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.”

My Clemson: Bear Walker ’11

Bear WalkerGraphic communications major-turned-custom skateboard maker, Bear Walker reveals his creative process.

Q: HOW DID YOU GET INTO MAKING CUSTOM SKATEBOARDS?

A: I got my degree from Clemson in graphic communications, and for one of my projects, I actually chose to design a skateboard. After that, I didn’t touch anything skateboard-related for a few years. I became a prop master at a special rims company and then a fabricator at a custom sign shop. When I was carving out a custom sign one day, I thought it would make a pretty cool grip for a skateboard, so I tried it and made one. People started asking me where I got it from, and I started taking orders. It just grew from there.

Q: IS THERE A LESSON OR MEMORY FROM CLEMSON THAT STICKS WITH YOU?

A: My favorite stuff at Clemson was the printing projects, and that meant you were going to be in lab for, like, your entire life. But it was the fun part. That kind of translated to my career. If you’re going to do something more fun as an occupation, it’s going to be a lot more work because most of the time, passion projects aren’t necessities. Like if someone’s breaker goes out, they have to call an electrician to get a new breaker, but I have to convince someone to buy a skateboard.

Beacon by Bear Walker

Q: HOW MANY SKATEBOARDS DO YOU MAKE IN A DAY?

A: If I’m doing stock orders, I can make six. If I’m working on a custom, it’ll probably just be that one.

Q: HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED WHEN YOU’RE WORKING LONG HOURS?

A: I do get burnt out every once in a while, but then I’ll do a custom for a client, and they’ll request something I’ve never done before. I’ll try it out and figure out new ways to carve, which brings so many new possibilities for other projects. That’s what keeps me inspired. I know the more I do this, the crazier and better stuff I can come up with.

Q: WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR RECENT GRADS?

A: Be susceptible to change. If you have a really good idea of what you want to do, that’s awesome — kudos to you. But if you’re not 100 percent set in your career path, don’t be afraid to take opportunities you didn’t quite have in mind to begin with. Sometimes, you get into a job or get offered an opportunity, and it completely changes your mindset for where you want your life to go.

Q: FAVORITE SKATEBOARD TRICK?

A: Power slide.

When in Los Angeles

Valerie Joy WilsonWelcome to the home of the stars!

My name is Valerie Joy Wilson, and I am a travel journalist, photographer, host and influencer, as well as the founder of TrustedTravelGirl.com — a guide to globetrotting. As a 2013 Clemson grad, I love to show off my class ring on all of my travels around the world. When I’m not traveling, I’m enjoying everything Los Angeles has to offer. Here’s a curated list of some of my favorite spots around the city:

 

1 BEVERLY HILLS With some of the best eats in L.A., Beverly Hills has more to offer than just Rodeo Drive. For lunch, Wally’s has outdoor seating, a phenomenal wine menu and incredible charcuterie boards. For cocktails, the brand-new Beverly Hills Waldorf Astoria is the place to be with a cocktail menu crafted by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a rooftop bar boasting panoramic views of Beverly Hills.

 

West Hollywood

West Hollywood

2 WEST HOLLYWOOD Here is where you’re more likely to bump into some of the stars; it’s not unusual for me to see A-listers while grocery shopping or heading out to lunch. For breakfast, the Griddle is known for having large stacks of pancakes and “secret French toast,” which used to require a secret password for ordering. Now, anyone can order it (no password required), and it’s a fan favorite, so don’t miss it.

3 THAI TOWN Few cities around the world have Thai food that can rival Thailand, but Los Angeles does. In an unassuming strip mall in the middle of Thai Town is Jitlada, one of the best Thai restaurants anywhere in the world.

PRO TIP: Owner Mama Jazz cooks Southern Thai food, which means the dishes are spicy. If you can’t handle the heat, be sure to let your server know.

 

Lake Hollywood Park

Lake Hollywood Park

4 HOLLYWOOD One of the best places to catch a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign is Lake Hollywood Park. It’s the perfect place to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the sunny SoCal weather.

 

5 MALIBU My favorite spot in Malibu is Paradise Cove, famously featured on the covers of Beach Boys albums. Just above the cove, you can catch a view of the “million-dollar trailer park,” where trailer homes have sold for up to $3.75 million. Stars including Matthew McConaughey and Pamela Anderson have been residents of the park.

Malibu

Malibu

Club News

DC/Maryland Clemson Club Evening

AN EVENING WITH THE PRESIDENT

On June 13, 2018, the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C., Clemson Club hosted an evening event at the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Over 125 alumni gathered along with members of Congress, members of the Board of Visitors and guests from campus for a keynote speech by President Clements. Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed refreshments and heavy hors d’oeuvres, notably the local specialty: Maryland crab cakes.

Atlanta Clemson Club Speaker Series

SPEAKER SERIES

The Atlanta Clemson Club welcomed Rashard Hall ’11, director of career and professional development for Clemson Football, to its fall speaker series on Sept. 21, 2018. Hall and fellow football alumnus Patrick Godfrey ’17 shared details about the PAW (Passionate About Winning) Journey program, which is focused on cultivating leadership in student-athletes through life skills and professional

Student Send-off

STUDENT SENDOFF

Three Clemson students in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area arrived at the Twin Cities Clemson Club student sendoff on July 29, 2018, where they met and mingled with alumni who were there to support them as they headed to Tigertown. Guests enjoyed a potluck picnic at the home of host Heather Huck ’99. “The Twin Cities Clemson Club officially formed in 2016, and it has been awesome to see the enthusiasm for Clemson grow in the ‘Bold North,’” said club member Tyler Morey ’10.

Smokey Mountain Club Tailgate

TAILGATE KICKOFF

The Smoky Mountain Clemson Club hosted its fourth annual football season kickoff tailgate at the Saratoga Pavilion of Anchor Park in Farragut, Tennessee, on Aug. 26, 2018. Alumni spent time catching up and feasting on a barbecue dinner from the Holy Smokin BBQ food truck.

Richmond Clemson Club Food Drive

CHARITY CHALLENGE

On Sept. 12, 2018, the Richmond Clemson Club participated in the Alumni Charity Challenge, a food drive that supports the Central Virginia Food Bank. The event, held at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, brings alumni chapters from all over Virginia together to fight food insecurity in the state. The Richmond Clemson Club collected 1,462 pounds of the total 107,696 pounds collected at the event.

Are you looking to get involved with a local Clemson Club? Go to alumni.clemson.edu and click on “Join a Club” to find contact info, or contact Stewart Summers at ssummer@clemson.edu.

Tigers in Texas

Tigers in TexasThe Alumni Association, IPTAY and Annual Giving collaborated to bring Clemson to Texas on Sept. 4-8, 2018. Nearly 1,000 alumni participated in four “CU in the City” events, hosted by the Clemson Clubs of Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas; the events raised funds for the Tigers in Texas Scholarship Endowment, which provides scholarships for Texas-based students attending Clemson.

On Sept. 7, 2018, the Friday before the Texas A&M football game in College Station, more than 400 alumni gathered at a “Welcome to the City” event. ESPN reporters spoke with club leaders and recorded several Clemson traditions, including the $2 bill and the cadence count. Many of the alumni later attended Midnight Yell Practice — a Texas A&M tradition where students practice cheers before the game.

On game day, Texas A&M Association of Former Students President Porter Garner and Clemson President James P. Clements stopped by the Clemson Family tailgate hosted by the Alumni Association and IPTAY to welcome the 850 alumni who attended.

Tigers in Texas 2 Tigers in Texas 3

 

Show Me How You Really Feel: Brian Sullivan ’90

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan at Vizbii Inc. headquarters

Imagine leaving an online review without having to write a single word. Thanks to Sullivan, there’s an app for that.

A 1990 PSYCHOLOGY GRADUATE and clinical psychologist, Brian Sullivan is also the co-founder of Vizbii Inc., a technological communication company headquartered in Charleston. Vizbii is home to Morphii, a platform that’s changing the game for measuring emotion in the professional world.

With more than 20 years of experience teaching and working in the counseling center at the College of Charleston as well as in private practice, Sullivan watched as his patients struggled to describe their feelings using traditional scales and typical Q&A formats, sparking the original idea for the Morphii project.

“What I quickly found was that the traditional method, especially when the answer format is a scale with some numbers on it, is too far removed from their actual experience,” Sullivan explains.

His patented solution is a collection of morphing cartoon faces called “morphiis” that are embedded in an analytics database platform. His co-founder, and now wife, Corey Sullivan, animated the idea and then developed several prototypes to perfect the application.

To combat the drawbacks of scales and questionnaires, morphiis are equipped with a sliding scale. Each morphii represents a different emotion — happiness, anger, disgust or surprise — and the scale is used to adjust the intensity of the morphii’s expression. This feature helps the participant account for a much larger range of emotions than the traditional numerical scale.

Morphii can be used in business or health care settings and is incorporated into mobile- and web-based applications to easily capture and measure emotions.

“It’s like an emotional Intel chip inside a computer,” Sullivan says.

Recently, Vizbii has helped big-name brands like Verizon, JetBlue and Capital One incorporate Morphii into development projects. Other clients include a preschool on Daniel Island that uses the application to assess teacher and employee engagement as well as parent satisfaction and a physician in North Carolina who is integrating Morphii into his practice to identify patients who may be on a pathway to opioid addiction.

Morphii’s usefulness across a range of industries has Sullivan excited for the future of his smiling — and frowning — faces.

Check out Sullivan’s TEDx talk on the power of emotion: https://youtu.be/MxOZBPTyABY