Q&A with Emma Percy: Young female pilot defies status quo in aviation

Pilot Emma Percy, 18, poses by her 1973 Bonanza V35, the plane she trains in.

Q: Where did your interest in aviation come from?

A: My dad does fly and I think that’s really what got me started with flying, you know just kind of being interested in that part of his life. So, he got me my first lesson (at Shelby County Airport). And after I took that first lesson, I was kind of hooked on it. It took me about a year of training to get my private pilot’s license which is the first license.

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Q&A about “Cultural Shock.”

Q & A with Ruth Blackburn

  1. Can you introduce yourself? What’s your name? Hometown? Major?

My name is Ruth Blackburn. I am a junior from Birmingham, Alabama. My major is Foods and Nutrition with an Art minor.

  1. When people mention Asia or Asian, what is your first thought?

I think of the cultural differences between Asia and America. My best friend went to China for 6 weeks and I think of the stories of squatty potties and riding bikes all around the cities. I once read that middle-aged men in Asia are at a very high risk of suicide because of pressure to succeed and do well in the workplace.

  1. What makes you most proud to be an American?

The kindness that people show to each other even when they are strangers and do not know each other.

  1. What do you think about “Culture Shock”?

I have never been affected by culture shock very much when I go to different countries. I think I am very easy going so the differences between countries do not shock me or bother me that much and it takes a lot of effort for me to pick out the differences and things that bother me or that I like better about one country.

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Q&A with Ashley Steiner of Ashley Ink & Paperie

Meet Ashley Steiner, a junior at Samford University in Birmingham by way of Overland Park, Kansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas and Milton, Georgia. Steiner is a business major and actively puts her college studies to practice when running her own company, Ashley Ink & Paperie. Ashley Ink & Paperie prides itself with its faith based roots and offers a variety of products including: note cards, prints, custom stationery, invitations, calendars, and planners with handmade illustrations. When Ashley isn’t drawing or making , Ashley can be found sitting in a local coffee shop and engaging her local community. I asked Ashley a few questions about what it’s like running her own company while also balancing being a full time student. Ashley Ink & Paperie’s mission statement is rooted in Psalm 138:3, “He made me bold by strengthening my soul.”  I had the chance to ask Ashley some questions about her experience running her own company and being a full time college student. 

How long have you been running your own company and 

how did you initially get into it?

I started Ashley Ink & Paperie in 2013 right before my junior year of high school. I have had a passion for drawing ever since I was a little girl. I could always be found making greeting cards for friends and family, but I never knew this hobby could turn into a business! During my sophomore year of high school, one of my classes assigned an independent study project. My mom gave me the idea for the project to research how to create my drawings into notecards and prints instead of giving away the original copies. My research evolved into how to start a business and it became something I really wanted to do! In August 2013 before my junior year of high school, I officially launched Ashley Ink, which grew into Ashley Ink & Paperie in 2016. In October 2013 I sold my first wholesale order to a retail store, and in November 2013 I opened the Etsy shop.

Why stationery/paper products?

Growing up, I always made greeting cards to give family for holidays and special occasions. My friends started noticing and wanting cards too, so I decided to make copies instead of giving away the originals! I believe there is so much power behind the simplicity of a handwritten note. In a world so driven by technology today, sending a tangible message is even more important. As my company has grown, notecards and stationery are just a portion of the products. Prints, calendars, and planners are also popular among customers.

Have you ever considered making other products, say (for example) t-shirts, posters, phone cases, etc.

Yes! I am currently in the process of expanding product lines…more information to come on that soon! 🙂

Is there anything else to Ashley Ink & Paperie besides your products?

Ashley Ink & Paperie has a blog at ashleyinkandpaperie.com. Besides selling online, the company wholesales to stores in various states around the country and participates in local markets. I have presented my company in a few business competitions with Entrepreneur Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, and Region’s New Venture Challenge. I was so surprised and blessed to have won both competitions last year! My company also sponsors Samford Zeta Tau Alpha by creating promotional materials for chapter events and philanthropy.

How do you balance managing your company and being a full time student?

Balancing life, school, and a business is honestly a lot like organized chaos sometimes, but I wouldn’t change it for anything! Holidays, summer, in between classes, and weekends are the major times I work on Ashley Ink & Paperie. Being a business major has been such a blessing (even though it’s hard!!) because the business school has been an incredible support for my company. I’ve been given incredible opportunities such as competing in business competitions and having an overflow of resources to learn and grow as a business owner. I’m a member of the Incubator Program for startup companies – which means I have access to mentors and an office space in the business building. I’m trying to come up with some good answer on how it all works together, but honestly, I know it’s not my own doing! There’s no other way to explain it – the Lord has been so faithful in leading me through this busy season of juggling school with owning a company.

How have you seen your company and/or products change since being a student? Has it even changed?

My goal as an artist and business owner is to never stop improving my artistic style. Since I have been at Samford, I have found so much inspiration that has greatly evolved my product lines. I have also traveled to lots of different places throughout college, all of which have inspired new work and products! My business classes have definitely helped improve the business side of operating my company and have sparked ideas for growth.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being the single mind behind your business?

There are lots of rewards at the end of the day that stretch far beyond any challenge I face as a business owner. However, I must admit that I am not the only mind behind my company. I’m an entrepreneur and artist at heart, but there’s no way I could do it all alone! My friends and family-specifically my mom who works with me-are my biggest helpers and supporters.

There’s nothing quite like meeting a customer for the first time and watching them find joy in something as simple as a notecard. It’s a feeling I cannot describe, but it gives so much reassurance in what I’m doing! I find so much joy in someone recognizing my notecards in O’Henrys or picking up a calendar from the Samford Bookstore. It’s the little things! My company is the channel through which I’m able to use the gifts I’ve been given in a tangible form, so I love waking up and being able to do that everyday!

How do you engage the community with your designs?

Social media is the major platform and means for communication with customers. Instagram by far has the most engagement, and it has been a fun way to connect with customers! I love creating local-themed artwork as well. It connects with customers on a home team level, and some of these local products are the most popular! Getting out and meeting customers the good ole-fashioned way through markets is also a fun way to engage the community.

Has there ever been a moment when you’ve considered discontinuing your business?

Oh, definitely. There are always unforeseen bends in the road and times that I’ve wondered if all the work is worth it…but then I remember why I started my company. Its purpose is so much greater than any story I can tell myself, and its calling comes from gifts and passion the Lord has placed in my life. In challenging moments, I’m reminded that I can’t rely on my own strength to succeed. What a relief! It makes me think about one day last summer when I had a booth at a local art festival. I was so excited to be there, but the weather had other plans. A massive gust of wind and pop-up downpour carried my booth’s tent down the street! Yikes. Oh well. I learned that it’s okay for business things to not always work out the way I expect–sometimes you win, and sometimes you get wet! Through every hard time, the things I have learned in the end help shape me and my company even more.

What do you hope to see for the future of your company some day?

I am so excited for the future of my company! There are lots of fun things in the works as it evolves into a lifestyle company. More to come on all of that soon!

 

For more information about Ashley and her products…

Etsy shop: ashleyink.etsy.com

Blog: ashleyinkandpaperie.com

Q&A with Harrison Tarabella

One of the best parts of my Samford experience has been all the creative people I’ve met during my four years here. One such example is Harrison Tarabella: a talented visual artist who got his initial training from professional National Geographic photographer. I sat down with Harrison to talk about where his passion comes from, his favorite experiences thus far and what’s next for him.

Answers have been edited for content and clarity.

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30th Street Cakes Now Open

“Ring by Spring”, a common phrase thrown around on the local campus of Samford University. The idea that many graduating seniors will be engaged by  their spring semester has led engaged Samford senior Mary Michael Maddox to capitalize on the phenomenon, and her passion for baking, and open up her very own local wedding cake company. 30th Streets Cakes officially launched March 2 in the kitchen of Mary Michael’s little apartment in Highland Park.

 

After years of helping her mom out in the kitchen of their family farmhouse in Dothan, Alabama, her daily rituals became her youthful passion which has now led to the start of her first business as she begins the journey of “adulting”. Mary Michael believes in the essence of celebration and strives to create a cake worthy for anyone’s BIG day or  anything else worth celebrating. In her biography online she talks about the abundance of celebrations and parties her family threw growing up, she says, “basically anything you can think of, we threw a party for. And when there was a party, there was a cake.”

Mary Michael’s love for the small and simple details of a celebration are visibly seen in her work. Her cakes are simple and elegant with whimsical strokes of frosting laced with wild botanicals. “I believe that our generation has moved passed the desire for perfect elegant cakes and more towards the desire for the natural and simple look.” She finds joy in not only the finished product but also in the process of creating a cake, an art of sorts.  “My goal is to create more of an artisanal style of cake.” says, Mary Michael.

If you are throwing an upcoming party or looking for the perfect wedding cake, send Mary Michael an email or stop by her website: www.30thstreetcakes.com. She would love to sit down with you over a good cup of coffee and talk celebrations.

The Timid Sons: The juggling act begins

Trip Wood, Tre Mason, Frank Robertson and Preston Little relax after a long day of work, school and band practice. Photo by Kate Sullivan.

Story by Hannah Garrett and Caleb Jones

The band lounged around on the couch after a late night practice session, visibly exhausted but genuinely in love with the opportunity they have to make music.

However, The Timid Sons, comprised of Trip Wood, Frank Robertson, Tré Mason and Luke Brown, only get to make this music after their full days of work and school. They come together late at night to practice and develop new songs, and wake up the next day to do it all over again.

The band’s only studio-recorded album to date, a self-titled work, includes its most popular single, Cocaine Lips. This up and coming band loves to play shows in the Birmingham area, but also likes to travel as well.

“It all started when Frank walked up to me in the food court and said he had a song idea,” Wood said. “We weren’t in a band yet, but he proceeded to pull out a napkin with the words ‘cocaine lips and a hurricane smile.’ I was expecting a chorus or something at least, but all I got was a phrase.”

“That ended up being all I needed though; I took the napkin back to my apartment, sat down and wrote the whole song that day. In that moment The Timid Sons were born,” said Wood.

The band’s name, The Timid Sons, came about when Robertson was reading a book called “I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son” by Kent Russell. The book itself is based off a famous Davy Crockett quote.

With a band name and one song under his belt, Wood was ready to churn out music at a rapid rate.

“This book really resonated with us,” Wood said, “The idea that a father would really rail their son and be that openly disappointed with him made the realization that we are all born into expectations. People naturally have expectations of us. While you are born into a world of disappointment, that doesn’t mean that you are a disappointment. While we are imperfect, and while we aren’t necessarily a band with full time musicians, we accept it, move on and make music we want to hear.”

Wood said he had a handful of ideas already in his head from the previous few years. At the time he didn’t think he would actually use them. Some of the lyrics he had were from experiences that happened that month and others were just things he thought about and wrote down.

Following their first song, “Cocaine Lips,” the band spent about a month recording eight songs at Mountain Brook Community Church. The album came together so quickly because Wood would spend days on end recording music, often times sleeping in the studio to maximize histime.

“Back when we were recording, a few days would pass,” Robertson said, “and I wouldn’t have seen Trip, so I would stop by the studio. I found him there multiple times, tucked away by himself, with lots of cups of coffee, some fresh, and some not so fresh. Trip would have this twitchy, kind of crazed look about him, but he was producing our songs at a ridiculously fast rate. Sometimes you just let the man work and appreciate the results.”

At this time, the band was moving quickly and Wood was rushing the entire thing because he wanted to have a couple of singles to release right away. Because of this, only three of the band members actually recorded on the album. It was challenging for their old drummer from Atlanta to drive to Birmingham every so often to record so they began to reach out to find a new drummer.

The Timid Sons faced several challenges in its early days, such as finding a permanent drummer in the Birmingham area, recording for the first time and singing in front of an audience for the first time. Wood said he was unsure of how to carry himself in front of others and found the experience of playing live nerve racking at first.

They are currently working on two new songs including one Trip wrote about a blind man called Jim James. The song, he explained, is about how easily we can get wrapped up in our own frustrations while much worse things happen in the world.

“I was driving back from my Spanish test and was obsessing about how bad I had done. I was drinking my Starbucks, listening to my favorite music, and just being super self-indulgent,” Wood said, “I was going down Lakeshore Drive and reached the part where there isn’t anything for about a mile and that’s when I saw this guy at the bus stop. He was blind, and he was sitting out there on the bench, in the sun, during the hottest part of the day, in the middle of the summer.”

“In that moment it became really obvious how self-indulgent I was being. Some of the lyrics I wrote were completely bashing myself and I had to refrain from keeping them in the song. How could I be so self-obsessed? This man is probably going to work right now, and probably not to his first job, more than likely, to his second one and he is blind. There was just a lot of things going through my mind at that moment and I was able to get it out on paper.”

Trip Wood:

What does music mean to you?

It’s meant a lot of different things to me, especially in the last few years. If I’ve learned one thing about music, it’d be this: Music can be a stress reliever, a medium to express yourself and so much more. However, once you start expecting something from it, you start to lose it.

How does your music reflect who you are as a person/musician?

Sometimes I worry that it reflects who I am a bit too much: fast, irrational, and not thought through.

Describe a typical day for you.

My average day changes frequently. Right now, the only things that are constant are how much I eat and that I write two songs’ worth of lyrics a day.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What role does your music play in that plan?

Hopefully I’ll still be pursuing music as a career. Like I’ve said before, the men and women that do this full time are incredible. It takes a lot of guts to decide to make your living off of something so inconsistent.

Frank Robertson:

What do you play in the band? How long have you been playing?

I play guitar and have been playing since about 7th grade

What do you do when you are not playing with The Timid Sons?

I work part time and am trying to figure out if I want to go back to school this coming year or pursue full time work.

Is it hard to balance music and work?

The biggest challenge is to feel like I’m being responsible in my pursuit of both. It seems like practices can only happen later at night, but I have to be up by 6 a.m. in order to start my morning for work.

What is your best memory with the band?

One of our first shows back from the summer at a venue called the High Note. It was one of our first shows at a legitimate venue with a real sound guy and PA system, and this stage that was so tall but not very wide. It was one of the first moments that “we’re a real band” clicked in my head.

What is your goal for the band?

To go as far as we can.

People of Birmingham: Micah Green-Holloway

If four years ago you asked Micah Green-Holloway where he would be attending school, Samford University would have not even been on the list. Fast forward to October 2016, and he is set to graduate with his business degree in May.

“Being from Woodlawn High School,” Green-Holloway said, “I didn’t think I would ever be smart enough or have good enough test grades to make it into Samford. That’s when I learned about this program called My Brother’s Keeper.”

My Brother’s Keeper is a program designed to put inner city high school students into Alabama universities. There were only eight kids selected for this program, and Micah was talented and blessed enough to be one of those students.

Green-Holloway remembers touring Samford one day during his sophomore year where he met President Dr. Westmoreland. “I was talking to Dr. Westmoreland recently,” Green-Holloway said, “And he reminded me of what I told him when we were sitting in his office during my tour.  I told him, ‘not too many people make it past my stop sign.’ Not too many people make it out of Woodlawn. I was not going to be complacent. I was determined to make it past my stop sign, and I did.”

It was a long journey to get to Samford, but he has been making an impact ever since he stepped on campus. Green-Holloway made the Dean’s List both semesters of his freshman year, was selected to be a Samford Ambassador, and was given the Freshman Leadership Award. Needless to say, the hard work and determination he had paid off immensely.

Today Micah is an intern at Fix Mart and will be presenting a business idea to the Miami Dolphins, Marlins and Heat in the middle of December. This past summer he interned with the Birmingham Barons to try to get his foot in the door of professional baseball management–his ultimate dream is to be the General Manager of the Atlanta Braves.

Even though Green-Holloway has thrived at Samford, he has never forgotten where he came from and how he got to where he is today. That is why being an Urban Young Life Leader is one of the things that Micah is most proud of.

“I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to invest in the lives of kids the way that so many people have invested in me. When I look at these kids, I see the potential that a few years ago people saw in me, and it excites me to see where they will be four years down the road.”

Green-Holloway wants people to remember a few things when they think about his Samford career. He said, “I want people to remember that I loved the Lord with all my heart, that I not only did well at Samford, but that I left a legacy that lives beyond myself. I want people to see that I left a legacy at Young Life, at Ransom and on the campus of Samford as a whole. I want people to know that I never would have been able to do it on my own, but by the grace of the Lord and His faithfulness throughout the whole process I have been able to leave a legacy.”

Faces of Birmingham

Birmingham lays claim to some trendy coffee shops, and Octane Coffee is no exception. Have you ever wondered exactly who the people are behind the counter serving this delightful coffee? They have intriguing stories to tell, and barista/mixologist Trenton Bell, has one of the finest.

Bell graduated from Samford’s Beeson Divinity School back in May of this year. “I felt a sense of calling to go [to seminary]; I felt internally that it was the right next step for me after college,” said Bell. He received his Master’s in Divinity and now awaits the Lord’s next step for his life.

Throughout his life, Bell has always had two main loves: Jesus and music. He felt the Lord calling him to combine those passions for the Kingdom of God and thus, the band Multis Project was born. Multis is Latin for many, and Bell chose this name because the purpose of Multis Project is to promote diversity within music.

Multis Project was somewhat born out of necessity. Bell and his friend, Louie Free, were driving back from a conference they had been leading worship at and were in line for another gig, but there was one problem, the next conference wanted the two guys to bring a band with them. “We put together a group of folks, and tried to put together as much of a diverse team as possible,” Bell said. “We have some hip-hop, gospel, folk and pop all mixed in together. We want to push the envelope and reach out to and unify diverse groups of people.” The band has been doing just that ever since their first performance back in January.

Bell constantly faces the battle of balancing being a full time barista and trying to continue to pursue his passion for making music. However, he does not really worry about it too much. “I trust that we [Multis Project] will go where we need to be at the proper time. We have patience in trusting the Lord, but we are persistently pursuing opportunities,” he said.

So if you need a delicious Carmelatto, or want to book a cutting edge band, look no farther than Octane’s very own, Trenton Bell.

Senior Spotlights

Ann Martin Foley

Major: Graphic DesignAnnMartinFoley

 

  1. What is the biggest thing you will take away from your time here at Samford?

 

I learned so many things during my time at Samford about my major, life, and myself. The experiences I had here made me into a better person and prepared me for my future career. The biggest thing I would take away from my time here are the relationships I’ve made. Whether it is with a fellow classmate or a professor who becomes a great mentor, these are relationships I wouldn’t change for the world.

 

  1. What is the best piece of advice you would you give to undergraduates?

 

If I had to give advice to undergraduates, I would say that it’s ok to do things on your own. It’s always fun to do things with your friends, but it’s also important to do an activity on your own. It allows you to focus on yourself and after college everyone starts to go do their own things and won’t be just down the hall from you.

 

  1. What are your plans after for graduation?

 

My immediate plans after graduation is to move back home for the time being while job searching. I hope to soon be working as a graphic designer in a big city like New York or Boston.

 

 

Hannah HollandHannahHolland

Major: Religion

 

  1. What is the biggest thing you will take away from your time here at Samford?

 

The biggest thing that I will take away from my time at Samford is the growth and maturation that occurred in many areas of my life.  I matured spiritually so much through so many mentors and friends’ counsel and encouragement and through so many opportunities to study the Bible and worship with other believers.  I matured academically as I learned how to really study and research and through the professors who I was able to glean so much knowledge from.  I matured practically through being independent, making decisions, and facing tough circumstances.

 

  1. What is the best piece of advice you would give to undergraduates?

 

The best piece of advice that I would give to undergraduates would be to make the most of the you have time at Samford as well as in the city of Birmingham by intentionally fostering and deepening relationships – relationships with people who are wiser and can mentor and guide you, relationships with peers who can build you up and hold you accountable, and relationships with those who you can pour into, mentor, and disciple.

 

  1. What are your plans for after graduation?

 

After graduation I am getting married and moving to Wilmore, Kentucky to pursue a Master of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary.