Author Archives: anyaolson10

About anyaolson10

A current sophomore Mass Communications major at Piedmont College


WriterAnastasia OlsonContactOlson, AnastasiaTelephone706-778-8500 x1553Cell706-548-8505 x8020Emailjschmitz@piedmont.eduWebsitewww.piedmont.eduFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESeptember 4, 2020

Piedmont Professor Julie Schmitz incorporates Global Hand Washing Day as an attempt to bring awareness to a pandemic struck world. 

Demorest, Georgia, September 4, 2020 – Biology Professor Dr. Julia Schmitz wants to bring a new understanding of proper hygiene to Piedmont students, and Global Hand Washing Day on Thursday, Oct. 15 presents the perfect opportunity.

“You guys are all going to think differently about handwashing now,” said Schmitz.  “You should wash your hands anytime you feel like they aren’t clean.” 

Schmitz emphasized the need to understand how to properly wash your hands, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Global Hand Washing Day on Oct. 15 is an advocacy day created to stress the importance of hand washing. Schmitz wants students to learn the effectiveness of soap and the correct way to wash your hands. 

“Soap is a surfactant that binds to the water and the oil on your hands,” Schmitz said. “When you rinse off the soap you will also rinse off the germs connected to the oil on your hands.” 

Schmitz said it is vital to wash your hands after activities such as going to the bathroom, touching animals and before eating, adding that using the hottest water possible will most effectively kill any harmful bacteria.

Schmitz sees Global Hand Washing Day as an opportunity to add a new understanding of hand washing to students, and on Thursday, Oct. 15, an event will be hosted on campus to promote handwashing.

 “I have my students create their own lab project about handwashing,” Schmitz said. “I want them to design something interesting to them.” 

As a biology professor who is constantly working with germs, Schmitz strives to show her students the impact germs have on society. Schmitz and Global Hand Washing Day have a common theme of asking individuals to design and test creative ways of washing their hands in order to encourage and bring awareness to others. 

Mass Communications Professor Joe Dennis decided to get involved in Schmitz’s activism, helping develop and promote events on campus.

“The evidence is clear that proper handwashing is one of the best ways to combat coronavirus.” Dennis said. “I didn’t realize there were so many places on the hands that people often miss when washing.” 

Global Hand Washing Day is calling all of society to step up their hand hygiene in a critical time. Hand Washing is a priority and the future of the world. For more information about Piedmont events relating to Global Handwashing Day, contact Dennis at

About Piedmont College

One of the most dynamic small colleges in the Southeast, Piedmont is an independent liberal arts college of more than 2,260 students. The college’s four schools—Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Nursing & Health Sciences—develop tomorrow’s leaders by engaging students in the classroom, in their community, and around the world. Founded in 1897, Piedmont offers bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degree programs at its Demorest residential campus in the foothills of the northeast Georgia mountains and at its Athens campus in the heart of Georgia’s Classic City. Information can be found at

Killing Homelessness with Kindness

My dad taught me many important qualities growing up. The most critical lesson he instilled in me was to treat everyone with kindness, no matter their circumstance. 

Growing up in Southern California I was exposed to more than just sunny weather and beach waves. California represents a quarter of the homeless population in the United States, which totals 151, 278individuals. I was exposed to this plight of homeless people on a daily basis.

Near my high school, a fairly middle to upper-class area, stood one homeless person on every street corner. Sometimes there were multiple individuals fighting for one spot because every block for a few miles was taken. Worst of all was driving through downtown San Diego and observing the rows of tents that they called home. My heart always went out to these suffering individuals asking for a day’s work or a couple of bucks to feed themselves. 

553,742 individuals in the United States experience homelessness on any given night. The United States Department of Housing and Urban development estimates that 50% of the homeless population experienced some kind of substance abuse, mental illness or psychiatric disorder that enabled them to build a stable life for themselves. Without proper help these individuals are not given a fair chance to rebuild their lives.  

The most tragic part to me is the stigma towards the homeless population. Most people I’m around simply say, “Well they did it to themselves,” and turn a blind eye from the problem right in front of them. 

I will present a scenario to you. A young adult joins the armed forces, is sent to another country but returns to the US with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They have no way of dealing with their pain because their country did not advise them a way to do so safely. Instead they find their way to drugs, a way to numb the suffering they are feeling. This results in extreme drug abuse and eventually homelessness. In the end, most of the homeless population lacks the proper ways to get help and therefore cannot rebuild their life successful. 

Homelessness is not always the individual’s fault. In most cases they lost control of their body and their mind, and without proper help they were never able to get back on their feet. 

Kindness can present itself in many forms. Maybe it will be giving a homeless person your spare change, leftover food or bag of supplies such as toothbrush, socks and granola bars. Even things such as “How are you doing today?” will brighten the day of someone who receives a lack of kindness.

Homelessness is a serious issue in the United States. The first step in resolving this problem starts with every person holding themselves accountable for their actions and ultimately showing kindness to those who need it the most. 

A Journey to Finding Myself

Throughout my life I have never lived in a stable environment. I grew up in a military family, which included moving every 3 or so years. I have lived in a total of 5 states including Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, South Carolina and California. I had become terribly accustomed to changing schools, making new friends and living in a foriegn area. Life was never constant for me. I could never rely on being in a certain place which meant my life was always up in the air. I’ve been on a journey to find myself while areas in my life continually changed. However, methods of finding myself came from multiple areas in my life. Through soccer, family and sincere friendships, I developed charcatertistics which guided my path towards finding myself.

Soccer has been my ride or die. Soccer has allowed me to discover myself as an athlete as well as a person. I began playing at the young age of 4 years old. As I moved around, I was able to depend on soccer for my social and physical life. I began making new friends easily with every new team I was on. And while making friends, I was in a happy enviornment. Secondly, I was practicing further and increasing my soccer skills. I was now a exceptionally better athlete. I found my passion and my drive through soccer. I also had a weekly activity to look forward to which gave me hope to having a future around soccer. With that in mind, I decided to look at colleges in which I will be able to have a part of me at a future school.

My family has always been an incredible support to me. I credit my success to their supportiveness. My parents continuously encouraged me to follow my passions such as soccer as well as soccer interests. They drove me everywhere I needed to be without a complant. My extended family also supported me by showing interest in my studies as well as coming to any soccer games they could, regardless of how far away they may be. I am forever grateful for my families effort to support me. I could not have made it through any challenges or tough times wihout them by my side.

Lastly, moving to different states gave me the opportunity to come in contact with individuals from different areas of the country. I have friends all around the United States. Although making friends can be challenging and scary, the ones I do have are exceptional and wholesome individuals. My friends put giant smiles on my face while leaving me with a stomach ache from too much laughter. They made me feel purposeful and important which gave me confidence. Having such great friends who supported me and challenged me to become a better person made me feel good about myself. I also discovered that I loved being social and interacting with others, which guided me to knowing I wanted to pursue a career that involved communicating with individuals. Thanks to some great friends, I was able to find a new social and confident aspect of myself.

Altogether, my journey to finding myself has been bumpy, I have prospered due to soccer, family and friends as support. Moving around while growing up is not easy. I learned to make the best of everywhere I moved by turning my experience positive. So, through constant suport and encouragement I was able to develop as a person and find key aspects of myself. Furthermore, the charcateristics I learned about myself eventually led me to Piedmont College. Piedmont College continues to make me a well-rounded individual through Liberal Arts education, playing on the women’s soccer team as well as finding new amazing friends. I am thankful for where my journey has led me.

The Glorification of Mental Illness in Social Media: The Negative Effects on Individual’s Lives.

Demorest, Ga— Social media allows people to remain connected to others at all times, but it can also have to negative effects on individual’s lives. 

“The risk of negative consequences on an individual with mental health are much greater when an individual is constantly online,” Said Abby Cox, a junior Mass Communications major. “Multiple factors like social media lead to mental illness.” 

Cox presented her research, “Beautiful Suffering Turned to Dark Dismay: Glorification of Mental Illness on Social Media,” at The 2020 Piedmont Symposium, held on April 15. Cox recalls misconceptions and misbeliefs of mental illness within the media. Expressing concern for the well-being and mental health of others, she notes the negative impact that social media has on those with illnesses. 

“Belittling the severity of mental illness can make those with mental illness feel belittled,” She said. 

Cox’s words regarded the seriousness of her topic. Cox says the impact that a belittling statement, such as being “depressed” because an individual is unable to attend a concert, has a detrimental effect on a person who is clinically depressed.

“These statements hurt your feelings and make you think that maybe your pain doesn’t matter or isn’t anything serious,” Cox says. 

The more social media romanticizes mental illness, the less likely it is for an individual with an actual mental illness to speak up. An individual’s self-esteem plummets and their health and well-being are harmed. 

“By researching this topic, it has really opened my eyes on how frequently mental illness is glorified through social media,” Cox said, noting that millions of individuals suffer from mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder. “So, the fact that some people are not taking such a thing seriously is disheartening.” 

Cox says that individuals on social media platforms use emotions such as sadness in their photo captions and poses online. Other viewers will look up to these photos and then strive to be ‘sad’ as well. People on social media are not aware of their impact on those who are mental ill. 

Dr. Melissa Tingle, mass communications professor and Cox’s research adviser, said that she has seen social media used as a channel to highlight mental illness. “Sometimes they are constructively written and helpful to others and some lack of false humility and pity that feels like the individual is seeking attention.”

Tingle thinks that some individuals use mental illness in social media as a way to gain attention. Although some people are genuine, others are ignorant to their negative actions on social media. Tingle says that it is best if people are more aware of what they are putting online.

“I had never really noticed the negative impact until now,” Connor Rogers said after watching Cox’s presentation, “I can see now that my friends act sad to seem cool — like it is a popular trend.” 

Rogers recalls hearing his friends throw around the word “depression” as a casual thing. He says that it seems like people want to be depressed because it makes them cooler and edgier than others. 

“People need to realize that mental illness is a real thing that affects millions of people,” Rogers said. “Throwing around terms like depression and anxiety need to stop.” 

Rogers realizes that mental illness is a severe disease and individuals should do what they can to eliminate the glorification in social media. He is willing to do his part in spreading positivity online and around his peers in order to stop the glorification. 

“We have to be careful about what we post and how our posts are interpreted,” Cox said. “We should help stop the things that other people post if they are glorifying social media.” 

Cox calls for the increased spread of positivity on social media as well as more awareness when someone is typing a caption or taking a photo in order to stop the glorification of mental illness.

Cox talks about her ability to impact social media in a positive way. Although she may not be feeling very positive one day, she knows that other individuals who are struggling will need an extra boost to their confidence. 

“I try to spread as much positivity as possible on social media,” Cox said. “Somebody else might need to see it as well, and that could very well turn their day around if they are struggling.”

Building Key Life Skills in A Healthy Enviornment

Demorest, Ga— Teaching key life values in a healthy environment is what motivates Rachel Hines to coach collegiately. 

“I strive to make the atmosphere healthy and competitive,” said Rachel Hines, assistant women’s soccer coach at Piedmont College. “I want my players to learn key attributes they can apply to their life in the future.”

Rachel Hines has worked at Piedmont College for nearly two years now. As a recent graduate and student-athlete from University of Washington, she is able to relate to her players on a deeper level due to the close age gap as well as her collegiate athletic experience. After graduating with a degree in English, Hines decided to jump at the opportunity to coach when she moved to Georgia. Hines has been devoted to soccer her entire life and wanted a new experience by coaching. 

“I had the opportunity to shadow my college coaches,” she said. “I enjoyed that experience and learned some critical coaching skills.” 

Hines realized she wanted to coach from her love of soccer but also her time shadowing her previous coaches. Hines implements her experience as an athlete coming from a highly ranked college. She now utilizes her familiarity of the game as well as learned skills to coach a new generation of players. 

“I want to be a positive role model,” she said. “Every day should be fun and joyful, but also competitive and healthy.”

Hines encourages her players to be competitive on the pitch, while also staying lighthearted. According to Hines, practices should include a certain amount of intensity, as well as fun, in order to keep the space positive.

“I know how stressful college is,” Hines said. “I want the environment for my players to be healthy.” 

Although soccer is an incredibly aggressive and intense sport, Hines works to make her impact positive and safe. Instead of making the environment tense, she strives to relieve the stress of each day and welcome every player to an encouraging atmosphere. 

“I really want to push the girls to be what they can be and take ownership of it,” she said. “Having a joyful and healthy life balance are critical aspects needed for future of my players.”