Future Connections

Students work alongside career manufacturers to improve plant efficiencies

The whirring of pneumatic wrenches filled the Komatsu plant in Newberry, South Carolina, as four Clemson students made their way past workers assembling yellow forklifts. A woman noticed the students’ bright orange hard hats and greeted them with the two words every Clemson diehard likes to hear:
“Go Tigers!”
It was a warm welcome for a team that had made the 90-minute drive from campus to help Komatsu assess how it could reduce its energy use. The students were from Clemson’s Industrial Assessment Center, a program that takes engineering education out of the classroom and into manufacturing plants. The center’s energy-use assessments are free and come with the potential to save each participating company tens of thousands of dollars.
With 36 site visits in its portfolio, the center is now charging into its fourth year with 20 student interns eager to leave their mark on the world. Among them is Lakshana Nagaraj, who is working toward a master’s degree in industrial engineering.
“I think energy saving is the ‘in’ thing right now,” she said. “There is a lot happening with climate change and the environmental effects. We need to do something about it. This is the first step. Everyone can make an effort toward energy saving.”
The center’s teams have been fanning out across the state for three years to assess small- to mid-sized manufacturers. Based on their recommendations, companies have implemented around $2.3 million in savings. In energy terms, that’s equivalent to 50,000 barrels of oil, or the equivalent annual CO2 emissions of more than 4,000 cars.
While the assessments have helped companies reduce their environmental impact, they have also provided students with real-world experience and connections with employers, said Michael Carbajales-Dale, the center’s director and an assistant professor of environmental engineering and earth sciences.
Clemson launched the center in October 2016 after receiving nearly $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. It is among 28 Industrial Assessments Centers nationwide, cited by the White House in an October 2018 report as an example of a federal program that “contributed to the progress in manufacturing education, training and workforce development.” Clemson’s center is made up mostly of undergraduate engineering students who work up to 14 hours a week as paid interns under the supervision of faculty members.
To be eligible for an assessment, companies must have fewer than 500 employees at the plant site, gross annual sales below $100 million and annual energy bills between $100,000 and $2.5 million. The plant must be within 150 miles of an Industrial Assessment Center. Most of the Clemson assessments take place in South Carolina, although the center’s coverage area also includes parts of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and southwestern Virginia.
On the Komatsu site visit, the team looked for ways to save money throughout the plant, from the cranes and compressed-air system to the lighting and heating. Ben Snelson, an industrial engineering major, said that when he first started doing assessments, he hardly knew what a manufacturing plant looked like. By the time he went to Komatsu, he had been on several site visits and had an eye for energy efficiency. It was good that many of the workers were using cordless drills powered by batteries and saving the compressed-air drills for the bigger jobs, he said.
“When you have a ton of running tools and a lot of lines and a lot of moving things, the hoses can get leaks really easily,” Snelson said. “They’re using batteries, so it’s cheaper. Compressed air is expensive.”
All signs point to a bright future for the center. Carbajales-Dale said he was working to find new sites to assess and for new ways of connecting clients with various pools of money, such as low-interest loans and rebates, that may be available to help make energy-efficiency upgrades.
“It’s not just in-and-out,” he said. “We’re connecting them with resources that can help get the job done.”

New Online Degree Designed to Meet Big Data Demands

For the third year in a row, the number one job in the United States is data scientist, according to Glassdoor, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be 11.5 million data science job openings by 2026.
Business leaders in an array of industries — health care, manufacturing, finance, transportation, energy, defense and more — are finding it more difficult to hire talent for data analytics than any other position, largely because these lucrative careers, paying up to $150,000 per year, require an advanced education.
To meet this demand, Clemson is launching a new Master of Science in Data Science and Analytics online degree this summer for working professionals. Faculty from the College of Business and College of Science consulted with industry experts to design a curriculum consisting of five courses in mathematical and statistical sciences and five courses in business analytics and management.
“Students will be taught how to perform proper data analysis and then apply the results to datadriven managerial decisions,” said Ellen Breazel, senior lecturer in the school of mathematical and statistical sciences. Breazel also said the degree’s cohort model, which allows each incoming class to take classes together, will enhance collaboration and interaction in all their courses.
“It’s also very conducive for companies that want to send a contingent of their employees to the program at one time,” said Russ Purvis, associate professor of business analytics and information systems.
For more information about the program, visit .

Magic Comes to Men of Color

Magic Johnson comes to Men of ColorFOR FOUR YEARS, Clemson’s Men of Color National Summit has featured an impressive lineup of speakers. Leaders from business, government, athletics and academics have spoken to students about their potential and pathways to success. This year, NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson joined the all-star lineup of speakers March 3-4 in Greenville.
Johnson brought his inspiring story of athletic and entrepreneurial success to the high school students in attendance, including members of Clemson’s college readiness program, the Tiger Alliance. He joined keynote speakers and entertainment, including Alberto Gonzales, 82nd U.S. attorney general; Jim Murren, chair and CEO of MGM Resorts International; Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, host of American Ninja Warrior and former NFL player; Robert E. Johnson, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; Johnathan Holifield, executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Domestic Policy Council; Peter Villegas, vice president and head of Coca-Cola’s Office of Latin Affairs; and Victor Robertson of Three Mo’ Tenors.
Lee Gill, chief inclusion officer and special assistant to the president for inclusion and equity at Clemson, sees the lineup of speakers as the embodiment of the summit’s goal: “Our keynote and breakout speakers are testaments of what happens when the opportunity gap is overcome and organizations commit themselves to diversity and inclusion.”
Tiger Alliance students are part of a college readiness experience that includes relationships with mentors, college visits, college-prep workshops and attendance at the Men of Color Summit. The Tiger Alliance program kicked off at the summit in 2017 and has already shown what is possible when African American and Latino students are empowered and engaged in their education; seniors from the 2019 Tiger Alliance cohort had a 98 percent graduation rate.

Honoring the Best

 Mary Beth Kurz receives Class of ’39 Award for Excellence

Clements and KurzCLEMSON FACULTY have recognized associate professor of industrial engineering Mary Beth Kurz as one of the very best among them by awarding her the Class of ’39 Award for Excellence.
The award, endowed by the class of 1939 to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 1989, is presented annually to a faculty member whose outstanding contributions for a five-year period have been judged by fellow faculty to represent the highest achievement of service to the student body, University, and community, state or nation. The recipient also becomes an honorary member of the class of 1939.
Calling Kurz a “complete professor” with a heart for service in nominating her for the award, William Ferrell, Fluor International Supply Chain Professor and associate dean of the Graduate School, wrote Kurz is “an excellent faculty member who has balanced success across teaching, research and securing funding.”
Kurz said she was humbled to learn she would receive the award: “Many of my campus heroes are in the class of 1939, and I am honored that my colleagues have elected to have me join this class. I feel the weight of the deeds of the original members of the class of 1939 and hope to live up to their reputation.”
Kurz, who came to Clemson in 2001, said she believes that being a faculty member is a long-term commitment between her and the University. “Being a faculty member who stays at an institution and grows with the institution requires engagement on both sides,” she said. “Some people are very happy and successful having a career focused on their labs, their students, their research. I like to engage with people in lots of ways, and so I have developed relationships with people through various activities, like college-level computing or curriculum committees, or University-level activities, like curriculum committees or Faculty Senate.”
“Students — both undergraduates and graduates — indicate she is an excellent classroom teacher,” Ferrell wrote. “Her approach is always to lead by example where the students know that she is working alongside them, not telling them what to do.”
Kurz’s research, for which she has garnered more than $4.8 million in funding, focuses on tactical decision-making in assembly systems.

The Clemson Medallion

Clemson awarded its highest honor to two distinguished alumni

THE CLEMSON MEDALLION is presented to individuals who have rendered notable and significant service and support to the University and who exemplify the dedication and foresight of founder Thomas Green Clemson. Professor Emeritus Beverly “Ben” Skardon ’38 and Trustee Emeritus Allen Price Wood ’75 were honored with the Medallion at a presentation ceremony in February.
“Both of these men have helped shape the University in important ways,” said President James P. Clements. “Col. Skardon made a lasting impact by teaching countless students during his career, and students are being educated every day in buildings that Allen Wood designed. It is safe to say that our University would not be what it is today without these two outstanding leaders.”
Ben SkardonBEVERLY “BEN” SKARDON ’38 Ben Skardon, a U.S. Army veteran, fought in the Philippines in World War II, earning two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star for valor before becoming a prisoner of war when American troops were forced to surrender to the Japanese on April 9, 1942. Skardon survived the Bataan Death March and more than three years in Japanese prison camps, despite becoming deathly ill. Two fellow Clemson alumni, Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan, kept him alive by spoon-feeding him and eventually trading his gold Clemson ring — which he had managed to keep hidden — for food. It is a story now told at every Clemson ring ceremony, when Clemson seniors receive their class rings.
Leitner and Morgan did not survive the war. Skardon honors them every year by walking in the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
After retiring from the Army at the rank of colonel in 1962, Skardon earned a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, then joined the Clemson faculty in the English department in 1964. He taught at Clemson until his retire-ment in 1983. Skardon has received several honors from the University, including the Alumni Distinguished Service Award. In 2013, the University established the Skardon Clemson Ring Endowment, which helps fund the ring ceremony, and in 2016 the Memorial Stadium flagpole was dedicated in his honor. On Skardon’s 100th birthday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster presented him with the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest honor. In March 2018, Skardon received the Congressional Gold Medal honoring Filipino and American veterans of World War II.
Allen WoodALLEN PRICE WOOD ’75 Allen Wood, who lives in Florence, South Carolina, and graduated from Clemson in 1975 with a degree in architecture, served on the University’s board of trustees from 1988 to 2003. He served as vice chair of the board from 1995 to 1997.
An architect by profession, Wood was chair of Moseley, Wilkins and Wood Architects of Florence before retiring in 2004. He designed and/or was the architect of record for several University buildings, including Lehotsky Hall, the CCIT Information Technology Center, and the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence. Wood was an early proponent and supporter of the Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies, which opened in 1972 in Genoa, Italy.
He and his wife, Josie, endowed a fellowship to support architecture graduate students to spend a semester in Genoa or at the architectural program in Barcelona, Spain. He has been an active supporter of the Emerging Scholars program and played an important role in the creation of Clemson’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute.
He was honored for his service to the state with the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest honor, in 1995, and Wood also received the University’s Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1996.

The Good House

Student athletes completed a Habitat for Humanity home build project

Athletes build Habitat for Humanity house
Clemson Athletics and Pickens County Habitat for Humanity teamed up to construct a home build project in the city of Clemson. Three hundred and thirty student athletes logged over 1200 hours to build the home from scratch and were present from day one to the day of the house’s dedication on January 16th. The project took over a year to complete.
Funded in part by IPTAY and the Nieri Family Student-Athletics Enrichment Center, the home build was completed by student athletes representing all of Clemson’s athletic programs, making this the first time Clemson athletes have built a Habitat house from start to finish.
Weather conditions posed the most serious challenge for the group. Some days it was freezing; other days it rained and turned the ground to mud, forcing the volunteers to lay down tarps before they could continue to work on the foundation. Their tireless efforts resulted in a three-bedroom house — where Tabitha Good and her family now live.
Many student athletes had the opportunity to work alongside the Good family, including former men’s track and field runner Darron Coley.
“I knew they were coming from a rough situation, I knew about the time and energy they put in, and I knew that they worked hard to get their house,” said Coley. [pullquote]“Knowing that I made an impact, no matter how small, was really great.”[/pullquote]
The student athletes who participated appreciated the chance to not only bond with their fellow classmates but also pitch in for the greater community. The project provided ample time to reflect.
“The little things we do can actually be a lot bigger than us,” said Maura Chozick, a senior on the women’s rowing team. “Putting in a couple nails, having fun with my friends, hammering some things turned into a house.”
Several coaches and faculty members were also able to work on the build with their students. Women’s soccer coach Eddie Radwanski was thankful for the opportunity to contribute meaningful work alongside his students.
“All of our student athletes, they all come from different backgrounds; they have different stories. I think these moments provide great perspective,” he said. “Obviously there are things that you can talk about as a coach: You can try to educate or give a life lesson to somebody. But in moments like these, no words are really needed.”

Softball Opens at Clemson

 Team experiences abbreviated first season in new stadium

New Clemson Softball team takes fieldCLEMSON KICKED OFF ITS INAUGURAL SOFTBALL season this spring, with a 6-2 win in its opening game against St. John’s at UCF’s Black & Gold tournament in Orlando, Florida. Freshman righthanded pitcher Logan Caymol earned the program’s first-ever win in the circle and posted a game-high eight strikeouts. Freshman shortstop Hannah Goodwin belted an opposite-field three-run home run over the right-field wall to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning, which gave Clemson a 4-1 lead.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Clemson Head Coach John Rittman after the game. “As coaches, we’ve been here since late 2017. It’s all coming to reality. Today was a great effort by our team. I felt that we had some great performances today, starting in the circle with Logan Caymol. The battery with [her] and JoJo Hyatt was terrific. We had some clutch hits — Hannah Goodwin breaking the game open with a big home run [and] Cammy Pereira providing a lot of spark offensively.”
A sold-out crowd cheered on the team in its home opener on Feb. 12 against Western Carolina. Clemson dropped the first game of the double header 0-2 but roared back in the second game. Caymol did not allow a single hit and struck out 11 batters as the Tigers defeated Western Carolina 8-0 in five innings. Valerie Cagle hit a 252-foot home run to left-center in the first inning of the nightcap, and Clemson never looked back.
The new stadium was completed in January and features 1,000 fixed chairback seats, in addition to berm seating. The facility also includes a team clubhouse with over 12,000 square feet of conditioned space that houses a team lounge, locker room, sports medicine room, equipment room and coaches’ offices. The facility also features locker rooms for the coaches, umpires and visiting team.
With the shutdown of NCAA sports in March due to the novel coronavirus, the team experienced an abbreviated first season, finishing 19-8 overall and 5-1 in the ACC.