Wisconsin: Harriet Smith '75, M '77

Harriet Smith ’75, M ’77, right, visited Yerkes Observatory before it closed to the public last fall. While there, she toured the observatory and spent several hours using the 40-inch refracting telescope to peer at stars, star clusters and planets. The observatory, located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, has been called the “birthplace of modern astrophysics.” The telescope they used is the largest refracting telescope successfully used for research in astronomy.  The University of Chicago, which operates the observatory, decided to shut down the facility as a cost-cutting measure. Before the modern era, scientists such as Edwin Hubble, Edward Barnard, Gerard Kuiper, George Ellery Hale, Carl Sagan and a host of other giants in astronomy worked or studied there.

California: Thomas Davis '84

Thomas Davis ’84 in Lake Tahoe: “After going to Silicon Valley to watch our Clemson Tigers win their third National Championship, my family and I rented an SUV to travel through the snow in Lake Tahoe. This picture was taken at 10,000 feet. What a view, and what a way to celebrate a 15-0 season.”

Cozy Reads

EMILY B. MARTIN ’10, M ’12, freelance illustrator and author of the fantasy adventure trilogy Creatures of Light, shares her favorite reads for winter, each paired with a delicious tea for sipping: “Some are heartwarming, some are thrilling, but all are best enjoyed with a mug of something hot.” Illustrations by Emily B. Martin

Picture Book

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau; illustrated by Gail de Marcken: Curl up and read it to your children or grandchildren by the fire.

Tea pairing: Blackberry tea or hot cocoa with marshmallows

Tea pairing: Blackberry tea or hot cocoa with marshmallows

Young Adult

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton: Teens and adults alike will savor this decadent, dark fantasy where nothing is as it seems.

Tea pairing: Rosehip tea

Tea pairing: Rosehip tea


The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker: This magical tale set in 20th-century New York City draws from both Jewish and Arabic folklore.

Tea pairing: Cinnamon and cardamom tea

Tea pairing: Cinnamon and cardamom tea

Historical Fiction

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See: Follow this moving story about tradition, tea, farming and the connection between mothers and daughters.

Tea pairing: Pu'er tea

Tea pairing: Pu’er tea


The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham: Written by a Clemson alumnus and professor and set in the South Carolina sandhills, this lyrical memoir delves into themes of identity and sense of place.

Tea pairing: Sassafras tea

Tea pairing: Sassafras tea

Science Fiction

The Martian by Andy Weir: A suspenseful castaway novel chronicling a man’s struggle to survive alone on Mars.

Tea pairing: Potato tea or instant tea powder

Tea pairing: Potato tea or instant tea powder

News Briefs

Mark Small, Natallia Sianko and Boyd Owens (left to right) are the architects of a program that will bring STEM education to at-risk youth in South Carolina.

Mark Small, Natallia Sianko and Boyd Owens (left to right) are the architects of a program that will bring STEM education to at-risk youth in South Carolina.

Clemson and S.C. State to provide STEM education for at-risk youth

Clemson and South Carolina State University have received a five-year, $1.28 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve after-school programs for at-risk youth in rural South Carolina through the delivery of an evidence-based STEM curriculum. Additionally, students in third through eighth grades will be able to attend a technology summer camp designed to further cement STEM concepts. The rural locations for the program have been chosen based on poverty levels and the challenges facing the schools and surrounding neighborhoods.

Emeritus professors assist
international graduate students

Clemson attracts graduate students from around the world for whom English isn’t their first language. Clemson’s Emeritus College Language Skills program was designed with these students in mind, consisting of the Clemson English-speaking proficiency test and the Conversations with International Students program. Emeritus faculty organize and refine these programs to provide international students the opportunity to fully participate in teaching assistantships and help improve their English communication skills. The Association of Retirement Organizations of Higher Education awarded the Emeritus College Language Skills program one of its inaugural Innovation Awards for 2018.

International collaboration
seen as incubator for health care startups and leaders

Clemson is joining the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi to create the Center for Innovative Medical Devices and Sensors. The partnership will lead to new medical devices and startup companies while helping educate leaders and entrepreneurs for the global health care industry. Some of the students’ work will be on the main campus, and some will be in Greenville at the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus.

Some of the first projects will focus on solutions for diabetes and other chronic health issues common to both countries. The long-term vision for this collaboration includes exchanges of faculty members, students and postdoctoral researchers and eventually the establishment of joint courses.

Closing the Skills Gap in Advanced Manufacturing

Two engineering students working on electrical component of a machine in laboratory.A skills gap that could leave as many as 2 million manufacturing jobs unfilled by 2025 is one of the driving forces behind a new Clemson program that matches graduate students with technical college students on an assembly line built for research.

The new program, THINKER, short for Technology and Human Integrated Knowledge, Education and Research, is backed by a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation and is aimed at preparing leaders who can help close the skills gap in advanced manufacturing.

Economic expansion and baby boomer retirements will likely create a need to fill 3.4 million manufacturing jobs in the nation between 2015 and 2025, but only 1.4 million are likely to be adequately filled, according to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute.

It’s a crucial issue for South Carolina, where the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis says manufacturing accounts for 17 percent of the economy — more than 50 percent higher than the national average.

The THINKER program will equip students with both technical skills and “soft skills,” such as communication and collaboration. Its graduates could help attract new businesses to South Carolina and supply businesses already in the state with the talent they need to grow.

While undergraduates and technical college students will be involved, the National Science Foundation funding is reserved for graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

The THINKER program’s impact could quickly ripple through the broader regional economy. Studies show that every job in manufacturing creates another 2.5 jobs in local goods and services, and for every $1 invested, another $1.37 in additional value is created in other sectors.

Researchers study activity of Russian ‘trolls’

Patrick Warren, left, and Darren Linvill

Patrick Warren, left, and Darren Linvill

Clemson faculty members Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren are studying the activities of social media accounts created by Russian agencies to influence elections and political discourse. In 2018, they identified over 3 million individual tweets by these types of accounts, a sharp contrast with previous reports of only a fraction of that number.

They’ve studied how these “trolls” work and what the timing and frequency of posts have to say about their intentions and efficacy. After making their data publicly available, the duo continues to gain international attention as news agencies examine the data and seek their expert knowledge to explain it.

“It’s incredibly important that we understand how these people work to sow distrust in our political system, mainly because they’re getting better at it,” Linvill said. “Their efforts to galvanize one side against the other are succeeding, and for the foreseeable future, they will remain a problem.”

With all the news surrounding Russian trolls on Facebook, both researchers agreed in late 2017 that they should at least attempt to use the Social Studio software housed in Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center to investigate whether the problem with troll accounts was better or worse than reported by Twitter.

Linvill took the time to examine every account one by one to verify suspicious activity, and in the process, he has helped people falsely accused of being trolls clear their names with Twitter.