Author Archives: ansleighshae

About ansleighshae

Just a college girl who loves Jesus & wants to share Him with everyone

Leaving a Mark on Piedmont

What do a glass, a dented hammer and an unfired ceramic jar have in common? They are all surfaces Tatum Williams dusted for fingerprints in her capstone research in forensic science. Tatum, a senior forensics science and criminal justice double major, gave her capstone presentation on fingerprints on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 during PRIDE day at Piedmont College.

Capstones at Piedmont College represent a culmination of everything a senior has learned in his or her major while attending classes there. Tatum was given the option to choose between a research and experiment-based capstone, but chose to experiment with fingerprints in order to accumulate her research.

“I didn’t have to do the fingerprints,” Williams said. “But it was the more exciting and fun one, so that’s just what I decided to do.”

Williams chose three students and three surfaces to complete her research. As she learned in class, there are three kinds of surfaces: porous, nonporous smooth and nonporous rough. Williams chose to use a glass, a dented hammer and an unfired ceramic jar as her three surfaces for collecting fingerprints.

“My plan was to compare the lifted prints that I took of them (the volunteers) to a set of known prints,” Williams said. “So I had an inkpad and I would have them roll their finger on the inkpad, and then I would roll it on an index card to see. It would be my control of their fingerprint. I did that with their index finger and their thumb.”

After doing the initial set of prints, Williams would ask the volunteers to touch their fingers to their noses, or another oily part of their skin, in order to get the prints to show up more prominently. At first, Williams had some trouble when trying to lift fingerprints.

“I wasn’t getting anything,” Williams said. “I was so confused. I know these are ideal conditions; I don’t understand why I’m not getting anything.”

After chatting with a fellow forensics major, Williams discovered that her problem was that she wasn’t allowing the prints to dry before she dusted them with fingerprint powders. She realized that crime scene investigators don’t explore the scene right away, and that fingerprints under real conditions wouldn’t still be wet when taken in for investigation.

“That’s not how crime scenes work,” said Williams. After deciding to allow 15 minutes to pass before dusting, her results turned out much stronger.

Williams’ hypothesis was that, out of the various powders she used, black powder would work best on each of the surfaces.

“I ended up getting five comparable prints for my glass using my black powder, two comparable prints for my glass using my magnetic powder, one for each using the black powder and the magnetic powder on the hammer, and then I got absolutely nothing on my ceramic jar,” Williams said.

Williams’ hypothesis proved to be mostly correct. The black powder worked best on the glass, but the other two surfaces had an equal amount of comparable prints, making it hard to tell. Although Williams did her experiments under ideal conditions, she treated the process very seriously.

“My role was to be a suspect within the crime scene investigation,” Tamara Morris-Thompson, a senior theatre arts and technical theatre double major and one of Williams’ volunteers, said. “I was participant one. It was weird because I’ve never had any trouble with the law, so being considered a suspect was a weird feeling for me.”

Tony Frye, associate professor of political science and chair of social sciences, was Williams’ advisor on her research.

“My role as faculty is in guiding a student throughout that process (of capstone research), but ultimately the research itself, its development and implementation, is the work of the student,” Frye said. “Tatum’s presentation was a standout among very good presentations. But that is a product of Tatum’s dedication, work ethic, and abilities. She is among our first two graduating senior forensic science students this May, and I think Tatum’s work has set the bar high for future forensic science students.”

Williams used her experiments as a trial and error process, helping her to evaluate realistic situations.

“You only get one chance to collect evidence at a scene,” said Williams. Because she hopes to become a crime scene investigator, this thought stuck with her throughout the process.

Tatum’s research and presentation were a strong representation of her hard work and dedication to forensic science. Along with leaving her mark on the students in attendance of her presentation, Tatum will also leave a mark on Piedmont College as a standard for forensics students to come. Tatum hopes to use her research on fingerprints in her career in crime scene investigation.

Tatum Williams
Tamara Morris-Thompson
Tony Frye

Disaster Drill Story

Piedmont College hosted a disaster drill for the R.H. Daniel School of Nursing and Health Sciences on March 27, 2019. The drill is an annual training assessment for senior nursing majors where junior nursing majors act as victims for the seniors to triage and treat. This year, the drill was a fire inside the Swanson Center for the Performing Arts. The drill began at 10 a.m. and ended around 12 p.m.

media writing disaster drill


Nursing majors during the Disaster Drill in the Swanson Center at Piedmont College / Ansleigh Harrison

Several other departments at Piedmont College were also involved in the drill. The mass communications department joined in the event by sending out journalists and a video production crew to cover and promote the drill. Piedmont College’s theatre department helped by creating wounds out of makeup, ripping up old clothes for the victims to wear and creating pyrotechnical explosions to make the drill as realistic as possible.

“It took me 45 minutes to get this thing entirely smoked up enough to set off the fire alarm,” said John Spiegel, associate professor of theatre. Spiegel, along with Associate Professor of Theatre Henry Johnson, are in charge of pyrotechnics for the disaster drill.

“This is the first time we’ve done it in a building. Normally it’s out either in the amphitheater or in the amphitheater parking lot or around this building (the Swanson Center),” Spiegel said.

Due to the nature of the drill this year, Spiegel said that set up, clean up and set construction processes were much shorter than they have been in the past.

Lisa Buirch, a junior nursing major at Piedmont College, said acting like a victim was easy for her. “I guess I’m sort of a method actor,” said Buirch. “This is a lot of fun for me. I’m really excited to participate and to help in our endeavors.”

There were over 100 victims that participated in the disaster drill. Each victim had makeup on various parts of their body to resemble burns or other wounds caused by the fire, and had specific instructions on how to act during the drill.

“My wound today is a burn to my lower leg and foot,” said Buirch. “I will make eye contact, but I’m unresponsive.”

One senior nursing major, Rachel Hill, described the drill as “chaos.”

“I had a lot of patients who seemed to have some neural status issues like levels of consciousness were altered, lots of psych patients; there were quite a few burn victims,” Hill said. “I had a patient who had some blunt force trauma, trampled patients. It was a little difficult.”

A few first responders, nursing professors and the Public Information Officer for District 2 Public Health, Rob Moore, held a mock press conference for the students acting as press. Karen Greilich, Associate Professor of Nursing, announced during the press conference that, out of the 100 victims, there were 28 fatalities, 29 non-critical patients and 28 moderate to very critical patients.

The disaster drill is a major assessment of senior nursing majors’ training and abilities, but it takes more than just the School of Nursing to pull it off. The disaster drill at Piedmont College not only involves other departments on campus, but also many of the first responder teams in the area, like the Demorest police and fire departments. The annual disaster drill at Piedmont College is a community event that allows both current and future first responders to practice their life-saving skills in a realistic environment.

William Gabelhausen profile story

William Gabelhausen wasn’t supposed to become a theatre artist, but an Aha! Moment in his early high school years caused him to approach the rest of his life with a thirst for the performing arts.

“Somebody said, ‘You wanna try out for a musical?’ And I was like, ‘Heck yeah!’ So I got hooked,” said William Gabelhausen, department chair and associate professor of theatre at Piedmont College. “And then after high school, I debated — I really wanted to do theatre. But the commonsense side of me said I should go into mechanical drafting, which I was really good at. And every male in my family has worked at Caterpillar Tractors, so that just seemed the logical step, but I chose to study theatre.”

Gabelhausen abandoned the family career path to study theatre at Illinois Wesleyan University, and then moved to New York City to pursue his dream. His first day job was at a casting agency called Soble/LaPadura Casting, where he was able to take off work to attend his own auditions when possible. Gabelhausen, who is originally from Peoria, Illinois, moved away after awhile because the city began to make him feel restless.

“Living in the city kind of made me into a person that I didn’t want to become,” said Gabelhausen. “And I had seen other people like that — friends who graduated before me. I felt very hardened. And being from the Midwest, after so many years in New York, I felt very closed in.”

Gabelhausen didn’t let that stop him, however, from experiencing life in the Big Apple— if only for a short while.

“I did a couple other smaller things in New York. I never made it to the big old Broadway,” said Gabelhausen. “But then I got national tours and ended up touring with “A Chorus Line” and “1776.” And then after I did my master’s degree, I toured with “Taming of the Shrew” and “The Elephant Man” and that’s kind of what left me in Atlanta.”

Gabelhausen’s heart, however, lies in education.

“I got my MED (master’s of education) in secondary English education and was very lucky right upon completing that,” said Gabelhausen. “I was hired at Oconee County High School as part-time English, part-time drama (teacher) my first year, and then my second year I went full-time drama.”

During his 11th year teaching at Oconee County High School, Piedmont College reached out to Gabelhausen and he accepted a job, thinking he would only work there for a year. Instead, he fell in love with Piedmont and decided to continue teaching there.

“I really love working with Bill because he is so passionate towards his profession,” said Tyler Vandiver, a junior theatre arts major and student assistant to William Gabelhausen. “The one thing that I admire about him is that he is really caring towards all of his students.”

Gabelhausen uses his professional experience in his teaching and directing methods at Piedmont College to help his students.

“Bill has already taught me so much about the process of seeking jobs in the world of theatre in audition techniques,” said Kaitlyn Echols, a senior musical theatre and theatre for youth double major, and one of the students in Gabelhausen’s audition techniques class. “I’m learning so much, and beginning to feel more and more prepared for graduation in May.”

One show in particular that Gabelhausen directed this past fall is very dear to him for several reasons. Gabelhausen’s passion for directing “A Chorus Line” was contagious and made an impact on the students involved, as well as sparking some old memories for Gabelhausen too.

“The second [Broadway show] I ever saw was “A Chorus Line” and just fell in love with that,” said Gabelhausen. “And I haven’t touched that script really in any way, shape or form until I directed it this season and it brought back some really amazing memories.”

Gabelhausen is a firm believer in using real-life experiences as tools for teaching students the art of theatre.

“Really in any class that I teach here, I try to rely heavily on the real world because that’s the ultimate goal for any student,” said Gabelhausen.

Even though Gabelhausen’s talents and dreams led him to New York City to pursue performing, his heart led him to Demorest, Georgia to teach students the art form he so dearly loves.

“I love that Aha! Moment when, all the sudden, somebody gets something or realizes something,” said Gabelhausen. “That’s very exciting to an educator.”

Source: William Gabelhausen, 706-778-8500 x1320

Opportunity is not a Lengthy Visitor

When I was younger, I was incredibly shy. I hated talking to people I didn’t know, and I often had my independent little sister order for me at restaurants. Despite being shy, my mom knew how much I loved to sing and made me audition for the church musical in the fourth grade. When I realized I was cast as the lead, I was terrified to step out onstage. The minute I did, however, I was instantly at home.


Ansleigh Harrison performs in her first show, Candy Cane Lane, 2007

The shy, awkward, little 10 year-old girl that existed in my body vanished as I sang my first note. The worries of the school day vaporized as I began acting. The stage became my place of peace.

And now schools all over the United States are slowly weeding out several forms of fine arts programs.

In 2012, The National Center for Education Statistics released the results to a nationwide survey that was sent out to k-12 schools during the 2009-10 school year regarding arts education in primary and secondary public schools. This was the first survey taken regarding this topic since the 1999-2000 school year.

The U.S. Department of Education noted that “for theater and dance in elementary schools, the percentages of schools making these art forms available went from 20 percent 10 years ago to only 4 and 3 percent, respectively, in the 2009-10 school year. In addition, at more than 40 percent of secondary schools, coursework in arts was not required for graduation in the 2009-10 school year.”

In just one decade, the importance of arts within schools has dwindled significantly.

The arts are a necessary tool in human development. Whether we notice it or not, we all use some form of art in nearly every aspect of our lives. We use drawings in our explanations, we use music to de-stress or learn certain things, and sometimes we even act a certain way when we are around certain people. It has been proven that learning a musical instrument can actually boost a child’s ability to focus. Art is a form of therapy that allows human beings to express themselves. Although not everyone uses the arts in a therapeutic way, fine arts are still an important part of society. Cutting these programs out of our public schools diminishes the opportunity for students to learn about or pursue the arts.

If I hadn’t been able to participate in theatre and chorus programs in middle and high school, I wouldn’t have realized that I wanted to pursue theatre as a career. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to form a family within the theatre and chorus departments, and I wouldn’t have been as happy had I chosen to pursue my second choice career.

Arts programs give students the opportunity to explore an extracurricular activity that stretches and challenges their minds, as well as their bodies. The shy, awkward, little 10 year-old Ansleigh wouldn’t be where she is today without the arts programs in her high school. Other kids are not as lucky to have been allowed such an opportunity as she, and so many others, had. We need fine arts in schools to round out our students and push them to break out of their comfort zones in order to strive to be the best they can be.

“Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor…”-Cinderella, Into The Woods


Ansleigh Harrison performs her first lead role as the Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods, 2014