Young and Wise

Summer camp gets middle schoolers excited about STEM careers

More than three dozen rising seventh and eighth graders from underserved communities around South Carolina spent a week on campus at a summer camp designed to introduce them to careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Project WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) is the product of a long-standing partnership between Clemson and Duke Energy, which has funded the camps since the early 1990s.

Amanda Dow, manager of the Duke Energy Foundation that sponsors the program, said it’s a partnership that makes sense for the company. “[The workforce of the future] must bring diverse perspectives to the table, and that’s why programs like this, that encourage young women to pursue careers in science and engineering, are so important,” she said.

Project WISE employs graduate and undergraduate STEM students as teachers and camp counselors. This provides a chance for participants to interact with adults who grew up under similar circumstances and are now thriving in the world of STEM.

Skyler Holland, a rising junior studying electrical engineering, was a camp counselor this year. She went through the WISE program herself when she was a middle school student in Farmville, South Carolina, and it changed her life.

“This camp is why I picked my major,” she said. “In the electrical engineering class my first year, we did little robot crabs that were solar-powered, and I loved it. Then the next year, we did this little solar-powered dinosaur, and I said, ‘This is what I want to do with my life.’”

Classes ranged from biosystems and mechanical engineering to chemistry and mathematics. Instructors incorporated hands-on learning that kept the students engaged.

In one session, participants learned to use a computer-aided design program to render a simple gearbox with their names embedded in the body. In another, students assembled model helicopters to learn the physics and engineering behind helicopter flight. The instructors used the project to teach the class about thrust, torque, gravity and gears as the dozens of small aircraft took shape in students’ hands.

Camp counselor Dajonia Jackson ’22 walked from desk to desk, observing and offering advice as the students assembled the pieces of their helicopters. Like Holland, she attended the program as a middle schooler.


“Project WISE provides a chance for participants to interact with adults who grew up under similar circumstances and are now thriving in the world of STEM.”


“When I was in seventh and eighth grade, I wanted to be a doctor or nurse. Nobody exposed me to engineering,” said Jackson. “The WISE summer camp was the first time I saw that I could be creative. When I was younger, having that exposure opened up a lot for me. It made me want to build things and inspire others, and that’s why I’m here.”

Associate director of WISE Beth Anne Johnson said Holland and Jackson are perfect examples of the program’s mission.

“Overall, I hope every young person who participates in our programs sees that they belong; that math, science and engineering are for everyone,” said Johnson. “We’re trying to send that message and plant that seed of belonging so that everyone’s future is brighter.”


An Infinite Partnership

US Space Force names Clemson its newest strategic partner

The U.S. Space Force welcomed Clemson as an official member of its University Partnership Program at a Memorandum of Understanding signing event in July. Clemson is the 13th university to join the partnership program.

The U.S. Space Force — the sixth and newest branch of the U.S. armed forces — established the partnership program to identify, develop and retain a diverse, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-capable workforce to further its mission to protect U.S. and allied interests in space.

As modern warfare is increasingly fought via satellite control networks, the need for creative workers proficient in the STEM fields is at an all-time high. Through the partnership, the Space Force will seek to recruit new members and create educational and leadership development programs for existing Space Force employees.

“Clemson is proud to partner with the Space Force in becoming a member of the University Partnership Program,” said President Jim Clements. “As we continue our institution’s strong history with the United States armed forces, this new partnership is an incredible opportunity for our faculty, staff and students to continue to engage in groundbreaking research, develop innovative educational experiences and discover new and exciting ways to serve our country.”


“Our nation is depending on the next generations of scientists and engineers to help us solve complex national security challenges.”


The research and technology will make an impact far outside the military, said Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson. “With the signing of the MOU, Clemson University and the U.S. Space Force commit to an exciting partnership for the future,” said Thompson. “Our nation is depending on the next generations of scientists and engineers to help us solve complex national security challenges, and these challenges are multigenerational.”

Teaming up with the Space Force comes naturally for Clemson, with its rich military heritage dating back to its founding as an all-male military college in 1889. Its ROTC program has produced more than 10,000 officers, including Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, a 1984 alumnus, and two Air Force generals assigned to Space Force — Maj. Gen. Leah G. Lauderback ’93 and Maj. Gen. Donna Shipton ’91. 


Clemson Honors the Best of Its Own

In April of this year, the Alumni Association awarded six recipients with the Distinguished Service Award — the highest honor the association bestows on those who graduated from the University.

The Distinguished Service Award is based on three main criteria: personal and professional accomplishments; dedication and service to Clemson; and devotion to community and public service. Members of the Clemson Family nominate potential honorees, whom the Alumni Association then selects as outstanding alumni, public servants and examples to others.

Celeste De Laine Boykin ’79

Trailblazer. Outstanding role model. Clemson advocate.

Celeste “Clete” Boykin was the first Black woman hired by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company as a sales and marketing representative in their agricultural chemicals business. She later joined their government affairs office and became senior manager before starting her own government consulting firm, CDB ProjX.

Boykin currently chairs the Clemson Institute for Parks board of advisers and advises prospective students of color in the Washington, D.C., area.

Boykin is a proud member of the “Benet Babes,” a group of women who lived on the fourth floor of Benet Hall. In 2015, the group established a scholarship fund to allow future students to make their own lifelong friends and memories while getting a quality Clemson education.

Boykin volunteers for a mobile food service that feeds people in need and raises funds for AIDS charities and multiple sclerosis.

She is vice chair of the board of the Briggs, De Laine, Pearson Foundation, which focuses on providing free after-school and summer tutoring for individuals from low-income backgrounds in Clarendon County.


John L. Easterling III ’80

Admired businessman. Community volunteer. “Mr. Clemson.”

After graduating with a degree in business administration, John Easterling earned his MBA from the University of South Carolina. He began working in property management for Pulliam Investment Company in 1983 and rose to become president in 1997 and owner in 2007. Today he is a senior associate with NAI Earle Furman, the largest commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm in Upstate South Carolina.

At Clemson, Easterling is a charter member of the Master of Real Estate Development program’s board of directors and a former member of the Board of Visitors, the IPTAY board of directors and the Alumni National Council. He has served as a county coordinator for the Clemson Advocates program and president of the Spartanburg County Clemson Club.

Easterling has served more than two decades in multiple leadership roles for the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, now called OneSpartanburg. He is a former chair and current member of the Downtown Development Partnership Board and the Spartanburg Tomorrow Political Action Committee.


J. Allen Martin ’69

Respected professional. Caring friend and mentor. “A Clemson gentleman.”

Allen Martin served as chief of staff for 22 years for U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), then co-founded The Livingston Group, where he specializes in international affairs and is lead partner for health care, pharmaceuticals, science, technology and telecommunications.

He has strong working relationships with many national and international leaders and officials and is well respected for his in-depth knowledge of governmental decision-making processes.

Martin is a longtime leader of the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Clemson Club and a former Alumni Association and Foundation board member. He is a current member of the Order of the Oak, a select group of supporters and ambassadors who provide guidance and engage in philanthropic efforts to further Clemson’s long-term goals.

Martin has hosted numerous Clemson events in the Washington area. He employs at least one Clemson student intern each year and mentors alumni interested in working in government, public policy or politics.

Martin has received the Order of the Palmetto for his service to South Carolina.


John W. Parris ’58

Conservationist. Innovative educator. Clemson ambassador.

John W. Parris taught agri-science and technology for eight years, during which time he co-founded the S.C. Accredited Horse Show Association.

In 1966, Parris was named associate director then executive director of State Land Resources Commission. After retiring in 1994, he became state director of public affairs for agricultural education and the FFA. He now serves as director of the S.C. Agri-News Service.

The first South Carolinian named to the National Conservation Hall of Fame, Parris introduced drip irrigation and conservation tillage technology to South Carolina agriculturalists. He successfully promoted natural resource and stormwater and sediment control legislation.

Parris secured approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for Clemson’s landscape architecture major. He is a charter member and former chair of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences Alumni Board. He provides scholarships to agriculture students through the John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Endowment.


John W. Raymond ’84

Four-star general. Trusted adviser. Military heritage leader.

Commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduating from Clemson, Jay Raymond is now the highest-ranking military leader in any branch of service to graduate from Clemson.

When the U.S. Space Force was established in 2019, Raymond was appointed chief of Space Operations. He is the senior uniformed Space Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of all space forces. He is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, providing senior uniformed advice to the president and secretary of defense.

As the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations, Raymond served in the Middle East in support of U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Japanese government recognized his leadership of U.S. humanitarian and relief efforts in Japan during its 2011 earthquake disaster. He was also awarded the French National Order of Merit for his contributions to French and American military cooperation.

A donor to academic and athletic programs, Raymond sponsors an annual scholarship for Air Force ROTC cadets.


Mitchell S. Scott ’75

Industry champion. Generous philanthropist. Dedicated Tiger supporter.

Micky Scott is president of Collum’s Lumber Products, a fourth-generation family-owned company founded in the 1930s, one of the most advanced sawmill and planer operations in the Southeast.

He and his family are recognized as the first Academic Cornerstone Partner of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences because of generous endowments they established.

Scott helped Clemson create its Wood Utilization + Design Institute and is a board member and corporate partner. He also helped the Real Estate Foundation develop its Timberland Legacy Program.

He has donated lumber for research by students in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation and to help construct a graduate house at the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science in Georgetown.

He supports the nonprofit Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, which protects heirs’ property and promotes its sustainable use to provide increased economic benefit to historically underserved families in the Lowcountry, Midlands and Pee Dee.


Rev Up

Consortium to create next-generation electronic vehicle tech and talent

The unprecedented need to develop a workforce that can build and service electric and autonomous vehicles and develop the cybersecurity to protect them is the driving force behind a new consortium based in South Carolina.

The consortium, named Collaborative Research: REVVED, short for Revolutionizing Electric Vehicle Education, is receiving $2.83 million from the National Science Foundation to fund the project.

As part of the consortium, Clemson is partnering with Greenville Technical College, Spartanburg Community College and Trident Technical College.

The consortium will conduct evidence-based research studies to investigate the integration of virtual and augmented reality systems to support electric vehicle manufacturing and education.

One of the main goals is to strengthen learning and retention among students from rural areas, veterans and students who are from groups underrepresented in the workforce. Digital learning systems are especially attractive for students who are nontraditional and underrepresented in the workforce, researchers said.

Industry partners involved are BMW, Michelin, Bosch, Daimler, Proterra and Volvo.


Supporting the Next Generation of STEM PhDs

Bridge to Doctorate Program to fund, educate and mentor underrepresented students

The inaugural class of Clemson’s Bridge to Doctorate Graduate Program began their studies on campus this summer and fall. Funded by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, along with additional resources provided by the University, full financial support is being provided to a cohort of 12 incoming underrepresented Ph.D. students enrolled in select programs in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences or the College of Science.

The cohort comprises diverse scientific leaders with expertise in advanced materials research, which will “further support the state by graduating qualified Ph.D.s with expertise aligned to the needs of the broad spectrum of industries in South Carolina,” according to Oliver J. Myers, associate professor and associate dean of inclusion and equity in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

The students will receive a $32,000 stipend for their first two years of education and research through the NSF’s funding, and the University will cover the cost of their remaining three years. In addition, participants will benefit from individual faculty and peer mentoring, advising and advocacy, as well as a built-in network for professional development and support.