The 2015 Freshman Class Every August, the campus is energized by the arrival of curious, intelligent and engaged freshmen from towns as close as Six Mile and far away as Hong Kong. These freshman, even as they’re learning what it means to be a member of the Clemson family, are bringing their talents, abilities and intensity to make Clemson, and the world, a better place.
Here’s a quick snapshot of our 2015 freshman class.
Expect to be impressed when you meet a Marine, but when that Marine is a 95-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor who challenges you to a pull-up contest, prepare to be blown away.
This is one of many things Will Hines of Spartanburg has learned in conducting the Veterans Project, an ongoing undergraduate research project to collect and preserve the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations can hear those stories directly from the men and women who lived them.
Former Marine Staff Sgt. Robert A. Henderson’s story begins in Hawaii on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, as a plane with a perplexing paint job thunders overhead “close enough that I could have thrown a rock and hit it” toward a row of U.S. Navy ships docked in the harbor, he said. He thought it was part of a drill until the plane dipped and released a torpedo. The violent chaos in the two hours that followed would define much of the 20th century.
Henderson described in gripping detail the many months of combat he experienced, culminating in the Battle of Okinawa. “I was in the first and last battles of the war,” he said.
Hines videotapes every word. One copy will go to Henderson and his family, and one copy will go to the Library of Congress to be preserved forever.
When asked how he stays so healthy at 95, Henderson takes Hines out to his garage to show off his home gym where he exercises three times a week. He demonstrates by doing 12 pull-ups without breaking a sweat and dares Hines to match him.
Hines, a business management major from Spartanburg, became involved in the project because of his lifelong fascination with history. His interest in veterans stemmed from his relationship with a great uncle who served in the Pacific during WWII. After Henderson’s interview, Hines is slated to interview a Vietnam veteran and a Battle of the Bulge veteran. It’s quite a day for a history buff.
“I can’t speak highly enough about the altruism and the character of the students who have been involved in this project. As a veteran myself, I really appreciate what they’re doing,” said historian Vernon Burton, author of The Age of Lincoln and the Veterans Project’s faculty adviser. “They care about our history, and they care about these people and the sacrifices they’ve made.”
To date, Clemson students have preserved the stories of 87 veterans from all branches of service with hopes that the project will continue as new students cycle in.
“It is very important to document these veterans’ stories as told from their own mouths while we still can,” said Burton. “Beyond that, this program provides an incredible opportunity for students here at Clemson to experience history firsthand while developing historic and analytical skills. The use of new technology and interviewing techniques will serve them as they move forward in their careers. Most importantly, they’re helping to create an amazing resource for historians of the future.”
After interviewing Marine Staff Sgt. Robert A. Henderson, Clemson student Will Hines of Spartanburg makes the seven-minute drive to another veteran’s home. Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Arthur T. Ballard was an F-105 fighter pilot during the Vietnam conflict with 68 combat missions under his belt when he was shot down and captured Sept. 26, 1966.
In September, the Strom Thurmond Institute played host to a Congressional field hearing. U.S. Senator Tim Scott brought the Senate Committee on Aging to campus to discuss biomedical research in South Carolina. Accompanying Senator Scott on the Congressional panel was U.S. Senator Susan Collins (Maine) and Congressman Jeff Duncan.
In November, Clemson hosted Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates for “A Conversation with Bill Gates: The Future Generation’s Role in Addressing the World’s Greatest Challenges.” The visit was facilitated by U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (S.C.). Gates reflected on the importance of education in the United States and the role of technology and innovation to help the underserved around the world, then answered questions from students.
Imagine bandages that detect infections, flexible paper lightbulbs that screw into a light socket or food containers that notify you of an allergen inside. Now, imagine all of this technology is created on a printing press and that Clemson University is on the cusp of helping bring it to mainstream America.
Those technologies and Clemson’s expertise in helping produce them are at the root of a recently announced $75-million grant that the federal government hopes will put the U.S. on the forefront of flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing.
Through an Obama administration initiative, the Nationwide Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), a five-year grant has been awarded to the FlexTech Alliance, based in San Jose, Calif. The alliance is composed of a consortium of universities and industries, including Clemson. Its charge is to develop advanced technologies and processes to put the U.S. on the cutting edge of next-generation manufacturing.
“We know the science and industry where we can bring real solutions to bear. There are only a couple of universities that have the capability to do this,” said Charles “Chip” Tonkin, director of the College of Business and Behavioral Science’s Sonoco Institute for Packaging Design and Graphics, graphic communications chair and one of the authors of the grant proposal.
Collaborating with Tonkin on the grant application were Steve Foulger of the Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET) and Liam O’Hara from graphic communications.
“The significance of the Sonoco Institute’s role in this is difficult to overstate,” said Foulger. “Right now, one can’t even imagine the limitless uses for flexible hybrid technologies, and Clemson University is at the forefront of developing some of those uses.”
The Sonoco Institute is a national leader in combining the synergies of packaging design and graphic communications.
“Traditionally, people think of printing presses producing eye-catching wrapping for consumer goods,” said O’Hara. “But beyond color, we can also print conductive and functional inks to create electronic devices inexpensively.”
One of the keys to Clemson and the institute’s role in this grant was the collaboration of the graphic communications, materials science and packaging science programs. The expertise in print manufacturing and materials science existed on campus; it just needed to be consolidated for the synergy to occur.
That happened when the College of Business and Behavioral Science, the College of Engineering and Science, COMSET and the University’s vice president of research helped fund a lab at the Sonoco Institute for these disciplines to be united.
Tonkin and his associates are quick to point out that the NNMI effort to get these technologies to a commercial-use level is in its infancy. “The initial funding is the tip of the iceberg on what it will take to mass produce these electronics for mainstream America,” Tonkin added. “It will take additional commitments from all those involved to realize how far this technology can take us.”
Last spring, Clemson became the only university in the country to provide all students, faculty and staff full use of the Adobe Creative Cloud. And this past fall, a new digital studio in the R.M. Cooper Library opened to give the Clemson community a place to work together, using technology powered by the entire Adobe Creative Cloud and Digital Publishing Solution, the industry-leading solution for creating engaging mobile apps.
Jan Holmevik, associate professor of English and co-director of the Center of Excellence in Next Generation Computing and Creativity, sees it as another step forward for 21st century education. “The big differentiator is creativity, and the studio fits into that larger vision of injecting creativity into the learning process at all levels,” he said. “I hope great ideas will emerge out of the collaborative efforts and sheer inspiration, because seeing what is possible can spark invention.”
The studio features a soundproof audio production studio, a video production studio, collaborative workstations, a high-resolution scanner and a nine-display Behance wall that projects from Adobe’s Behance e-portfolio site based on search criterion. Clemson students also can upload their work to Behance so it will be displayed on the wall, something Holmevik said is appropriate for its library location. “Seeing your colleagues’ work portrayed in an artistic display is not only satisfying, but it helps spark creativity and make you want to do better,” he said.
With a focus on working together, Holmevik likes to call the studio “a collaboratory.”
Wesley Smith, manager of the studio, said, “In today’s job market, it’s not ‘what you know’ as much as ‘what you can do.’ We want to give people the skillset and knowledge to allow them to set themselves apart in the job market and flourish in their careers.”
Vice President Joe Biden visited the Clemson campus to speak in support of the “It’s On Us” campaign, a White House initiative to help prevent sexual assaults on college campuses.
Offensive lineman Eric Mac Lain, captain of the Tiger football team, introduced Biden, who addressed students packed into Jervey gym. Biden urged the crowd to watch out for one another and take the pledge at ItsOnUs.org to work against sexual assaults on campus.
A three-year, 70-million mile space voyage takes some serious planning. And the world’s largest space agency has turned to Clemson in preparing for the first-ever manned mission to Mars in 2030.
In laying the groundwork for this marathon adventure, NASA has tapped Clemson psychology professors Tom Britt and Marissa Shuffler to make recommendations on the health and performance of astronauts for the 36-month journey. Britt and Shuffler are familiar faces to government-funded research, with both having worked on U.S. Department of Defense projects.
Both researchers are in the first phase of study for the Mars mission, with Britt exploring the issue of meaningful work as a potential antidote to extended boredom in isolation, while Shuffler focuses on the dynamics of multiple teams working together in multi-team systems composed of astronauts and a myriad of international ground personnel.
Even though the maiden voyage to Mars is 15 years away, design work has begun on Orion, the space capsule. The command module is estimated to have less than 320 cubic feet of habitable space and is capable of handling two to six crew members. Britt said the close quarters present many challenges to the astronauts, given the length of the mission — a year traveling to and from Mars and two years living on the red planet.
“The initial research will look at what can offset the monotony and boredom of being confined in a small space for such a length of time, not to mention the psychological effects of extended isolation,” Britt said. “The first phase of the study will provide an analysis about previous research and the operational assessment of astronauts. The result will be recommendations on what the mission planner and crew psychologists can do to better prepare the astronauts for this rigorous journey.”
In providing NASA with research literature, Britt has been asked to interview current and former astronauts and astronaut trainers.
“The idea is to find out what was learned in previous missions about the benefits of meaningful work and how it reduced the negative effects on the astronauts’ stress,” Britt added. “The hope is this work may be a precursor to potentially creating a coping strategy training module for the ground crew to use when communicating with the astronauts.”
Likewise, Shuffler is conducting interviews with a focus on teamwork and multi-team system issues for those who have been involved in space flight or subjected to isolation in environments like the Arctic for extended periods of time.
“I’ve talked to astronauts, a retired flight director, scientists involved with space missions and people who have spent winters in the Arctic,” Shuffler said. “One of my charges is multi-team systems and understanding the dynamics between mission control and the astronauts and how all the associated teams can work together toward a cohesive outcome. There’s also the international component of astronauts and support staff and communications from the various mission controls that will be involved.”
Beyond teamwork among the many parties, leadership is another deep dive Shuffler is doing in her NASA research for the estimated $100 billion mission. Shuffler and Britt said the first phase of research could well lead to more questions from NASA and additional studies.
“Marissa and I are just cracking the surface on some of the critical information NASA needs in preparing for a mission of this significance,” Britt said. “It’s a fascinating and rewarding project that we are both honored to be a part of.”