Category Archives: Stories

Digital Fabrication Lab

Not known to many people on campus, the Digital Fabrication Lab – also known as the Fab Lab – is where students learn how to manufacture through the process of machines. For students who love to cut things, create things, creatively solve problems and want to know programming and coding, this is the place.

“We can print something three-dimensionally, we can cut something with a laser or we can cut something with a router,” said professor Chris Kelly, Director of Art and overseer of the Fabrications Lab. “Everything in here comes out of the digital world.”

It was brought over to Piedmont by graphic design major Rebekah Kanipe, who took a two-week workshop at Penland School of the Arts and Crafts in North Carolina in 2018. In this workshop, she learned how to use computer aided design and computer aided machining  – also known as CAD and CAM technology – with laser cutting, solely on wood. This year, the program was brought over to Piedmont, and since starting the Fab Lab, Kanipe has made multiple innovative chairs and has taught other students of Piedmont on how to use the items in the lab.

Along with the ability to make innovative chairs, the laser cutter can also engrave to the tiniest detail on the side of a yeti cup. Along with the laser cutter in the fab lab comes a 3D printer, a paper cutter and sensory technology kits.

 “I want to make a lamp you could turn on by licking it,” said Hannah Oliver, who is working on building a lamp that turns on and off by the moisture in the tongue.

Other projects by students using sensory technology are a sensory piano and a rotating ballerina that switches direction with each tap.

“The idea is to solve problems,” said Kelly. “Students come in with problems and solve them.”

One of the main foci of the fab lab is to find solutions to everyday problems. A couple of the students made a cutting board with a measuring cup attachment to measure the food as it is being cut.

“It doesn’t have to be reasonable, it just has to solve the problem,” said Raleigh Wunderlich for her invention of solving the problem for Pringles cans. She plans to have an automated tube that pushes up the snack as chips are taken, as to not get one’s hand stuck half way through eating Pringles.

With Kanipe’s chair, she had to make multiple mockup models to find out if the chair was stable or not before she could make the real, life-size chair.

“It’s not necessarily an art class. It’s not a design class. It’s not a business class.” Said professor Kelly about the Intro to Digital Fabrication course. “But hopefully students from all the different majors can use this course to create stuff for their work.”

The fab lab is not exclusive to one major. Although it may be in the art annex building, the lab is not just for art majors. Theater Major Shanna Ward uses the router cutter to create faster and more efficient sets for plays.

“As we’re discovering what can be made within these walls, the idea is that you can make anything you want with the help of the digital world,” Kelly said.

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Office of the Campus Minister Feature

On an average day at Piedmont College, students pass the Office of the Campus Minister on the third floor of Daniel Hall. The door is usually open as students go to and from class. Some may even notice the “Free Coffee” sign on the student worker desk.

“The Coffee Ministry is highly regarded,” said Laura Alyssa Platé, a sophomore History and Religion/Philosophy double major and student worker.

The Office of the Campus Minister is coordinated by Rev. Tim Garvin-Leighton, affectionately known as Rev. Tim. As the Campus Minister, he is involved in convocation, baccalaureate, and commencement, as well as other programs around campus, such as the Adopt a Child Christmas Program, the 9/11 Memorial Service, and Ash Wednesday. Rev. Tim has also been asked to speak at events in the dorms and during student-led Bible studies. However, he believes there’s more to his job than events.

“We have a counseling service, which many students access and use, but Dawson and Evonne often refer students to me that have spiritual crises,” said Rev. Tim, “and I’m able to connect to the students, faculty, and staff in a way that Evonne and Dawson can’t around those issues, and I think that’s really important.”

This led to Rev. Tim and the student workers in the Office of the Campus Minister to foster a drop-in atmosphere. Student workers like Platé bring in puzzles that anyone visiting the office can work on to de-stress. They also make sure the espresso machine is turned on each morning.

“I feel like every department has their own version, and I’ve sampled the coffee offered just about everywhere on campus, but the Campus Ministry coffee is the best,” said Hadley Cottingham, a sophomore English major. “It’s a great place to vent. Rev. Tim is such a great person, and the student workers there are great people. I always feel like I can just unload there.”

However, Rev. Tim believes the Office of the Campus Minister is under-utilized, and that few students know about it despite its central location and the events around campus the office is involved in.

“We project and present this sort of drop-in model, having the coffee and doing puzzles, those kind of things. Students that know about that access it,” said Rev. Tim, “but I think a lot of students don’t really believe that’s the case, that they really can just drop in, or maybe they don’t understand what that means, so I wish there was a way to foster that sense more.”

Platé said she began working in the Office of the Campus Minister because she was hanging out there anyway, and said “It’s a good place to work and be.” Cottingham believes the office is an important resource.

“People need an outlet to talk about their faith, and the campus ministry is a really good place for it. Rev. Tim is such a kind and open-minded person, it’s really refreshing to be able to talk about those big questions you have towards religion and not be judged for it,” said Cottingham. “I’ve had a lot of questions about God and a lot of anger towards religion in the past few years, and the campus ministry has given me a safe place to figure stuff out.”

Platé also spoke on the importance of the office.

“There’s a lot of great resources that we have in here that students just don’t know about. That can be we have free coffee, and some students don’t realize that to we have people that are willing to talk to you in stressful times,” said Platé, “it’s not as daunting as going into Lane Hall and meeting with a counselor.”

The Office of the Campus Minister launched social media this year, as well as a Vespers service on Sunday evenings. In the fall, it will start a Care Cabinet with hygiene products and school supplies for students who are struggling financially. The Adopt a Child Christmas program has grown since Rev. Tim started working at Piedmont in 2016.

“I want to promote that just because yes, I’m a Christian pastor, yes, the Campus Ministry is sort of intentionally Christian because of our historic connections to the Christian church, but I don’t want people to see me as just the Christian Campus Minister,” said Rev. Tim. “We have more that Christian students at Piedmont. I want people to see that we understand that religious diversity, not just of our campus, but of broader society.”

Byronic to Ironic Hero Pride Presentation

Students brought their A-game to the Lions Pride event last Wednesday.

Mike Adams spoke about the popular HBO series Game of Thrones in a presentation that he calls “Byronic to Ironic Hero.” He came up with the idea based on his love of the genre combined with the suggestion of his advisor.

Dr. Hugh Davis asked Adams to present this literary analysis as a practice run for the upcoming Pop Culture Conference in August. “I thought that he would represent the English department well and I know that he’s planning to do a paper, and hopefully an entire panel on Game of Thrones this fall,” said Dr. Davis.

The seats were full until Adams began his introduction. “If any of you here are Game of Thrones fans – I will be talking a little bit about last Sunday’s episode – so if you have not yet seen it, you might want to exit the room,” he said. About one-third of the room stood up and left. The remaining students and faculty had a brief chuckle before the room went quiet and his video began.

As the audience watched the HBO trailer, Adams drew a diagram on the board that connected the remaining characters with the literary device of Jamie Lannister – each having an ongoing storyline with him.

“Does anyone here know what a Byronic Hero is?” Adams asked the crowd. Only two raised their hands. Both of which were English Professors. Mike explained the term “Byronic” to be like the character Manfred from Lord Byron’s piece “Manfred”.

After the literary device was established, he proceeded to showcase the irony in Jamie Lannister’s character profile. He spoke about the beginning of his fall when he pushed little Bren out of the window and touted “The things I do for love.”

After making this point, Adams made a few predictions for the end of the series, which will air its final episode on May 19th. He predicts that fans will be surprised to find out that the Byronic hero is the Dark Horse. “He’s the Dark Horse contender to become the Lord of Light and overall hero of the series. The obvious choice are the fan favorites, but as Faulkner famously says – “kill all your darlings”.”

Students and faculty were both surprised to hear his predictions and stayed after the presentation to ask questions. “I thought it was great. I never really thought about all of those connections, but he makes a good point. It will be exciting to watch the last episode and see if he [Adams] is right.” said sophomore Keaton Benfield.

Adams is planning to expand on the presentation to prepare for the annual Pop Culture Conference in North Carolina this year. The conference features scholars and students that publishing the journals “Studies in Popular Culture” and “Studies in American Culture.” They meet every year to present and discuss ideas about popular culture, American and world-wide culture. Adams will be part of an extensive panel writing about the Game of Thrones series from a student’s perspective.

“The Lions Pride Exhibition was a great starting point for me to get my feet wet,” Adams said. “I’m really excited to present on something that I am very passionate about and to connect with other GOT fans during this year’s Pop Culture Convention.”

Fire Erupts at Swanson Theater

Nearly 30 fatalities have been confirmed after a fire broke out at the Swanson Center.

Shortly after 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 27, an explosive fire erupted in the theater, setting off fire alarms and throwing people inside the building into a panic. With blaring alarms ringing through the hallways and smoke filling the air, the atmosphere was in disarray.

“I need a Maui!” screamed one victim as the injuries from the explosion were too painful and in dire need of something to relieve the hurt.

Nurses and first responders carried victims out on stretchers and even lifting them up in their arms to secure them to safety.

“Have you seen my daughter?” asked one mother named Maggie in a frantic cry. “Her name is Calliope.”

The explosion left people missing and disoriented. The thick smoke caused people to be separated and lost. Not only were children missing, but also a dog.

“Have you seen my dog, Rover?” continually cried one owner.

At 11a.m. a news conference was held to address the public on any new information. Leading the conference was POI of Public Health for District 2 Gainesville Dave Palmer, along with Lynn Smith of Emergency Management and Chief Jim Andrews of Piedmont College Police Department.

As of now, 28 of the 108 fire victims are confirmed dead at the scene, 28 are in a very critical state and 29 suffered non critical injuries. Injuries range from dazed and minor burns to major burns and broken limbs. There were no further comments from the nurses and first responders at the scene.

“We’re here to assist in any way we possibly can,” said Lynn Smith.

A possible reason for the fire was assumed to be wood and cardboard used for the sets, but nothing has yet been confirmed as it is still early in the investigation. Although it is still unclear as to how the fire started, officials are working to make sure something like this never happens again.

“And I always think it’s wise to look around in neighborhoods and in communities to see what you have in your community that could be a threat,” said Jeffrey Adams. “To stop events like this from ever happening.”

Disaster Drills Down at Piedmont College

An explosion at Piedmont’s Swanson center has resulted in 28 casualties and 100 injuries. “Someone lost their husband and their father,” Emily Bran said as barrels of smoke poured out of the building on Wednesday. so far there are 28 confirmed casualties and at least 100 people injured from a blast that quickly turned into a fully engulfed fire that began in the Theater Department of the building.

Multiple agencies were dispatched to the scene and a request put into Georgia Emergency Management. “We got called out here to an explosion and a fire to assist the local EMA in any way possible,” Dave Shanks, coordinator for Homeland Security said. “Our response time was about 20 minutes.”

AirLife helicopters were landing and taking off in 15 minute intervals transporting multiple critical patients from the scene. “There were a lot of burns and trampled people from other people running out,” nurse Natalie Winters said. “We have a lot of blood trauma and several casualties.”

Chief Jim Andrews of Piedmont College addressed reporters. “Shortly after the fire was reported, we had an explosion also.” he said. “Several agencies are on the scene to assist.”

The call came into the [911] center this morning around 10 o’clock. It was reported that there was a fire and multiple injuries. As things progressed, we were requesting additional units as well as the coroner, mobile morgue, AirLife and power companies,” Lynn Smith, 911 EMS Supervisor said.

Several people were screaming and unsure of what was happening. “He’s brown, his name’s Rover. If you call his name, he’lll come up and lick your leg and that’s when you’ll know it’s him,” Kra Hawke said about her missing service dog – frantically searching amongst the commotion.

Agencies responding included the – City of Demorest Fire, Habersham Medical Center, Habersham EMS, Habersham Fire, Habersham Sheriff Canine Units, EMA Center for Homeland Security, District 2 Public Health and Habersham County Search & Rescue.

“I believe it is way too early for anyone to have an origin or a cause on the fire.” Dale Palmer said.

Amin Abraham-Quiles: I grew, I learned, I got wiser

Amin Abraham-Quiles lost his grandfather his freshman year of high school. Before he died, he told Amin to “always keep a smile on your face,” a quote that would shape the way he lived. Amin Abraham-Quiles, or “AQ the Singer,” is known throughout the Piedmont College campus for his fresh rhymes, great attitude and infectious smile. “I just want to keep everyone around me in good moods. I love seeing people with a smile on their face and I want everyone to be positive,” says Abraham-Quiles.

“Being motivating– that’s kind of my core message that I like to portray with my peers.”After completing his bachelor’s degree in Arts Administration, Abraham-Quiles returned to Piedmont to attain his master’s degree in business. He’s taken a job as the graduate assistant in the Mass Communication department.

“Amin is a firm yet understanding and chill. He’s always willing to work with people’s schedules and help them out,” says Olivia Morley, a senior mass communication major and student worker. “I feel like he’s made the mcom department more relaxed, especially among the student workers.”

He records “Friday Motivation,” a series of short videos via The Roar Instagram each week to inspire those around him, specifically the Mass Communication majors he helps every day in his job.

But his talent and motivation aren’t limited to  Swanson Center office 109. For Abraham-Quiles’ capstone, he released the album “Life of the Afro Kid.” This album reflects on his life, his family, and the messages he wants to share. He began singing when he was just two years old, and his grandfather began to teach him musical skills at this young age.

“I grew up around a lot of Carribean island people, so family was very important there. Family is everywhere. You have to love family, respect family, and learn from them. They’re wise– they have wisdom they can share with you.”

He comes from a Puerto Rican-Haitian background, where the music and family have influenced his life and sound. “I was really inspired by my family and my family’s culture. I really wanted to demonstrate that culture in my album.”

The process of creating “Life of Afro Kid” was unlike any other album. The entire album was recorded in Abraham-Quiles’ Ipswitch dorm, where he’d send his creations to his uncle in New Jersey for mixing. He says that the album was essentially produced through the Internet. This isn’t the only thing that sets the album apart from the average.“Whenever I record something I do it through freestyling… I make it up from my brain, I don’t write it down.” he says. “I just re-record and re-record until I hear the core message that I want to bring to the song.”  

His album is full of different musical influences that make up who he is. “It was a very fusion-esque album that has all different things. It’s not just one genre.” He says. “You can listen to one song and think ‘oh, this is very pop-sounding,’ or another and think it’s very R&B sounding.” He says he wants his listeners to know his work is his when they hear it. “This is very Amin… You’re going to know. I’m introducing myself. It’s this journey that I’m putting you on.”

He decided to donate the album’s proceeds to the Alliance for African American Music in Northeast Georgia, the organization that funds the Lachicotte-Strickland Minority Scholarship. He calls the scholarship “a blessing,” it helped him pay for school in a way he didn’t see coming. “I decided that this album is going to give back to them.”

His charity doesn’t surprise Joe Dennis, chair of the mass communications department and Abraham-Quiles’ supervisor. “There’s a genuine good person behind that smile,” Dennis said. “I wish there were more Amins in the world.”

Spiegel by Day, John by Knight

Piedmont theater professor John Spiegel directs students by day and knights on the battle field by night.

John has always loved the renaissance era. He has studied many of the aspects of such a lifestyle and learned many of the skill people used then. “I’ve always been intrigued by the deep sense of becoming one with nature,” he said. “I know it sounds crazy but somehow it always comes back to living that simple life.”

Spiegel’s current life as a theater professor at Piedmont has kept him busy – not able to spend as much time as he would like in what he refers to as the “simple life.” His days are mixed with show preparation, class structuring and performance evaluations – hardly a free moment for simplicity.

Spiegel makes time for simple life through his annual trips around the country to Pennsic – an event based on the medieval era. Visitors show up with tents, weapons and enough food to get through a week.

“When I go to Pennsic, I get to be who I always dreamed I would be: the knight – in beat up armor,” he said.

Students recognize the knight-like qualities of their professor. “John is the real deal. He truly is royalty – and it shows in his fighting.” said Mike Adams – Junior.

“Yes it is true. My brother is an actual count,” Spiegel said. “Maybe that’s why I love to dress up in armor so much.”

John practices his fighting skills weekly with the Medieval and Renaissance Society club on campus. The group straps on real plate armor and trains as a unit with swords and shields. They participate in arts and science studies from the era as well as heraldry.

“At the end of the day, I am the knight.” he said. “It doesn’t get much simpler than that.”