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When In … Fort Collins

Hello! I’m Hannah Halusker ’17, M ’20, a two-time Clemson alumna who now works in science communications at Colorado State University.

Last year, I traded the Appalachians for the Rockies and moved west to Fort Collins, Colorado. Boasting 300 days of sunshine per year and situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is the “Choice City” that many outdoor enthusiasts, like me, call home. Welcome to FoCo!

 

1Poudre Canyon

Starting high up in Rocky Mountain National Park and emerging just north of Fort Collins, the Cache la Poudre River drops 7,000 feet in elevation as it winds through Poudre Canyon. My first Colorado hikes took place on the canyon trails shared with campers, fly fishermen, rafters and kayakers alike.

 

2Bike Paths

When I moved to Fort Collins, a co-worker told me that there are two requirements for living here: owning a bike and owning a dog. I’m still working on the latter, though the bike paths in town are enough to stay occupied. Fort Collins is one of five platinum-rated bike-friendly communities in the U.S., with over 200 miles of dedicated bike lanes and 50 miles of marked or signed bike routes to explore.

 

3Horsetooth Reservoir

Named after the mountain that forms its western edge, the reservoir is surrounded by 1,900 acres of public lands — a go-to for boating, swimming, biking and rock climbing.

FUN FACT: Much of the water provided to eastern Colorado is diverted from the Western Slope under the Continental Divide and through a system of dams and canals. Water rights and conservation are hot topics as water becomes a more precious resource.

 

4Old Town

Put on the map when the railroad came to town in 1877, present-day Old Town was the business district of historic Fort Collins. Today, it’s the place to go for a night out, with more than 80 restaurants to choose from.

PRO TIP: Get an ice cream cone from Churn, a shop designed after an antique ice cream churn bucket, and stop into Sense of Place for a gift to take home.

 

 

5Breweries

The Napa Valley of Beer, the Brewmuda Triangle, the Craft Beer Capital of Colorado — there’s something about that Rocky Mountain water that attracts breweries to Fort Collins. The city ranks fourth in the nation for number of microbreweries per capita, with some of the big names including New Belgium Brewing, Anheuser-Busch and Odell Brewing Company.

 

Interested in sharing the best eats and secret spots of your own city with fellow Tigers? Email shutto@clemson.edu for more information.

 

 

Taking Care of Each Other, and Our Communities

It’s been a remarkable fall at Clemson. We’ve welcomed alumni back to campus, witnessed a wonderful display of student spirit in the Homecoming floats, celebrated the 29th home built by the Clemson chapter of Habitat for Humanity and enjoyed being together face to face again.

At the same time, we’ve continued robust testing for COVID-19 while keeping each other safe by masking in many indoor spaces on campus. The Clemson Family takes care of each other; we have seen that in action this fall, not only on campus but also in our larger communities. Ruthie Hite, for example, went above and beyond for her friend and fellow alumnus by giving him one of her kidneys — an act of true selflessness. You can read their incredible story on page 14.

Another good example is the Call Me MISTER® program. To increase the number of Black male elementary school teachers, Call Me MISTER, which began at Clemson in 2000, continues to spread its influence across not only South Carolina but other states as well. Roy Jones, the program’s director, has been on a mission to uncover our shared history and, by doing so, enrich the experience and education of every mister. Read about his journey on page 26.

The University reached another exciting milestone this fall when we dedicated the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel, which has been a dream of students and alumni for decades. This all-faiths chapel will provide a quiet place for meditation, reflection and celebration for the University community. Read more about the beautiful new space, the young man for whom it is named and the many people who made it possible on page 20.

This fall, we’ve had the joy of watching our daughter Grace enroll as a freshman in the ClemsonLIFE program, and we are thankful she has the opportunity to enjoy a life of purpose, employment, independence and friendship. When you’re on campus, I encourage you to watch for the interactions and enjoy the relationships that our traditional students have with our ClemsonLIFE students. It will make you smile.

I hope that you will come back to campus this spring to enjoy a baseball or softball game, a concert or an alumni event, or simply to wander through campus, enjoying the memories and absorbing the changes.

I look forward to seeing you on campus.

Go Tigers!

 

Feeding the World

 

Postdoctoral award winner focuses on increasing yield of food crops

 

Rohit Kumar wants to help feed the world.

“My interest is to serve society by contributing to sustainable food security for the growing world population,” said College of Science postdoctoral fellow Rohit Kumar, who works in the laboratory of Rajandeep Sekhon, an associate professor of genetics and biochemistry.

Kumar’s overall research focuses on understanding complex traits that underlie nutritional value and stress tolerance to develop climate-resistant crop plants.

At Clemson, his research has focused on regulatory systems that govern senescence — the process of biological aging — and stalk lodging in corn, which refers to stalk breakage below the corn ear. Lodging reduces the U.S. corn crop by as much as 25 percent annually.

Sekhon said Kumar’s work could help improve yields for a wide range of annual crops, including corn, soybeans, rice and wheat. “These crops only survive for one season, and even then, their lifespan is limited,” Sekhon said. “During that lifespan, the most important thing the plants do for us is convert solar energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis, which is what basically sustains us. Our big idea is that if we can delay senescence, that can lead to the production of more chemical energy for human consumption.”

Since he came to Clemson in 2018, Kumar has authored or co-authored five peer-reviewed publications in various scholarly journals, including The Plant Cell and Plant, Cell & Environment. The Clemson University Postdoctoral Association named Kumar its 2021 Distinguished Postdoctoral Award for his efforts to understand how to extend the productive life of food crops.

In addition to his research, Kumar frequently serves as a reviewer of international journals and a judge in student-oriented competitions, including the Three-Minute Thesis program and the University’s Undergraduate Science Symposium.

“Dr. Kumar is an outstanding young scientist with a steady upward trajectory,” Sekhon said.

 

 

Providing a Place to Call Home

 

Habitat Homecoming build provides experience and changes lives

 

Matthew Grant walked on to the Habitat for Humanity build site as a management major his freshman year to fulfill service hours for a course. He had no idea he was stepping into a life change.

“I came out to a workday and loved it,” he recalled. “All we were doing was putting in vinyl flooring, but it was really cool to me to actually be doing work on an actual house that a family was going to be living in.”

As his involvement progressed, his passion for the work inspired a new career path. “I realized I could just wake up every day and do this the rest of my life,” he said. When he returned to Clemson as a sophomore, he switched his major to construction science and management. Now a senior and advocacy chair for Clemson’s 29th Habitat for Humanity Homecoming build, Grant’s enthusiasm is just as strong as it was three years ago.

Grant’s story highlights the special relationship between the project and the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management. On September 30, 2021, Michael ’86 and Robyn Nieri — namesakes of the department and owners of Great Southern Homes—strengthened the relationship further with a gift of $50,000 to Pickens County Habitat for Humanity. State Farm also donated $20,000 to the Clemson chapter. These gifts made the Homecoming build possible as well as another new Habitat Home to be built in 2022.

 

“I love to share what we all love about construction, and beyond that, getting to use construction to serve people.”

 

Approximately 60 CSM majors have contributed to this year’s build, according to Addison Dicks, a senior CSM major serving as project coordinator. Five CSM majors are part of the chapter’s leadership team.

Dicks stays on top of a myriad of tasks as diverse as recruiting volunteers, acquiring in-kind donations for materials, applying for permits, arranging security and even driving 200 miles to Summerville to pick up lumber. “Balancing it all between classes and trying to manage it has been a challenge, but it’s a good challenge,” he said.

According to Endowed Professor Dennis Bausman, the hands-on work experience creates an ideal learning opportunity. “We’re preparing young men and women not necessarily to hammer nails, but also to manage the process,” Bausman said. “But you’re a better manager if you have some feeling or experience of actually having gone through it. The lessons they are learning while they are out there working and managing the effort, I think, are invaluable.”

For some students, the building process and interacting with the families for whom the homes are built have shaped their lives and future plans.

“It definitely opens your eyes to a new perspective,” Dicks said. “I’m not going to speak for everybody, but a majority of the people who are blessed enough to come to college have probably come from a good life. When we grew up, we had a great roof over our head, and it’s very easy to take that for granted.”

In Grant’s case, the Habitat builds have had a direct impact on his career choice. He plans to work in construction for a nonprofit such as Habitat for Humanity after graduation. Until then, he will continue spreading the gospel of construction science to his classmates.

“I love to share what we all love about construction, and beyond that, getting to use construction to serve people,” he said.

 

 

Clemson Rolls Out Executive Leadership Ph.D. Program

The Department of Management in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business is launching a three-year, AACSB-accredited Executive Leadership Ph.D. program that will allow candidates to earn their Ph.D. while working in full-time careers. Inaugural applicants participated in a research boot camp in October and will begin the program in July of 2022.

 

“This new offering will take a deep dive into leadership that will allow participants to pursue a research agenda in academia or significantly expand their skill set for growth in the business world.”

 

“This new offering will take a deep dive into leadership that will allow participants to pursue a research agenda in academia or significantly expand their skill set for growth in the business world,” said Kristin Scott, professor of management and director of the program. “Graduates will be qualified for faculty positions or be armed with advanced research techniques they can utilize in transforming organizations.”

The Executive Leadership Ph.D. program is offered in a hybrid format with virtual class meetings and three-day residencies three times per semester (nine per year) and is designed to be completed in three years over nine semesters while attending Fall, Spring and Summer terms. “Candidates will experience a small and selective cohort that will create a high-touch program,” Scott said. “In addition to lasered-in focus on leadership, the program will provide them with deep analytical skills. Clemson’s world-class management faculty will be joined by global scholars who will be guest faculty throughout the three-year program.”

Applications for the program are now being accepted. Applicants will need to have a master’s degree and successful leadership experience of preferably a decade or more.

 

Teaming Up to Disinfect Airplanes

Two land-grant universities in states where Boeing has a large footprint, South Carolina and Washington, have launched a partnership designed to help prepare students for aerospace careers.

Clemson and Washington State University Everett formed Cougars and Tigers Together (CATTs) as a joint initiative. Clemson students traveled to Washington in the fall and toured Boeing and other advanced manufacturing companies. The two groups, which include engineering, business, marketing and communications students, are working together to design autonomous cabin disinfection systems for airplanes. WSU Everett students will travel to Clemson this spring, and the team will present a final report to Boeing.

 

[Clemson and Washington State University Everett], which include engineering, business, marketing and communications students, are working together to design autonomous cabin disinfection systems for airplanes.

 

Boeing, which is providing financial support to each school to fund student travel and project expenses, is a large employer of Clemson and WSU Everett graduates.

“Providing students with opportunities to address real-world challenges through experiential learning is at the core of a Clemson education,” said Clemson provost Bob Jones. “The knowledge and experience these students will gain from the ability to directly interface with Boeing highlight the benefits of industry partnerships in higher education.”

 

 

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