Author Archives: jameswhitmer

Piedmont Dating App: Good or Bad?

Could a dating app for Piedmont students be beneficial? Carter Ballstadt and Cameron Earls think it might be a good idea.

The two business students presented their research, “Solving the Dating Problem” at this year’s Piedmont symposium.

“I think the preferences are a big thing when it comes to matchmaking, and if you don’t prefer something you won’t enjoy it when dating,” said Carter Ballstadt.

Ballstadt, like any person, has a preference on who he dates. Many dating apps don’t let users choose a preference of the traits they like about a person. That’s why these two students proposed a Piedmont dating app to match students who have things in common.

“We used a decomposition and abstraction to create an algorithm over them to increase the matches between the students here,” said Cameron Earls.

They used preferences for the decomposition, for example what genders you’re interested in, age and the age range you’re interested in. For the abstraction they used the amount of effort you put into a relationship. The preferences are what you prefer and what you enjoy doing, like your hobbies and interests. 

Other dating apps like Tinder use algorithms by collecting data from each user and mainly focus on their quantity of matches. With the Piedmont dating app, they would focus more on quality of the match, so you could have a longer and lasting relationship. 

“We would have a free setup for the app, as well as a premium account which would cost a little extra,” said Earls.

Like any other app they offer a free account which you can use to get matches, but you don’t get everything offered on the app. They would have other features on the app that would cost some money to get it extra. 

“What you look for in someone with free time and what they’re doing in life is very important,” said Ballstadt, adding that their target audience is for people looking for quality relationships, rather than simply several matches.

“They did a good job, and I thought their idea was very interesting,” said Kim Lovell, professor of business.

Tornado Wipes Out Swanson Center at Piedmont College

A category 3 tornado struck Piedmont’s Swanson center on March 24 causing a catastrophic fire in the building. 

“I had really bad burns to my leg and they still hurt. I was walking through and all of a sudden sirens were going off and then a tornado came through and an explosion happened,” said Katelyn Perry, a person injured in the storm.

It all began around 9 AM that morning. The tornado hit without any warning as the clouds began to swirl when it touched down next to the Swanson Center. 

Many people were rushing inside to seek shelter. Some were unlucky as they were hit with flying debris and were severely injured.

“What was happening inside the building is the fire department was doing their thing, the source of the fire was in the ductwork because some of the ceiling collapsed,” explained Vice President for safety and building management Fred Bucher.

The Swanson center’s airduct system was damaged during the tornado which led to a fire on top of the building. The fire grew rapidly causing the ceiling to collapse with many people inside. Many victims were badly injured by falling debris and treated by the nurses on scene.

Piedmont’s nursing students arrived on scene and quickly got to work tending to the victims. The EMS for Habersham County was on the scene with Habersham County Fire Department and Demorest Police. The nursing students rushed in and out of the burning Swanson Center working tirelessly to help anyway possible.

“They are all tragic events, and we deal them as we can, but I would probably say this disaster was probably a 6 out of 10,” said Floyd Canup, who works for Demorest Police.

Those on scene have seen worse disasters and wanted to make sure they were there for the people who were in need of help. Emergency services wanted to care for the victims and even arrest someone who was trying to steal personal items from the victims. 

“We were not at a total loss, we had people jump on and get things done,” explained Fred Bucher. 

Ultimately, Piedmont is incredibly lucky to have incredible nursing students that can help during a situation along with all the first responders. Without them many victims would not have been treated on time at the scene of the fire and the damage outside the Swanson Center caused by a catastrophic tornado.

Profile Story: Mark Jestel

Mark Jestel, director of residential living at Piedmont College, wanted to be a biology teacher. 

“When I first entered my undergrad, actually got my degree in biology,” Jestel says, adding that his first experience in housing came as he was “making friends with wrong the wrong group of people.”

After getting into housing, he would then become an RA at his college. He would realize that he was actually a good RA and wanted to pursue a career in housing. He would then get his master’s degree in housing, and the rest is history.

“I had never heard of Piedmont before, they extended an offer to me to be able to interview with them,” says Jestel. 

After getting his degree, Jestel would find out how much fun housing would be and how cool all the job placement conferences were. It was very stressful for him having to have many back-to-back interviews with schools. After hitting it off with Piedmont, Jestel would get close with his coworkers and is enjoying his job here at Piedmont, where he has been for more than seven years.

“One of the biggest challenges is be an advocate for students, while also recognizing that this is a business,” he said.

Jestel said he will always back his students up when it comes to things. But he recognizes that this is a job, and he has to make sure they spend money wisely. 

Outside of his job here at Piedmont, he does like to do other things. For example, he says he enjoys frisbee golf, which is a fun sport to play, as well as watching movies. He is also an avid reader. “I read 5 books every month,” he said. 

But he doesn’t have a lot of free time to do other things because he is working on getting his Ph.D. right now.

Jestel is a great at his job here at Piedmont and continues every day to make sure that the students here always have a smile on their face. 

“I realized this is actually something you could do for a living and got my master’s degree in it and the rest is hidtory,” says Jestel.

The Life of James Whitmer

My name is James Whitmer and I am a junior Sports Communications major here at Piedmont. I also play baseball and play first and third base. I am from Lilburn, Georgia where I have lived my whole live. I live with my mom, dad, brother and dog. My dog is a schnauzer poodle and is currently 13 years old. My brother is 23 and graduated from Georgia Tech this past december where he majored in economics. My mom is a teacher who attended the University of Georgia and the University of Vanderbilt. My dad played soccer at a community college but then would work at UPS and he retired there 3 years ago.

Baseball has been my favorite sport ever since I started playing it when I was 4 years old. I have also played basketball from 1st grade to 8th grade and soccer when I was 6 and 12. I attended Parkview High School where I played baseball all four years there. While there, we won a National Championship and 2 state championships in 2018 and 2019. While playing baseball I have torn my labrum which was my sophomore year of high school and broke my foot senior year.

As a kid and during my pre teen years I used to be kinda shy. Once I started middle school I started to talk more I have a lot more friends. In high school and college I have definitely been a lot more out going and like hanging out with friends. One thing I hate now though is being alone. Sometimes I will be alone to do homework or something else, but if I’m alone for awhile I start to get anxious. I have done a lot better to cope with anxiety and panic attacks.

I hope to have a successful life in the future and have a job that does something with sports or in the technology field. I plan to have a family when I’m ready for it and hope that I am wealthy in life. If I do make a good amount of money I will donate some of it to charity. I can’t wait to see what is in store for me in the future.