The Face of Science
Drake O’Sullivan was born with a rare genetic disease. His mother, Clemson student Tarah O’Sullivan, is on a mission to help him and other students affected.
Drake O’Sullivan was born with a rare genetic disease. His mother, Clemson student Tarah O’Sullivan, is on a mission to help him and other students affected.
As an archaeologist and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Kidd specializes in Roman architecture and urbanism.
Q| WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GO TO CLEMSON?
A| Going to Clemson was a decision largely guided by my parents, considering they are both alumni, and the University’s high national ratings and low in-state tuition. Although I was not initially invested in the idea, it was not long into my freshman year that I found myself embedded in the Clemson experience, thanks to the countless professors who challenged my academic growth, the members of the administrative and academic staff who went above and beyond the call of duty to invest in my future career, and my classmates who challenged my personal growth — many now lifelong friends. All future applicants should know that these are Clemson’s virtues, and they mean much more than the annual published statistics and college ratings!
Q| WHAT CAREER STEPS DID YOU TAKE AFTER CLEMSON?
A| I began a master’s degree in classical archaeology at the University of Oxford immediately after graduating from Clemson. Before taking the big leap into the Ph.D., I returned to Clemson for a year, where I worked for the Calhoun Honors College as an assistant major fellowships adviser and for the Office of International Affairs as an international programs coordinator while also serving as an intern for the Columbia Museum of Art. In 2012, I began my doctoral studies in the history of art and archaeology at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. I spent the next five years conducting research, leading archaeological excavations and teaching courses in classical archaeology in New York City and abroad, mostly in Italy and Turkey. After graduating with my doctorate in 2018, I began a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Edinburgh.
Q| WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW, AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
A| I am currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I am a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. I also currently serve as the field director for the Edinburgh-Apolline Excavations at Aeclanum in Italy and a member of the research team for the NYU-led Excavations at Aphrodisias in Turkey.
Q| WHAT’S THE COOLEST ARTIFACT YOU’VE UNCOVERED IN YOUR WORK?
A| I find that people often love to hear about the statues or mosaics I’ve found, but for me the ‘coolest’ artifacts are those items that are either considered extremely rare finds — such as the 1,800-year-old preserved wooden beams with intact nail holes we uncovered in 2017 or a polychrome mudbrick wall we uncovered in 2018 — or items that reveal unexpectedly extensive trade networks and connectivity — such as finding in a rural Turkish medieval settlement a silver Crusader coin that had been manufactured in Wallachia, modern-day Romania.
Q| WHAT’S A COMMON MISCONCEPTION OF BEING AN ARCHAEOLOGIST THAT YOU’D LOVE TO CLEAR UP?
A| Archaeologists do not study dinosaurs! Archaeology is the study of human history through their material culture and the changes they affected on the natural environment, whereas paleontology is the study of Earth’s history through plant and animal fossils. Think more Indiana Jones, less Ross Geller.
Frank Hammond ’83 lost not one but two Clemson class rings. He tells the strange story of how they were both recovered:
Due at least partially to the shock that I was (seemingly) going to graduate in 1982, my parents offered to buy me a Clemson ring. Much to their disappointment, I took a victory lap but did graduate in ’83. I proceeded to lose the ’82 ring in 1986 on a business trip in Columbia, and they were even more kind to purchase a replacement.
Flash forward to the summer of 2006 on an island in Lake Hartwell. I was with my family, throwing the ball for the Lab, and felt the ring come off, making a nice soft splash some distance offshore. With no luck finding it and figuring two was probably my limit anyway, I resigned myself to moving forward without my Clemson ring.
That is until about a month later when my home phone rang, asking if I was the Frank Hammond that graduated from Clemson in ’83. Affirming that it was indeed me, the caller relayed he had seen something shiny while recently fishing on Hartwell and dove down to retrieve what turned out to be my ring. He was a Clemson grad as well and mailed it back to me, politely refusing any reward. I considered myself more than fortunate to have lost two rings and actually gotten one back, though some nine years later, the story takes an even odder twist.
While sitting at my desk in 2015, my phone rings with that same question, asking for a Frank Hammond who graduated in ’82. The caller said she was looking at my ring, which turned out to be the first one I’d lost. It had been missing for almost 30 years. She was the manager of an assisted living facility in North Carolina, and one of their residents, who could no longer speak, had given it to her the day before with no further explanation of how she came to have it.
“What’s the story?” I asked the manager.
“I don’t know,” she replied. “She just handed it to me.”
Sam ’49 and Betty McGregor’s family history is deeply rooted in Clemson, and their love for the University was passed down to their children and grandchildren. The McGregors also instilled the value of giving in their family. Years ago, they began a family tradition of giving back to worthy causes in honor of one another.
That philanthropic spirit, along with an enduring love for Clemson, inspired the four McGregor children to establish the Sam Evans McGregor ’49 and Betty Ulmer McGregor Clemson University MicroCreamery Endowment Fund in honor of their parents.
As a South Carolina dairy farmer, Sam McGregor was a prominent leader in the agriculture field, named one of four Outstanding Young Farmers in America in 1964 and the recipient of the Clemson Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1977. Betty McGregor was honored as National Mother of the Year in 2009 and was named Clemson’s Mother of the Year in 2010.
The choice to give to the ’55 Exchange was an obvious one for the proud children of a Clemson-educated dairy farmer. The ’55 Exchange is a student-led entrepreneurial center in which the students design, manufacture, sell and serve Clemson’s world-famous ice cream, blue cheese and other products. All revenues generated support Clemson students and their academic and professional training.
Students benefit from being a part of the creative process at the ’55 Exchange. They created a special flavor — McGregor’s Salty Caramel Glazed Southern Beignet Ice Cream — to express appreciation for the family’s gift.
The McGregor family’s gift reflects the motto of the ’55 Exchange, “Where Tradition Flavors the Future.” The McGregor family gave back to honor the traditions established by their parents, and to help ensure success for future generations of Clemson students.
Gabriel Estebanez ’98 and Stephanie Hicks Pickens ’99 were in Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the inaugural flight of Embraer’s E175-E2 aircraft. Both are employed by jet engine provider, Pratt & Whitney.
Eighty Clemson freshmen are participating in a program that gives them a chance to ease into the challenging math courses that sometimes derail students’ dreams of becoming engineers.
Boyd Scholars are first-year students in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences who are selected to complete courses during the long summer academic term. The award covers tuition and fees for the seven credit hours required in the summer, along with summer housing and a summer meal plan. Students take an extended curriculum that delays their start in calculus yet keeps them on track to finish their required courses before their sophomore year. The Boyd Scholars Program is made possible through a $1.25 million gift from the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation.
For many students, calculus is a major stumbling block on their path to engineering degrees through no fault of their own.
Beth Stephan, who oversees Boyd Scholars, noted, “Students often arrive on campus underprepared for calculus because their hometown schools didn’t offer programs that could get them ready.
“This money allows us to keep those students at Clemson all summer,” she continued. “They can start in the right math for them, and there are no extra dollars out of pocket to get them caught up. This program has the potential to be truly life changing.”
Brad Putman, the college’s associate dean for undergraduate studies, said Boyd Scholars also play an important role in helping address the state’s STEM workforce shortage: “STEM careers can be the golden key to elevate many students to a better life with rewarding salaries and job security. Too often students struggle with the rigors of college-level STEM education, particularly with calculus. The Boyd Scholars program will help them clear hurdles that might otherwise trip them up.”
Anand Gramopadhye, the college’s dean, said that when he sat down with Darnall Boyd in 2015, they talked about their shared concern for South Carolina’s students and a vision for a better future.
“He understood that an important factor lay within our ability to educate future generations in STEM disciplines,” Gramopadhye said. “The program developed by the college positions our students and the state for success.”
Mary Satcher “Sissy” Bynum ’84 and her late husband, Henry “Clarke” Bynum Jr. ’84, were a true Clemson couple. They met at freshman orientation and were married a month after graduation in 1984. Clemson has remained an important part of their family’s life ever since. Three of their four children and multiple family members are also Clemson graduates.
After Clarke Bynum passed away in 2007, Sissy Bynum knew that she wanted to give back to the place that had made such an impact on their life together and the life of their family. At the time, their daughter, Ann ’12, worked as a teacher at an inner-city St. Louis school. That experience made the family more aware of the disadvantages that many young people face who do not have the opportunity to go to college.
A first-generation college graduate herself, Bynum started to think about her estate plan and began a conversation with her children: “I talked to them about the opportunity to give to Clemson, and we all enthusiastically agreed that our family wanted to establish an endowment to benefit the FIRST Program.”
The Bynum family legacy is being realized through Sissy Bynum’s planned gift, to be known as the All Things Are Possible First-Generation Scholarship Endowment.
Clemson’s FIRST Program helps first-generation college freshmen and transfer students adjust to the college experience by offering a variety of opportunities and resources, from academic support to social activities.
It’s a mission that resonates with Sissy Bynum. “I want to leave a legacy that underscores my faith and the appreciation for all that Clemson has given me,” she said. “Clarke would want our family to do this.”
Construction science and management students at Clemson take classes in calculus, physics, economics and business, and management as well as those focusing on structures, materials and methods, contract documents, estimating, scheduling, safety and project management.
But it’s in the laboratory — the Construction Science and Management Construction Yard at the Ravenel Research Center — where those theoretical concepts are reinforced and practiced.
Now, thanks to Michael ’86 and Robyn Nieri, both classroom and experiential learning for these students will be enriched. With their $5 million Cornerstone gift, the department will become the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities’ first named department. The Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management will also receive funding for experiential learning projects with a focus on residential construction; a new residential construction professor of practice faculty position; and the Nieri Family Endowment, which will provide perpetual funding for these initiatives.
“I attribute a great deal of my success within the construction industry to the education I received from Clemson University,” said Michael Nieri, president and founder of Great Southern Homes. “Our hope is that this gift will allow Clemson to offer even more learning opportunities for our students, establish even more prominence for the department among our peers and prepare our students to make significant impact as they enter the industry.”
This is the Nieris’ second Cornerstone gift; their first created the Nieri Family Student-Athlete Enrichment Center, laying the foundation for student-athlete success. They are the University’s second Cornerstone partner for both athletics and academics.
“As an Academic Cornerstone Partner, Michael and Robyn Nieri are laying the cornerstones upon which the future of academic excellence will be built at Clemson,” said President James P. Clements. “Their generosity will take our construction science and management program to the next level and will help us better prepare students to be leaders in the field.”
How many times have you wished you could give your younger self a piece of advice? Clemson psychology professor Robin Kowalski is willing to bet there’s not a single person who hasn’t thought about this at least once in the last year. According to her research, the odds are pretty good that she’s right.
Her latest article in the Journal of Social Psychology, “If I knew then what I know now: Advice to my younger self,” analyzes the results of two studies of more than 400 individuals 30 years of age or older. Kowalski said the results have been truly revealing about the nature of regret, how people can use it to self-actualize and what areas people tend to fixate on in their later years.
Q | You shouldn’t dwell on the past, right?
A | “My findings would suggest otherwise as long as you’re not obsessing about it,” Kowalski said. One-third of the participants in the study spontaneously thought about advice they would offer their younger selves at least once a week.
Thinking about the past can help people conceptualize and even realize their “ideal self,” which reflects who the person thinks they would like to be. “Following the advice helped participants overcome regret,” Kowalski said. “When participants followed their advice in the present, they were much more likely to say that their younger selves would be proud of the person they are now.”
Q | What areas do people tend to focus on when it comes to advice to the younger self?
A | Kowalski said the top three areas are education, self-worth and relationships.
Advice tied to education often involved individuals urging themselves to return to or finish school, and many participants offered a timeline, such as “get master’s while in your 20s” or “finish college in four years.”
Advice related to self-worth, such as “be yourself” or “think through all options before making a decision,” tended to be more inspirational and corrective than the more temporal advice about education.
“My favorite piece of advice in the whole paper,” Kowalski said, “came from a guy who said ‘Do. Not. Marry. Her.’ That’s valuable for the person that he is now because he can reflect and have a better idea of what he’s looking for in an ideal mate, plus he can offer advice to others.”
Q | Will this research make it more likely that children will follow their parents’ advice?
A | “No,” Kowalski laughed, “but that’s an interesting way of looking at things because I think children between 10 and 30 tend to deny how similar they are to their parents. If they embraced it, they might be more likely to listen to the advice their parents would have given to their younger selves, and the closest thing to that younger self is their children.”
Q | What could a young Robin Kowalski learn from today’s Robin Kowalski?
A | “I would do high school totally differently. I was so academically focused, so I think I would tell myself to have a little bit more fun and enjoy high school a little more.”
In its first decade, SC BioCRAFT matched seasoned mentors with 23 early-career researchers. They went on to generate $35 million for research into spinal cord injuries, new ways of growing vascular tissue for grafts and a wide range of other biomedical challenges.
Now the South Carolina Bioengineering Center for Regeneration and Formation of Tissues has received $5.7 million from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to fund the next five years of research on treatments for illnesses ranging from diabetes to heart disease.
Researchers involved in the center have been awarded 24 patents, spun off four start-up companies and generated 304 articles in peer-reviewed publications.
SC BioCRAFT began operating in 2009 under the direction of Naren Vyavahare, the Hunter Endowed Chair of Bioengineering at Clemson. “It feels good to know that we have junior faculty who have been so successful and have their own independent labs because of this center,” Vyavahare said. “SC BioCRAFT is playing a key role in building the biomedical research infrastructure in South Carolina.”
The center’s primary mission is to increase the number of South Carolina biomedical researchers who receive funding for their work from the National Institutes of Health. The research theme revolves around regenerative medicine, a fast-growing field that offers the promise of repairing and regenerating diseased tissues.
The center brings together researchers, clinicians and other health care professionals from across the state to advance biomedical research. Clemson researchers collaborate closely with colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina and Prisma Health.
Clemson is now home to three Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, including the South Carolina Center for Translational Research Improving Musculoskeletal Health and the Eukaryotic Pathogens Innovation Center.
Tanju Karanfil, Clemson’s vice president for research, said that the success of SC BioCRAFT is helping fuel a trend toward collaboration among institutions. “Each institution brings its own strengths and ways of looking at the various health care challenges we face,” he said. “Bringing them together leads to innovative solutions that might have eluded us if we were to work on our own. SC BioCRAFT and our other Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence are great examples of that concept in action.”