BioSci News & Publications
Special Graduate Student Edition!  Vol. 1.5
Our graduate students have been making us proud. 

They have been hard at work flexing their intellectual, community service, and discovery muscles. In fact, they've accomplished so much this semester, we wanted to show them off with this special newsletter. 

As many undergraduate and high school students move into summer and start thinking of their "next steps" in life, it's important to highlight what an advanced education in the biological sciences can look like. As you can see here at ClemsonBioSci, it looks like winning.  

We hope you'll enjoy reading about our students' successes, and feel free to learn more at our website or the graduate students' blog, Scientific Conundrum.
Henson lab Publication
 
Biomass and Bioenergy  recently published an article by Dr. Henson's lab, titled "Characterization of a Trichoderma atroviride strain isolated from switchgrass bales and its use to saccharify ammonia-pretreated switchgrass for biobutanol production." 
 
Authors include Abhiney JainRyan Hammonds,
 
 Read the article here.

Sandy Kawano 

Sandy was recently honored with three different awards. First, she received the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Gaige Award ($500) to fund her research on how bone strength and morphology correlates with the ecology of salamanders. This information will be used to model different ecologies and locomotor capabilities of fossil taxa.  
 
She was also awarded the Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research Grant ($700) which will help offset additional costs that aren't covered by the Gaige Award. 
 
Finally, Sandy was awarded the Mid-America Paleontological Society Outstanding Student Research Award ($800) for her work on modeling the ability of important fossil fish and amphibians to move on land. Specifically, this award provides funds to support her  efforts to develop 3D digital models of fossil bones, in order to augment or establish digital repositories of research collections for museum across the United States.
 
 

#1 "Weird Animal" News

Dr. Blob's lab found the #1 "weirdest" animal story of 2013, according to the website LiveScience.  

The animal is the Nopoli rock-climbing goby (Sicyopterus stimpsoni), found throughout Hawaii, which can climb its way up waterfalls 300 feet tall, using an ancillary mouth sucker.  




Carrie Wells, PhD

Carrie Wells

Carrie Wells received her PhD in May, 2014 and will join the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte as a Lecturer this fall.  

Additionally, she published a paper with her advisor, Dr. Tonkyn in Insect Conservation and Diversity.  

Kylie Smith
 
Kylie was awarded a Graduate Research Mentorship from the Creative Inquiry Program, which is designed to recognize and provide professional development for graduate students who are mentoring Creative Inquiry teams. She received $1000 to help pay for research expenses.
 
Additionally, she received several other awards: a research grant from the Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research, which is a scientific research society; a student Research Grant from the Explorers Club; a CAFLS teaching award; and a grant from the International Women's Fishing Association.
 
Both Kylie and Vanessa Young were awarded the NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit Certificate. NACTA is the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.  This signifies that both Kylie and Vanessa have national recognition for their outstanding dedication to teaching.  Their names will appear  in the fall edition of the NACTA Journal.  
 

Vanessa Young

Vanessa was selected by the Graduate Fellowships and Awards Committee for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, both on the college and university levels.

  

This prestigious award is in the amount of $650.00 before taxes and she was additionally presented with a medallion at the August graduation. 

Both Vanessa and Kylie Smith were awarded the NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit Certificate. NACTA is the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.  This signifies that both Kylie and Vanessa have national recognition for their outstanding dedication to teaching.  Their names will appear  in the fall edition of the NACTA Journal.   

  

Learn about NACTA.

 


Christie Sampson 

Christie Sampson joined her advisor, David Tonkyn, in Jackson, Wyoming in April as part of the Eurasia Foundation's Working Group on Flora and Fauna Protection. They are working with Russian counterparts to compare the Greater Yellowstone and Lake Baikal ecosystems.  
 
She received her Master's degree in Biological Sciences from Clemson in December for her research on habitat use and management for wild Asian elephants in Sri Lanka.
Jennifer Morton

Jennifer also joined Dr. Tonkyn in Jackson, Wyoming as part of the Eurasia Foundation's Working Group on Flora and Fauna Protection. This work will result in a joint report and publication with our Russian colleagues. 

Additionally, she spent 3 months in the Russian Far East studying tigers and their prey. She is the first Clemson graduate student to actually work on tigers in the field. She was in Russia during the Sochi Winter Olympics and recent political events in Crimea. 

Kelly Hogan
 
Kelly was awarded a Graduate Research Mentorship from the Creative Inquiry Program. This program is designed to recognize and provide professional development for graduate students who are mentoring Creative inquiry teams. She was awarded $1000 to help pay for research expenses.
 
Additionally, Kelly was awarded the 2014 Commitment to Community Service Award. This spring alone, Kelly has participated in a variety of BSGSA service opportunities, and has logged nearly 40 hours of community service. 



BSGSA Fundraising

Team BSGSA has been hard at work this spring raising money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. They set a $1000 goal and aimed to meet that goal by hosting Chili Cook Off, Dye-It for Cancer, and Bake/Flag Sale fundraisers. When the final numbers came in, Team BSGSA had managed to raise $2650.52 (over $1500 beyond their team goal), and were the 3rd highest ranked Relay for Life team at Clemson! Way to go Team BSGSA and thanks to everyone who contributed to our fundraisers!  



Kelly Diamond 

Kelly received the 2014 Commitment to Research Award. In addition to teaching and active participation in BSGSA community service opportunities, Kelly spent 3 weeks in the field in Hawaii this March, collecting data for her Master's Thesis. Due to her hard work, she was able to collect all of the necessary data for her project in this one field season. She is currently analyzing the data collected in Hawaii, looking at goby escape responses under different environmental conditions. 
 
She is also putting together a poster for the Biology of the Pitvipers Sypmosium, for a side project where they are investigating morphological variation along a latitudinal gradient in the Eyelash Palm Pitviper. 
 
Kelly has presented her research in CBASS and the annual Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) Meeting in Austin, Texas this year. 

Kristine Moody

Kristine received the 2014 Commitment to Overall Graduate Student Life Award as well as the 2014 Hap Wheeler Distinguished BSGSA Member Award. She has been a tireless advocate for the Biological Sciences graduate students for several years. This year, her efforts have culminated in the extensive remodeling of our graduate student office space. 
 
Kristine has also spent many hours serving on the Dean's Advisory Board, and was instrumental in the implementation of the CAFLS Outstanding GTA and Outstanding GRA Awards. Furthermore, Kristine has continued to be actively involved in community service through BSGSA activities, as well through SC Dogs, a group of local volunteers that travels with their therapy pets to participate in animal-assisted activities at facilities such as hospice and children's camps.
 
Our accountant, Rita goes all out at the same event. Thanks for your support!
Dr. McNutt-Scott doing her part at the Dye-It for Cancer event hosted by the BSGSA.
More students from the Relay for Life fundraiser.
Chili from the BSGSA Annual Chili Cookoff. If you missed it this year, definitely catch it next time. Their chili does not disappoint!
















Eric Riddell

Graduate student Eric Riddell recently received an honorable mention with the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program for his proposal "High and dry: acclimation and transcriptomics of mountaintop salamanders under climate change." He also received a fellowship from the Highlands Biological Station to support his work this summer for a project titled "Uncovering the capacity of a terrestrial salamander to respond to climate change with a reciprocal transplant study and transcriptomics."  In addition to these successes, Eric was a finalist for the Huey Award Competition, sponsored by the Division of Ecology and Evolution of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, for Best Student Presentation in the division and he received a Grant in Aid of Research from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.
Evan Epanovitch

Graduate student Evan Apanovitch recently received an honorable mention with the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program for his proposal "Chytrid disease dynamics: thermal and hydric effects on the spread and susceptibility of Bs in North American salamanders." Additionally, he received a fellowship from the Highlands Biological Station to support his work this summer for his proposal "Rising stress: investigating multiple plethodon stressors across elevational gradients."

What's in Our Waters?

The graduate student WOW team (What's in Our Waters) organized this unique outreach program opportunity for 40 high school students on May 2, 2014. They were able to involve the kids for a macro invertebrate search and water quality study of the local creek at Pickens County Career & Technology Center.  


Microbiology Students Sweep Awards at SC Branch ASM Meeting

 


 
The South Carolina Branch of the American Society for Microbiology held its Annual Meeting on April 11-12th at Presbyterian College. Twenty eight graduate and undergraduates from around the state presented their research at the meeting. Clemson students excelled as Brennen Jenkins and Kathleen Jwanowski (both mentored by Dr. Tamara McNealy) took home first and second place respectively in the Graduate Student Oral Presentation Session. Joseph Angeloni (mentor: Dr. Min Cao) took home first in the Graduate Student Poster Session and undergraduates Rachel Weber, Carly Dameron (not pictured) and Andy Taylor took first, second and third places in the Undergraduate Poster Session. Rachel and Carly both conduct research with Dr. Barbara Campbell and Andy works with Dr. Harry Kurtz. Congratulations to all who participated.

 

The meeting also featured a very well-received talk from Dr. Maria Marco from University of California, Davis who delivered the keynote lecture on "Impacts of the Indigenous Plant Microbiota on Fresh Produce Food Safety."  A session on Metagenomic Analysis in Microbiology featured Clemson faculty Dr. Barbara Campbell and her postdoctoral researcher Dr. Ludovic Besaury and a session on Science Education and Teaching featured Clemson professor Dr. Tamara McNealy. The next branch meeting will be held in Columbia, SC in October.

 



Ashlee Tietje
Kim Newton

Kim Newton (Entox PhD student of Steve Klaine's) won best research poster in the PhD division at a Fulbright Academic Symposium competition, which was held on 07 March 2014 and hosted by the Fulbright Student organization at Clemson University. The purpose of the symposium was to showcase the research of Fulbright scholars at Clemson and other regional universities in the form of a research poster presentation competition. An award of $125 is given to the best PhD research poster as well as the best Masters research poster.

 

 

Jack Chen

Graduate Student Zhao (Jack) Chen has received a Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship Award in the amount of $5,000. Jack was selected by the Graduate Fellowship Committee at Clemson University.
3 Minute Thesis Winners
 
The first ever Three Minute Thesis Competition kicked off this year, a precursor to bigger and better competitions in the future. However, our department gets to claim special boasting rights as two of our students took both First Place spots. The 3MT finals were "ridiculously close" and Dean Burg and the Graduate School were impressed with all presenters. Our students, Ashlee Tietje and Namrata Sengupta tied for First Place! 


Namrata Sengupta


Congratulations to our recent M.S. and P.h.D. students who recently defended and graduated:

  • Amy Anderson, Ph.D., Entoxicology
  • Sam Crickenberger, Ph.D., Biological Sciences
  • Sujay Guha, Ph.D., Microbiology
  • Brennen Jenkins, M.S., Microbiology
  • Katherine Johnosn, M.S., Entoxicology
  • Alan Jones, Ph.D., Entoxicology
  • Erica Linard, M.S., Entoxicology
  • Christie Sampson, M.S., Biological Sciences
  • Raina Silva, M.S., Entoxicology
  • Carrie Wells, Ph.D., Biological Sciences
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