Welcome to Tokyo! I’m Justin Prescott, class of 2009. I majored in economics and minored in Japanese at Clemson. I work at EY Japan in strategy consulting and lead Clemson’s (still unofficial) alumni group in Japan. I’ve spent my professional career in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, but I’ve spent the most time in Tokyo, so let me show you around.
1| Tokyo Station
Located on the eastern side of the city, Tokyo Station is a popular attraction as it was recently renovated with its iconic brick façade preserved. The surrounding area has a number of buildings famous for their mixture of new and old architecture, like the Kitte building. For food and drink, I recommend the ninth floor of the Shin-Maru building, which has a terrace overlooking Tokyo Station.
PRO TIP: Compared to Shibuya and west Tokyo, the crowd around here is more mature, making this area great for date night.
2| The Imperial Palace
Just a short walk away from Tokyo Station, the Imperial Palace grounds are beautiful — perfect for a jog to cure your jet lag. Although the central area of the palace is only accessible on rare occasions, there is still plenty to see, especially if you’re able to visit when the cherry trees are in bloom.
3| Kichijoji/Inokashira Park
Located a bit outside of the city, Kichijoji is a neighborhood escape from the busy central Tokyo atmosphere. Inokashira Park is home to the Ghibli Museum, a must for Studio Ghibli fans, and Kichijoji has good shopping options with both high brands and quirky secondhand clothiers.
One of Tokyo’s most famous areas and the site of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection (the Shibuya Scramble), Shibuya is a great place to visit, especially for the younger crowd looking for solid night life, food that you probably should only eat while you’re still young and all-night karaoke.
PRO TIP: Check out Dogenzaka for a picture with the iconic Hachiko statue.
Although Ebisu is just one stop from Shibuya by train, the vibe is totally different. Home to the headquarters of Sapporo and Ebisu beer, Ebisu claims some great upscale restaurants, including M House for western-style brunch, Day & Night Café — one of the only places in Tokyo to get a real pulled pork barbecue sandwich, y’all — and the famous Afuri Ramen shop.
PRO TIP: For a more daring culinary experience, go to Niku-Zushi, which serves sushi using nearly raw beef.
“Watches have been made since the late 1800s. There’re a few that have tackled the idea with one or two models, but they’ve never gone all in with this concept.”
The concept that Michael Sims is referring to is a watch designed specifically to alleviate discomfort while playing golf or casting a fishing rod by having a crown placement (the small knob on the side of the watch face that adjusts the time) on the left side rather than the right. This way, the crown doesn’t dig into the skin on the back of the left hand when it’s bent or in motion.
When Sims first came up with the idea, he was playing golf.
“I’m one of those weird guys who doesn’t take . off his watch when playing golf,” he laughs. “At the end of the day, I’d have a callus on the back of my hand from the traditional crown placement.” In the midst of juggling his insurance company in Anderson . and helping with his wife’s Chick-fil-A business in Columbia, Sims started researching watches for a solution. The idea for Hook + Gaff began to take shape in his mind, and he knew he’d need a logo, designs and other assets to move forward.
So, he turned to his college buddy Gash Clayton. Clayton, a lawyer by day and artist by night, drafted the sharp, red logo for Hook + Gaff in just a few hours, sending it back to Sims, who was immediately sold. The partnership only grew from there:
“We give each other opinions,” says Clayton, “but at the end of the day, there’s no argument over who makes the final call.” Clayton controls the company’s designs and brand while Sims oversees the day-to-day operations. After launching the company in 2013 with 300 Sportfisher watches manufactured in Switzerland, Sims and Clayton entered Garden & Gun magazine’s “Made in the South” competition. The watch didn’t make the cut, but it was included in the Southern magazine’s gift guide, which “really jumpstarted the brand,” Sims says. Now, Hook + Gaff is growing rapidly with stateside assembly and celebrity ambassadors like Carter Andrews of National Geographic’s Legendary Catch and Brad Leone of Bon Appétit.
Durability is Hook + Gaff’s bread and butter. “We knew that our [customers] were really going to put these through the ringer,” Sims explains. Materials like titanium, scratch-proof sapphire glass and Italian dive straps are staples in each collection. Despite their high-quality product, the question Clayton and Sims get all the time is, “What does your watch do that my smartwatch can’t do?” Their answer may surprise you: “To get away from technology, every once in a while, is a good thing because what you’re going to remember down the road is the time you spent with family and friends, doing things you love to do. … Our hashtag has become ‘Time Well Spent’ over this last year as we try to push that message.
“What is time well spent for you?”
Jeannette Carr was a lifelong gardener who shared her love of gardening with everyone she knew. While her husband, Hap Carr ’60, helped their son, Chalmers R. Carr III ’90, run the largest peach farm on the East Coast, Titan Farms, she kept busy in her small-scale vegetable garden at their home in Ridge Spring, South Carolina. She became a beloved member of the Ridge Spring community through her contributions to the Ridge Spring Farmers Market.
After her passing from cancer last year, Carr’s family wanted to honor her legacy by giving to an organization dear to her heart — the Clemson Cooperative Extension Service. They established the Emma Jeannette Carr Memorial Endowment to advance vegetable gardening education and outreach throughout the Clemson Extension service area.
“Jeannette was well known for her love of gardening fresh vegetables and fruits,” said Extension Director Tom Dobbins. “We are excited and honored to partner with Titan Farms to continue her legacy and advance vegetable gardening across the state of South Carolina.”
Jeannette Carr’s impact on the Ridge Spring Farmers Market is also still being felt. The opportunity for her grandchildren to spend one last summer continuing their grandmother’s legacy by running her vegetable stand was a way to honor her memory. All proceeds will go toward the endowment. Many loyal customers have purchased Carr’s produce from her bountiful last harvest and fondly said, “Keep the change for Miss Jeannette.”
Excitement sneaks into Vanessa Wyche’s voice as she talks about the upcoming Artemis program, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s 2024 directive that will see astronauts set foot on the moon once again.
“Our intent is to go and have infrastructure in place that would allow additional capabilities on the surface of the moon,” she says. Those additional capabilities include setting up a small gateway platform that will act as a checkpoint for future missions to Mars.
As the deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Wyche has a lot to do before then. One major priority is Orion — the spacecraft on track to return to the lunar surface.
“Having spacecraft that are able to withstand going from Earth to the lunar vicinity and returning is very important,” she says. “We’ve not done that since Apollo, so having the right technologies and the right testing are what our workforce is responsible for laying out.”
Aside from overseeing construction of Orion, Wyche’s responsibilities include monitoring the International Space Station and the Human Research program (which investigates how humans might survive for longer periods of time in space) as well as working with commercial partners, like Boeing and SpaceX, to develop vehicles that will transport astronauts to and from the space station. Wyche was named deputy director in 2018, but her career with NASA has spanned nearly three decades. After graduating with a bachelor’s and master’s in bioengineering from Clemson, Wyche headed to Washington, D.C., where she worked in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Device Evaluation. When she and her husband moved to Houston, she found work at NASA as a project engineer, designing flight hardware. Since then, she’s held multiple leadership positions and earned two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals and two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals.
When she’s not at Johnson Space Center, Wyche is championing STEM in her community. For the past six years, NASA has partnered with The Links, Incorporated to bring a science fair to a local elementary school. NASA employees visit the school and mentor the children on their projects, while the nonprofit provides the supplies and resources to put on the fair.
“The carrot, the way to get all the kids to participate,” says Wyche, “is that if they do their project — no matter how good or bad — they get a field trip to NASA.”
Recently the program has expanded to another local school, which faces even more challenges. Many of its students are destitute.
“But the surprising thing is that those kids were the most excited about being able to do a science project,” Wyche says. “I’m hoping to be able to continue to support both schools, and my longterm goal is to see if we can expand this further.”
Wyche’s work in STEM outreach comes from a place of gratitude for NASA’s commitment to future generations — and also a place of reflection about her own career, one she describes as “awesome. I cannot begin to tell you just how awesome.”
Pisano has spent his entire career serving a unique group of people: children in military families.
As a school psychologist, Mark Pisano has been helping military kids process emotion, cope with transition and do their best in the classroom for over 35 years. Pisano works in the Fort Bragg Schools in North Carolina, which includes nine schools on the army base, assessing children for learning disabilities and providing mental health services.
“Sometimes kids feel, and adults, too, that there’s something wrong with them because they’re upset all the time,” he says. “I help them understand that the feelings that they have during deployment — the fear, the sadness — there’s nothing wrong with them for feeling those things.”
After playing on the golf team at Clemson for four years and graduating in 1981 with a degree in psychology, Pisano began his first school year at Fort Bragg in 1982 and has been there ever since. He earned a master’s in 1982 and certificate of advanced study in 1984, both in school psychology, from Western Carolina University and a doctorate in education from Campbell University in 1992b.
Throughout his career, Pisano has not only been able to raise awareness about the unique experience of military kids but also further the resources available to them and their families. He has presented workshops across the country; traveled abroad to work with military kids in Uruguay, Bolivia and Cuba; partnered with Sesame Street, helping disseminate their literature for military families (even bringing Cookie Monster to the Fort Bragg Fair during the Month of the Military Child); worked with John Donvan of ABC News to discuss the intricacies of the deployment cycle and the way it affects kids’ development; and coauthored the Kimochis military families activity kit.
Kimochis, a California-based company founded after the Columbine shooting, creates stuffed animals designed to help children work through trauma and grief and build social and emotional skills. Each character is designed for different feelings and circumstances. According to Pisano, the military families activity kit (which includes the character Hero, a black Labrador) is now found “in every school building in the Department of Defense from Cuba to Hawaii.”
Military families live with abnormal amounts of stress, worry and transition. That transition means Pisano sometimes has to say goodbye to his kids when their families are placed at new locations. He says he often gets asked how he deals with getting too emotionally attached. Does he try to distance himself? His answer: “I welcome it. I don’t avoid it. I don’t fight against it. I welcome all of the friendships and the connections.”
Remaining engaged and connected is key in Pisano’s line of work; there’s always another project
to work on and another child to help. “I love the opportunity to make a difference,” he says. “That is really what’s driving the train, being in a position to make a difference for children, whether it be teaching them to tie their shoes or helping them get enough confidence to raise their hand in class.”
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.”
McGregor children honor parents with support of ’55 Exchange
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.