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Bacteria strain named by Clemson students

Clemson University microbiology major Hayley Hassler, a junior from Hartsville, S.C., works with a petri dish containing Legionella clemsonensis, a strand of bacteria named after the University.

The Clemson family has gained a new namesake: Legionella clemsonensis, a novel strain of the Legionella bacteria, the most common cause of waterborne bacterial outbreaks in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the honor of naming L. clemsonensis to students in a collaborative research group called CU and the CDC, which includes students from Clemson’s Creative Inquiry (CI) program for undergraduate students and officials in the CDC Legionella lab.

The newly named strain of Legionella was part of a batch of 68 strains the CDC sent to Clemson students to analyze. “While we knew they were Legionella, they didn’t match up to anything in the current database of bacterial species. It’s like knowing their last name but not their first names,” said Tamara McNealy, an associate professor of biological sciences who forged the collaboration with Claressa Lucas, director of the CDC Legionella lab, to characterize unknown Legionella strains.

Undergraduates in the CI group — Joseph Painter, Kyle Toth, Kasey Remillard, Rayphael Hardy and Scott Howard — sequenced two genes at the Clemson University Genomics Institute to identify the species or to find out if they were novel. “One of the strains Joseph was assigned turned out to be novel or not significantly matching anything in the database,” McNealy said.

A second wave of students, including Hayley Hassler, a junior, and Allie Palmer, a master’s student in McNealy’s lab, along with Vince Richards, an assistant professor in the biological sciences department, worked to validate that L. clemsonensis does indeed fall separately from the other known Legionella strains.

A sample of the Legionella clemsonensis bacteria under a ultraviolet light. The bacteria can be seen as small glowing dots in the 12-o-clock area of the petri dish.

“My experience in this CI has really allowed me to explore areas of microbiology that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise,” Hassler said. “Thanks to Dr. McNealy and Dr. Richards I now have a real passion for studying infectious diseases and microbial genomics.”

According to the CDC, L. clemsonensis was originally isolated from a patient in Ohio. Preliminary analysis showed it was not L. pneumophila, the most commonly identified pathogen in the group, and that it didn’t fall into any known grouping, McNealy said. Another feature that set this strain apart: When hit with ultraviolet light, many Legionella strains fluoresce blue, red or yellow, but L. clemsonensis fluoresced green.

If Legionella is inhaled by someone who is elderly or immunocompromised it could lead to a treatable form of pneumonia. The bacteria live in biofilms of all manmade water systems and are found in freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Around 4,000 to 5,000 cases of waterborne bacterial outbreaks are reported annually in the U.S., an estimate that is probably low, McNealy said.

ClemsonLIFE professorship established

Sue Brugnolie Stanzione was a first-generation American who emigrated to the U.S. from Italy. She moved to Hartsville in 1959 with her family. Only a few years later her husband died, leaving her the single parent of five children, two of whom, Bob and Dan, were students at Clemson.

Dan’s roommate at Clemson, Goz Segars, also from Hartsville, remembers how much respect everyone had for Sue and for how she held the family together in difficult times. Almost 50 years later, Sue Stanzione’s name now graces the Distinguished Professorship of ClemsonLIFE, held by its founder and executive director, Joe Ryan. That professorship, made possible thanks to a generous gift by Bob and Kaye Stanzione, will make a difference in the lives of countless generations of ClemsonLIFE students.

ClemsonLIFE (Learning is for Everyone) allows students with special needs the opportunity to attend Clemson and receive the full college experience while learning the skills to lead independent lives. As President Clements said, “What ClemsonLIFE does for its students is simply remarkable, and it is the embodiment of the very best nature of the Clemson family.”

Bob and Kaye Stanzione began their married life in campus housing, and all three of their children attended Clemson. A 1969 graduate, Bob is executive chair of ARRIS Group, a global communications technology leader. Kaye is an active volunteer and serves on the ClemsonLIFE advisory board.

 

 

 

 

 

Fast feet stay in the game: Fabio Tambosi ’02

Fabio Tambosi spent his childhood with a soccer ball rolling at his feet. Soccer came naturally to him, and he moved from playing in the streets of Brazil to playing in the youth academy of a professional club in São Paulo.

It was here that Tambosi received his first pair of cleats — two freshly worn Nike Tiempos from Zé Roberto, a living soccer legend. “I was walking out of the locker room after practice and [Zé Roberto] said, ‘Hey shorty, what’re you doing? Do you want some shoes?’” Tambosi said. “That pair lasted me another two years.”

These days, Tambosi isn’t bumming cleats off the most famous players in the world — he’s partnering with world-class athletes to sell them. As the director of global football brand marketing at Nike, Tambosi is a leading voice for an iconic brand.

It’s a dream job, but he took a long journey to attain it. Early on, Tambosi played forward for the men’s soccer team at Clemson where he helped the team to an ACC Tournament championship in 2001. “The atmosphere at this school, it’s contagious,” Tambosi said. “You get there, and on a weekend when there are a lot of sports happening, you get a real sense of the community. You have the sense of being part of a family.”

Tambosi hasn’t left that family behind, despite his success. He stays involved as a board member at the Erwin Center for Brand Communications, where he helps students develop advertising and marketing skills. “There’s nothing better than being recognized by my alma mater and going back and giving back what Clemson has given to me,” Tambosi said.

Tambosi wants students to understand that it isn’t possible to fulfill one’s dreams without risking failure. He knows this to be true because he has risked it all. In 2012 he was working a stable, well-paying job in London for Nokia. But, Tambosi wasn’t satisfied — he had other ideas. “I wanted to go back to sports, and I wanted to have a role in the World Cup in Brazil. And I wanted to work for Nike,” Tambosi said.

So, he quit Nokia, and left for Brazil in January 2013. While he had no job offer on the table, he told everyone he was going to work at Nike. Once in Brazil, he spent his time networking with Nike employees, which eventually helped land him a job as Nike brand manager for the 2014 World Cup. “Growing up playing football at a very high level in Brazil, it was a dream to play in the World Cup,” Tambosi said. “I didn’t have the opportunity to do it as a player. But I had the opportunity to live the World Cup, to impact the World Cup, personally, in Brazil through my job.”

When the World Cup ended, Tambosi stayed on with Nike. Now Tambosi can stay in touch with the game he loves, the game for which he has crossed borders and risked professional failure. That passion, that commitment, is something he wants to impart to Clemson students and young people everywhere. “Know where you want to go,” Tambosi said. “Don’t be afraid to fail, and follow your dream.”

— Glenn Bertram ’18

Leaving Their Mark: Poes’ blood runs orange

The Poes are one of the many spirited families that make up the sea of orange and purple at Clemson’s Death Valley during football season. Tailgating outside of the stadium and clapping along to the beat of “Tiger Rag” are traditions David and Jade have been participating in since they were students. But when the chips and dip are gone and the Cadence Count has ended, the couple’s alma mater is not forgotten. The Poes’ blood runs orange, and they take pride in supporting Clemson in numerous ways.

A 1994 graduate, David Poe found the University’s environment to be the perfect place for him to grow both intellectually and socially. He formed lifelong relationships through his involvement in many campus organizations including Greek life and Student Alumni Council.

For Jade Poe, a 2004 alumna, college was less of a certainty. “I was raised by a single mother, so I didn’t know if I would be able to afford college. Thanks to Clemson’s generous alumni, I received a scholarship and was the first in my family to graduate from college,” she said. “Clemson was more than the friendships I made and the football games. It was an opportunity I didn’t think I would have.”

It is important to the Poes that they do their part to provide future Tigers the same memorable experience they had as students. Not only does the couple support the Clemson Forever Fund annually, they have also included the University in their will. “Clemson was founded based on a gift from Thomas Green Clemson. I think it is neat that we can contribute to Clemson using the same method, and it is a great way to make Clemson part of our legacy,” said David Poe.

“I was able to attend Clemson because of the scholarships I received, and donating allows me to give that same opportunity to students who were in my position. Knowing that my donation can help students continue their education so they can have a successful career is very rewarding,” said Jade.

 

IF IT’S GAMEDAY, THERE’S A CLEMSON FLAG

If you’re one of those people who watches ESPN “College GameDay” each Saturday during football season, you’re sure to have seen a Clemson flag pop up behind the announcers. Pictured are Brian ’03 M ’04 and Nicole ’03 Crounse and their children at the University of Wisconsin’s GameDay. If you’re planning on being at a game that’s been designated as ESPN “College GameDay,” and you want to help #FlyTheFlag, email Bubba Britton at bubba@clemson.edu.

 

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Professor, students receive Fulbright awards

Rick St. Peter

Two recent graduates and an assistant professor of theater are teaching and learning in Europe this year, thanks to the Fulbright Program.

Rick St. PeterAssistant professor Richard St. Peter has been named a Fulbright Scholar as a visiting professor at the University of Craiova in Romania. Throughout the 2016-17 academic year he is teaching contemporary American and British theater as well as Shakespeare performance.

St. Peter hopes his time in Romania will blaze a trail for students who want to study abroad. “We want to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students to go abroad during their time at Clemson,” he said. “It just seems like that’s becoming more and more of a priority for universities. The world is getting smaller and smaller. And there is the opportunity for our students to see that the theater is a global marketplace. Ultimately, they’re going to be able to work anywhere.”

Courtney Fink ’16 and Jenna Kohles ’15 are also in Europe for the 2016-17 academic year as part of the Fulbright Student Program.

Courtney Fink

Fink, of Orland Park, Illinois, graduated with a degree in history, a minor in Spanish and a degree in secondary education. She will be a teaching assistant at the Institute of Secondary Education Manuel Fraga Iribarne in Spain. Her main job will be to prepare students for the model U.N. program.

Kohles, of Cary, North Carolina, earned her degree in wildlife and fisheries biology. She will use her Fulbright grant to begin a master’s program in biology with a focus in ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Konstanz and Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany. Her research will explore the social lives of a common bat species, which will help predict how bat colonies can persist through emerging environmental stresses such as climate change, habitat destruction and disease.

Jenna Kohles

In existence since 1946, the Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. government, is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Media moguls in training: J. Seldric Blocker ’01

While looking for internships at Clemson, Seldric Blocker was plucked for a program with First Union. But not for banking or financial needs; it was human resources. Now he’s the director of campus recruiting, shaping paths for future generations of network newsies and entertainment execs as the director of NBCUniversal’s talent acquisition campus programs, Campus2Career.

Each year he fields more than 42,000 applications for about 2,000 spring, summer and fall internships. In the last three years he’s managed more than 5,500 interns, including 300 added to cover the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

Part of Blocker’s job has entailed streamlining the Campus2Career program so there is a standard NBCUniversal experience at each campus they visit, and across all internships and all markets, including their London and Singapore programs. “Flawless execution” is how Blocker defines it. “We want them to have a great experience, even if they decide this isn’t what they want to do long term,” he said. “We want them to leave more curious than when they came in. We want them to have fun.”

Lessons he learned from his own academic and career experience very much inform how he mentors others. He encourages those that come through his office to take advantage of study abroad, be more ambitious and take more risks. One of the ways Blocker and his team allow interns to have fun and take ownership of their internship is through NBCUniversal storytelling. “The students are digital natives, and we encourage them to craft and tell the NBCUniversal story through a multifaceted approach, whether that’s Snapchat or some other social platform. They have their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening next and are brand ambassadors for future generations of interns.”

Blocker is also focused on building diversity across NBCUniversal’s platforms. “We are looking for people who have demonstrated their leadership on campus. We employ a wide variety of majors and backgrounds. They don’t just have to have a passion for media and the entertainment industry. We want to know what you can take from your background and bring to the table to help us tell a more well-rounded story,” said Blocker.

Even after hanging strong in the financial sector through the economic downturn of 2008, Blocker said navigating the media industry at first was a new, interesting beast. “It was tough at first. In the media you have a lot of creative people who have a competitive edge, and you’re managing a first-impression for a major media brand,” said Blocker. Blocker said the experience at NBCUniversal has taught him to meet people where they are, and that being relatable is a skillset that transcends any workplace environment. “[Clemson’s] academic environment did a good job of fostering a sense of responsibility and ownership and made me feel like I belong,” he said. “I want to give others that sense of feeling like they belong, too.”

Yountses commit Cornerstone Gift for athletics facilities

Melvin K. and Dollie Younts, donors to the sixth Cornerstone Gift to athletics. 

Melvin K. and Dollie Younts, passionate Clemson fans and philanthropists from Fountain Inn, pledged the sixth Cornerstone Gift to athletics. The recently renovated 600-seat South Club area at Memorial Stadium has been named the Melvin and Dollie Younts South Club in appreciation of their $2.5 million commitment, announced in August.

“Melvin and Dollie have been tremendous supporters of various institutions and initiatives throughout the Upstate,” said President Clements. “We’re thankful for their support of our athletics programs and the impact their gift will have on student-athletes and Clemson fans for generations to come.”

The Clemson Athletic Cornerstone Program is a vital part of the new athletics facilities initiative. With new facilities, upgrades and rebuilds planned for or underway at football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and academic support, it is the most comprehensive change to the facilities of athletics ever undertaken at Clemson.

Melvin Younts, a retired attorney with the firm of Younts, Alford, Brown and Goodson, is trustee and chief executive officer of Palmetto Real Estate Trust. The Yountses are noted philanthropists in the Upstate, having contributed significantly to various community organizations.

Former astronaut Mae Jemison speaks on campus

Former NASA astronaut Mae C. Jemison gave the keynote address in Clemson’s opening convocation in August. Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel to space, flew aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in September 1992. Jemison described her life growing up in Chicago in the 1960s, saying that as a girl she could see unlimited possibilities for herself through the turbulence of those times. “All around me was this world that was filled with ideas and actions and choices that would change the course of human history, and I wanted to be a part of it. I always assumed I would go into space.”