Author Archives: hbolt1015

Death and What the Future Holds

DEMOREST– Studying cadavers, Piedmont student Veronica Cappas may have uncovered a secret that can help future forensic investigations — researchers may be able to better determine the time of death through bacteria. 

At the 2020 Piedmont College Symposium, Cappas gave a presentation on her senior research regarding the possibility of using microbes associated with decomposition to determine the post mortem interval. Her research, the first of its kind at Piedmont, is important as that it is in an area with minimal prior knowledge. Austin thinks that will soon change, and Cappas’ research will be the foundation for future study.  

“You’ll see that over the next decade or so, maybe even the next five years, that Veronica and Veronica’s research is going to be referenced an awful lot as providing that real foundational understanding of the microbial succession during the decomposition process”, Dr. Austin states. 

Cappas, a dual major in biology and forensics, also received guidance from Forensics Professor Bruce Willis. He provided aid with her data retrieval from the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee, as well as field expertise in death investigations and forensic science.

As with any experimental research, there are factors that are out of the researcher’s control. Cappas was able to control much of her data as much of it was indoors or technological, but there was one area that could not be controlled. Willis instructed that they were not able to control the weather in Tennessee or the ambient temperatures of the environment and bodies. During her time at the Body Farm, Cappas detailed several factors that she would not be able to change.

“I could not control how many donors were going to be at the FAC or what states they were going to be in,” she said. “Due to the time constraint of my research, I could do multiple collections. We only had enough time and resources to make one trip to the FAC.” 

Her favorite part of her project was being able to visit and utilize the Forensic Anthropology Center. Cappas would like to go back and expand her sample group if she were to do further research down the road. The goal of her research was to add to the current knowledge and provide valuable information for students coming after her to build off of. Her research was investigative and acts as a building block for future experiments in her fields. 

Whatever her future holds, Austin says Cappas’ groundbreaking research is a testament to her character and predicts great things for the student.

“Veronica is fairly rare in terms of her abilities and her work ethic and her drive. And to be a double major and do the level of research that she has done, be a student-athlete, have a 4.0, gotten into all the graduate schools she applied to … she’s in an enviable position at this point in her career.”

Success is Not Just in Performance

DEMOREST- After 17 years coaching athletes all over the country, Jamie Jimison considers all his athletes success stories.

“It’s hard for me to identify a particular success story,” the head Piedmont cross country and track coach Jamie Jimison said when combing through all his past athletes’ careers,  “With each student I have coached, I’ve tried to understand what their needs are and coach accordingly; and the ones who buy into that are more fun. I’ve had a lot of All-Americans in my career, but watching people develop and grow is more fun.”

Jimison first came to Piedmont College in the fall of 2019. With such a young program that is as successful as it is, he had a lot of expectations from his new athletes and a lot of pressure from the Athletic Department. But this wasn’t his first team. Jimison started his coaching career at the collegiate level, beginning with an assistant coaching job at Berea College and after one year he received his first head coach position at Union College building the small program for five years. Jimison then took a break from collegiate coaching and tried teaching at a middle school in his area for a year. There he realized college athletes and coaching was what he wanted to be doing. He then earned another head coaching position with a young program at Mount Mercy College. He spent nine years building that program to the well- respected level it is at today, even getting a track facility built during his time there. During the summer of 2019, Jimison learned of an open coaching position at Piedmont College and he decided to go for it.

“I was ready for a professional change, and it worked out that Piedmont was also closer to family. Moving to Georgia also provided my family an opportunity for climate change compared to Iowa weather.”

Piedmont was the perfect fit. He loved what the school and athletic program represented. Jimison had worked with small private schools all his coaching career, but only Piedmont College had the administrative support that his other institutions lacked.

During his brief time at Piedmont so far, he has gotten a lot of work done in the program. He’s aided the school in planning and drawing up a blueprint for a brand new track facility coming in the near future. Even with the program progress he’s made, Jimison has had more of an impact on his athletes. 

“Coaching is a lot about numbers, but building relationships and trust is the root of helping folks get better.” 

With the training and coaching Jimison has put in place with the track and cross country programs, many of his athletes have reached goals they never thought possible. Because of the love and appreciation his athletes have for him, and the amount of fun he is having watching his new team be as successful as they are, Jimison is planning on staying at Piedmont permanently where he will continue to make success stories, on and off the track. 

“My biggest objective right now is not to leave Piedmont,” he said. “I like the area, but I also like the program.”

One Foot Out the Door

I’ve got one foot out the door and I’m not looking back. I’m one hundred and twenty days out from graduation, and one hundred and twenty days out from the beginning of my next chapter. Most stories run beginning to end, but mine is going to run the opposite way.

I am a Forensic Science major with an aspiring, and almost within my reach, dream of a career as a Crime Scene Investigator. As most people ask me upon learning my career choice, yes I do have a strong stomach, no it won’t freak me out, and yes I’ve already been exposed to the work. I have been employed by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Banks County Sheriff’s Office, and Piedmont’s very own Campus Police. I have enjoyed every minute I have spent with all of these different departments and have made lifelong friends, mentors, and hopefully future employers. In order to achieve the success I hope to have in my line of work, I am currently awaiting my admission status from Marshall University where I will get my Master’s in Forensic Science with an emphasis on Crime Scene Investigation.

Now, I’m sure you’re confused by the method I choose to tell my story. I do not like to talk about myself, nor share information regarding myself with people I do not know. With that being said let’s dig a little deeper. I run cross country and track here at Piedmont. Running has made me who I am and has been everything I’ve been about for the last decade of my life. In four short months that chapter of “me” will close, and I’m sure I’ll be lost for a time after. I have made lifelong friends through this sport, discovered things about myself I never knew, and developed a strong mentality that will stick with me for the rest of my life. My running career began at Lambert High School in Forsyth County, Georgia. And before those of you who know about Lambert, no I am not like the stereotypes that are associated with that school. I grew up in a house full of boys, three brothers to be exact. I am not a fragile little girl like everyone assumes I am. Living with a bunch of brothers has toughened me up, and I am not afraid to get my hands dirty.

If there is anything you remember about me, it’s this: I love running and animals. I’ve already introduced you to my first love. So, let me tell you a little about my second love. Animals are truly the world’s most precious gift. I am not afraid of any animal, and that’s not because I haven’t experienced them all but more so because every animal has a soft side. I call every dog a puppy regardless of its age. I will always prefer to greet your pets over you (sorry I don’t make the rules, that’s just how it works). I have two godchildren and one child of my own. My godchildren are two pitbulls, and my child is a leopard gecko named Hermes. They are the loves of my life and I spoil them constantly.

That pretty much wraps up the important stuff you need to know about me. Oh, and my name is Haley Bolt (and no I’m not related to Usain).