Creative Inquiry

Reviving a Tradition

People often say that there is “something in these hills” — a quote from Joe Sherman’s poem that embodies the way that many cherish Clemson University.

Clemson is a place defined by traditions, both experienced as students and carried on throughout the rest of our lives. Colonel Sandy Edge, a lecturer in the Department of Management, and his Creative Inquiry team developed a project that takes a further look at one of Clemson’s most prominent traditions, prized by graduating seniors and alumni for over a century: the Clemson ring.

The project began when the Clemson Alumni Association approached the Marketing Department about involving students in the development of a new marketing strategy to revive the tradition of purchasing and wearing the Clemson ring.

“In initial discussions with the Alumni Association, we knew that the ring is very, very special,” Edge said. “Now that the Clemson Alumni Association owns, markets and has the total rights to the ring, it’s also an opportunity for revenue interests. They wanted us to go back with a totally unbiased, fresh look and give each area a fresh set of eyes. I don’t think the Alumni Association could have been more excited.”

Creative Inquiry students researched ring sales at Clemson and other universities. They also attended and analyzed Clemson’s Guarding of the Rings and Ring Ceremony held in October.
“The Alumni Association took over the ring within the last two years, and so they’re not really quite sure of what the direction is. That’s where our project fits in,” Creative Inquiry leader Carter McElveen said. “In order to create a good marketing plan, you have to look at where you’ve been. You have to look at the past so that you have an understanding of the past, so you can go forward to the future.”

After reviewing successful and unsuccessful marketing strategies for ring sales across the country and the history of ring sales at Clemson, the students met with the Alumni Association to develop an integrated marketing plan.

“Developing an integrated marketing plan that the students may have to construct once they get to the real world allows students to produce a real world product for a real world project that has definite applications,” Creative Inquiry leader Colonel Ed De Iulio, a lecturer in the Department of Management, said. “It enhances their ability to synthesize all the different pieces and parts of various courses and put them together.”

The Creative Inquiry not only produces a real world product for the Alumni Association, but also functions as a business with a class-elected CEO and designated project teams and managers. Student members of the Creative Inquiry work collaboratively to develop a marketing plan for the Clemson ring.
“It’s about something I’m so passionate about,” class CEO and junior communication studies major Morgan Burns said. “I think it makes it even more interesting and intriguing because I feel like it’s not just a Creative Inquiry that’s personal to me, but personal to my parents who are alumni, and it tangibly affects every student who comes through Clemson’s campus.”

McElveen believes that her love for her alma mater and students was what influenced her to get involved in the project.

“I couldn’t resist getting involved in something that would benefit the students by allowing them to see first-hand how to make a marketing plan and how to improve something they truly care about,” McElveen said. “To me, your ring is your lifelong connection with Clemson and it’s everything: the tradition, all your memories- everything wrapped up into one thing that is Clemson. If I can help make the ring a better part of the tradition here, I want to help do that.”

The success of the Creative Inquiry team was fueled by the students’ enthusiasm to enhance Clemson tradition.

“I’ve never been amongst a group of students who are honestly so passionate,” Burns said. “There is not one person in the class who does less work than another. There isn’t a student who isn’t excited to get dirty and get their hands wet and get excited about it.”

Standing Tall

There’s a small space in Clemson’s Experimental Forest where a few tall trees tower towards the sky. Covered in long pine needles, the wooded area is open and bright compared to the rest of the forest. A Creative Inquiry team, led by Dr. G. Geoff Wang and Dr. Arvind Bhuta in the School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental Sciences, is studying three species of southern-yellow or heart pines (Pinus taeda, Pinus palustris and Pinus elliotti).

These pines are of interest because of the unusual occurrence they have in this region; these longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) are outside of their natural range, which ends sixty miles south of Clemson in southern McCormick and Greenwood Counties, South Carolina. According to historical records, the plot being studied was planted in the 1940s as a source of labor in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Wang, professor of silviculture and ecology, says that there is quite a history of these trees in the South as far back as the 1930s.

“At that time, people didn’t actually study a lot about it,” Wang said. “It was more like, ‘Hey! We got seedlings here! Go plant them!’ It could be they had excessive labor, and they just had seedlings and went planting everywhere.”

One significant characteristic of longleaf pines is that they depend on fire. Without periodic burning, the plant cannot naturally regenerate. Natural and human-caused fire used to occur frequently, but human efforts to suppress fire and the overharvesting of longleaf pine forests in the southeast have caused populations to decline.

Junior forest research management major Carson Barefoot is concerned about this change. “It’s weird because longleaf pines used to be really dominant. They were the most abundant species but then, we stopped putting fire on the ground, and then they started declining,” he said. “And now, we’ve reintroduced fire. And that’s what we’re trying to see—how the reintroduction of fire is impacting these trees.”

Bhuta describes the magnitude of the decline of this species: “Due to the overharvesting of longleaf pine forest and the practice of preventing fires, the longleaf pine declined, going from over 91 million acres to only over 2.7 million acres,” he said.

The team is also studying how climate affects the growth of loblolly, longleaf and slash pines in different regions of South Carolina. They are starting by studying young longleaf seedlings.

Students measure the height and diameter of the tree, and the canopy. Students also “core,” or retrieve samples from the inside of the trees. Using a core sample, the team can identify the age of the tree and how both climate and disturbance have affected its growth. They can also recognize scars from burning.

“We just want to have some simple metrics to calculate how many trees per acre are here and go from there to kind of give us an estimate of what’s going on with the life history of the tree,” Bhuta said.

This Creative Inquiry engages forestry students in meaningful research in Clemson’s Experimental Forest.
“It’s real world stuff that we would do in a job. So, we get to practice. I like to see how the environment impacts the growth directly in the rings,” junior resource management major Michael Griffo said.

Barefoot enjoys the outdoors aspect and research rewards of this project.

”I want to keep doing research,” he said. “I want to keep coming out here and helping the trees other than exploiting them for their resources. I absolutely enjoy it.”

Building Haiti on Bamboo

Nearly four years have passed since the earthquake in Haiti. The country of Haiti, though progressing forward in reconstruction, is nowhere near operating at the same speed it was before the 2010 destruction. A group of civil engineering students at Clemson University are developing a way to help restore Haiti. By researching the use of bamboo reinforced concrete, they hope to provide an economical and efficient way for Haitians to rebuild and recover.

Bamboo is about one-third the strength of steel Although not quite as strong, it is far less expensive and much easier to produce.

“We look into bamboo reinforced concrete because we know that bamboo can be grown in Haiti—it can be grown in just a couple months to get to its full height. It’s basically free and grows almost like weeds,” Dr. Weichiang Pang, assistant professor of Civil Engineering, explained.

Pang holds up a piece of bamboo about a foot long and around a half-inch thick. “This can hold around 1000 pounds of force.”

Assessments to test the strength of bamboo include putting a small sliver of bamboo in a machine that continuously pulls at the specimen.

“We test it in the frame there for tension capacity,” Pang said. “So, basically you will pull it apart and we see how much load it will take to break it. Based on that we can see the cross-section and calculate how much pressure it takes to break it. That’s how we’ve found that it is one-third of steel.”

Graduate student Nathan Schneider, pursuing his degree in Civil Engineering, points out the major breaking point of a bamboo.

“Most likely it’s going to break at the node. The bamboo is divided by the diaphragms so, that’s kind of where you can see the fibers are a lot more chaotic, the way they form. That’s generally the weaker part of the bamboo,” Schneider said. At around 1600 pounds of pressure, the bamboo will finally break.

“Well, if you’re falling off a cliff and you see if a piece of bamboo, it’s a safe move to grab it,” Pang said. Because of bamboo’s impressive strength, this Creative Inquiry team is experimenting with how to successfully strengthen concrete structures with the bamboo as that reinforcement.

“The other task we are doing right now is looking at the bonding between concrete and bamboo,” Pang said. “Bamboo is like wood, so it will absorb moisture. So, one thing we need to address is how to prevent it from absorbing moisture when we cast concrete.”

The team is also testing different lengths of bamboo in conjunction with different waterproofing techniques to ensure that the bamboo will be adhesive when cast to concrete. In working with bamboo-reinforced columns, students have created a new technique to bend bamboo.

“We just have a big PVC pipe that we hook up to a steam box and hook it up with a hose,” senior civil engineering major Austin Chalker explained. “It’s almost like a sauna that we can put up to fifteen pieces of bamboo into. It becomes flexible enough where you can bend and touch it side-to-side and turn into a complete circle. Then, we have a form that we just put up to nine at a time in and let it dry for thirty minutes, and it stays in that shape we formed.”

Schneider believes that this part of their research has been very distinctive. “Nobody’s done that before. So, that’s something that we haven’t found any other information about other people ever using,” said Schnider. “That’s been really kind of unique part to this research.”
Pang’s team is also excited to transfer their research into hands-on activities. “Last semester was more research based while this semester’s been cool transitioning into actually putting it together,” Corey Crowder, a civil engineer senior, said. “It’s definitely been a lot of fun. Especially seeing it all come together,” Schneider added.

Once the bamboo-reinforced concrete structures have been tested, the team hopes to travel to Haiti to introduce this idea to the population. Teaching Haitians how to rebuild their structures with bamboo reinforced concrete is now a feasible goal, and this team of students is determined to get there.

Fungus as a Fuel

When someone first thinks about bacteria and fungi, they don’t often consider them as resources to produce fuels from things such as plants. Dr. Michael Henson in the Department of Biological Sciences and his Creative Inquiry students are conducting research in order to one day build bio-refineries that can produce fuel from bacteria and fungi. These refineries employ a series of chemical and physical reactions to convert plant material to produce various products, including fuels. Biofuels are fuels that originate from living organisms.

“We would want to do that as a bio-refinery by taking those biological products, bringing those biological products into a bio-refinery, and converting those biological products of biomass into a variety of end-products that have value as a fuel or other sectors of the economy,” Henson said.

Henson began this project when he was in graduate school by converting biomass materials into methane, a component of natural gas. Years later, Henson put together a Creative Inquiry, called Biofuels to Biomass, that involves undergraduate and graduate students working on a project that combines basic and applied science. Students in this CI learn more about their chosen field through first-hand experiences and research opportunities. Henson knows that this experience is valuable.
“It is no longer just studying a textbook or copying a lab procedure,” he said. “The student begins to build on these methods and goes into a lab and can see their project and do the work and see their own results.”

The students are now studying the roles of specific bacteria and fungi in the conversion of biomass
materials, such as cellulose, into biofuels.

“One part of this research project is to optimize the conditions in the way we mix bacteria, which include temperature, different pH and different nutrient requirements,” Abhiney Jain, a microbioogy graduate student, said. “The second part of this project is to understand the relationship between bacteria and fungi as they deconstruct these plant polymers.”

One of the biggest things sophomore biological sciences major Tabitha Banks has gained from the project is the ability to problem-solve.

“I’ve gotten a new outlook on problem solving. When something goes wrong, you don’t necessarily know why it has gone wrong, so it’s looking at here’s what we did, here are the options we can do and it really makes you think,” Banks said. “You may not know what’s going wrong, so it requires you to think outside the box, which will definitely be helpful in future endeavors.”

Banks also reiterated the benefits of working in a lab outside of her regular lab classes.

“I really enjoyed being able to work in a lab because it gives you an insight into many things that you don’t get to do in labs for classes,” she said. “When you go into labs for classes, it’s generally all laid out for you there, step by step, but in here you have the large scale goal for the lab and for the project, but then it’s left up to you.”

Overall, Henson is pleased with the progress made by his students and the time they spend in the lab, learning valuable skills that will inevitably help them further down the road in their careers.

“It is seeing the undergraduate student who has little to no experience in the lab have that discovery moment when they see something they’re discovered for the first time,” Henson said.

Carbon Dioxide Flux

A group of Clemson students is collecting information on the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) from natural and human/artificial sources, and some might consider them trailblazers in this new field.

Geologic Indicators of Climate Change is a Creative Inquiry in the Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. A team of geology major seniors is exploring and analyzing CO2 fluxes from soils, rocks and bodies of water. Using their own individual experiments and observations, these seniors are developing and collecting a new information baseline for the southeastern region.

“There’s not much research in this geologic, climatic, biome. Most of the research is being done in other places. So, we’re right now creating baselines for the southeast,” research assistant professor of Geology, Scott Brame said. Brame, the leader of the team, has narrowed the focus of the Creative Inquiry to a particular region. “We’re focused on a temperate deciduous forest ecosystem found in the southern Appalachians. It’s a narrow scope,” he said.

The main focus is to understand how much CO2 is produced by humans as opposed to the CO2 that is emitted by decaying matter and other natural processes. In order to enhance this understanding, Katie Hickok is performing a lab experiment that measures differences in CO2 emissions from store-bought and natural soil. She manually changes the temperature, moisture and other factors to determine which conditions produce the most CO2. Hickok said that she likes the hands-on experience of working in the field, but for this particular experiment it was best for her to be in a lab setting.

“I thought for me that it would be easier to understand in a lab setting where I can physically change it. Where I am boss, I am God of this experiment,” said Hickok.

Ashley Coffin also believes that her experiment will be of use to farmers in the future. Her research on till versus no-till farming could lead farmers to change the way they manage their crops. Coffin studies the amount of CO2 emitted from tilled soil versus the amount emitted from soil that is not tilled. In “no-till” farming, crops are planted without plowing the soil. This practice is believed to add organic matter to the soil as well as to decrease erosion. She suspects that no-till farming will reduce CO2 emissions the most.

“It would be trying to prove that and then make recommendations to the organic farms saying ‘You should switch and change to no-till,’ in order to reduce CO2 emissions. So (my research) has a real world application built into it,” Coffin said.

The Creative Inquiry group is also conducting experiments on CO2 levels in the water from nearby Lake Hartwell. Lacy has started a data collection project that he hopes will be continued by other students and professionals.

“I’m doing one arm that goes into Lake Hartwell and seeing how much carbon actually comes in through waters and soil samples, leaves falling off trees and how much is actually moving through the water,” Lacy said. Lacy also explains that a lot of the carbon in such a system is from natural sources, such as dead fish and decaying leaves and trees.

As for the continuation of this project, the students and their faculty leaders have high hopes that the information they are collecting will encourage corrective actions towards reducing carbon emissions.

“Not many people are aware that the carbon flux is of issue,” Brame said. “We’re just trying to measure this natural phenomenon.”

Writing Fellows

Walking into the Writing Center in the Academic Success Center, it is impossible to overlook the buzz of activity. The sounds of paper rustling and group collaboration are nothing new for the Writing Fellows, a group of impressive undergraduates who help all members of the Clemson community become more confident and effective writers. The Writing Fellows assist undergraduate students, graduate students and even faculty members with all forms of expository writing. By working closely with undergraduates in various disciplines, the Writing Fellows have contributed to Clemson’s recent recognition by U.S. News & World Report as one of nineteen colleges that make the writing process a priority at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum.

Dr. Meredith McCarroll, director of the Writing Center, associate director of major fellowships and professor of American literature, realized that peer tutoring in writing involves more than one-on-one conferences; it involves studying the function and effectiveness of tutoring. McCarroll developed the Writing Fellows Creative Inquiry, a subset of the Writing Fellows program, in which a handful of Writing Fellows immerse themselves in self-led research on different aspects of peer tutoring. The purpose of the Writing Fellows Creative Inquiry is to help students conduct and continue this research as they prepare for the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPW).
The range of research conducted by the Creative Inquiry is exemplified by Caroline Mercer, a senior English literature major. Mercer sees the growing importance of technology and decided to conduct her research on the quality of online tutoring compared to sessions conducted in person.

“This next generation is really techy, so I think that online tutoring will only become more and more prominent over the years,” Mercer said.

Mercer’s fellow Creative Inquiry team member, sophomore industrial engineering major Shannon Kay, is also delving into research that will expand her knowledge of peer tutoring and enhance her own sessions. Kay’s research focuses on sequenced assignments, which refers to the relationships between given assignments. McCarroll believes that such student-driven research is one of the most powerful and memorable experiences that an undergraduate can have.

“It gives students a glimpse of what they can do beyond just one class,” McCarrol said. “Self-guided experiences help students feel autonomous and empowered.”

The semester-long research of Mercer, Kay, and the four other Creative Inquiry team members culminated with the National Confrence on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW), held in Tampa, Florida in November 2013. At the conference, the students presented their research and had the opportunity to hear ideas from students from other universities. Both McCarroll and Mercer agree that this conference is the most exciting aspect of the Creative Inquiry, as it places Clemson into the growing discussion of peer tutoring and strengthens the university’s emphasis on writing across the curriculum. Returning from the conference, the Creative Inquiry team returned with new ideas and perspectives to share with the other Writing Fellows that they can then implement in their tutoring sessions.

Ultimately, McCarroll hopes that her students will walk away from the Creative Inquiry knowing that they can effectively communicate their ideas and use these ideas to impact their professional work.

“In a large or small way, they have something to contribute –they are going to enter their job and not only do great work, but also help to transform their field,” she said. Both McCarroll and her students believe that peer tutoring in writing is not about comma splices and superficial issues, but rather about content and delivery. It is these two aspects that drive the Creative Inquiry and push Clemson further into the academic discussion of writing across the curriculum.

Improving Wheel Traction in Sand and Lunar Terrain

In a warehouse, a team of mechanical engineering students is conducting research to be implemented where few undergraduate endeavors venture: the moon. Their work involves improving a wheel that must roll smoothly through sand, gracefully manage rock piles and scale daunting inclines.

The project, led by seniors Steven O’Shields and Zach Satterfield is composed of nine undergraduates. Mechanical engineering professor Dr. Joshua Summers began the Creative Inquiry, Development of Sand Traction Concepts, more than seven years ago.

“The purpose originally was for NASA. It was a NASA-funded project to come up with a wheel,” Satterfield said. NASA developed an All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE), a multi-legged robotic platform for transporting large items, such as a living space for astronauts, on the moon. However, since the lunar terrain differs in texture and consistency from the asphalt that most earth-bound vehicles are designed for, ATHLETE needed a new type of wheel on its “feet.”

The average vehicle wheel intended to travel over asphalt is convex, or curved outward. The convex tread pushes debris, which would otherwise cause friction and slow down the vehicle, out from under the wheel. The tread is the shape of the tire’s exterior that creates traction.

“The tread helps you be efficient with moving the vehicle,” Satterfield said. The team has determined that a concave shape, with an indentation around the middle of the wheel’s exterior, is the most efficient shape for moving across sand. This design grips the sand and gives the wheel something more solid to push off of, so that for each rotation, it travels the maximum distance possible.

By testing different wheel designs, the team found that a concave tire covered in non-porous foam moves most efficiently. While they were satisfied with its traction, they wanted to make the tire more durable, because the foam was easily damaged during testing.

“We don’t always get the perfect prototype. Dr. Summers harps on that you learn more from failure than from success,” Satterfield said. To make their product more suitable for extraterrestrial travel, their latest design includes a layer of Kevlar, a strong yet lightweight material, over the foam-covered concave tire. The nine student engineers hope that this design will successfully combine an efficient tread with materials strong enough for use on the moon.

The team tested various characteristics of their Kevlar design, such as velocity and endurance, with the longest test running up to ten hours. By passing the durability test, which previous versions had failed, the Kevlar prototype has become their most successful design yet.

Although the project is intended for space exploration, Satterfield and O’Shields anticipate that their work will also be practically applied on Earth. Their new wheel could be used on any vehicle that travels over sand, from recreational dune buggies to military transports. It would allow a vehicle to move more efficiently thus using less fuel.

In Aug. 2013, Summers, O’Shields, Satterfield and senior Justin Moylan attended a conference for the American Society for Mechanical Engineers in Portland, Oregon. Their paper, which Satterfield presented, was the only undergraduate publication at the conference.

“I don’t think many other schools have undergrad research like this, where it’s run by undergraduate students,”

O’Shields said. The team looks forward to presenting at more conferences as they continue to determine the weaknesses of their Kevlar-covered wheel and how it can be improved.

The students are the driving force at every level and stage of the project because Summers believes that giving the students ownership of the project provides them with more learning opportunities.

O’Shields and Satterfield also gain leadership experience. Along with the other seniors, Moylan, Brett Smenteks and Coleman Heustess, they partner with the students who have not yet taken advanced mechanical engineering courses.

“It’s really a lot of fun working with these people, working with their strengths and weaknesses and trying to get the ultimate goal accomplished of getting a tire that works right” O’Shields said of younger team members.

Creating a Lasting Impression

Walking around campus, it is not hard to find public art that has been implemented into a number of sites throughout the years.

In Fall 2012, Art department faculty members Joey Manson, David Detrich and Denise Woodward-Detrich began Atelier InSite, a Creative Inquiry project that implements public artwork on the Clemson’s campus. It capitalizes on a cross-disciplinary and inclusive approach that is predominantly student driven. The goal is to create a new paradigm for the administration of public art on university campuses.

Manson believes Atelier InSite is helping to gain more student involvement and initiate awareness about not only what kind of art should be implemented on campus, but also why.

“There’s some public art on campus already, but it wasn’t as inclusive with student outreach,” Manson said. “This mechanism is much different. It’s a different model. We study the various ways public art works in universities across the country—how art works, how it functions and how it also fails.”

So how can art fail?

“Well public art’s role is to raise questions and prompt discussion,” Manson said. “We’re not about adorning a building; we’re about creating dialogue that can happen here on campus.”

To ensure no art sits in silence and potentially falls unnoticed, Atelier InSite’s team of 14 Creative Inquiry students, in ten different majors, spent hours perusing 218 portfolio submissions from around the world and narrowed them down to three finalists they felt best represented the Life Sciences Facility and surrounding areas. Proposals were requested from these finalists, and ultimately the commission was awarded with input from faculty, staff, and students working in the facility.

Atelier InSite’s latest project was installed in the atrium of the new Life Sciences Facility—a piece by San Francisco artist Klari Reis, whose 600 individual paintings are embedded in petri dishes of varying sizes.

The students are currently working on implementing art into the Watt Family Innovation Center as well as into the Lee III Expansion.

Sophomore visual arts major Rebekah Warren believes that her contribution to the project has taught her a lot about the art on campus and people’s various perceptions of it.

“It gives me pride that we’re able to decide these things,” she said. “Public artwork is something that evokes thought and isn’t always aesthetically proven but the main purpose is to make the viewer wonder.”

And it’s not just for art students either. Kep Pate, a senior visual arts major, is happy to see Clemson—a fundamentally science-driven university—more actively seeking to keep art alive and present in response to a policy set by the academic council that requires a 0.5% budget towards public art in new construction by Clemson University.

“It’s another cool way to show how the concentrations on campus can connect with one another. This is one of the only classes where you see architecture majors, art majors, life science majors and engineers all collaboratively working together,” Pate said. “Clemson tries to do that in a lot of ways, and this is another example of how we work together.”

Brittany Lamont, a senior health sciences major, says the experience has completely altered her perspective and has led her to earn a minor in art.

“I’ve been doing this CI for a year and half, and there’s something to be said about actually working with your hands and doing something as opposed to sitting in front of a projector watching your professor tell you how it is and how it goes and to just take his word for it,” she said. “It’s really valuable because instead it tells you how something works first-hand.”

Overall, the Creative Inquiry has created a lasting impression on both the students involved and the Clemson community.

“I hope to be able to come back one day if my kids are here and be able to say that I took part in this,” sophomore visual arts major Jessi Helmrich said.

“All the students enrolled are supporters of the arts,” Manson said. “They have that passion and drive and this enables them to leave a lasting contribution to the campus. Any of those graduating know they will have an impact for a long time to come.”

Dr. Michael Childress receives 2015 Phil & Mary Bradley Award for CI Mentoring

Dr. Michael Childress received the 2015 Phil and Mary Bradley Award for Creative inquiry Mentoring at the may 7 general Faculty meeting.

Dr. Childress, an associate professor in biological sciences, has hosted a Creative Inquiry team since the early days of the program, serving as mentor to 44 undergraduates and involving his graduate students as additional mentors to the younger students. His project was featured in the inaugural issue of Decipher magazine, in 2012, in the article, Don’t be Crabby: Creative Inquiry Students are Making a Splash.

Michael’s students are exceedingly productive — they have made 21 presentations at professional conferences, have produced at least one publication (with a graduate student in the lab), and describe their work on an ongoing basis through their blog.

His students respect and like him, in great part because he obviously cares about them. A student made the following comment, in nominating Dr. Childress for this award:

Dr. Childress is a brilliant teacher and communicator and really cares about the success of his students. I spend a good part of every week in the lab, even when I’m not working specifically on data analysis for the project. I credit this largely to the camaraderie among the students and mentors on the CI team. Dr. Childress is always willing to help us with our projects but he also challenges us to think for ourselves and figure out problems without being told the answer. Research with Dr. Childress has really changed my Clemson experience. It’s opened my eyes to real world issues and allowed me to cultivate skills I couldn’t have gained in a regular classroom setting.