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Vocal spray leads to new business for ’84 grad

Gina (Summers) Emerson ’84 didn’t intend to start her own company when she went looking for a natural, organic vocal spray. The person who had previously formulated one for her was retiring, so she turned to Rob Pappas ’85, Ph.D., a chemist with expertise in essential oils formulations. She had been reading about the benefits of CBD oil and followed his research on his blog for his company, Essential Oils University. She asked if he could create a spray combining CBD oil and essential oils.

After several different attempts and few “silly” names, Emerson said, the patented spray Vocal Gold, which contains 200 milligrams of full spectrum hemp extract, was born. Emerson was so impressed she asked him to create more formulations for her and in August started the company Dew Drops CBD to share them with the public.

Emerson said she wanted to add CBD oil to her vocal spray because she had read it helped reduce inflammation. As the lead singer in several local cover bands, she sometimes had to deal with strained vocal chords. And she was taking medication that dried her throat. The spray helped with those problems – and a few other unexpected benefits, from helping calm her nerves before going on stage to improving her health.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Emerson said of the vocal spray. “It’s not only helping with vocal chords, it’s helping with colds and coughs. It’s great for allergies. It’s better than we anticipated.”

Emerson said that in the few weeks her business has been up and running, she has built a client base of more than 100 people. Some Vocal Gold users have seen relief from acid reflux and irritation from radiation from throat cancer treatments.

The company must not claim that its products have any specific health benefits, per FDA rules. But clients using Dew Drops flavored CBD oil drops have seen benefits such as relief from anxiety and insomnia. The Royal Blue Super A.I., for anti-inflammatory, helps with chronic pain and inflammation. There even is a formula for dogs that has helped with seizures and anxiety from storms.

Emerson said she was compelled to start her own business after Pappas’ formulations helped her with her own health. She was on several medications for conditions from osteoporosis to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. After taking the essential oil/CBD oil formulations, she no longer needs any medications and her positive energy has returned.

“I’m off everything,” she said. “I tell Rob, ‘You’re my hero. You saved my life.’ Because he did.”

Pappas is an independent consultant formulator supplying the formulations for Dew Drops CBD. He uses a carbon dioxide extraction process to extract the “beneficial cannabinoids” from certified organic hemp without leaving any solvents behind, he said.

He began adding CBD oil to his essential oils formulations about five years after reading about its benefits, from controlling seizures to treating cancer.

“It just seems to have a lot of beneficial properties,” he said.

There are restrictions in the industry, including keeping the THC level in the hemp products below 0.3 percent, and those restrictions as well as restrictions in the banking industry put up some hurdles, but Emerson is moving forward because she has witnessed the products helping herself and others.

She has left her previous job as a certified medical assistant and focuses full-time on running her new company. She has a handful of employees and several partners, including alumni Marty Shireman ’78, Kim Karem LaPilusa ’84, and Beth (Crone) Jones ’84, among others.

The products are bottled and labeled in a warehouse in Greenville and sold online, and plans are in the works for a downtown New Albany store to open in a couple months.

Emerson said she is going on faith – and belief in her products.

“I’d never in my 53 years would have thought if somebody came up to me and said, ‘Gina, you’re going to own a CBD company,’ I’d believe them,” she said. “I’d have laughed in your face. But God has a plan for everything.”

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Students represent PHS in various activities

Several of our students have represented Providence in different activities over the last month, including those featured below:

Regional program gives students taste of business world
Five students are participating in the Amazing Global Marketplace, a program pairing high school students with mentors from metro Louisville area businesses to encourage their future participation in international careers. The program includes attending regular lessons during BLUE Day sessions and meeting with a local business as a mentor. Last Wednesday, five students taking part in the program — seniors Shawn Fitzpatrick, Jarrett Rowe, Mirashaye Basa and Jack Wagner and junior Mary Short — attended a kickoff event at Bellarmine and took part in a “speed dating” type activity in which they met with each partner business and shared all they had learned about the business. At the end of the activity they learned they were partnered with Samtec, a manufacturing company located in New Albany.

Students participating in the Amazing Global Marketplace program are partnered with local business Samtec

This international business-focused educational program uses simulated international business scenarios. Seniors Ethan Furnish, Brady Gentry, and Casey McCubbins and junior Bryce Drury also are taking part. Participants learn about international travel, negotiation, procurement, management, communication, culture and currency exchange. Our students will learn about their mentor company, Samtec, through shadow opportunities and a tour of the headquarters. They also will research international markets in preparation for the culminating competition in the spring at Bellarmine, where they will be given a real world business problem and compete against other schools from the area.

Mary said she is taking part in the program because she is considering majoring in business in college. She liked the kickoff event because it gave her some insight into the business world. “I enjoyed learning how the real world works,” she said.

Shawn said he signed up because he plans to major in business and is glad for the opportunity to experience a business environment. He liked meeting with business professionals and talking about their companies, even if it was stressful to be prepared to talk to so many at the kickoff event.

“I hope to learn how the business world works and the processes that go into it,” he said. “I want to see if it’s the direction I want to take in life.”

Science students take part in research project

Matthew Reger, left, assists in a Falls of the Ohio research project over Fall Break

Earth/Space class students had an opportunity over fall break to take part in an in-depth study of the ancient flora and fauna at the Falls of the Ohio conducted by Dr. Kate Bulinski, an associate professor of environmental science at Bellarmine University. Juniors Matthew Reger and Jesse Zoeller each spent several hours helping Dr. Bulinski with her paleoecology study.

Matthew and Jesse examined the fossil bed for fossils of sponges and coral. They then determined the fossils’ location with a compass, measured each one and looked for any patterns. Matthew examined more than 100 shells in about three hours, and Jesse studied 50 sheets in about two hours. They said they liked being able to locate different types of fossils and consider their longevity.

“The fossils there were there longer than the dinosaurs,” Jesse said. “It was another fun experience to see how many different kinds of fossils we can find.”

Students portray Halloween characters at Louisville Zoo
Photos of some of our students dressed in Halloween costumes have been showing up on social media, not because they are getting a jump start on the holiday but because they are part of the cast for The World’s Largest Halloween Party at the Louisville Zoo. Each portrays a character in different scenes set up throughout the zoo. Senior Kaleb Dunn is Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid, senior Eli Lucas is Spiderman, and senior Mary Claire Natalie plays Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. They interact with children as they walk along the trail through the zoo, commenting on their costumes and posing for pictures.

Mary Claire and Eli said it’s fun when they encounter children dressed up like their characters. Mary Claire will remind them “There’s no place like home,” and Eli said he has fun pretending to sling webs with the fellow Spiderman-costumed characters.

“I like seeing all the little kids,” Mary Claire said. “They get really excited about it, and I feel good about myself because they’re excited to see me.”

Kaleb agrees. “It’s fun to interact with the kids and bring to life a character most of them already knew.”
The students also find they are learning many new characters as they see children dressed up in costumes they aren’t familiar with. They ask the rest of the cast if they know any characters they don’t know so that they can comment on them if they see more of those costumes. Getting to know so many students interested in theatre throughout the area is another bonus, they said, noting that they often ask the children on the route to pass messages to other characters as a way to interact with the children – and have fun with the cast.

“I like the work environment,” Eli said. “I get to work with a lot of experienced actors.”

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