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New video series puts discussion ‘On the Table’ and in your pocket

Clemson has launched a new video series that puts experts on your screen when and where you want them. “On the Table,” a public policy series from ClemsonTV, tackles such tough subjects as concussions in sports, the role of technology in our lives and health screening disparities, providing in-depth discussion from leading researchers and scholars who are members of the Clemson faculty.

“We wanted to put topics on the table, figuratively and literally, with something very visual to represent the topic,” says ClemsonTV director Jacob Barker. “The web is flooded with how-to videos, but there is very little to offer in the way of substantive discussion. We wanted to combine expert information with the flexibility of on-demand viewing.”

Each episode is hosted by Peter Kent, a career journalist and former science writer at Clemson. The first three episodes are available now, with several more in production.

In episode one, “Protecting Against Concussions,” Greg Batt, an assistant professor in food, nutrition and packaging, and John DesJardins, an associate professor in bioengineering, explain their work with the national Head Health Initiative on three challenges: finding better tools for doctors to detect brain injury; creating new ways to monitor head impacts as they happen; and developing improved, energy-absorbing and energy-reducing materials.

The second episode, “To Trust or Not To Trust,” features Richard Pak, an associate professor in psychology and his research on the relationship between humans and the technology that makes hundreds of hidden decisions in our lives every day. The outcomes can be beneficial, such as self-driving cars that improve highway safety and driving efficiency. Sometimes, however, they can be detrimental. Are we trusting technology enough or too much?

In episode three, “Witness Breast Cancer Awareness,” Rachel Mayo, a professor in public health sciences, talks about the power of a personal experience that led her to launch the South Carolina Witness Project, part of the National Witness Project. The effort, a network of survivors and community-based organizations, aims to eliminate the disparity of breast and cervical cancer diagnoses and deaths: Black women are more likely to have mammograms, but much more likely to die of breast cancer. Mayo’s research shows that how information is presented makes a difference.

Yet another episode looks at Wade Foster.

Wade Foster was 13 when he helped to build a university he could never attend. His children could never attend. His grandchildren could never attend. Foster was a criminal; a black boy caught stealing six dollars worth of clothes from a white family. Sentenced to six months in prison, South Carolina gave Foster to Clemson University to serve his sentence as convict labor. South Carolina called convict labor “slaves of the state.”

Rhondda Thomas, associate professor of African American Literature at Clemson, sheds light on the slaves who labored to build the institution and why it’s necessary to paint the full picture of a school’s history.

Thomas joined the university in 2007 and teaches African American literature in the English department. She is the author of “Exodus: A Cultural History of Afro-Atlantic Identity, 1774-1903 and the editor of Jane Edna Hunter’s autobiography, “A Nickel and a Prayer.” In 2013, she co-edited “The South Carolina Roots of African American Thought” with Clemson professor of English Susanna Ashton.

Last year she received a grant for her research about African Americans who lived and labored on Clemson land during the pre-1963 integration period. James E. Bostic Jr. and Edith H. Bostic of Atlanta awarded Thomas $50,000. That gift was matched by the university, bringing the total grant to $100,000.

My Clemson: Diana Ivankovic

Diana Ivankovic PhD ’95


DIANA-IVANKOVIC

My husband and I were high school sweethearts when we came to the U.S. from Croatia in 1986 to pursue college degrees. In 1989, with a B.S. in biology and postgraduate training at Greenwood Genetic Center, I joined Miren at Clemson to pursue a graduate degree in microbiology. With a 3-year-old (Sven) and another on the way (Andre), we both walked across the stage of Littlejohn in 1995 to receive our Ph.Ds.

Since then, I have worked as a laboratory coordinator and visiting lecturer at Clemson, become a full professor at Anderson University, had two more children, established the Center for Cancer Research and survived breast cancer. I still teach in Clemson’s summer science program and collaborate with Clemson researchers.

Because of my experience with breast cancer, as well as my mother’s, I have a passion for finding a cure. That’s why I counsel newly diagnosed patients. It’s why I served for many years on the board of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It’s why I travel abroad with students, even working with shamans in the Peruvian Amazon, searching for new anti-carcinogenic plant extracts. It’s why I work with students at the Center for Cancer Research, trying to inspire my students and fellow researchers to collaborate, share, work together and aim for the stars.

Ivankovic is a professor of biology and the James Henderson director of the Center for Cancer Research at Anderson University, which recently was the recipient of a grant from Coach Dabo Swinney’s All In Team Foundation in support of its breast cancer research.