Symposium- Homework debate: is it effective?

For elementary school students, the recommended amount of homework time each night is 10 minutes for Kindergarten, 20 minutes for 1st grade, and so on as they go up. But today, Kindergarten-5th grade students have an average of 2.9 hours of homework per week. 

Students Kinsley Smith and Miranda Caudell of Piedmont University presented their presentation entitled “Homework: Is it Effective?” at the annual symposium. The 15 minute presentation centered around elementary students and math. Both students are in a “math for teachers” class so their topic needed to be math related. 

“We started looking for topics that we could pull lots of information from, and this was one both of us thought would be a good controversial topic that we agree with on both sides,” Smith said. 

Smith pointed out that this topic has pros and cons on both sides, leaving her and Caudwell to be neutral on the topic. Both presenters have personal experiences in their own life directly correlating to their topic, making this presentation even more meaningful.

“There’s just so many factors going into math homework,” Caudell said. “It was definitely interesting to see, for instance, I wouldn’t even have thought about reinforcement at home being a problem.” 

Many people believe that homework is the key to a student’s success in school. However, Smith and Caudwell mentioned that there is much research and data that has been done on this topic and all show no correlation to homework and a student’s success specifically at the elementary level. 

“It all depends on the perspective,” Caudwell said. “For me, it’s more of looking at it as a student but for Kinsley, she has the perspective of a parent and seeing the work her kids bring home.”

Smith mentioned her two kids, who both play baseball year round and how busy their schedule is while trying to balance homework, family time, and their extra curricular activity. 


Kinsley Smith-

Miranda Caudell-

Faculty adviser:Susan Winstead-

Making a Name for Themselves: Raspas El Tigre

All eyes on the tiger, Raspas El Tigre, located at 215 Hodges St in Cornelia, is getting the spotlight. It is not just an ice cream place; it is more than that.

Logo for Raspas El Tigre

“I go almost every day, and the day I crave it the most it’s closed,” said junior early education major Kate Trujillo. “The owners are sweet people, I always feel welcomed when I enter. Tigre-Mix, amazing, perfect for a hot sunny day.” 

Raspas El Tigre is owned by the Covarrubias family who values the importance of their customer service making sure customers feel comfortable. Habersham County, where Raspas El Tigre is located, is predominately white populated. People would believe that there would be a language barrier, however that is not the case. The Covarrubias are bilingual and so are most of the employees, so if a customer has a question, they are welcome to ask. “I tell our staff, don’t speak Spanish in front of them [non-Spanish speaking customers] because we know how to speak English,” said Mr. Covarrubias “That makes them more comfortable.”

Mrs. Covarrubias has experience of working in restaurants and would notice other servers’ reactions towards the customer and wanted to implement a preferable method at Raspas El Tigre. Employee communication skills are one of the top priorities for the Covarrubias. Having the experience, the Covarrubias apply the lessons they learned to their own establishments. 

“Ice cream shop” is what shows under Raspas El Tigre in Google Map however, “We don’t want to be seen as just ice cream shop,” said Mr. Covarrubias. “I want people to think of Raspas as antojitos [little cravings] in general.”

Although many people did recognize the ice cream first, there are more on the menu from pancakes, raspados [shaved ice], aguas frescas [fresh flavored waters], and more. “And they all are kind of crazy,” said Mrs. Covarrubias

They become inventive in their order to not just make it the typical. “Yeah, what’s a way we can do to make it more unique.”

They always end up adding something extra to keep their customers excited and come back to try something different. Piedmont students are starting to have a liking for their style. With this being said Raspas will soon have discounts for Piedmont students.

Mrs. Covarrubias (left) and Mr. Covarrubias (right) in front of Raspas El Tigre

“For a small little corner shop, they are amazing at providing new and interesting treats that the average American may not have had access to, due to growing chains and restaurants across the country taking up small business revenue,” said sophomore forensic science major Angel McDaniel. “They offer many choices of products, free samples of their ice cream, and are so friendly and patient!” 

The couple started selling from Mr. Covarrubias cousins’ driveway until they got their establishment. The Covarrubias mentioned the experience they went through being everywhere in getting Raspas to where they are right now. They supported each other and encouraged each other to keep going even when they would hit their lowest during their journey. 

“Raspas todavía no es lo que queremos que sea, [Raspas is still not what we want it to be]” said Mrs. Covarrubias.

There is a lot more to come from Raspas El Tigre, so keep an eye on the tiger.  

Take a Study Break at Jaemor Farms

Fresh strawberries, grown on location at Jaemor Farms//Photo by Hannah Osborne

Located just 15 minutes away from Piedmont, right off of Cornelia Highway is a slice of authentic southern comfort. Established in 1912 by the Echols family, Jaemor has become a staple of Habersham County featuring fresh produce, homemade ice cream, and seasonal events, such as the upcoming U-pick strawberry season.

“We are unlike any other farm markets of our kind, and we invite you to taste the difference family makes at Jaemor Farms this season!” says Carli Jones, a fifth-generation member of the Echols family and Agritourism & Marketing Coordinator at Jaemor Farms.

Previously branded ‘Echols Orchards’, J.A.E.M.O.R. is an acronym in ode to the third generation owners standing for J.immy A.llen E.chols and Valvoreth Mor.rison Echols. What was originally a peach stand, located off of Old Cornelia Highway, has flourished into a thriving attraction of the North Georgia mountains since its founding. The Highway 365 location was opened Jan. 5, 1981, and has served the Habersham community and beyond for more than 40 years.

“I love going to Jaemor because they always have such good food! I’ve gone to both the U-pick flowers and U-pick strawberries events, and both were so much fun,” said senior mass communications major, Emma Marti, “I would highly recommend checking Jaemor out because it’s so close to Piedmont and the food makes the trip more than worth it.”

Homemade peach ice cream, sold in the Pie Kitchen, at Jaemor//Photo by Hannah Osborne

Jaemor Farms is the perfect afternoon or weekend escape from behind a textbook or computer screen. The farm features refreshing mountain air, local produce, homemade treats, and classic southern hospitality.

“We specialize in peaches, strawberries, pumpkins, squash and beans among other crops, and we pride ourselves on offering events where customers can come out to pick their own fruit and experience agriculture on another level,” said Jones.

Upcoming this summer Jaemor will be hosting the annual U-pick strawberry season. This is only one of many events the farm hosts. Jaemor has an annual rotation of seasonal-oriented activities, such as U-pick flower days, U-pick peach days, Night Out on the Farm, and a staple for the fall, a corn maze.

“My favorite time to visit Jaemor is during the fall,” says junior cell and molecular biology major Emily Rankin, a native of Connecticut, “Visiting in the fall makes me feel like I am right back at home. I just love it.”

Not only will a visit fulfill cravings of fresh homemade ice cream and boiled peanuts, but a visit to the farm is also the perfect photo opportunity. From the AgriTourism events, rows of fresh produce, the pie kitchen, and front “porch,” Jaemor Farms is not deficient in Instagram-worthy moments. Not to mention, “School Bus Graveyard,” is only a five-minute drive back in the direction of campus. 

In addition to all of the attractions of Jaemor, one of the most crucial is the people. Now into the fifth and sixth generations of the Echols family, the farm prides itself on being family-owned and operated. A visit to Jaemor can leave an impression that lasts for years to come.

“I think the most important people that continue to make Jaemor special are our wonderful customers,” says Jones. “We have met families who have brought their children and grandchildren to shop with us for generations.  We have local customers as well as travelers who only see us once or twice a year.  We have such a wide range of folks who shop with us – and for that we are thankful.”

Tyler Hill Pushes the Importance on Education Overall

By Jessica Sconyers

April, 2022

COVID forced a move towards a more technology-based curriculum, here’s how Tyler Hill’s research can help us adapt.

“I know growing up it was hard for me to learn how to study, and college is a lot different,” said Hill. “My plan is to become an elementary educator, and I look forward to using some of those tools that I talked about today in my presentation.”

Hill is in his senior year and is doing an internship on the Demorest campus of Piedmont University. Presenting at the 2022 Piedmont Symposium, he mentioned many great tech picks for teachers. He chose this topic because COVID forced a move towards a more technology-based curriculum. COVID shut down everything so quickly that it was very hard for teachers to find different ways to teach their students.

“I feel like the audience was very appreciative of all the hard work that these seniors did to prepare,” said Winstead. “All the presenters I think just did an amazing job.”

Hill discussed the many tools teachers could use in the evolving technology world. These tools included powerpoint, quizlet, google classroom, kahoot and some others the audience hadn’t heard of. 

“I would probably have to pick Quizlet as my favorite. “Quizlet is a very unique way for students to create study tools,” said Hill. Another popular tool that Hill promoted was kahoot. “Teachers can access all the students with a competition format and a lot of students get more motivated when there’s competition involved.”

Audacity is another fantastic tool that Hill researched. “Recording directions for assignments, read alouds for students as well as the students being able to use it too.” 

Education Professor Dr. Susan Winstead, Hill’s advisor for his internship, was very happy with Hill’s work. “You could tell from Tyler’s wonderful presentation and his enthusiasm about his topic that he really is an expert in that field,” said Windstead, adding praise for all Symposium presenters 

Susan Winstead, Advisor

Tyler Hill, Student, internship 1 

“Analysts of VO2MAX and Sports efficiency”

Running and cycling are two activities that require a lot of oxygen, but which activity requires more? Graduate student Max Miller sought out to answer that question. 

Miller presented his research, “Analysts of VO2MAX and Sports efficiency”, at the 2022 Piedmont Symposium. VO2MAX is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise. Miller conducted his exercise on the different VO2MAXs of runners and cyclists. “I grew up doing all the endurance sports from running, swimming and biking,” said Miller. “There is a friendly competition between all runners and cyclists on who actually is the better endurance athlete, and I wanted to find out myself.”  

There were several tests that Miller conducted with the eight athletes that participated in the study, all testing each athlete’s oxygen consumption.  

“I was so excited on how different the runners’ and cyclists’ VO2MAX differed between the two sports,” said Miller, “finding out that runners are extremely affected compared to the cyclists not being affected really at all.”  

Each test conducted by Miller proved that cyclists were less affected than the runners, proving that they have better oxygen consumption. “I was excited to see the VO2 values that our athletes achieved,” said Gregory Ryan, associate professor of health sciences. “Runners tend to underperform on the bike compared to the treadmill, while cyclists do not usually see the same decline.” 

With Ryan’s help, Miller is planning to publish his study in the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The plan is to add this study to the ACSM journal next year, which will be a huge accomplishment for both Miller and Ryan. “Research coming out of the master’s program at Piedmont University shows how well the program can be for a student’s future,” said Miller. “The health and human performance master’s program is only 2 years old, and it would be really good for a student like myself to help put the program on the map.”  

Ryan credits Miller with taking on the bulk of the study. “Max did the vast majority of his project,” said Professor Ryan. “I helped him become familiar with the metabolic cart and apparatus for his testing, but he collected all of his data.” 

Miller has been working on his presentation for two years and he is happy that he is done with it. “It has been a long and hard road here at Piedmont,” said Miller. “I’m just glad that I finally got to show others all the work that I had been doing and really happy that everyone appreciated my challenging work.” 

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.