Cora Allard-Keese, associate director of the Creative Inquiry + Undergraduate Research program at Clemson University, has received the Class of 1956 Award for Staff Excellence. The award recognizes staff members who have made exemplary contributions to undergraduate student success.
Allard-Keese oversees Creative Inquiry, Clemson’s nationally recognized, cross-disciplinary undergraduate research and engagement program. More than 2,800 students from all majors participate in Creative Inquiry each semester, working directly with faculty mentors and a team of peers to tackle real-world problems. Since it began in 2005, more than 55,000 students from every major have participated in Creative Inquiry projects.
“Cora is always willing to embrace new challenges and new learning opportunities to achieve the goal of continuous improvements to the Creative Inquiry + Undergraduate Research program,” said Barbara Speziale, executive director of the program.
Allard-Keese collaborated with bioengineering faculty to create the Clemson COVID Challenge in the summer of 2020 that engaged more than 400 students in 82 projects under the guidance of 126 mentors from more than 16 institutions in virtual teams to explore solutions and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. That initiative was recognized with a 2020 InnoVision Award.
Allard-Keese has also implemented an introduction to research course that she co-teaches, and she established a seminar series for students participating in the Summer Creative Inquiry program. She is a strong facilitator for the Corporate Creative Inquiry program, that provides opportunities for students to engage in research with various industries.
Allard-Keese has served as associate director of Creative Inquiry since 2015. She was recognized with the 2018 Board of Trustees High Seminary Award for Excellence and the 2018 Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Outstanding Staff Award.
She previously served at Clemson as a lecturer and summer research program coordinator for the SC LIFE Project in the Department of Biological Sciences, which was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program. She also previously served as a research technician at Clemson and a research associate at the University of Kentucky.