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Today@YHC April 2011

Alumni Spotlight: Crystal Bailey Gary, '98


For Young Harris native Crystal Bailey Gary, M.D., ’98, it seemed like all roads led to Young Harris College. Gary recalls as a child roaming the campus on her bicycle and taking advantage of all the College had to offer—tennis lessons from Associate Professor of Physical Education Jim Thomas, piano lessons from Adjunct Professor of Music and Accompanist Mary Ann Fox, ballet recitals in Glenn Auditorium and shows at O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium.  

"As a kid, I couldn't wait to get to be a real student at Young Harris College,” Dr. Gary said. “My best friend’s father was the head librarian at YHC, and we used to love exploring the rows of books and then running down to the Little Store for fountain cherry Cokes.”

Dr. Gary was so eager to attend YHC that when the College began offering a program that allowed local high school students to attend math courses during the summer, she jumped at the opportunity. 

"That was my first chance to experience what college was really like. It was also my introduction to what studying was all about,” she said. “I was only 15 years old when I attended those classes so I didn't even have a driver's license yet, but I got to be a Young Harris College student that summer.” 

That experience was all it took to solidify for Dr. Gary that YHC was the place for her. When most of her friends were applying to larger universities, there was no doubt in her mind that YHC would be the perfect stepping stone to other opportunities before she left home to venture into the world. 

Dr. Gary describes her professors at YHC as “some of the toughest and best” she encountered throughout her education, which impressively progressed after she graduated from YHC in 1998 with an associate degree in science.

“I spent many hours sitting at a little desk outside the door of my professors’ offices,” Dr. Gary said. “I have a feeling that desk is still there, loaning a convenient seat to other students struggling with Cavalieri's Principle.”

Dr. Gary earned her bachelor of science degree in chemistry with minors in biology and physics from North Georgia College & State University and her medical degree from Mercer University School of Medicine. 

These days, she is known as “Dr. Crystal” and practices family medicine with her husband, Dr. Tommy Gary, at North Georgia Family Medicine in Blairsville. She attributes her success as a physician to the time she spent at YHC. 

“I owe everything I am to Young Harris College,” Dr. Gary said. “I learned how to work hard and believe in myself. Dr. Nichols always told us to 'fight the ghost of mediocrity.' I learned that if you're willing to put in the time and the work, you really can achieve your dreams.”

Although she remains busy running her medical practice and keeping up with her two young sons, Thomas, 3, and Benjamin, 1, Dr. Gary never forgot her roots. When YHC Director of Health and Wellness Services Linda Kneiss, R.N., asked her to serve as the College’s medical director, she instantly agreed to take on the position. 

“Being able to provide for the students' needs is very important, and many positive advances continue to be made in the College’s health services,” Dr. Gary said. “I love my role as medical director at YHC, because it gives me the chance to help out and give back in a meaningful way.”

In her free time, Dr. Gary and her family remain active members at Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church in Young Harris. On Sunday afternoons after church, the family enjoys spending time at Mayor's Park. 

“Being a mommy is my favorite job—I love my boys! In fact, I'm hoping to indoctrinate my boys with the same love for Young Harris College that I grew up with,” Dr. Gary said. “I want my boys to have similar memories of YHC, both as kids and as college students. Perhaps they will be able to accredit their own future successes to this great College.” 

5 Questions for… Tom Jeffery


The Office of Alumni Services recently posed five questions to Tom Jeffery, who served as a professor of theatre at Young Harris College for nearly 30 years. Find out everything from what brought Jeffery to Young Harris in 1980 to what made him want to stay in the Young Harris area with his wife and YHC alumna Linda Jean Jeffery, ’65, after retiring from YHC in 2009.

What are you up to these days?

While I haven’t involved myself in many structured activities in retirement, I nevertheless seem to stay pretty busy. Most weekday mornings, I join a small group of fellow YHC retirees for coffee, where we cover the full range of conversation, from sports to current events to the meaning of life (we haven’t made much progress on that last one, I’m afraid). Many alumni will remember most of our group—the regulars are Bud Dyer, Dr. John Kay, ’56, Dr. David Franklin, Dale Cochran and a few others who drop by from time to time. In addition, my wife, Linda Jean, and I have lunch at the College’s dining hall during the week where we get to stay in touch with a number of retired and current faculty and staff. 

Since I retired, I’ve spent a good deal of time working online with genealogy, tracking down a number of lines of ancestors that I had not previously known much about. I’ve always been something of a political junkie, so reading several national newspapers and other forms of commentary on the Internet occupies my time as well.

Because Linda Jean and I have always been collectors, we spend a lot of time traveling the back roads and small towns of the southern Appalachians in search of antique shops, thrift stores and flea markets. (L.J. jokes that we are only a few items away from being featured on a future episode of "Hoarders.")

What brought you to the Enchanted Valley back in 1980 and what are some of your fondest memories during your time at YHC?

I taught for 10 years in the 1960s and 1970s at LaGrange College—a school similar in many ways to YHC. Believing that a larger state university system would be a better place to work, I accepted a position with the University of Wisconsin in 1978. I soon realized that I had made a mistake. I truly missed the smaller setting of a private college and the closer relationships with students and colleagues. In the summer of 1980, I received a call from my longtime friends Dick and Marcia Aunspaugh, whom I had known in LaGrange and were both working at YHC at the time. They told me about a faculty opening at YHC, so I quickly drove from Wisconsin to Young Harris, interviewed and began teaching in September.

My fondest memories, of course, have more to do with people than events. In the early 1980s, the number of people employed by the College was considerably smaller than today—around 30 faculty members in 1980. Because of this, I was able to get to know everyone within a relatively short time. I’ll never forget how impressed I was with the dedication and quality of the faculty, both the veterans and the younger ones. I will also always remember how welcome these people made me feel from my very first day on campus.

For most of my years at YHC, the Theatre Department consisted of two faculty members along with some staff personnel. In 1987, Roberta Rankin joined the theatre faculty as artistic director. After guiding Theatre Young Harris for the next 22 years, Robbie and I retired in 2009. Another memorable colleague and friend over the years has been Dale Cochran. Theatre students from the last 30 years will remember Dale’s whimsical scene designs for the children’s theatre presentations as well as his creative designs for many other productions.

My other greatest memories of my years at YHC are of the many students I was privileged to know, teach and work with. My responsibilities in the Theatre Department consisted largely of working with students on the nearly 150 productions that were presented during my time at YHC. Each of those productions is memorable to me because of the students who were involved.  While many of the students who participated in the productions were majoring in theatre, I was always particularly pleased with the number of non-majors who were involved in the plays, both onstage and backstage. Some of our most talented and enthusiastic participants were science, business, art and education majors.

While there have been a number of more specific memorable occurrences during my years at YHC,  certainly the most significant one for me was meeting and marrying my wife, Linda Jean, 26 years ago. 

You earned your B.A. from Elon University and your M.F.A. from Florida State University. You also continued your education at esteemed institutions like Tufts University, Columbia University and Cambridge University. Why was it important to you to continue your education and what did you gain from these experiences?

I was very fortunate to have taught at a college that places a high priority on continuing professional development for faculty. Through the Faculty Development Program at YHC, faculty members regularly assess their teaching competencies in order to identify areas that they would like to enhance. The funding provided through the development program supports faculty activities such as further academic study, participation in professional organizations and travel to conferences. While my study at Columbia University was supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, my summer session at Cambridge University was funded by a Young Harris College faculty development grant. In addition, I received considerable financial assistance from the College when I took a term off for a sabbatical that I spent in England and Scotland in 1996.

The value of these opportunities is significant. After a teacher has completed the several degrees required for admission into the profession, it could be very easy to become tied to the routine and demands of the job at the expense of staying current, energetic and enthusiastic. For me, studying at major universities, traveling to see professional theatre productions and attending the conventions of professional organizations allowed me to stay current in my field, while networking with other professionals whose work and challenges were similar to my own.   

You have been overseeing tours to London for the last decade. Can you tell us more about this?

Robbie Rankin and I conducted the first London theatre trip in March 1990, with nine more trips to follow over the next 19 years. The tours took place during the spring breaks of alternate years and included sightseeing, tours of theatre landmarks and attendance at plays. Some of the sights that we regularly toured were Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane, the Royal National Theatre and the Theatre Museum at Covent Garden. We also made it a point to build in plenty of time for the students to explore London on their own. I was always amazed at how much the students managed to accomplish in that week. 

You still 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 through the years—particularly the Division of Fine Arts that recently added bachelor’s degrees in music, musical theatre and theatre?

Obviously the greatest changes have been in the physical campus. When I arrived in 1980, the Maxwell Center had just been built and Goolsby Center and Dobbs Theatre didn’t come along until 1992. Hillgrove, Enotah and Rollins residence halls and the new Recreation and Fitness Center didn’t exist. All history, political science, psychology and sociology classes were taught in four classrooms on the second floor of Sharp Hall, and English classes were held in the Reid Building, where the west wing of Goolsby now stands. The first computer lab on campus didn’t come along until well into the 1980s and was located in the basement of the Pruitt-Barrett Building.

In 1980, the only intercollegiate sport was tennis and the only athletic field was the current softball field, which was used for intramurals—everything beyond that was woods or pastures. The old swimming pool was used quite a lot because every student was required to pass a swimming proficiency test in order to graduate. The College had a central heating plant that originally burned coal and sent steam heat to all of the buildings on campus. I believe the only air conditioning on campus was in Duckworth Library and, yes, it was really hot in the dorms and classrooms in the late spring and early fall—attending summer school was almost unbearable!

Six different presidents have guided the College since I arrived in 1980. In the fall of 1998 one of the biggest changes of all took place—YHC officially changed from the quarter system to the semester system, losing that wonderful six-week Christmas break and moving the start of the fall term from the middle of September to the middle of August. In 1986, the College celebrated its centennial year with many exciting activities and events. 

The Division of Fine Arts has certainly grown during the last 30 years as well. Since 1980, the number of faculty in the division has nearly tripled and facilities have been added with more anticipated for the future. In 1992, we began using the newly constructed Dobbs Theatre (the “black box”), and Glenn Auditorium has received new sound and lighting systems over the years.

The biggest change of all, however, has been the transition of the College from a two-year to a four-year institution. The bachelor’s degree programs that have been accredited for the music and theatre programs are particularly exciting and have already generated significant enrollment growth in those areas.

With all that the College offers this region—music and theatre performances, art gallery exhibits, athletic events for all seasons and a wide variety of other cultural, literary and educational presentations for the public—Young Harris is truly a great retirement location.  And… I’m already here!    

Dear Alumni,

HOLY SMOKES! You want ME to write a letter for “The Alumni Buzz”?!

Rather than try and highlight a very boring résumé, I decided to review what I remember about my YHC experience leading up to now.

So—how long has it been since you have been on the YHC campus? If your answer is more than a few years, hold on to your hat because it ain’t what it used to be!

I remember when I came to visit YHC for the first time back in spring 1973 and met Bud Dyer in the lobby of Pruitt Barrett after parking my car on the gravel road adjacent to the Susan B. Harris Chapel. It was just an old 1960 Chevy Impala affectionately named “Kruzer.” I still have that old car and bring it to every Alumni Weekend that I can. In fact, I still have the parking sticker on the windshield that was issued from Dr. Hale’s office as well as the Phi Chi decal on the back window. I have a lot of memories in that old car… almost as many as I have at YHC. I am amazed at the number of alumni that see the "Kruzer" and remember it before they remember me.

Never in a million years would I have thought that my time at YHC would have changed my life in the way that it did. I am sure that all of us alumni would agree that there is a lure back to this campus like none have seen since the last episode of "Lost."

After FINALLY graduating from YHC in “1975-ish,” like many of us, I went off to conquer the world. My world was in the U.S. Army and I enlisted to get the G.I. Bill so that one day, I could finish a college degree. I had no idea of the challenges and rewards God had before me in that chapter of my life. As an infantryman, I was able to do what I really liked (I just did not know it at the time) and spent many, many days, weeks and months “in the field.” Now to civilians, that means “camping with rifles,” but to a grunt ranger, that means jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and helicopters and blowing stuff up!  What more could a young man in his 20s ask for?

Well, then the love bug bit me. The love of my life and my true soul mate (who I met during a YHC party at Cupid Falls), Vickie Kent. By far, the best thing that ever happened to me since God blessed us with children was to share my life with Vickie! So after 21 years, many schools, promotions, going from post to post and deployment to deployment and finishing undergraduate and graduate degrees, it was time to look at what life would be like outside the Army.

Vickie and I compared everywhere we lived and visited North Georgia and, specifically, Young Harris. After much prayer and thought (and without jobs), we decided to take the ultimate leap of faith and move back to Young Harris after I retired from the Army. Vickie is a nurse and was able to bounce right into a job. Me… well, it took a while. My graduate degree is in human resource management and it took a while to find the right niche here in this region, but I landed on my feet and we are doing fine.

We bought some land from our dear friends and YHC mentors, Dr. and Mrs. Hale (also known as “Doc” and “Mama”) and chiseled out a piece of heaven where we were able to raise our two children. Both of our children, Robert, Jr., ’06, and Ashley, ’10, jumpstarted their college careers at YHC. Robert went on to North Georgia College & State University. He is on active duty as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and is currently in Afghanistan. After earning her associate degree at YHC last spring, Ashley is currently in Germany on a one-year sabbatical working with Life Teen, Inc., as a missionary in youth ministry.

How many of you wish you could come back to the mountains? From what I hear at the many Connection events and Alumni Weekend, many alumni would love to live here. I look at our life in the mountains as an answered prayer; we are fortunate to be here. Many of our lifelong friends are from my time at YHC. I do have a few really good Army buddies, but most of the folks that Vickie and I cherish were from the bonds of friendship we established at YHC. Having the opportunity to be in Young Harris has enabled me to volunteer with YHC in several capacities—participating in the Alumni Board of Directors and Friends of the Arts, working with the many students that our children have met over the years, businesses and local civic organizations involved with YHC and being here during this phenomenal growth from a two-year to four-year college.

I am a Rotarian, and Vickie and I will be honored to be the host family for a Georgia Rotary exchange program student next year for Young Harris College. From the many athletics events, to a state-of-the-art Recreation and Fitness Center, to concerts and theatre productions, Young Harris College offers so much to the local community.

Life is what you make of it. And living here in the valley is a blessing that Vickie and I cherish. Check out the YHC website—they have a virtual tour, and you may see someone you recognize! If you have not been back on the YHC campus in a while, consider coming back for Alumni Weekend on July 29-31—or just stop by for a cup of coffee in the Office of Alumni Services.

You never know, you may see that old Chevy Impala with an old guy driving it around campus.


Rob Murray

Young Harris College to Host Clay Dotson Open Golf Tournament


The annual Clay Dotson Open golf tournament to benefit student scholarships at Young Harris College will be held on Monday, May 16, at Brasstown Valley Resort.

The tournament will feature the Alumni Team Challenge in which the team with the lowest score will win a special award. Alumni teams of four YHC alumni receive a special discount rate and invitation to a kick-off alumni dinner at Brassie’s on Sunday, May 15.

Amidst all its growth, Young Harris College continues to honor its heritage and tradition of academic excellence. Part of that tradition includes providing financial assistance and scholarships to students.

All proceeds from the Clay Dotson Open are used to provide scholarships for YHC students. Generous support of this annual event allows a new generation of students to achieve their academic pursuits.

“I am proud and thankful to be a recipient of a Young Harris College scholarship. I absolutely love this campus and thanks to my scholarship funds, I can pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian,” said Catherine Ponce, a junior biology major from McDonough. “I am thankful to everyone involved in helping me reach my goals. It is a big weight lifted off my shoulders to know I have help to pay for my education, and it helps make all the hard work I’ve put into it worthwhile.”

Players will enjoy morning and afternoon flights, a complimentary continental breakfast and lunch, an awards ceremony and prizes for low net and low gross categories in each flight and a complimentary team photo.

The deadline to register for the Clay Dotson Open is Monday, May 2.

For more information about this event, visit

Young Harris College Students Complete Mission Trip in the Bahamas

Seven Young Harris College students, faculty and staff members traveled to the Bahamas, March 5-12, to take part in an alternative spring break trip facilitated by the Office of Religious Life. The group volunteered with Bahamas Methodist Habitat (BMH), a building ministry that repairs old houses and builds new homes for local residents on the islands.  

The YHC mission team traveled to Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, where they joined nearly 60 volunteers from additional groups comprised of team members from Methodist-affiliated colleges, universities and community organizations.

“It was wonderful to witness the closeness of the community and the humbleness of the people in the Bahamas,” said sophomore Marissa Thomas of Brunswick. “They were so grateful to have our help and they constantly reminded us of that through their words and actions.”

During the week, the group helped restore the community’s clinic to working order by hanging cement wallboard, pouring concrete pillars for a roof and digging out a bank for drainage. 

“When we were not working on the health clinic, we found ourselves playing with the seemingly ever-present children who popped over from the primary school next door,” Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Religion Rev. Dr. Tim Moore said. “Each afternoon, the team enjoyed the tropical elements of the island—pink sand beaches, abundant conch shells, seafloors littered with sand dollars, variously colored starfish, coral to be snorkeled over, curly tailed lizards and expansive stretches of sand.”  

On Ash Wednesday, the volunteers were invited to an ecumenical worship service organized by the local community in which attendees shared a communal meal, sang songs and shared a memorable moment of fellowship.

“The worship service was a wonderful cultural experience rarely shared by tourists. The service proved more than a valued cultural experience; it was truly a holy moment not soon to be forgotten,” Rev. Dr. Moore said. “That moment of worship served as a fitting summary of the entire week. The team members stretched their expectations of themselves, their abilities, their understandings and their faith.” 

Click here to view all photos of the Bahamas mission trip.

The group helped restore the community’s clinic to working order by hanging cement wallboard, pouring concrete pillars for a roof and digging out a bank for drainage.

YHC Admissions Counselor Kari Webb and Admissions Specialist Kelli Fell pour concrete.

Sophomore Michelle Brun of Kennesaw, sophomore Marissa Thomas of Brunswick, Admissions Counselor Kari Webb, Campus Minister and Assistant Professor of Religion Rev. Dr. Tim Moore, freshman Danielle Ashby of Cartersville, freshman Tim Linley of Cartersville and Admissions Specialist Kelli Fell stand on the Glass Window Bridge on Eleuthra, which is often referred to as "the narrowest place on earth" and separates the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

Senior English Major Receives Fellowship for Graduate School Program


Young Harris College senior English major Eri Pinto, of Sugar Hill, was accepted into Ohio State University’s (OSU) doctor of English program with a concentration in folklore. Pinto also received the Distinguished University Fellowship from OSU that will provide her with a two-year stipend during her studies.

To receive the Distinguished University Fellowship, students must have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.6 on a 4.0 scale, achieve a 75th percentile average on the GRE verbal and quantitative components, and earn a 4.0 on the GRE analytical writing component. 

“I am fascinated by language, and I received a lot of helpful advice regarding my writing from the faculty at YHC during the last four years,” Pinto said. “I decided late last year that I wasn't finished studying, and I applied to OSU in November after Dr. Gianfalla told me about their folklore program.”

“Eri is a very strong student in many fields, and she applied to a variety of graduate school programs in not only English, but also anthropology and comparative literature. The folklore program at Ohio State is unique because it will allow Eri to pursue her literary interests alongside other subjects in which she is also interested,” Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Gianfalla, Ph.D., said.

The graduate program at OSU is a direct admission program, and students are accepted for both the M.A. and Ph.D. programs simultaneously. According to Dr. Gianfalla, who earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from OSU, the institution’s English Department boasts graduate students with eclectic interests.

“A student like Eri will have opportunities to pursue her many academic interests in the English Department and beyond,” Dr. Gianfalla said. “I believe it will be a terrific fit for Eri—OSU will benefit from having her there as much as she will benefit from being there.”

Pinto is a recipient of the Pitts Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship offered by Young Harris College that is awarded each year to the most outstanding incoming freshman in the honors program. 

In April 2010, Pinto was awarded the Outstanding Sophomore Essay Award at the Young Harris College Honors Ceremony. She was also recognized for being awarded First Place in Poetry for her poem “СКВОЗЬ” in the College’s student literary magazine, Corn Creek Review.

She currently participates in the English Majors Organization, serves on the Residence Hall Council for Appleby Hall and works in the Young Harris College Beetle Lab.

“Eri is an excellent reader and writer and has very interesting things to say about literature and its connection to other fields, like science and anthropology. She will certainly succeed at OSU because she will be able to combine her various interests with her analytical reading and writing abilities,” Dr. Gianfalla said. “Eri also prompts her fellow students to think more deeply during class discussions, and she is an excellent peer reviewer. These skills will translate very well to graduate school, as she will be able to use them not only in the classes she takes, but also in the classes she teaches.” 

“Everyone in the English Department is extremely proud of Eri. Her acceptance into the program at Ohio State reflects her natural talent and strong academic work ethic,” added English Department Chair and Associate Professor of English Amanda Lawrence, Ph.D. “We are happy to have been a part of Eri’s educational journey, and we look forward to hearing about her future successes.”

In April 2010, Assistant Professor of English Dr. Jennifer Gianfalla presented senior English major Eri Pinto, of Sugar Hill, with the Outstanding Sophomore Essay Award at the Young Harris College Honors Ceremony.

Young Harris College Students and Staff Attend Leadership Conference


Eight Young Harris College students recently attended the first-ever LaGrange College Student Leadership Conference (LCSLC) in LaGrange, Feb. 26. The one-day conference fostered leadership development by highlighting new skills and approaches to leadership and providing an opportunity for students to network with other campus leaders. 

Director of Campus Activities Rouseline Emmanuel attended the event with YHC student leaders representing various campus organizations including the Campus Activities Board (CAB), Inter-Greek Council, Alpha Iota sorority, Phi Alpha Phi sorority, Phi Delta sorority and Multicultural Club.

“It is a joy to see students taking the initiative to learn skills that will benefit them in the future and their organization as a whole,” Emmanuel said. “I look forward to taking more students to similar conferences next year.”

Sessions featured specialized topics dedicated to specific leadership elements, such as how to run an effective meeting, plan an event, recruit and retain members, train officers and implement teambuilding within an organization.

During the conference, Young Harris College Director of Orientation and First Year Experience Niki Fjeldal and Residence Hall Director Crystal Crouse co-presented two sessions titled “GLEEdership” and “Go for the Goal!”

In addition, YHC Residence Hall Director Stuart Miller and former YHC Student Development intern Jaime Shook, who currently serves as the graduate assistant for the University 101 program at University of South Carolina, co-presented a session titled “New Year, New Leaders: How to Effectively Transition your Organization.”

“This leadership conference was a great way to network and connect with other students that had the same interests as me,” said junior communication studies major and CAB Social Activities Chair Calle Wallace of Hiawassee.

“The leadership conference was a fun way to learn about our individual strengths and weaknesses and attributing those traits to becoming a better leader,” added junior science major and Inter-Greek Council President Sharon Albertson of Carrollton. “Going to the conference was a great way to network with other people in leadership positions.”

From left to right: Director of Campus Activities Rouseline Emmanuel, sophomore Cassandra Quinn of Woodstock, junior Sharon Albertson of Carrollton, senior Tara Shiver of Covington, junior Calle Wallace of Hiawassee, sophomore Nandi Wahid of College Park, freshman Gloria Umana of Dalton, freshman Claudia Del Cid of Dalton, sophomore Maryanne Schramke of Blairsville and Residence Hall Director Stuart Miller.

Young Harris College Bonner Leaders Complete First-Year Service Trip


Eight first-year Bonner Leaders, Director of Campus Activities Rouseline Emmanuel and Bonner Leaders Program Director and Academic Service Learning Program Coordinator Rob Campbell recently traveled to New Orleans, La., March 5-10, to take part in the Bonner Leaders Program’s annual first-year service excursion.

“Rouseline moved here from New Orleans and was extremely helpful in setting us up with contacts and getting us around the city. We could not have made the trip without her,” Campbell said.

The first-year Bonners Leaders that participated in the excursion include freshman communication studies major Ethan Burch of Young Harris, freshman Bekah Herum of Blairsville, sophomore business and public policy and communication studies major Nathan Hughes of Young Harris, freshman biology major Marissa Knoblich of Acworth, sophomore biology major Whitney Marcus of Murphy, N.C., freshman history major Jacob Scarborough of Colbert, freshman outdoor leadership major Kinsey Wade of Duluth, and freshman music major Brian Walker of Power Springs.

The group stayed in the Lower Ninth Ward Village Community Center and met students and staff from colleges and universities across the United States.

“I was truly amazed by what I experienced in New Orleans,” Marcus said. “The devastation from Katrina six years ago continues to affect families today. I am astounded at the number of volunteers and organizations who care enough to travel to New Orleans and help rebuild these families' lives.”

The Bonner Leaders worked with Backyard Gardeners, a non-profit organization whose mission is community building, neighborhood revitalization and cultural preservation through urban agriculture in the Lower Ninth Ward.

The group also worked with the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization that conducts housing rehabilitation and construction for New Orleans residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

“Gary, a New Orleans resident who lost everything in Katrina, told us, ‘What I have today is more than I had yesterday.’ If any of the Bonner Leaders realized anything in New Orleans, it was how fortunate and blessed each one of us is to have everything we need right at our fingertips—and to not take anything for granted because it can all be taken away in a second,” Marcus said.

The group toured the Lower Ninth Ward, including the location where the levee was breached during Hurricane Katrina. The students also visited the headquarters for Make It Right, an organization started by Brad Pitt that aims to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward by constructing safe, sustainable and affordable houses for working families who lost their homes as a result of the hurricane.

“Making this trip was a rewarding experience. Before I went to the Ninth Ward, I didn’t realize how much work was left to be finished,” Burch said. “New Orleans was filled with people who considered their neighbors to be their family. That is the mindset we must all have if we plan to rebuild the city.”

Freshman biology major Marissa Knoblich of Acworth, freshman Bekah Herum of Blairsville and freshman outdoor leadership major Kinsey Wade of Duluth work at the Lower Ninth Ward organic community garden.

The Bonner Leaders are pictured here at the Tomb of the Unknown Slave with Director of Campus Activities Rouseline Emmanuel (second from right) and the group's tour guide and local community organizer Le’Kedra Robertson (far right).

Faculty Notables


Dr. Nick Bowman, assistant professor of communication studies, will present a paper, titled “Binding Americans and separating Germans: The influence of moral salience and nationality on media choices,” at the International Communication Association Annual Conference in Boston, Mass., May 26-31. He will also present a paper he co-authored, titled “Elderly People and Morality in Virtual Worlds: A cross-cultural analysis of elderly people’s morality in interactive media,” at the same conference.

Dr. Keith DeFoor,associate vice president for academic affairs and professor of music, judged the final round of the William and Mary Ann Knight Piano Competition at Shorter College in Rome, Ga., March 7.

Mary Land, senior instructor of music and director of bands, conducted the Region Honor Band in Grand Rapids, Mich., Feb. 18-20. Land also presented the STAR Teacher award for the Pickens County school system, Feb. 24. She served as a certified adjudicator for the Georgia Music Educators Association Large Group Performance Evaluation for District 7 Bands at Cartersville High School in Cartersville, March 9-11.

Dr. Ron Roach, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, presented a paper, titled "The Golden Enemy: Sustainability and the Appalachian Outdoors in the Works of Alexander Key," at the 34th Annual Appalachian Studies Association Conference in Richmond, Ky., March 11-13. Dr. Roach also led a session and screening of Voices: A Documentary Film about Georgia’s Appalachian Poet, a film recently produced by the Byron Herbert Reece Society.

Dr. Amanda Song, assistant professor of chemistry, and four YHC students attended Pittcon 2011, the world’s largest annual conference and exposition for laboratory science, in Atlanta, March 14. The event was organized by the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy.

Dr. Natalia Starostina, assistant professor of history, presented a paper, titled “Nostalgia and Mythologies in Advertising Train Travel in Modern France,” at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies in Charleston, S.C., Feb. 10-12. The presentation addressed ways in which French railway companies generated a set of mythologies to invite residents to explore their country and the European continent by train. Dr. Starostina and three YHC history majors, senior Kristen Servis of Young Harris, junior Jeffrey “Britt” Davis of Calhoun and senior Connie Wallace of Hiawassee, participated in the Southern French History Workshop hosted by UNC Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C., Jan 28.

Dr. Thomas Stearns, history department chair and assistant professor of history, organized a successful recruitment event for current and prospective history majors and minors on the Young Harris College campus, March 1. More than 50 students attended the event.

Rob Sturgess, theatre technical director, will serve as the technical director for the Georgia Shakespeare Festival this summer. The Georgia Shakespeare Festival is a professional theatre company located on the campus of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. The summer season will include The Tempest and Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare, as well as Noises Off by Michael Frayn.

A book co-authored by Dr. Jamie Watson, religious studies department chair and assistant professor of philosophy, titled Critical Thinking: An Introduction to Reasoning Well, was released by The Continuum International Publishing Group in March 2011.