Q&A: Joey Manson

Where are the top 3 to 5 places where you’ve had or currently have work?

Manson: Chicago is a city that is very supportive of the arts and sculpture in particular. I’ve shown sculptures in six public art exhibitions hosted by Chicago in the last three years. I’ve also shown in Stamford CT, San Angelo TX, and Ames IA, in the past year. Commission work supports my studio practice and I’ve installed permanently sited works in Skokie IL and Chattanooga TN in the past two years. Tell me about the partnership with CU ICAR. What’s the history?

How did it come about?

Manson: I began a partnership with ICAR with the Art Department’s foundations course which I teach. We sited different cardboard sculptures the foundations students created throughout the interior of ICAR for several years running. We also received a BMW car chassis which we had the foundations class collectively design and paint the exterior of in the spirit of BMW’s well known Art Cars. This chassis was exhibit in front of Lee hall for some time.

Will art students be a part of the installation? If so, why is it important for them participate? What will they learn?

Manson: There’s at least one student I may ask if the’d like to be involved in the install. Participation in exhibition installations is an important learning experience for students who will be showing their own work as professional artists upon graduation.

Tell me about the math, physics, science or engineering elements that play into making/installing the sculpture.

Manson: “Early Hatch”began as simple sketches, however to work out specific details final drawing were produced in CAD. The engineering problems involved in building this sculpture are not terribly complex. It is the questions related to the industrial and environmental themes of the sculpture itself and how the viewer relates are more important.

Tell me about the sculpture. What inspired you to create it. Why is it significant to the CU ICAR location?

Manson: Automotive Technology has a tremendous impact on the environment, my studio efforts looks to both industrial and environmental interests, and I utilize industrial construction methods to create my work.

What have you done to promote visual arts and sculpture at Clemson?

Manson: Atelier InSite, a creative inquiry course focusing on the implementation of Public Art at Clemson University, is a course I co-teach with Dave Detrich and Denise Detrich. This course is about promoting visual arts within our community at Clemson.

Joey’s on-campus sculpture outside of Sirrine


Q&A: Catherine Mobley

CW: What do you enjoy most about your job? Or what’s the most satisfying thing about your job?

Mobley: There’s so much that I enjoy about my career, but perhaps my favorite part is that I am constantly learning something new. No day is ever the same as I am continually challenged to apply sociology in new ways in a diversity of contexts – in the classroom, in my research, both within the field and across other fields in my interdisciplinary research. I especially enjoy engaging in interdisciplinary research and teaching. While I have engaged in independent research, I have had the opportunity to engage in empirical research with colleagues from other discipline across campuss. According to Ernest Boyer’s definition of the “scholarship of integration,” interdisciplinary research consists of making connections across disciplines in order to advance understanding of complex scientific questions and social issues. Indeed, the “lone ranger” concept is rarely effective for investigating the issues that are central to my research efforts. Funding agencies are increasingly recognizing the value of interdisciplinary research and teaching. These efforts also support the recent call on the part of my college and university to increase interdisciplinary research. These research collaborations are beneficial and interesting to me both personally and professionally. I enjoy working with my colleagues to develop and implement creative approaches to challenges that would not otherwise emerge if I was working in isolation. Indeed, I am finding that the most innovative research often emerges at the interface of disciplines. Across campus, I think I am known to be a reliable collaborator who makes substantial contributions to projects and adds value to research teams through my expertise in sociological theory and methods. Together, we have applied for multiple research grants and co-authored research presentations and manuscripts. I have truly enjoyed these experiences!

CW: How do you balance teaching and research?

Mobley: I view both as inevitably intertwined with one another. For example, as I work on my research I am always seeking opportunities to enrich my teaching. And, students often raise questions in the classroom that inspire my research.

CW: Give me a brief description of your research. What piqued your interest in that area (s)?

Mobley: At the current time, my two main areas of research are in the area of environmental sustainability and engineering education. The two topics often overlap with one another, depending on the particular research effort. I have long been personally interested in environmental issues and feel lucky to be able to pursue my personal interests through the lens of the sociological perspective. I’ve been able to explore a vast variety of topics related to environmental sustainability, including human behavior as it pertains to water quality and water quantity, college student perceptions of environmental issues, the influence of formative experiences on the development of environmental concern, and public perception of a variety of sustainability related topics. For the past decade or so, I have been involved with an extensive research project related to engineering education, the MIDFIELD project. This project, headed up by Matt Ohland (formerly at Clemson University and now at Purdue University) involves a study of the academic experiences and pathways of engineering majors from 12 institutions. One part of the research team analyzes a longitudinal database of over a million student records from the 12 MIDFIELD institutions. I have been involved in the qualitative portion of the project, investigating a variety of research questions through focus groups and interviews with engineering transfer students. The most recent qualitative project focused on engineering transfer students and in Fall 2014, my colleagues and I received a NSF grant to investigate the experiences of student veterans at four institutions (University of San Diego, Clemson University, Purdue University, North Carolina State University). I also collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines, such as hydrogeology, to learn more about engineering education.

CW: What does this award mean to you…being chosen by your peers?

Mobley: I am so honored to be receiving this award, especially knowing it is coming from my peers. I’ve been walking by the Carillon Bell monument for nearly 20 years now, in awe of the people whose names are inscribed there. It means so much to me, especially knowing there were so many qualified candidates for the award. Recently, I was talking to a recipient of the Class of ’39 award and learned that one of the purposes of the award is to inspire faculty to do their bes,t and to go above and beyond expectations. This recognition has definitely inspired me! Little did I know when I was attending Clemson University in the early 1980’s that I’d be here 30 years later, pursuing the career of my dreams!

Hope grows here: Video feature

Clemson Extension agent and host of “Making It Grow!’ Amanda McNulty visited The Clemson University Outdoor Lab and talked with Director Leslie Conrad about Hope Grown, the garden developed by Joe Williams and featured in our Spring 2014 issue.

Click here to read the story about “Hope Grown.”

Come Home to Clemson: Download Esso Club Wallpaper

Fall has arrived in Clemson. A hint of color is beginning to show in the trees, evening temperatures are cooling off (just ever so slightly) and the First Friday Parade has come and gone. And no matter how much things have changed, it still feels like home.

So, as you’re making plans for this fall, take time to return to Clemson.

Until then, download a custom Esso Club wallpaper for your iPhone, iPad or desktop, or add a Facebook cover photo. To download, just right click on the option below, and save the image to your device.

Then take a few minutes and read about “Coming Home to Clemson” from the most recent issue of Clemson World.

Facebook cover photo

Vanishing Fireflies: The Making of a Cover

AKA: Dresses, Preschoolers and Fireflies … Oh My!


When you’re a photographer with a kid, pictures can go one of two ways. The first being that your child is so used to having photos taken, they act like a tiny model and keep trying to help. The second being they have had their picture made so often, that they run when the camera comes out.

Luckily, I have the former … most days. So when I asked my 4-year-old daughter if she wanted to wear one of her favorite dresses, stay up WAY past bedtime and catch fireflies, she was totally on board.

Night # 1

On went the dress and out came the Mason jar. The camera and lighting were ready; all we needed was a few fireflies.

So the three of us headed out. I named my husband, Mike, as Assistant Firefly Catcher. Our daughter, Savana, was obviously in charge because she would yell and point out every firefly that blinked while he ran around trying to grab them out of the air.

**Disclaimer** No fireflies were harmed during the making of this photo.

Mike and I had a “back in our day” moment when we realized just how few fireflies were available for catching, compared to when we were kids. So in the end we had about four fireflies in the jar. Of course, once they were in the jar, they wouldn’t blink for anything.

But Savana was a trooper and an extremely patient 4-year-old, and Mike was my helpful lighting assistant.

We tried multiple angles with Savana looking in the jar, different lighting exposures and even a few landscape long exposures (a full minute) of just the yard. With the yard exposures I was hoping to capture their little lights blinking in the distance, but there were just too few to make a difference. And we had a small window of time to work with them. Too early in the evening, it was still too bright so we couldn’t see them to catch them; too late and they were already gone, no blinking to be seen.

The next day I brought in the photos and discussed the options with the team in Creative Services. I received a lot of helpful guidance and decided to give it another go with better ideas in mind to really highlight our little blinking friends.

Night #2

Savana and I headed back out and again only caught about three fireflies. This time we added some field grass to the jar to give them a little playground while we worked. The first night, I was lighting Savana’s face but failing to light the fireflies well enough for photos. This time I had her sit on the ground and turned on a small battery-powered video light, which went under the fabric of her dress to slightly diffuse it, and she rested her jar on top of the light.

I started with some close-ups of our main subjects, and they were more than helpful this time around. The fireflies were much more active in the jar that night, crawling everywhere and even giving us a couple of blinks, although the longer the light was on, the less they blinked.

When I was just about done, I wanted to try a few with the light on Savana’s face as well. We unscrewed the lid, and she looked down into the jar.

Once the lid was gone, I had beautiful soft light on her face and the natural wonder that a 4-year-old brings to the table.

Once I had the shots down to the best ones, I headed into Photoshop to really make the fireflies stand out. There was one main firefly in perfect position and all he needed was a little oomph added to make him stand out. Other than that, this shot is pretty much straight from the camera. A little skill and a lot of luck went into this particular photo. Fireflies don’t take direction well.

This assignment was so much fun and a great way for me to try to think outside of the box, made even better by having the opportunity to include my family. It was such a wonderful learning experience for both my daughter and me and, as always, I’m definitely looking forward to the next challenge.