” and “Untie Me,” The Tams have had two gold records and one platinum single.

Well known in the Carolinas for their signature beach music sound mixed with smooth soul and a touch of rhythm and blues, The Tams perform all over the country. The “Mighty” Tams have been elected into the Beach Music Hall of Fame, the Georgia Hall of Fame and the Atlanta Music Hall of Fame. They have also been named “Beach Band of the Decade.” 

To register for the event online, visit or contact the Young Harris College Office of Advancement at (706) 379-5173. Basket dinners are available for pre-order, or patrons may bring their own food and beverage.

About the Local Scholarship Campaign
More than 150 students from the surrounding counties of Towns, Union, Fannin and Gilmer in Georgia and Cherokee and Clay in North Carolina are currently enrolled at Young Harris College. Reflecting a commitment by the College and the local community to these students, the Local Scholarship Campaign was established to raise funds to support the educational goals of local students at Young Harris College.

The Young Harris College Board of Associates, a 29-member group of local business and civic leaders who serve as ambassadors for the College as well as a sounding board for the community, leads this effort. Each fall the Board of Associates launches the annual Local Scholarship Campaign in an effort to assist in providing aid to the students coming to Young Harris College from these six communities.

Young Harris College Students Observe Near-Earth Objects

Young Harris College students made one confirmation and five observations of near-Earth objects (NEOs) while participating in an international research project as part of a course titled “Beyond the Solar System” taught by Assistant Professor of Physics Arunava Roy, Ph.D. This project is organized by the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC), an international collaboration of colleges, universities and observatories.

“The aim of this project was to expose students to how astronomers work. In this day and age, astronomers rarely sit in front of telescopes; almost all work is done with the aid of computers,” Dr. Roy said. “Moreover, the students could relate what they were learning in class to what they would probably do if they choose a career in astronomy.”

The IASC project allows students to search and catalog potentially hazardous NEOs, or objects that are likely to hit the Earth. Small groups comprised of four to six students analyzed real images using specialized software to detect NEOs.

“This is the first time Young Harris College has participated in a program like this, and it has been very exciting. The students have gained an understanding of asteroids, the potential threat of near-Earth objects, how such threats are identified and possible mitigation,” Dr. Roy said.

According to NASA, an estimated 1,000 asteroids and comets approach the Earth that are larger than one kilometer in diameter and could pose a potential threat. Once a potentially hazardous asteroid is identified, multiple independent observations prove critical in confirming their existence, refining the orbit and assessing the risk.

“Our students have made significant contributions by providing valuable second, third and fourth observations,” Dr. Roy said. “This is important since it determines what constitutes a potential threat. If an object is no longer a threat, it’s dropped from the list so that new objects can be identified.”

Throughout the project, the students regularly received images of the sky from telescopes located at the Astronomical Research Institute in Westfield, Ill., and used specialized Astrometrica software to scan the images and search for NEOs based on specific criteria.

“Most of the time, the automated search feature would not yield much and students had to manually hunt these objects down,” Dr. Roy explained. “This wasn’t easy because these objects are very faint and background stars made the findings all the more difficult.”

A group comprised of sophomore science major Brian West of Blairsville, sophomore communication studies major Andreas Von Pechmann of Munich, Germany, sophomore theatre major Sam Walker of Epping, England, sophomore business major Wezly Barnard of Boksburg, South Africa, and freshman business and public policy major Louis Szabo of Lawrenceville made a second observation of an NEO, confirming the object’s existence and refining the calculations of its orbit.

The same group also made a third/fourth observation of a NEO, as well as a group comprised of sophomore education major Joshua Colwell of Blairsville, sophomore science major Robert Oesterle of Calhoun, sophomore business major Abbey Phillips of McDonough and freshman science major Bennett Yarbrough of Atlanta.

In addition, West independently made three third/fourth observations.

A similar search campaign organized by Dr. Roy will begin during the fall 2011 semester that may also include original discoveries of asteroids found in the Main Belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Sophomore science major Brian West of Blairsville independently made three third/fourth observations.

A student group comprised of (front row, left to right) sophomore business major Abbey Phillips of McDonough, sophomore science major Robert Oesterle of Calhoun, (back row, left to right) sophomore education major Joshua Colwell of Blairsville and freshman science major Bennett Yarbrough of Atlanta made a third/fourth observation of a NEO.

A student group comprised of (front row, left to right) sophomore theatre major Sam Walker of Epping, England, freshman business and public policy major Louis Szabo of Lawrenceville, (back row, left to right) sophomore science major Brian West of Blairsville and sophomore business major Wezly Barnard of Boksburg, South Africa made a confirmation of a NEO, as well as a third/fourth observation of a NEO.

(Front row, left to right) Freshman Enhglish major Daniel Hudson of Murphy, N.C., freshman theatre major Emily Espy of Cumming, freshman outdoor leadership major Elizabeth Land of Thomson, and (back row) freshman history major Kristen Naylor of Calhoun also participated in the project.

Faculty Notables

Dr. Bill Brown, professor of education and chair of the education department, concluded his service on the Board of Examiners team for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission of the University of West Georgia (UWG) teacher preparation program, April 17-19. This National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) review serves as a pilot program for all NCATE reviews in Georgia and will consist of both offsite and onsite components. The offsite portion of this review was completed in January and the onsite visit in April completed the work of the Board of Examiners for UWG.

Dr. Mark Brunner, assistant professor of education, attended the Second Annual Diversity Conference, “Racing to the Top: Moving Diversity Forward to Improve Student Achievement,” at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, April 8. The conference featured student and faculty presenters from Fort Valley State University and Georgia College and State University’s departments of education, highlighting the partnership between the two institutions. 

An essay titled “Ya Mismo” by Dr. Steve Harvey, professor of English,will be published in River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, Volume 13.1, Fall 2011. Dr. Harvey’s essay about the art of letting go was inspired by a trip to visit his daughter who works for the Peace Corps in Ecuador. Dr. Harvey will teach at Ashland University this summer as part of its low-residency M.F.A. program in creative writing, July 23-August 6. During this time, Dr. Harvey will also participate in a reading featuring his memoir The Book of Knowledge and Wonder.

A residence hall at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) was officially named Ronald R. Ingle Hall during a dedication ceremony held on April 15. The CCU Board of Trustees acknowledged YHC Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Ron Ingle for his role as the first president of CCU as well as his enduring commitment to the learning and lives of CCU students.

Janice Moore, associate professor of English, attended a conference titled “Startling Figures: A Celebration of the Legacy of Flannery O’Connor” at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, April 14-16.

Dr. Mark Rollins, associate professor of English, will present a paper, titled “The Profitable Reading of Fancy: Indeterminacy in Under the Greenwood Tree,” at The Thomas Hardy Association conference at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., June 9-12.  Dr. Rollin’s article, titled “Another Way 'The letter killeth’: Classical Study in Jude the Obscure,” will be published in The Hardy Review, Volume XIII, Number 1, Spring 2011, pages 49-63. 

Dr. Jennifer Schroeder, assistant professor of biology, attended the Southeastern Association of Advisors for the Health Professions Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., April 7-10.

Dr. Jody Stallings, assistant professor of biology and biology department chair (on leave), presented a lecture titled “Behind the Tip of the Spear: Efforts to Make Counter-Insurgency Work in Afghanistan" at Young Harris College on April 19.Dr. Stallings currently works for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as a general development officer. He is stationed in the Kunduz Province of northern Afghanistan with a team comprised of a military unit as well as U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Agriculture and USAID officials.

Dr. Isabelle Therriault, assistant professor of Spanish and French, presented a paper, titled “Me, Myselves and I: Magdalena’s Metadrama in Tirso’s La celosa de sí misma,” at the 2011 Association for Hispanic Classical Theatre Symposium on Golden Age Theatre in El Paso, Texas, March 2-5.