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.

Meng honored by Notre Dame for recent book

Shattered Spaces

Shattered Spaces

The University of Notre Dame’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies has awarded Michael Meng, assistant professor of history, the 2013 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies for his book, Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Ruins in Postwar Germany and Poland, published by Harvard University Press (2011). The $10,000 prize is presented annually to the author of the best book in European studies that transcends a focus on any one country, state or people.

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 patsys@clemson.edu.

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.

Clemson’s Pirates raid international Microsoft competition

Kinect Challenge

Over 500 teams from around the world initially entered Microsoft’s Kinect Fun Labs Challenge, one of eight competitions held as part of the 10th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup, by writing a project proposal. Of those, 100 were asked to submit working software, a user’s manual, written paper and video

The top three teams were awarded a free trip to the final competition in Sydney, Australia. Of the 24 teams awarded first-, second- or third-place in the eight competitions, only two were from the U.S. And one of those teams was from Clemson.

School of Computing graduate students Patrick Dukes (left) and Austen Hayes, known competitively as the “Whiteboard Pirates,” took second place for their stroke rehabilitation application “Duck Duck Punch,” which uses Microsoft’s Kinect tracking system. A motion-sensing input device, Kinect enables users to control and interact with an Xbox 360 or a desktop computer without having to touch a game controller. The interface is accomplished with gestures and spoken commands.

“Duck Duck Punch” interjects a little fun into what sometimes can be a challenging rehabilitation regimen. Dukes and Hayes saw shortcomings with current stroke therapy that they could address with the Kinect.

“Since we wanted the program to be one that could actually be used, we consulted with stroke therapist Dr. Michelle Woodbury of the Medical University of South Carolina,” said Hayes. The goal was a cost-effective system that could be used at home. The pair came up with a design that helps with upper arm therapy.

“Several patients at the Medical University of South Carolina’s stroke center have tested the game, and the response has been quite positive,” Dukes said.

In 10 years, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a global competition focused on finding solutions to real-world problems. More than 1.4 million students have participated, with 358,000 students representing 183 countries and regions registering for the Imagine Cup 2012 competition.

“This international test underscores our students’ talents and capabilities, and says a great deal about the quality of our graduate programs in computer science,” said R. Larry Dooley, interim dean of Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science. “Patrick and Austen made their presence felt on a world stage.”

Bioengineering team designs device to stabilize chest tubes

Innovative chest tube anchoring device

Innovative chest tube anchoring device

A team of Clemson bioengineering stud ents partnered with Greenville Hospital System pediatric surgeons John Chandler and Robert Gates to develop an innovative chest tube anchoring device, AssureFit, as part of their senior design project with professor John DesJardins.

The result was more than just a passing grade or a course credit. They also won the annual National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) BMEStart undergraduate design competition, which came with a $10,000 award.

The device is used to prevent surgical drains from dislodging following procedures, saving time and medical expense. The device also allows for greater patient mobility and comfort. According to Gates, it “solves a costly and critical health care issue that can currently lead to serious surgical complications.”

The team has filed a provisional patent through Clemson’s Office of Technology Transfer, and hopes to have the device licensed for manufacture by a biomedical device company. The design partnership between the Clemson bioengineering department and the Greenville Hospital System was initiated in 2011.

“This collaboration will accelerate the development of novel surgical tools that can make a significant impact on the care and treatment of our patients,” said Dr. Eugene Michael Langan III, chair of the department of surgery at the hospital.

Campus chapter completes 20th house on Bowman Field

Habitat House

Habitat House


Thanks to Clemson students, th ere are about 100 people now living in affordable housing. Clemson’s campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity completed its 20th house since 1997 on Bowman Field during Homecoming Weekend. Around 400 students combined their efforts to provide a home for a local family. Another hundred students completed work on the house once it was moved to its location.

In addition to the houses built on Bowman, the group has built five additional houses as part of a “blitz build” in the winter of 2001, as well as one built for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and three with local high school students.