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Mountain Lines May 2011

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

Zell Miller, ’51, former U.S. Senator and Georgia Governor, will deliver the Commencement Address at Young Harris College’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 11 a.m. in the Recreation and Fitness Center on the YHC campus.

Miller was born in Young Harris, Ga., andattended 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 bachelor's and master's degrees 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.

Miller has served in several appointed positions in Georgia government, including director of the Georgia Board of Probation, deputy director of the Georgia Department of Corrections, executive secretary to the governor of Georgia, executive director of the Democratic Party of Georgia and member of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

He was elected lieutenant governor of Georgia in 1974 and held this position until 1990, marking the longest period of time this position was held by one person in Georgia's history. In 1984, he became chairman of the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors.

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. In 2000, Miller was appointed by Governor Roy Barnes to finish out the term of U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell.

Miller is also an accomplished author and has published numerous books, including The Mountains within Me, Corps Values: Everything You Need to Know I Learned in the Marines,Great Georgians, They Heard Georgia Singing, and Purt Nigh Gone: The Old Mountain Ways.

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.

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 Faculty and Staff Assist Bonner Leaders Program Issue-Based Teams


Fifteen Bonner Leaders worked with five faculty and staff members as part of a new initiative to integrate issue-based teams into the Bonner Leaders Program at Young Harris College. During the spring 2011 semester, four issue-based teams focused on specific topics including the environment, education, minority groups and Appalachian and rural life.

The Bonner Leadership Council, comprised of sophomore history major Jake Davis of Dalton, freshman outdoor leadership major Kinsey Wade of Duluth, junior business and public policy major Ian Calhoun of Young Harris and sophomore business and public policy major Nathan Hughes, facilitated the four teams. Bonner Leaders senior intern Matthew Kammerer of Loganville also helped oversee the teams and served as an administrator for the project.

“The four issues chosen by the Bonner Leadership Council were selected based on how we thought we could bridge several of our community partner sites by one larger, overarching community need,” Bonner Leaders Program Director and Academic Service Learning Program Coordinator Rob Campbell said.

This new initiative brought Bonner Leaders working at several community partner sites together to meet regularly and work on a specific project in the local community. Each issue-based team also met with a community partner representative as well as a faculty or staff member that was selected by the Bonner Leadership Council based on his or her expertise with the identified community need.

“We deeply appreciate the YHC faculty and staff members who have given so freely of their expertise, time and energy and who have made such great connections with the Bonner Leaders with whom they have worked with throughout this process,” Campbell said.

Assistant Professor of Education Mark Brunner, Ph.D., assisted a team focused on education to develop a math tutoring program for Towns County High School students. To achieve this goal, the team developed a proposal that was presented to the school’s principal and ultimately accepted as a pilot program.

“Throughout the year I have admired the participation of the Bonner Leaders in schools as volunteers,” Dr. Brunner said. “I greatly enjoyed working with Rob Campbell, Jake Davis and the issue-based education team. It is inspiring to see our young leaders take an active role in helping area students in need.”

A team focused on Appalachian and rural life assisted by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Ron Roach, Ph.D., helped the Hinton Center for Rural Life develop a display case featuring photographs and literature for the Center’s 50th anniversary celebration. The group also plans to collect oral histories from some of the Center’s clients to incorporate into this working display.

Assistant Professor of Sociology Jen Pemberton, Ph.D., and Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Lynne Grady assisted a team focused on minority groups in developing a gay-straight alliance that will be recognized as a student organization during the fall 2011 semester. This organization will foster mutual understanding and promote awareness and education on human sexuality.

“This initiative supports the mission of Young Harris College to promote the cultural diversity of all our students,” Grady said. “The formation of this organization emphasizes the commitment of the College to provide a safe, caring and effective learning environment by promoting a culture of tolerance on our campus.”

A team focused on environmental issues assisted by Associate Professor of Biology Brenda Hull worked to establish an organic garden with students in after-school programs across the street from the College at Enota Village Apartment Homes.

“The Bonner Leaders will assess these four projects at the end of the semester,” Campbell said. “Based upon these discussions, the Bonner Leadership Council will decide if this initiative is something that the group will continue to develop next year.”

YHC Students to Present Special Production as Part of YHC's 125th Anniversary Celebration

Ten Young Harris College students will present the special original production 125 Years at YHC: You Make Your Own Fun on Thursday, May 6, at 1:30 p.m. that will begin at the statue of Artemas Lester located next to the Clegg Fine Arts Building. This event will take place as part of a year full of celebrations to commemorate the College’s 125th anniversary. The performance is free and open to the public.

Three time-travelling vaudevillians will lead the audience on a theatrical romp across campus and through Young Harris College’s history. The audience will have the opportunity to “meet” former YHC President Charles Clegg, noted poet and YHC alumnus and former instructor Byron Herbert Reece, ’40, and other fascinating figures from the College’s past and present. 

Directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Rachel Chaves, Ph.D., the production features freshman history major Georgiana Sampson of Blairsville, sophomore English major Kendra Cowart of Murrayville, junior theatre major Ashley Loyd of Young Harris, freshman musical theatre major Sierra Vennes of Augusta, sophomore musical theatre major Bekah Medford of Powder Springs, freshman musical theatre major Ashley Johnson of Canton, freshman music major Will Skelton of Hayesville, N.C., sophomore musical theatre major Marvin Hemphill of Buford, sophomore theatre major Paige Crawford of Tucker, and freshman musical theatre major Matt Jones of Hiram.

The production will also include a special performance by musical group Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans, composed of Art Department Chair and Associate Professor of Art Ted Whisenhunt, Religious Studies Department Chair and Assistant Professor of Philosophy Jamie Watson, Ph.D., Adjunct Instructor of English Eloise Whisenhunt, Ph.D., and Darlena Watson.

This program is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts.

Audience members are encouraged to bring an umbrella in case of inclement weather. If weather conditions worsen, the performance will be held in the lobby of Glenn Auditorium.

To RSVP for this event, please contact Dr. Chaves at

YHC students (front row, left to right) freshman musical theatre major Sierra Vennes of Augusta, freshman history major Georgiana Sampson of Blairsville, freshman music major Will Skelton of Hayesville, N.C., (back row, left to right) sophomore musical theatre major Bekah Medford of Powder Springs, freshman musical theatre major Matt Jones of Hiram, and sophomore theatre major Paige Crawford of Tucker will perform in the special original production 125 Years at YHC: You Make Your Own Fun.

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.

ACC 411: Membership Process

In June, Young Harris College will submit an application for NCAA Division II membership. The application will be reviewed by the NCAA Membership Committee and a decision will be announced in mid-July. If accepted into the membership process, the College will be required to enter a candidacy period that will last a minimum of two years.

At the completion of the candidacy period, the institution receives an assessment of its readiness to proceed to the provisional period that lasts a minimum of one year. The NCAA Membership Committee will make a determination to move the institution into the provisional period or ask the College to repeat a year of candidacy.

The move from the provisional period into active membership will be determined upon the final approval of the membership committee and the institution’s readiness for active membership.

For more information, contact YHC Compliance Officer Jennifer Stearsman at (706) 379-5107 or

Faculty and Staff 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. 

Niki Fjeldal, director of orientation and first-year experience, attended the American College Personnel Association Annual Convention in Baltimore, Md., March 26-30.

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.

Deb March, associate library director, had a book review of Web 2.0 Tools and Strategies for Archives and Local History Collectionsby Kate Theimer published in Provenance, the journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists, Volume XXVIII, 2010. March also attended the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Conference in Philadelphia, Pa., March 30-April 2. A division of the American Library Association, the ACRL is a professional association of academic librarians and other interested individuals.

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.