Reflecting on the Budding Film Careers of Piedmont University Students: “Mirrors” at the Symposium 

“Mirrors” production team presenting at the Piedmont University Symposium. (from left to right) Megan Schaefer, Caleb Rogers, Anya Olsen, Tyler Goins, Rowan Edmonds, Jordan Hicks and Jessica Sconyers.

Aspiring filmmakers Caleb Rogers and Tyler Goins are collaborating once again to construct a story of self-acceptance in their latest short film project, “Mirrors.”

“Piedmont has undoubtedly inspired my passion for film by allowing me to work with some of the most talented and creative students and teachers,” said Rogers, who has been fascinated by films for as long as he can remember.

“Mirrors,” is a narrative perspective of a young man struggling to find acceptance of his sexuality in himself and others. The first look of the film was presented at the Piedmont Symposium on April 6, 2022. A senior mass communications major, Rogers created the project based off of his personal journey of self-acceptance and is now taking the role of director in the production process.

Rogers is working in collaboration with Goins, who is the director of photography and lead editor of the project. In addition, the two are working with fellow mass communications majors Anya Olsen (assistant director), Rowan Edmonds (screenwriter), Anna Watson (screenwriter), Noah Aaron (screenwriter), Megan Schaefer (producer) and Jessica Sconyers (producer).

Senior Jordan Hicks is starring as the film’s lead – Alec – alongside freshmen Erick Fortner, as the supporting character, Henry. The two actors are tackling the transition of on-stage versus on-screen acting. During the Symposium premiere of the trailer, Hicks shared the adjustment he had to make from the “grand gestures” stage performance requires. Being behind the camera requires restraining some of the instincts he has learned in his life onstage, relying more so on “acting with the eyes.”

In addition to the trailer, a behind-the-scenes look was presented at the event that documented not only the production process, but flourishing relationships among the team. The entire team has taken to considering one another “like family.”

“My goal in making this film was not to win awards, but to tell an essential, compelling, and relevant story about accepting ourselves as human beings,” Rogers said.

Rogers anticipates putting the finishing touches on the script by the end of the semester as part of his television practicum and will finish producing the project in the fall. As for now, the trailer is available on YouTube.

“Mirrors,” is not the first time that Goins and Rogers have worked together. Past projects include “Paranormal Piedmont,” and their award-winning short film, “Overtime.” “Overtime” began as a class project and quickly evolved into something greater than Rogers, Goins, and their groupmates could have anticipated. Originally assigned to practice screenwriting, Rogers and Goins, along with Aaron Palmer, Chris Barker and Connor Creedon partook in a whirlwind production experience that from start to finish took three and a half weeks. Despite such a short production period, the team produced an award-winning piece.

“Tyler wrote the screenplay ‘Overtime’ and five industrious students tackled the production aspect.  They spent a very long week, at all hours of the day and night, shooting in the Swanson Center,” said Professor of Mass Communications, Melissa Jackson, “It was wonderful to watch the camaraderie they developed. The results blew me away!”

The first award the group scooped up for their efforts was a silver Telly Award for the trailer of the film. Jackson submitted Palmer’s final edited version of the film to the Broadcast Educators Association annual competition, unbeknownst to the group, and they were awarded the “Award of Excellence,” placing right outside of third in the narrative film category. The project was recognized alongside entries from much larger schools, including the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, and Colorado State University. This experience has provided the opportunity for a few of the group members to travel to Las Vegas later this month to collect the award.

Looking forward, Piedmont University will be introducing a film major in the fall 2022 semester. The first student of this major will be Schaefer. Despite not being able to study under the major himself, Rogers played an essential role in bringing the major to the university.

As for Rogers and Goins, their bond seems to be one for life.

“Tyler and I are brothers, and I am confident that we will collaborate in the future,” said Rogers.

To view the trailer for “Mirrors,” visit:

Braving Through the Storm With Julia DeMello.

Music is more than an art. It’s also about telling a story.  

Music major Julia DeMello took music to tell a story at the 2022 Piedmont Symposium.  

Doing, “a musical collage to tell the story of a storm,” DeMello focused her research on the Romantic Era, the music of today and her own compositions.  

“I used the music software Audacity to bring all the snippets of music together so they can better flow,” she said as she briefly explained her process.  

Audacity is a free program that records live audio and allows the user to edit audio. DeMello’s presentation investigated the different themes within each song and how each was a steppingstone through the story of the storm. Each song from the different eras was ordered by theme show the process of the story. 

“We are going to go on a musical journey together,” DeMello said as she started her presentation wanting the audience to imagine a storm. “Whether it is a literal storm we’ve seen or it’s a storm inside your head, there is some kind of conflict that is created.”  

DeMello cited her themes: isolation, contemplation, hope, fear, frustration and resolutions. As her soundscape played the audience could hear the flow of the music as it changes between the different sections, and could tell the change of mood as the storm started and then ended. These themes are the emotions one feels when going through a conflict and the process of the conflict being resolved. The presentation was intended to enlighten in a way for the ears to be appealed as the music played for the audience to relate to DeMello’s presentation.  

“There was an incredible level of detail provided via visual, verbal, and musical sources,” said her faculty mentor, music Professor Annand Sukumaran, “The integration and balance between each aspect attests to her craftsmanship and diligence. Julia’s recording of her own piano playing of quartal sequences and live suspended cymbal use added a compelling layer of seasoning. Especially wonderful to see was the connection she found between the musical history of her hometown and the subject matter of our music history class.”  

Sukumaran said he was proud to see DeMello presenting her presentation during the symposium. 

This presentation was for her class in Music History III, and Sukumaran motivated her to present it for symposium. “I encouraged students who submitted especially high-quality work to consider presenting at our symposium and am glad to see Julia pursue this opportunity.”  

DeMello said her project impacted her relationship with music. “It definitely made me think about music in a different way,” she said, adding that being able to sit and really dive into the music, and listening to the small sections, can really be impactful. 

Josey George on Gastroenteritis

By Samantha Carvallo

April 2022

What you do in the bathroom is not something that people like to talk about, but senior applied health science major Josey George got personal while talking about gastroenteritis at the 2022 Piedmont Symposium. 

“Gastroenteritis is a disease caused by pathogens that enter the stomach through contaminated water or spoiled food,” said George. “It was surprising to find how common this disease is in third-world countries. There are roughly 582 million cases per year.”

George went on to add what the effects of gastroenteritis are–dehydration, malnutrition, shock, comas or potentially death–and what treatment options are available for people who have been contaminated with this disease. She also mentioned how gastroenteritis is passed between individuals and the most common symptoms: abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea or fever. George conducted her research along with several other medical microbiology students under the guidance of Biology Professor Dr. Julia Schmitz. 

“[My] students have worked on these projects all semester long,” said Schmitz. “They researched everything about the disease, starting with the causative agent, the symptoms, the number of people who come down with this disease every year, how to treat, prevent it and what happens if left untreated.”

While gastroenteritis is a common stomach flu, Josey George was able to explain her research thoroughly to her audience in a way that wasn’t overwhelming. This is something most health science majors need to know how to do in their career fields, so any health concerns can be explained to the general public.

“For our presentations, we had to design a pamphlet that was written at a high school reading level because that’s what the general public can normally read,” said George. “After my presentation, I hoped my audience learned how to be careful about their water sources they drink from and how to properly store their food.” 

The Medical Microbiology presentations at this year’s Symposium were deemed successful by Schmitz. Her students, like George, had found multiple sources to aid their findings and were able to get through a variety of different diseases within their given time frame. 

“My students did an awesome job and even found information I didn’t know about the different diseases,” said Schmitz. “I also had some students do a disease I hadn’t known about prior to their presentation so I am able to learn from my own students – which I love.”

Men’s Tennis vs. SWU

1). Head Coach Matt Williams getting the team prepared for their huge match against Southern Wesleyan University Thursday. With the match getting ready to start, Matt and the doubles teams play points to stay loose.

2). Chris Bale slapping a backhand down the line to get the point started. The doubles teams play points before the match to have in-match scenarios.

3). Freshman Alberto Nunez getting ready for the match hits a forehand for a winner and is unsure if it’s in or not.

Jamie Jimison Profile Story

Wife, kids, and track and field, this is all Jamie Jimison needs to have a happy life.

“I’ve always enjoyed teaching people and trying to help people do the right things,” Jimison said. “Learn from the things I did right and the things I did wrong.”

The current Director of Track and Field and Cross Country,  Jimison always knew coaching was what he wanted to do, but he never could have imagined how much of an impact he would have on the lives of others. Entering his 3rd year as head of the Piedmont University program, Jimison is no stranger to success, and his track record shows. Having coached 33 NAIA All-Americans and three National Champions is just a sliver of the potential of athletes that he had tapped into before arriving to Piedmont. While here, Jimison has helped lead the Lions women’s and men’s teams to the USA South Conference Championship in 2021. He was also named the USA South “Coach of the Year” . Jimsion cites success in coaching to his love of teaching people.


“I have always gravitated towards the institutional and educational side of things,” Jimison said. “Even when I was young, I was always a person who looked deeper than the athletic side of things, and wanted to know why we could do these things and how can I teach people to be better.” Jimsion has done just that at Piedmont, as last year he coached Alvin Jacobs to his 2nd appearance in the NCAA Division III National Championship meet. Off the track, Jimison says that his family pushed him to be a better person and teacher, daily.

“My wife and I met in college when I was a cross country runner and she was a soccer player,” Jimison said. “ Our trail ran around the soccer field and I told myself that I had to meet her, and the rest is history.”  The couple now have three children, Jensen, Juliet and Jaren. Jimison admitted it’s difficult for him and his wife to balance their busy careers with raising three children, but they make sure that every moment spent not working is a moment in which they both spend time with their family. Jimison has already made a major impact in his coaching career, and he hopes his teaching will stick with those he encounters for years to come. “I have always gravitated towards coaching, even as a high schooler coaching a little league baseball team,” he said.  “It’s just something I am really invested in.”

story profile

Kayla Lathon 

Story profile  


For Dr, Aretha Ketch, Piedmont is all about family.  

 Born and raised in Habersham County, she was a natural fit, although her first appointment was not in her field. “Actually, I began working at Piedmont in the music department, because there were no openings in the chemistry department.” 

Both of Ketch’s parents are Piedmont alumni, and her daughter also attends Piedmont. Ketch knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was a child.  

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, “she said.” When I was little, I would play teacher and students with my dolls. For 25 years I have been teaching, I took a little break when my kids were born, and I returned and got straight back into It.  

Chemistry was not her first choice, though Ketch took a tour of all the sciences before settling on chemistry.“I started out as a biology major, because I thought I wanted to do a pre-med, but I decided I didn’t want to do pre-med and I was really interested in physics. I took a chemistry class and I really loved it, so it stuck with me. So that’s how I became a chemistry teacher “. 

Ketch loves teaching chemistry at Piedmont University. She loves the small school and the dynamic of a small college. Dr.Ketch says that “I’m happy Here”             

Gabriel Gutierrez, Once A Lion, Always Part of The Pride.

Gabriel Gutierrez

From North Carolina to Georgia, Gabriel Gutierrez is here, and he is not going anywhere.  

“I am the only one here in Georgia in my family,” said Gutierrez, a first-generation college graduate and a part of the Piedmont community since 2014.  

Gabriel Gutierrez left his home state to study at Piedmont University in 2014. It was a big step for him and his family because he would be staying in an unknown place without having his family close for support. “Family is significant to me because it has shown the value of love and appreciation. I come from a big family, and we all have stayed together through thick and thin. We support each other, and we try to help each other out as much as we can when we can,” he said which made the decision even more difficult. Nonetheless, his admissions advisor gave a welcoming idea of Piedmont’s possibility of being a home for him, so he started his journey to Piedmont. He was initially going to stay for a couple of semesters; however, Gutierrez fell in love with the campus environment and the job he was offered. So, he decided to stay in Georgia. 

“It can be a new chapter, a new experience, so that was one of the big reasons that I decided to stay,” he said.  

Although Gutierrez had a chance to go back to North Carolina, he decided to stay due to the new job in admissions he received at the time. He wanted to help Hispanic students with the college process and he took charge of an event done at Piedmont called Día de Familia. He wanted to make a difference by working with students of the same ethnicity and help guide them with situations or issues he knew they would go through, because he was in their shoes once. From being a student at Piedmont to now working for the undergraduate admissions department, he has the resources to give these students needed. Gutierrez said, “One of the major things I have seen is helping parents understand the college process and financial aid information. I have helped the Hispanic community by continuing to host Día de la Familia and adding new things that I know are important to know when going through the college process.” He not only works with students but also acknowledges parents since they are also in need of help.  

“I have grown as a professional,” Gutierrez said.  Being part of Piedmont has taught him many things throughout the years.

Throughout his time at Piedmont, Gutierrez has taken opportunities to grow as a person. Especially when comparing what he used to do back in North Carolina, he has strengthened his people skills due to the interaction with students and colleagues. Gutierrez also learned to be versatile by staying up to date with any question a student might bring depending on their situation. He has created a sense of home with Piedmont.  

Even if Gutierrez is in a good place in his life right now, there was a time when no one believed he could go to college. He has turned the tables as he has now graduated from Piedmont and is turning the page for what life will bring for him.  

“I think it’s going to get better,” he says as he adds on what he wants to do in the future. “For the future, I hope to take Día de Familia to different schools instead of bringing the students to Piedmont. I would like to still host one big event on campus, and then move it to the high schools afterwards.” 

Profile Story Dr.Stephens

They all know where the counseling services are located in Lane hall. They know that the counseling services office can help us through hard times. They can go there for any stress, anxiety, or any other personal issues they may be having and counseling services will be happy to take care of you. Dr. Keyla Stephens, the point of contact when you need any counseling services will be happy to assist you. 

Stephens knew she wanted to help people. Once she headed to college, she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at UGA, but she was unsure what she would do with her degree. “Counseling wasn’t really well known at the time” and “it was kind of still coming about,” she said adding to that, social work or psychology were much more popular fields, but counseling itself wasn’t quite there yet. I “ struggled a bit on what exactly I wanted to do. 

Stephens explored different areas and changed majors several times before coming back. She realized that counseling was exactly what she wanted to do. She recalls thinking, “I’m not sure exactly what it is to look like, but that is what interests me.” 

After obtaining her degree, she wasn’t ready to go back to school. She got married and ended up getting a job with developmental disabilities. It was different work, but not something she was passionate about. I “wasn’t accomplishing what I really wanted to do, which was to help people grow and help people better themselves.” Stephens wanted to help people learn about themselves. Though she loved the clients she worked with, it was difficult work. She said that the environment was very different than today. People with disabilities were isolated and closed off from the rest of the world. It was really discouraging, and she left that job and started working in higher education. 

Her first college job was at a technical school, where she oversaw a program that helped non – traditional students who were displaced from the workforce or were single parents. Some of them were Division of family and children services clients that were referred to her. She would help students get a GED and did career aptitude tests to see where their talents are. Stephens said she really enjoyed the job before budget cuts ended up eliminating the program. 

This was the inspiration Stephens needed to go back to school, she received her masters in counseling / mental health. Since then, she has worked with domestic violence, substance abuse, community mental health, and patients with disorders. She has worked with agencies such as DFSC and Child and Family Support Services. Though the path to her current position took a couple turns, Stephens has finally reached her goal of helping people grow and help them better themselves. 

Stephens says she loves helping the students of Piedmont University better themselves every session she sees them when they come in with new issues that need to be resolved. I love helping them grow and bettering themselves. Piedmont University is full of amazing students that keep growing everyday. 

How Piedmont stole Danielle Percival’s heart

Danielle Percival- Assistant Athletic Director of Communications

Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Danielle Percival wanted a place with community, family, and a sense of belonging. She found all of that here, at Piedmont University. 

“Just being a part of such a close knit family organization has been really helpful for me,” Percival said. “For me, I don’t know what’s next but my career has continued to progress during my time here and I’m really thankful that Piedmont has believed in me to take the next steps in my career even while I’ve been here.”

Percival went through some hardships in her life while on her route to her job at Piedmont. She came here with a partner whom she has since divorced, which allowed for her journey of personal growth and development. 

“I am with someone who I’ve been seeing for the past two years and it’s fantastic, life’s good,” she said. 

Percival started her journey at Troy University where she earned a degree in broadcast journalism in 2014. While at Troy, she assisted on the student-run television station, learning how to shoot and edit packages for local news over the course of four years. Local news really wasn’t where she wanted to go with her career, however, she had a huge interest in college sports. This led her into pursuing avenues within collegiate athletics. Piedmont was looking for a person with a broadcast background to bring more coverage to home events.

During her career here at Piedmont, Percival advanced from being the assistant director of athletic communications to taking over the director role when Timmy McCormack became the head women’s soccer coach in 2017. In 2019, Percival was presented the opportunity to return to her alma mater, Troy University, to be their director of athletic communications. But by then, Piedmont was in her heart. “I was able to use that as a way to give myself a reason to get a title advancement here, saying I really want to be here and I want to stay here but let’s make this worth my while because I have an opportunity to go back home,” she said. “But I really enjoy Piedmont and so I became the Assistant Athletic Director of Communications in 2019.”

During that time, Percival also became a part of the admin team here which was extremely crucial with COVID right around the corner. Piedmont really needed to have a communications plan to be able to make certain decisions on communication pieces during that time. The timing of it all was very critical and worked out perfectly. 

“What I love most is the relationships that form through this job. Whether it be students, coaches or parents, it’s the relationships that matter and make the job worth the long hours,” she said. 

Written by: Megan Schaefer