Friday, April 21, 2017

FSU alumna making local community a better place

It is a common hope for anyone attending a university that they will learn things that will help better their lives and better the lives of others. This is exactly what Meleah Smith is doing with the knowledge and skills she acquired while earning her degree from FSU.

Meleah Smith attended classes at the Panama City campus while she was home for the summer from the Tallahassee campus in 2012. She took several psychology classes with Dr. Kelley Kline. Smith even worked with Kline on a research project Dr. Kline was conducting.

“I really enjoyed my classes at the Panama City campus,” Smith said. “The level of access you have with your professors, the class sizes, and the pace of campus life really suited me.”

Smith took her knowledge from FSU PC back to the Tallahassee Campus the following fall for her senior year.

After graduating from FSU, Smith earned her Masters in Counseling Phycology from the Troy University Panama City Campus. Smith remains in the community helping at-risk youths through a local agency that provides in-home family therapy.

“My first job following graduation, I was working exclusively with children,” said Smith. “But soon I realized so much more could be accomplished if the entire family worked together to help the child.”

Because education is cumulative and each new class builds on the class that came before, it was the foundation provided by FSU that has enabled Smith to reach her goal of helping families in our local community today.

— Micah Lister

Four Crossed Logs intern
professional communication major

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Marcie Davis: In support of heroes

Marcie Davis is a VA Benefits Enrollment Officer at FSU Panama City and the only person who certifies VA Benefits for student veterans and their dependents.

Her career started as a secretary at FSU Panama City about 18 years ago. She later moved to the VA Office as part of the Financial Aid Office. Her job is demanding but also meaningful for her because she thinks it is her duty.

“It is very rewarding to help someone who has served our country,” Davis said.

She wanted to join the Navy when she was 19 years old but could not serve because of her health reasons. Working as a VA Benefits Enrollment Officer is her way of giving back to those who have served.

There are about 80 to 85 veterans enroll each semester at FSU Panama City, Davis said. Every time veterans come to talk with her, she discusses about their plans and end goals to lay out their options.

“Some veterans might need to be enrolling at GCSC or another college to receive A.A. degrees before they come to us,” Davis noted.

Even though they end up going to different colleges first, she is dedicated to work for those veterans who can be her future FSU students.

Davis said the most difficult thing to encounter is homeless veterans. She offers help for those student veterans in need.

“I find resources for them such as the United Way if there is anything they can get if needed,” she said.

She always cares about her student veterans and does her best to get any resource for them.

“Marcie absolutely cares about her student veterans and is a wonderful boss to work for,” said former sailor Michael Andrews, who has been working for Davis about seven months.

The crime scene investigation major said Davis ensures that student veterans, including him, receive all of the GI Bill Benefits to which they are entitled such as tuition and fees assistance, book stipends and BAH (monthly housing allowances).

Student veteran Johnathon Alleman, who served for the Navy and is studying professional communications, said Davis more than just the VA Benefits Enrollment Officer.

“She has helped guide me specifically to an opportunity to extend the time on my GI Bill through a process known as vocational rehab, which I was never even aware I was qualified for until last semester when she brought it to my attention,” he said.

Alleman, who has been working for Davis for two semesters, calls her a “second advisor or life coach” who looks out for the student veterans’ best interests.

Being a life coach can be difficult and tough, but Davis does not seem mind at all.

“It is a personal pleasure more than a duty or job,” she said.

— Kanam Uptegraft

contributing writer

A Nintendo Switch Review from a College Student

Being a college student, especially at FSU Panama City, can often mean you are always on the go. This can limit how much you are able to enjoy the lulls of your day. I was definitely in this position, until recently.

I’ve had almost a full month with my Nintendo Switch, and it has been glorious. For those unaware, the Switch is Nintendo’s newest gaming console that serves both as an in home console and a portable handheld. This idea was exciting, but also caused a lot of skeptics to question how it could work.

I can only speak from my experience, but the Nintendo Switch is the perfect gaming console for a college student. Trying to balance classes, studying, and possibly a job doesn’t give students the opportunity to be able to just sit at home for hours at a time and delve deeply into a game.

With the Switch, however, the game is with you wherever you are. The actual console is smaller than most tablets making it easy to bring with you in whatever bag you happen to take to class. It also has a smooth working interface that allows it to quickly turn on, this enables its user to immediately resume the application that was previously being used.

It is an amazing feeling to be able to have thirty minutes in between classes and know that I can be quickly transported into wonderful video game or my favorite Netflix show. It is also a great that as quickly as I need to I can click the power button on the top and immediately put the device to sleep allowing it to conserve power while also holding onto the exact point I was at.

The switch is a revelation and I could not recommend it more, especially to fellow college students. With even more great games and applications on the horizon I think it is time for all college students to make the switch.

— Micah Lister

Four Crossed Logs intern
professional communication major

Friday, April 14, 2017

Becoming a buddy at Miracle League

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the first Emerald Coast Miracle League baseball game of the season. A couple of my good friends, Dana and Bruce Koep, volunteer with the League. I went along to find out more, and I was glad I did. The experience was great.

The Miracle League, part of Panama City Beach Parks and Recreation, is a baseball league for special-needs players. According to the League’s website, registration is open to players, ages 3 and older, with any type or degree of disability; player registration is $35, and financial assistance is available. The 2017 spring season, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Panama City Beach, runs through April, with most games played on Saturdays.

During each game, players can be accompanied on the field by a buddy. I signed up to be a buddy with my friend, Dana, and I was given an official buddy T-shirt to wear. Dana’s husband, Bruce, co-coaches one of the teams with his father. Bruce has siblings with special needs, which is how he and his family became involved with the League.

Each game has two innings, and each player gets to take the field twice and bats twice. Buddies take the field with their players and help make sure players are not hit with wayward balls, as well as help players get the ball and throw it. At the end of the game, players line up for high-fives. Players finish up with a drink and a snack.

My experience at Saturday’s game was wonderful. It was great to be a part of something that clearly brings such great joy and excitement to these players. The smiles on their faces is well worth the time. The Miracle League is always in need of people to volunteer as buddies for the games. Anyone interested in more information can go to The Miracle League can be found under the Activities & Sports tab.

— Phoebe Isaac

Four Crossed Logs intern
professional communication major

Thursday, April 13, 2017

'Children’s plays' aren’t just for children

Recently the Tony Award-winning production, “Annie,” came to the Marina Civic Center in Panama City. I know what you’re thinking: Why would I want to spend a Friday night watching a 2½-hour play about an orphan and a dog? Trust me, I thought the same thing. For Christmas this year, my mom bought my sister and me tickets to the play since my sister has always loved the movie. I was hesitant at first, thinking, “Why would I want to go see this play knowing I will be bored the entire time?”

Let me say, I was pleasantly surprised. First of all, mainly adults perform the production with only five or six children acting as well. I was expecting an entire children’s cast with only a few adults. Knowing it is based on a children’s movie, it is obvious the directors tried to make it relatable to adults as well. There were certain lines that jabbed adult humor and let the adults share a few funny moments. I applaud the directors for realizing that, it was a smart way to keep the adults intrigued — and well, awake. Although they kept the same story line with the quirky children’s scenes, they made the play more mature to ensure it was appropriate for all ages. To me, the best part about it was looking around and seeing kids, teenagers, adults and even senior citizens enjoying the production.

I genuinely enjoyed the entire play and would recommend any upcoming plays at the civic center to anyone. “Mamma Mia” is coming up on April 20, and I promise you that you can find me there. I’m telling you, children’s plays aren’t just for children!

— Nicolle Valle

contributing writer
Four Crossed Logs is produced by students at Florida State University Panama City. All opinions represent those of the individual writer and not the university or its administrators. The blog is intended to showcase the talent, communication and insight of FSU Panama City students.