Bangs™ to ‘help’: Hannah C. Davis ’09

You can help satisfy your social conscience with a pair of shoes, thanks to the efforts of Hannah Davis.
As founder and president of Bangs™, a retail shoe line, Davis has shown how a for-profit can partner with nonprofits to create positive change. Bangs™ partners with nonprofits whose projects focus on self-reliability and empowerment through education and cultural understanding, turning away from handout methodology.
She pairs each of her four different styles of shoes — each a different color — with causes that directly address world issues. Buy a blue pair of shoes and clean water initiatives are helped; red goes toward disaster relief efforts; khaki helps fight world hunger; and green shoes’ proceeds fund educational projects.
Davis graduated with a degree in political science with a minor in Mandarin. She traveled in China for six weeks during a study abroad program and fell in love with the country. After graduation, Davis taught English for a year in Jiangsu Province.
Inspiration for the design of Bangs™ shoes was found in the olive green, army-style shoes worn by thousands of construction and field workers across China. Davis developed the ideology behind the Bangs™ brand to connect people to a philosophy she was passionate about. In fact the name “Bangs” came from the Mandarin character for the word “help,” which phonetically is spelled b-a-n-g.
One of the company’s marketing strategies is University Outreach. Bangs™ ambassadors in 20 universities in the Southeast participate to raise awareness of the social enterprise. Student Leah Esposito is the Clemson Bangs Team Leader.
More about Bangs and its products is at
To hear more about Davis’s story, check out her TED X talk.


Summer offerings span the state for students K–12

Summer programs

Opportunities abound this summer at Clemson for young people ranging from kindergarteners to high school seniors. An extensive program lineup matches just about every interest imaginable, from athletic camps and rigorous academic enrichment programs on campus to an array of recreational summer camps at sites around the state.
Clemson’s legacy of service to pre-collegiate youth audiences spans beyond a century, when the first 4-H club programs were organized. It’s a legacy that has evolved with the times, and with consistent emphasis on providing the most physically and emotionally safe environments possible for program participants and facilitators.
In 2008, before the Penn State tragedies rocked the nation, President James Barker commissioned a summer programs task force that recommended the development of a centralized system to oversee the operation of youth programs. Then in 2011, the Pre-collegiate Programs Office (PcPO) was created. The PcPO coordinates with faculty and staff to develop and plan all phases of youth program operations, then monitors to ensure they meet the University’s operating standards. These policies include background checks for all individuals working or volunteering to supervise youth, staff training protocols and emergency procedures, and a variety of other areas of risk management such as staff-to-student ratios, housing and transportation.
In 2013, the PcPO expects to support the operation of more than 1,000 youth programs, on and off campus, that will serve an estimated 45,000 young people.For a list of programs and registration information, visit Or, contact Jacob Repokis, assistant director, Pre-Collegiate Programs Office, at or 864-656-5535.

University/military partnership benefits both

Field Scenario

Field Scenario

Units such as the U.S. Navy Reserve medical team that MaryBeth Hendricks ’95, M ’96 helps lead are the first responders for injured service men and women on the field of battle. When Hendricks’ team began envisioning what kind of training would provide the best preparation, what came to mind was the kind of training she received at Clemson, and her experience in the School of Nursing’s Clinical Lab and Resource Center. The center’s state-of-the-art learning environment closely simulates real-life experiences using technologically advanced mannequins that can be programmed to realistically mimic the symptoms of almost any health problem.
Hendricks, a nurse practitioner who received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clemson, and her team worked with assistant professor Tracy Fasolino to design a five-hour simulation session that, with the assistance of a number of nursing faculty, could be completed during scheduled drill weekends. The training took place in the fall, with scenarios ranging from a traumatic amputation to a cardiac event.
Collaboration with the military is nothing new for Clemson. Faculty from the Eugene T. Moore School of Education have been working with the S.C. Army National Guard in a decade-long partnership that has provided a convenient high-tech facility for weekend Guard training and education. The facility, which includes two-way interactive videoconferencing capabilities, also is used for University programs and classes, as well as for training more than 3,500 teachers in the statewide Reading Recovery Program that improves children’s literacy skills.

Clemson bestows nation’s first Ph.D. in automotive engineering

At Clemson’s December graduation ceremonies, Ala Oattawi made history as the first woman in the country to earn a Ph.D. in automotive engineering. Her work involves concept cars and establishing a scientific approach for the design of structural origami in folded sheet metal in an effort to improve automobile efficiency and functionality.

Collaborating to solve the world’s problems

Life Sciences building

Facing Cherry Road, just adjacent to the P&A Building, sits the new Life Sciences facility where microbiology, biochemistry, food safety and genetics researchers collaborate in state-of-the-art laboratories to find solutions to the world’s problems. Designed to be highly energy efficient, the 100,000-square-foot facility is targeted to achieve LEED gold status.
Dedicated on Feb. 8, the facility includes the Leica Microsystems Imaging Suite, housed in a 2,400-square-foot laboratory on the ground floor, which will be part of the Clemson Light Imaging Facility used by more than 60 principal investigator laboratories and five businesses. The support of Leica Microsystems, a world leader in microscopy, camera and software solutions for imaging and analysis of macro-, micro- and nanostructures, ensures that the very latest, state-of-the-art equipment will be available for use and demonstration.

Roth honored by Texas A&M

Aleda Roth, the distinguished Burlington Industries Professor of Supply Chain Management in Clemson’s College of Business and Behavioral Science, was named Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study Faculty Fellow at its inaugural class gathering in College Station. The only female scholar in the class, she joins eminent researchers who include a Nobel Laureate, members of the National Academies of Engineering and of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society in England.

Sherrill presented Class of 1939 Award for Excellence

Windsor Westbrook Sherrill

Professor of public health sciences Windsor Westbrook Sherrill may be younger than the rest of the Class of 1939, but as the 2012 recipient of the Class of 1939 Award for Excellence, she is now an honorary member of the class. The award is presented annually to one distinguished member of the faculty whose outstanding contributions for a five-year period have been judged by his or her peers to represent the highest achievement of service to the University, the student body and the larger community.
Sherrill has taught courses in health-care management, health-care systems, health-care finance, health-services research, honors and Creative Inquiry. Her research, which spans epidemiology, health services administration, health education and behavioral science, has brought in more than $1.5 million in grants and has been published in numerous refereed publications, five book chapters, professional reports and scholarly presentations.

Public health sciences professor Rachel Mayo described Sherrill as “a vital research partner of the University, unafraid to take risks, and a visionary.”

Sherrill recently was asked to lead the health-research collaborative between Clemson University and the Institute for the Advancement of Healthcare of the Greenville Hospital System.

S.T.E.M.ulating young minds to learn and lead

Charter school

Clemson’s Youth Learning Institute and Kansas-based PITSCO Education have partnered to create the Youth Leadership Academy of South Carolina (YLA), a STEM-based middle school and Pickens County’s first charter school. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a widely promoted learning focus in classrooms nationwide.
Located at the institute’s headquarters in Pickens, the school utilizes PITSCO Education’s math and science curriculum modules as the foundation for the hands-on, standards-based learning programs. Even the English language arts, social sciences, arts, music and physical education courses include engaging, hands-on, team-based approaches.

“The YLA is producing leaders,” says YLA principal Patsy Wood Smith. “Our school is small, and offers individualized learning. It’s a safe, nurturing environment where every child feels empowered and valued for their differences.”

As an alternative to attending other public schools, the 48 sixth- and seventh-graders at the YLA get a unique educational experience that is enriched by the involvement of Clemson students.
“Each week, as part of our cultural immersion program, international students from Clemson have represented their native countries through lectures, music, dance and dress. Our students have literally been ‘around the world’ through these presentations. What’s more, they are inspired by Clemson student leaders and are aspiring to follow their examples,” says Smith.
Eighth grade will be added and the sixth grade class will double for the 2013-14 school year, pushing enrollment to 96. A waiting list of students is a sure sign that parents in Pickens County are excited about the kind of creative learning environment the YLA offers. For more information, contact Patsy Smith, at 864-878-1103 or

Student researchers honored for advancements in accessibility

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) honored professor Juan Gilbert and his team of students from Clemson’s Human-Centered Computing division with the FCC Chairman’s 2012 Award for Advancement in Accessibility.
Prime III, a universally designed voting system, was the winning entry in the Civic Participation Solutions category. Unlike voting systems where people with physical disabilities are relegated to a separate voting machine, Prime III enables people with learning, intellectual or physical disabilities to cast their votes privately and independently on one machine.
The accessible voting system gained national attention when the state of Oregon utilized it during the 2012 Presidential Primary. The Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) organization also used Prime III during its annual board election.
Gilbert, Presidential Endowed Chair in Computing, directs the Human-Centered Computing division in the School of Computing.

Alanna Walker discovers another side of life

Alanna Walker

Alanna Walker

I entered Clemson with a rock solid plan for my future. I knew that I wanted to get a B.S. in bioengineering and then continue on straight into a Ph.D. in bioengineering and become a professor at a research university.
As my time passed, I continued happily in bioengineering, but I also began to get involved in programs outside of my major. Specifically, I got involved with Clemson’s New Student Dialogue diversity education program during my junior year. It is difficult to say what made me decide to get involved with this program, but I believe it was a combination of having a great experience with One Clemson as a freshman and my desire to learn about everything (even outside of the world of bioengineering!).
I didn’t know what to expect, but looking back, I can safely say that becoming a peer dialogue facilitator changed my life. Learning about and implementing dialogue between incoming freshmen and transfer students opened up an entirely different world of skills and experiences for me. I learned to introspect; I learned to listen; and, most importantly, I learned to really open my mind and experience real empathy for others.
I already possessed those skills, but the New Student Dialogue program allowed me to realize that they were there and that they are just as important to develop as my problem-solving, engineering-based skills. I also became involved with the new Intergroup Dialogue program for students of all levels. In that program, I was able to find my voice as a peer leader. I worked closely with my co-facilitators and my supervisor to help shape the curriculum, which gave me the confidence to take ownership of my own education. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world.
These new experiences allowed me to get in touch with a side of myself I had previously discounted. My newly honed interpersonal skills needed an outlet, but I was shocked to find that perhaps my trusty “life road map” wasn’t leading me to a career that would enable me to reach my full potential. [pullquote align=’right’ font=’oswald’ color=’#685C53′]I was so passionate about bioengineering; how could I have been so wrong? Was it even possible to reconcile my scientific, bioengineering life with my empathetic, Peer Dialogue Facilitator life?[/pullquote]
After quite a bit of denial, self-doubt and pro/con lists, I came to realize that I needed to adjust my plan. Spring break of my senior year, I sat down and took a serious look at where I had been and where I thought I was going. I came up with not only a new road map, but also an entirely different destination! I applied and was accepted to Columbia University’s master’s of bioethics program. I finally found a way to use my medical background and my interpersonal skills in a way that complement each other beautifully!
It is amazing for me to look back at the naively confident freshman I was when I first came to Clemson and compare her to the adventurously open-minded first-year master’s student I am today. Bioethics, like bioengineering, is a field of unknowns that I am excited to explore. Even so, the idea of changing my plan a month before graduation was almost as scary as the prospect of moving from Clemson, South Carolina, to New York City! But I am thankful every day that I was able to trust my instincts and seize this amazing opportunity. Without my experiences of self-discovery in the New Student Dialogue and Intergroup Dialogue programs, I wouldn’t have had the courage to take this giant leap of faith. I got what I consider to be a very well-rounded education by taking ownership of my learning and getting in touch with myself.
Always and forever, Go Tigers!
I’m Alanna Walker, and this is my Clemson.