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Engineered for Success: Paulette Vernon Evans ’01

Paulette Evans’ work as senior project manager with Cone Health landed her on the 2017 list of the Triad Business Journal’s Forty under 40. Since August 2016, she’s led the development of Reinventing Care, a $160 million project that includes a new women’s and children’s facility for a North Carolina hospital system that serves six counties.

“It’s probably the most complex project the hospital has ever tackled,” said Evans. “We are really changing things up for the entire system. It feels good to know in the end that it will be worth it.”

The project, which is geared toward bringing women and children’s services to the main Cone Health campus in Greensboro, means the hospital will be able to accommodate about 6,200 births a year. The project also includes the Wesley Long Hospital and Operative Services with a new 10-room operating suite and a redesigned behavioral health services area.

“One thing that sticks out to me is what we’ll be able to do with robotics in the operating room,” she said about the project. “It’s a collaboration between what a human being and a machine can do. The new technologies that are being used are going to be amazing.”

Tackling an analytical career as an engineer was natural for Evans. Her father was an electrician and her mother taught math for 30 years. “In school science and math were my favorite subjects — all day, every day,” said Evans.

In 10th grade when a career assessment pegged her as being a future engineer or a litigator, the research she compiled gave her an answer of combining her parents’ passions to become an electrical engineer. A full scholarship to Clemson for the class valedictorian solidified her choice of becoming a Tiger over a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.

Evans said looking back at her childhood, she has her parents to thank for the time they spent sharing the daily ins-and-outs of their own careers to set her up for success. “All the things I did growing up, all the conversations we had, they just stuck,” she said. “My dad would come home and debrief with us.

I spent a lot of time with him helping him with cars, and problem solving and trying to understand why things happen the way they happen. It just all pointed in the direction I needed to go.”

Undergraduates capture prestigious Goldwater, Truman awards

Killian McDonald is the second Clemson student ever to be named a Truman Scholar.

Killian H. McDonald

Clemson students have demonstrated to the nation this year that their education has prepared them to compete with anyone in the country. This year, two students were awarded Goldwater Scholarships and another was the second Clemson student ever to be named a Truman Scholar.

Killian H. McDonald of Columbia, a junior political science and women’s leadership double major, has been named a 2017 Truman Scholar. McDonald is Clemson’s first Truman Scholar since 1979 and the second Clemson student ever to receive the award.

The Truman Scholarship is a prestigious, highly competitive graduate scholarship program for aspiring public service leaders in the United States. Sixty-two Truman Scholarships were given this year to college juniors who are planning careers in public service, according to Ricki Shine, director of major fellowships for Clemson. The 2017 Truman Scholars were selected from among a near-record number of applications, with 768 applications and nominations from 315 colleges and universities — the highest number in the scholarship’s history.

As a Truman Scholar, McDonald will receive a scholarship to be used toward graduate school, along with opportunities to participate in professional development programming and internships to help her prepare for a career in public service leadership.

“I am so excited to have been selected as a Truman Scholar,” McDonald wrote. “This scholarship reaffirms and supports my goal of entering public service and fighting for women’s rights. It is an honor to be a part of the Truman community and connect with mentors who can help me become a great public servant.”

Two students, Caitlin Seluzicki and Jessica Zielinski, have been awarded Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, considered one of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate awards. Another, Bridget Luckie, received an honorable mention.

The Goldwater Scholarship is the premiere undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation awarded 240 scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the United States. An additional 307 nominees received honorable mentions. The scholars were selected from a field of 1,286 students nominated by campus representatives from among 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide.

Seluzicki, a microbiology major, and Zielinski, a biochemistry major, will receive one-year scholarships that will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500. Though Luckie will not receive any funds, she will share in the prestige. Goldwater scholars and honorable mentions often go on to win numerous distinguished awards during their collegiate careers.

Chowdhury Honored for Research Achievements

Mashrur “Ronnie” Chowdhury envisions a future in which car accidents will be reduced to virtually zero and drivers will travel down some of the state’s busiest roads without stopping for a single traffic light. And he says it could happen in as little as a decade, with the help of the new Center for Connected Multimodal Mobility that will be based out of Clemson, thanks to $1.4 million in startup financing from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Chowdhury, a civil engineering professor who is leading the center, said another $6.4 million in continued funding from the department over the next five years is highly possible.

It’s this type of research that earned Chowdhury the Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievements in Research, presented at the May faculty/staff meeting. Chowdhury is the Eugene Douglas Mays Professor of Transportation and professor of civil engineering, automotive engineering and computer science. The award is administered by the Office of University Research Grants Committee (URGC).

The new center brings together researchers from Clemson, Benedict College, the Citadel, South Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina to focus on improving the mobility of people and goods with a special focus on how the emerging “Internet of Things” applies to transportation.

Chowdhury expects that it will soon be standard for vehicles to wirelessly communicate with each other, pedestrians and infrastructure, such as traffic lights and roadside sensors, making travel safer and more comfortable.

Pershing Rifles’ precision earns national championship

Pershing Rifles at Clemson UniversityFor the ninth time in school history, Company C-4 of the Pershing Rifles has claimed the national championship in drill competition. The 30-member unit brought the top prize back to the Upstate in competition last month in Jacksonville, Fla., against 14 other teams.

“The achievement by these young men and women is a testament to their discipline and perseverance,” said Lt. Col. K. Todd Crawford ’96, professor of military leadership. “Through precision and expert technique, Company C-4 established itself as the most elite drill team at the Pershing Rifles National Convention.”

Company C-4, commanded by Capt. Evan Dunker, a senior from Aiken, was first established in 1939 at Clemson. The Pershing Rifles unit is a professional military fraternity dedicated to preserving Clemson’s military heritage by performing as color guards, and doing 21-gun salutes and professional drill routines during ceremonial occasions around the Clemson community.

“We are proud to have upheld Clemson’s military heritage by winning this competition,” Dunker said. “Our unit showed tremendous discipline and dedication in being selected as the best in the country. It’s an honor to have brought this standard of excellence back to the Clemson campus.”

Though comprised primarily of ROTC students, Pershing Rifles is open to civilians on campus also. Dunker said the standards are high and that solid academics, sound character and being physically fit are prerequisites to making the grade. In winning the Pershing Rifles Varsity Rifles Championship, Company C-4 competed in every event and won first place in Platoon Regulation and Squad Exhibition competitions.

The National Society of Pershing Rifles was founded in 1894 by Lt. John J. Pershing, a professor of military science at the University of Nebraska. Pershing later became general of the armies.

Alumni Association hosts Spring Fling

Spring Fling 2017 at ClemsonMore than 2,000 alumni of all ages returned to campus this spring to enjoy Spring Fling, a new event held on the day of the spring football game. Twenty student organizations, colleges and departments reserved tents to allow their alumni groups to gather for a tailgate-style reunion with food provided by food trucks and entertainment by DJ Sha and local favorite, the Brooks Dixon Band.

Tailgating games for kids and adults added to the festive atmosphere, and a good showing by the football team topped off the afternoon. Plan now to attend next year!

See more pictures.
2017 Clemson Family Spring Fling

Barnes Center dedicated

Members of the Barnes family cut the ribbon for the Barnes Center.

Members of the Barnes family cut the ribbon for the Barnes Center.

In May, Clemson held a ribbon cutting for the “new” Barnes Center, a spot where students can hang out with friends, relax and attend late-night programming on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The historic Barnes Center began as the Clemson College Experimental Barn or Sheep Barn. It is the oldest surviving and relatively intact structure associated with the original Clemson College Agricultural Department and was built in approximately 1904. In 2014, the Barnes family made a gift to Clemson, allowing the Sheep Barn to be transformed into the Barnes Center.

See more photos:
Barnes Center Ribbon Cutting

McElveen Named Alumni Master Teacher

Alumni master teacher presentation at ClemsonStudents have chosen Carter McElveen ’03, senior lecturer in the marketing department, as the Alumni Master Teacher for 2017. The Alumni Master Teacher award for outstanding undergraduate classroom instruction is presented to a faculty member who is nominated by the student body and selected by the Student Alumni Council.

Student Alumni Council member and Master Teacher award co-chair Margeaux Laschanzky was a student in one of McElveen’s classes. “Carter truly embodies what it means to be a master teacher because she puts her whole heart into her students and into Clemson,” said Laschanzky. “I thought it was the most special ceremony so far because she has so many friends and family show up and because she was on Student Alumni Council.”

McElveen received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Clemson in 2003 and her MBA from the University of South Carolina in 2010. She has been a professor at Clemson since 2011. Beyond her teaching duties, McElveen is a master adviser to undergraduate marketing students, on the Delta Sigma Pi faculty, an honorary Blue Key Member and faculty adviser to the Clemson chapter of CUMA, the student marketing association. She also received the Dean’s Award for Student Engagement in 2015.

“When I started as an undergrad, I had several teachers who were impactful on me and my experience, one being Dr. Mary Anne Raymond, who won the Master Teacher award,” McElveen said. “She hired me and mentored me, and it came full circle because she was there when I received this award.”

Hambrights dedicate time and treasure to teaching leadership skills

When Kate Gasparro ’14 thinks about her success, she goes back to the first conversation she had with fellow alumnus Bob Hambright ’70.

Gasparro was applying for a leadership award that bears Hambright’s name when he impressed upon her the importance of self-examination, a lesson she took to heart. She went on to win the Norris Medal, the highest honor for an undergraduate at Clemson, and is now a Ph.D. student at Stanford University.

“He’s not just a friend,” she said. “He’s a mentor. The Hambrights have been a constant part of my life. I hope as an alumnus, if I can be as successful as Bob and Susan Hambright, I can come back and be as helpful as they are.”

The relationships the Hambrights have formed with Gasparro and other students illustrate how their hands-on approach has already left its mark as they prepare to have an even deeper impact.

The Blowing Rock, North Carolina, couple recently announced a $249,000 Give Day contribution that comes on top of their previous contribution of $251,000. The two contributions together allow Clemson to create the Hambright Distinguished Professorship in Engineering Leadership.

“If we’re going to make the world a better place, the way to do it is to create more and better leaders,” Bob said. “We want to identify kids who have that potential — identify them early on and help them accelerate their development as leaders.”

John DesJardins, a member of the bioengineering faculty, will hold the professorship and continue the work he began with the Hambrights in 2014. Their contribution gives DesJardins an endowed professorship, one of the most esteemed positions on the faculty.
DesJardins thanked the Hambrights and said they are passionate about leadership.

“They are committed to the idea that all Clemson students should have the opportunity to become better leaders during their time at Clemson, and that we have a duty to provide for them the opportunities to grow as leaders in their disciplines,” he said. “Their commitment to this goal is inspiring, and I am honored to be a part of that process.”

DesJardins is charged with creating awareness of leadership’s importance and identifying and accelerating the development of tomorrow’s leaders. He oversees the Robert B. ’70 and Susan B. Hambright Annual Leadership Program in Engineering. Eight engineering students received awards in 2016, and the program goes into its sixth year in the fall. Each student receives $3,000 for leadership-related programs and a $1,000 merit award.

Gasparro, one of the early awardees, used some of her funds to attend a Dale Carnegie program in New York City. She has remained in touch with the Hambrights while working toward her Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering and a master’s in international policy.
Bob received a mechanical engineering degree from Clemson in 1970 and an MBA from Winthrop University in 1974. One day during his career, it dawned on him it was a good idea to hire people smarter than he was, he said. As a leader, his job was to create an environment where people could work together toward a compelling vision. “If we could tap the collective wisdom of the group, nobody could stop us,” Bob said. “That was just an aha moment for me. From then on, I just wanted to learn as much as I could about leadership.”

Bob retired in 2010 as chief executive officer of the Southeast division of Balfour Beatty Construction Co. The company set up an endowment for the Hambrights focused on creating more and better leaders. “We wanted to be part of the process,” Bob said. “I think that’s the only way you can get the impact you want. It’s been a lot of fun.”

One hiccup in the beginning was that students had trouble spending the money because their schedules were already jam packed. That’s when the Hambrights began working with DesJardins, who helped organize the leadership program and held the forerunner to the endowed professorship, the Hambright Professorship.

Susan Hambright said that DesJardins understands the couple’s vision. “He can see in students that kernel of leadership ability, that light that some kids have, and they just don’t know what to do with it,” she said. “Hopefully, with what we’re doing, he can grow more leaders than before.”