Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ayanna Howard wants to save the world

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 9:31 AM

click image SHE'S THE BOSS: This former NASA researcher is helping level the playing field for kids everywhere through inclusive tech products and STEM camps. - JACKIE NEMETH/GEORGIA TECH SCHOOL OF ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING
  • Jackie Nemeth/Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • SHE'S THE BOSS: This former NASA researcher is helping level the playing field for kids everywhere through inclusive tech products and STEM camps.

Ayanna Howard has been fascinated by technology since she was a little girl. The former NASA robotics researcher and current bioengineering professor at Georgia Tech says shows like "Battlestar Galactica" and "Star Trek" piqued her interest, but it wasn’t until middle school, when she discovered "The Bionic Woman" show, something inside clicked. “It was the first time I remember seeing a female in this positive light,” Howard says. “She wasn’t just behind the scenes — she was first and foremost, she was intelligent, she was beautiful, and she was saving the world.”

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Profile: Andy Odle, street minister

Posted By on Mon, May 10, 2010 at 7:05 PM

Indiana native Odle began working at Church on the Street with the intention of only staying in Atlanta for three months. Twelve years later, Odle's now the executive director of the Christian outreach organization that goes into the community to minister to and develop relationships with the city's chronically homeless. Every Saturday, the group holds a prayer and outreach service in Old Fourth Ward.

What is the mission of Church on the Street?

What we believe is that no one is left out of God’s love. We don’t have the luxury of being able to just sit up in our nice condos or our houses in suburbs and forget about these people. We believe homelessness is a relationship problem. The first thing we want to do is to let people know that even though the world has pushed them aside or counted them invisible, the Church and God doesn’t. We go to them, and we love them. We’re not there to provide a meal for them or cottle them as some would say.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Profile: Rebecca Snyder, carnivore curator

Posted By on Sun, Sep 28, 2008 at 7:07 PM

If you see a non-human meat eater loping about Zoo Atlanta, chances are Rebecca Snyder knows the animal personally. Snyder, 39, hails from Iowa but relocated to Atlanta to pursue a doctorate in psychology. She’s journeyed as far as China to study maternal behavior in pandas, researching everything from the way the gender of the cub affects parental care to how the amount of time with its mother affects a cub. With Lun Lun’s recent delivery, Snyder is seeing 11 years of research come full circle.

“I have gotten to study Yang Yang and Lun Lun since they were born [in China]. I have known them their whole lives. I knew their mothers really well and now I am able to watch Lun Lun as a mother herself.”

Pandas weren’t the only animals to get busy recently. “The lioness just gave birth. It was great to see her as a mother. It is fun to watch [the lions] interact as a family.”

What does she find weird? When exposed to an object with a unique scent, a panda will pick the object up and rub it all over itself, “It’s fun. We expose them to lots of scents. Yang Yang loves Tobasco and mouthwash.”

“I have never been in danger. We work with captive animals so I’ve not felt like I wasn’t safe — though I do have nightmares about tigers escaping.”

A zoo PR rep didn’t want Snyder to talk about last year’s tiger escape at the San Francisco Zoo, which resulted in a visitor’s death. But Snyder did say a tiger couldn’t escape in Atlanta: “Our fencing is taller than San Francisco. We have measured since then and decided to [raise it] higher than what is regulation.”

- Mary Moore


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Profile: Cara Brown, poop scooper

Posted By on Sun, Aug 17, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Cara Brown

During the last 10 years, people have given Cara Brown a lot of crap for not using her Georgia Tech industrial engineering degree. Literally, that is -- she works as a poop scooper for Dirty Work, driving to her clients' yards and picking up where their dogs left off.

Her post-graduation desk job bored her. "I was tired of the solitude and being indoors. It's all about doing what you enjoy, and I really love being outside and with animals."

Although the majority of her business is residential, she also scoops for condos, kennels and events such as Turner Field's Bark at the Park.

She cleans some litter boxes and rabbit cages, but also takes care of "any kind of wildlife poop" in the yard. "We try to pick up anything we find, or the dog could eat it."

She's retrieved paper money and a diamond ring that dogs had eaten, and once came across the plastic eyes a dog ate off a toy. "The pile of poop was looking up at me."

"People are always very careful what they call it. You know they want to use the 's' word, but they'll say something like 'feces' or 'No. 2.' 'Poop' is the biggest."

Photo by Joeff Davis

Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Profile: David Booker-Earley, jazz percussionist

Posted By on Sat, Jul 26, 2008 at 5:00 PM


David Booker-Earley is a 13-year-old jazz percussionist at Jean Childs Young Middle School. The school's band won this year's Youth Jazz Competition at the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Why did you start playing percussion instruments?

It started a long time ago when my older brother came home one day, twirling his sticks, playing a lot of stuff I didn’t know what was. So it just looked pretty cool to me and I thought I’d try it out.

Do you bang on the table when you’re eating dinner?

Oh, yes. Anything I can use to beat on is my instrument. I even played on the concrete with my hands one time. It hurt, but I made a cool song there.

How does your family feel about you banging on things all the time?

My brothers, they bang along with me. My sister, she sings with us. All of us are really percussionists inside. But sometimes they might tell me to stop because they’re trying to watch TV.

Are there any obsessed girl fans at school?

Kind of, sometimes.

Continue reading »

Tags: , ,

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Profile: Jamie Karns, bouncer

Posted By on Sat, Jul 19, 2008 at 5:00 PM


Jamie Karns is a bouncer at Lenny’s Bar and Grill. At six-feet two-inches tall and 415 pounds, 37-year-old Karns is also known as Fat Guy.

What kind of training do you need to be a bouncer?

Patience is the biggest factor. There’s not really a special class on how to throw someone out, but you need to be able to control your temper when somebody is obviously drunk and not get mad at him for being rude.

How can you recognize a fake ID?

Most of them are pretty bad. Things like, the girl’s eyes are blue but the girl your talking to’s eyes are green. The manufactured fake ID, things like the watermarks are wrong, the color of ink they use is wrong.

Just how bad do they get?

I’ve gotten several IDs from people I know. A total stranger walks up and gives me an ID of someone I actually know. And I’m like, “This isn’t you.” And they’re like, “Oh, yes it is.” But I’m like, “This is the guy I went to high school with, it’s not you.”

What would you do if someone brought in a McLovin ID (from the movie Superbad)?

That would definitely not fly. First off, no one has just one name, you know? But odd states like Hawaii and whatnot, don’t work. Give me the one of the state you’re in.

Do girls try to flirt with you to get in?


Does it work?

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Profile: Bernie Tekippe, clock repairman

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM


Bernie Tekippe has been repairing clocks in Atlanta since the ’60s. He says he can fix any mechanical clock made in the last 300 years.

“One of the difficulties is trying to diagnose what’s wrong with it, especially if it almost works. You can spend a lot of time fixing the wrong thing.”

He builds clocks, too, usually a dozen at a time. He’s built about 200 in his life and occasionally gives clock-making workshops.

He doesn’t wear a watch, saying it would get in the way and isn’t necessary. “When I’m in here I have clocks all around me.”

He says he’s not punctual, but is aware of the irony.

On digital clocks: “They’re wonderful. They’re what we’ve been trying to make for 300 years. I think we should put them in nicer cases, though. We think they’re cheap, so we put them in cheap cases.”

Tags: , , ,

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Profile: Beth O'Connor, wellness coach

Posted By on Sat, Jul 5, 2008 at 5:00 PM


Beth O’Connor teaches people about nutrition, health, fitness, meditation, and spirit — the elements of what she says comprise wellness.

“You don’t have to be a size 2 but you can eat nutritiously. Stay away from saturated fats. Stay away from all the processed foods, packaged foods.”

O’Connor teaches groups at wellness parties: “We talk about nutrition and fitness. I teach them meditation and give them some yoga stretches to do. I massage and they learn how to massage — very basic things.”

On Southern food: “I love [Paula Deen].  But everything she makes, it’s just butter, pounds and pounds of butter. I eat butter, but very in moderation.”

“[A]bout five years ago, I realized I can’t eat this southern fried food anymore. I gained so much weight during my marriage and I’m still battling it. I believe a lot is genetics, but we’re still in control.

O’Connor says diet is the primary cause of unwellness. “What you put in your body is gonna affect you, five years from now, 10 years from now.”

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

Tags: , , ,

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Profile: Jay Yeomans, paintball referee

Posted By on Sat, Jun 28, 2008 at 5:00 PM


Jay Yeomans, 51, is head referee at Paintball Atlanta. An aficionado of paintball for 15 years, he also maintains the company’s equipment and the facilities.

"You get bruises, maybe a couple little stitches, a turned ankle, something like that – something you can do playing in the backyard. But no one has had a serious injury [at Paintball Atlanta], especially eye-related."

"Everybody [at Paintball Atlanta] has got to deal with me sooner or later. I'm not known for my wonderful attitude."

"When a paintball hits you in the mask and it's in your mouth, usually you gag, hack and spit. And cussing usually is in there somewhere. It's got that 4-week-old, uncooked meat smell. It's nasty."

On his daughter: "She just turned 18, she's been playing for four years. She's very brutal. She put Father's Day scars on both sides of my neck. It’s alright. I got her later."

Is paintball a sport? "What is your definition of a sport? Okay, like football where you’re playing against another team in front of an audience – spectators – at the big tournaments? You get just as many people as you would on a decent football game. There is money at stake, trophies at stake, sponsorships from manufacturers."

On real guns: "Most of my guns, I have sold. One of them was grandfather’s shotgun – sentimental. I kept that. One’s a pistol – protection. I kept that."

"Paintball is nothing like the military. It’s a very sore spot. There are a lot of people out there, churches and other organizations that consider paintball as teaching our children paramilitary training, how to kill somebody else. I’ve called it a paintball gun – we call it a paintball marker. . We don’t kill in paintball, we eliminate. Usually until the next game starts up, which is usually in about 10, 15 minutes."

"Because the word “gun” is just not a good thing to be thrown around. You can’t talk about paintball in schools because it involves a gun, if you will. Because my daughter tried to set up a team, to start playing a team at school. And the word “gun” came out, and they said, 'That’s it. Forget it.'"

“The pay’s good and it’s a job I love doing. You can’t beat that."

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

Tags: , , ,

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Profile: Michael Ellis, animal rescuer

Posted By on Sat, Jun 21, 2008 at 5:00 PM


Michael Ellis is the founder and director of Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort. AWARE helps injured and distressed urban wildlife at its facility in Lithonia.

Ellis got involved with wildlife through his work as a builder. “I built some gibbon ape habitats at Yerkes.”

In Belize with a Yerkes primatologist, Ellis met a couple from Washington state who rescued wildlife at their home: “I moved to Washington to volunteer [for them]. I had $700 and my Chevy S-10.”

On the animals he rescues now: “At any wildlife center, birds are 70% of the intake. But it’s everything – hummingbirds, eagles, mice, eagles, deer, possums, squirrels.”

"Roaming cats are one of the biggest devastators of wildlife in this country. Every free roaming domestic cat kills 200 to 400 wild animals a year."

The biggest mistake people make with wild animals: “People identify animals [that are by themselves] as orphans. They interrupt the most critical training [for these animals.]

To which animals is Ellis most attached? “The ones least likely to survive, because I'm forced to spend more time with them than any other animal."

"If I had to pick a favorite animal native to North America, it'd probably be a wolf because they represent all the good and all the bad that's ever happened in this country."

On releasing a rehabilitated animal into the wild: "Every time I release an animal, it almost makes me cry. Almost, every time."

Do the animals he rescues socialize? “Birds put up with each other. The young ones interact. If you put an orphaned red-tailed hawk with an adult, there’s good chance the adult will feed the baby.

Yeah, but do hawks play basketball: “No, they don’t play basketball.”

On his father, George Ellis: “ He had the first spoof late night horror satire show in Atlanta on WAGA-TV in the 60s called Big Movie Shocker. He and I sang, acted and had [movie] theatres called the Film Forum. We introduced Atlanta to the art flick world.”

(Photo by Dustin Chambers)

Tags: , , , ,

The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown
The Ultimate Doughnut Smackdown

Search Events

Search Fresh Loaf

Recent Comments

© 2016 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation