USC Times May 9, 2013
Stories, snippets and scenes from the University of South Carolina. A publication for faculty, staff and friends of the university
uscTIMES Stories, snippets & scenes from the University of South Carolina. Aik on the insid e en / Beau fort / Co l u m b i a / L a n ca s t e r / S a l e tc h i a h e k / S um Unio ter / n / Upstat e 5 /9/2 0 1 3 F KEEPING STUDENTS AFLOAT BY CHRIS HORN Benitez-Nelson recognized as Professor of the Year or marine science freshmen who sometimes feel they are lost at sea, adrift without a clear sense of direction, Marine Science 101 must seem like a lifeboat. The introductory course is taught by Claudia Benitez-Nelson, a profes- get them engaged in some way, and once I get a response, I’ve got’ em.” Benitez-Nelson knows all about feeling adrift and unconnected as a student. She was that person 25 years ago as an undergraduate at the University of Washington. “But I had these two professors who went out of their way to help me find my way,” she said. “They didn’t have to, but they did, and I wouldn’t be a professor now if it weren’t for them. So I’m paying it forward.” Benitez-Nelson passion for engaging with students extends beyond her own discipline. “Once you’re my student, you’re always my student. Whether you stay in marine science or you switch to business or photography or whatever, we’re still good; I’m here for you,” she said. “She’s super approachable, keeps the class interesting and really wants to help!” USC’s faculty in 2002. “I’ve been asked to give talks all over the world because I’ve become good at explaining science to non-scientific people,” she said. “That’s a direct result of what I do in the classroom.” Explaining difficult material and answering endless questions can be a challenge, BenitezNelson said. “But I get so much out of it, from new ideas in research to friendship. And at the end of the day I like to talk to people — it’s that simple,” she said. sor and director of the marine science program who has made it her mission to connect with every first-year student in the program. Does she learn everyone’s name? Check. Incorporate some tidbit of information about each student into her lectures? Count on it. Bring full-on enthusiasm to the classroom? Every day. “My goal is to get them to respond,” said Benitez-Nelson, winner of the 2013 Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year award. “I want to Student questions are, in fact, the fuel that has powered Benitez-Nelson’s career since joining “We can look at the fervor of the deposits coming in for the Gamecock Gateway and see that people in South Carolina recognize the benefits of USC and will find their pathway to a Carolina degree.” — Drew Newton, coordinator of Gamecock Gateway, a partnership between USC and Midlands Technical College Gateway students live in the Roost residence hall and take classes at the Airport campus of Midlands Tech. After successfully completing 30 credit hours, students are eligible to transfer to Carolina. All of the 170 slots for fall 2013 are already filled. This year’s students recently wrote letters welcoming the rising freshmen to the program. 2 University of south carolina SUCCESSFUL GRADUATES With more than 6,000 total degree candidates taking home diplomas in this year’s commencement ceremonies, USC has quite a few graduates to brag about. Here’s a look at some of the class of 2013 who will likely be making a name for themselves across the world. PAST GRAD Maddie McDowell, Advertising McDowell will take on a job as a copywriter with The Richards Group in Dallas. “My time at Carolina has been about the people. I have been inspired by the truly incredible accomplishments of my peers, and it has been my great fortune to have professors who became mentors, truly invested in my success. I have done so much more with my college years than I could have ever imagined as a freshman, and I owe it all to the community that supported me along the way. My identity as a Gamecock has meant more to me than I could ever describe.” Ernest Taylor, Finance and insurance and risk management Taylor will be working as a financial consultant at Northwestern Mutual in Columbia, moving up from his current position as an intern. “Carolina really prepared me for the working world. With all the resources, the opportunities at USC have no limits.” Purva R. Choudhari, Chemical engineering She will be attending the University of South Carolina School of Medicine where she hopes to study neurology. “Of my wonderful experiences at USC, I am most grateful for those experiences which helped me discover my desire to share knowledge with others and am excited to continue to do so as I follow my path to becoming a doctor.” Pooja R. Choudhari, Chemical engineering She will be attending the University of South Carolina School of Medicine where she hopes to study internal medicine or pediatrics, “USC has given me the opportunity to explore the interests that I am passionate about. My most significant opportunities have helped affirm that my second love after medicine is teaching.” Matt Mikrut, Law Mikrut will be working as a post-graduate fellow for the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, which assesses, reviews and rules on infractions investigations conducted by the enforcement division.“All of my interactions with fellow students have been positive. USC law students work together rather than against one another. They are always willing to lend a helping hand, and I cherish the friendships that I have developed, both on a professional and social level.” Chelsea Ostebo, Marketing Ostebo, who was Sorority Council president at Carolina, will serve as a collegiate leadership consultant for Gamma Phi Beta. “I am frequently asked how I was able to accomplish so much in my four years here and quite often my response is the same — I worked really hard and I had a lot of help along the way. From advisers to students, each Carolinian has taught me so much, and I don’t think there is another university that has quite the same dynamic of camaraderie as we have. When I struggled, I had a Gamecock on my right and left to support me, and when I had a success I had a Gamecock on my right and left to congratulate me.” By 1987, Elam had finished his undergraduate studies at the Darla Moore School of Business, graduating with a marketing degree six years after he began. This year, Elam was promoted to brigadier general, becoming the first AfricanAmerican general officer of the S.C. Air National Guard. “Having a degree from the university has done a lot for me,” he said. “The degree helped validate my ability to perform at a high level.” Elam’s military career now spans more than three decades. “It becomes a part of you,” he said. “I’m going to continue to serve until it’s time to step down.” — Liz McCarthy Calvin Elam dreamed of going to college at USC. When he graduated from high school in 1980, he joined the U.S. Air Force to pay for college. While stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, he worked during the day and attended USC Sumter at night. During his time at Carolina while juggling his studies and his military career, Elam had to drop courses for a tour abroad in Saudi Arabia. Although his tour in the Air Force had ended, he signed up for the S.C. Air National Guard to finish his degree. “The degree helped validate my ability to perform at a high level.” FUTURE GRADS Watch out for these juniors. With one more year at Carolina, they are likely to have more bragging rights before finishing their degrees in 2014. Paul Williams, retail management Winner of the 2013 Spring Designer Student Showcase held during USC Fashion Week Williams, who is also a minister, wants to use his talents as an artist and designer to open a retail store, selling clothing, music and books with a biblical focus. “USC has opened my eyes to the world of fashion and how necessary it is to give life to your imaginations and dreams. I know who I am and what I’m called to do, and because I know my purpose I must fulfill it.” Ravenel Godbold, history major Recipient of the Jewish Studies Travel Grant Godbold will travel to Israel this summer to study at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she’ll learn firsthand about co-existence in the Middle East and work on her thesis about Jewish history. “I’m excited to learn about what is going on from people who have actually had a part in what I’m studying. I’m excited to talk to people who have experienced it and give a different perspective on how they deal with it. It’s probably a chance I wouldn’t get anywhere else. USC Times 5/9/2013 3 FINDING FRIENDS IN CLASS BY LIZ MCCARTHY Clear Skies Ever stare at the moon through a hunk of beach glass? OK, the view through the main telescope at USC’s Melton Observatory was never as cloudy as that, but because of a misshapen mirror and approximately 130 years of use and abuse, the heavens seen through it have never appeared quite as clearly as they should — until now. Last year, using a grant from the College of Arts and Sciences, observatory Director Alex Mowery began a series of improvements to the nearly century-old observatory and the even older telescope it houses. Among other things, Mowery has had the telescope’s hand-ground 19th-century mirrors professionally polished and, yes, even slightly reshaped. Once they are reinstalled in the coming weeks, he anticipates a moment of unprecedented clarity. “The large mirror was supposed to be a perfect parabolic shape, but when it was tested it ended up measuring something like 97 percent parabolic,” says Mowery. “Now we’ve corrected that, so it’s going to be better than it’s ever been.” — Craig Brandhorst D undergraduates. four years at Carolina. larly fond of.” ing their life with him, he said. growth process.” his student. avid DeWeil was one of the first people Bewer Eberly met on campus as a freshman four years ago. DeWeil was his University 101 instructor then. But when Eberly walks across the stage during commencement, DeWeil will be there as his friend. In the four years that Eberly, a senior biology student, has been on the Carolina campus, he has developed a close relationship with DeWeil, assistant principal of Capstone Scholars. Immediately the two bonded during the First-Year Reading Experience over their love of the popular TV show “The Office,” their hometown and their spirituality. “His passion for students and campus is inviting,” said Eberly, who was recently awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award, the university’s highest honor for Likewise, DeWeil said he knew after that first conversation that he would be a part of Eberly’s As a sophomore Eberly took a position as an undergraduate assistant in the Capstone Scholars program. By his junior and senior years, Eberly became the peer leader in DeWeil’s U101 class. “Our conversations moved from talking about “He cuts through the small talk to the deeper conversations that I’m particularly fond of.” how to make our course better to talking about Jesus or marriage or life,” Eberly said. “That’s one of the things I love about David. He cuts through the small talk to the deeper conversations that I’m particuDeWeil, ’02 media arts, knew he wanted to work on a college campus after his experience at Carolina when staff members at USC’s campus ministry organizations had the same impact on DeWeil, shar“I saw firsthand the type of growth a person could experience during those four years of college,” DeWeil said. “I loved the idea of being able to mentor young students and help them move along in the Now, as Eberly moves on to attend the School of Medicine, DeWeil said he has seen a big change in “I will definitely miss being able to teach University 101 with him. I viewed him as my equal in many ways,” he said. “I can see the impact that I have made in his life and vice versa. I’ve learned a lot from him. He made me want to continue to have an impact on others.” S ystemwide Q A How are librarians creatively using social media to engage students? Facebook is definitely part of the academic librarian’s social media toolkit, and many librarians also use Pinterest to show off new or rare book covers that are unique to their library collections. We also use lots of technology tools for teaching and learning. & How are students using academic libraries when studying abroad? I hope to find that out as I move forward in my scholarship here at USC Lancaster. A project I’m seeking funding for focuses on the information seeking behaviors of American students studying in South Korea. I’m looking at how they use academic libraries and the effects of culture shock on these processes as they pursue their education in a new and very different culture. What about access to continuing education in rural libraries? In my research with Deborah Tritt (USC Aiken, Gregg-Graniteville Library), we have learned that for many information professionals, state and local library associations — like the South Carolina Library Association - play an important role in providing access to opportunities for professional development, scholarly communication, and informal and formal networking. Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, a librarian at USC Lancaster’s Medford Library 4 University of south carolina T about food? wouldn’t otherwise.” in the city? FAMOUSLY HUNGRY wo years ago Laura Aboyan, ’05 public relations, won a contest from the Columbia Visitors Bureau for the state’s Restaurant Week. She had won 25 gift cards to restaurants, bars and cafes across the city. But quickly her winnings became more than a few nights out. Aboyan, a certification and assessment administrator in the College of Education, started documenting her brunches, lunches and dinners on a blog, The Hungry Lady. The idea took off. This year she released a book, “Columbia Food: A History of Cuisine in the Famously Hot City,” which details the delectable history of Columbia cuisine. What do you like most about blogging “I love to eat and I like to try new things I What is something memorable from your time tasting Columbia’s best cuisine? “I’ve rediscovered beets. I fell in love with them.” Is it easy to find local, non-chain dining options “There are so many originals. Sometimes you have to dig to find a Columbia original, but more and more are popping up.” What’s your favorite restaurant?: “I’d have to go with Terra in West Columbia. It was the first place I ate and it set the bar so high. The atmosphere, the food, the staff.” —Liz McCarthy Zhùhè nín! Congratulations to the first group of students to graduate from the International Business and Chinese Enterprise program in the Darla Moore School of Business. The innovative program features undergraduates from Chinese University of Hong Kong and USC who spent two years studying in Hong Kong and two years in Columbia. “These 31 students are true pioneers. Their courage and commitment is an enormous accomplishment that will serve them well throughout their lives. Their greatest asset is each other and the network of peers they have built,” says David Hudgens, director of the IBCE program. USC MOM For years USC students have put Viki Sox Fecas’ number in their cell phones but not with her name. Typically she’s identified as “USC Mom.” Fecas’ nurturing spirit has been evident in all of her work with students — from teaching 28 sections of University 101 in the past 25 years to her job at the USC Career Center from which she retired in 2011. In both capacities, she helped guide a generation of students through the journey of preparing for college life, graduation and entry into professional ! careers. “University 101 has offered me incredible opportunities for professional development and a way to challenge and support students,” said Fecas, who enrolled “Fecas was not just a professor to her students but guided us with care as a motherly figure. With me being so far away from home that sense of security she provided was very helpful and heartwarming.” in the course as a freshman in 1979. “Teaching University 101 is a neat way to connect with students who are desperate to find their place in a large institution with someone who knows their names and understands the struggles they’re going through.” This year she was recognized as the Outstanding Teaching in University 101 winner. —Chris Horn S CIENCE CORNER OH BABY! MAPPING THE INFANT BRAIN Six-month-old infants are beginning to develop brain areas that are extremely sensitive to faces and critical for recognizing familiar people. Psychology professor John Richards recently created the first infant brain atlas that consists of average MRIs from 3 – 12-months-old infants. The brain atlas is used to relate a MRI of an infant’s brain to the electrical brain activity when the baby looks at its mother’s face. The atlas identifies the specific brain area that generates the EEG, revealing the brain areas that may be important for a baby remembering its mother’s face. uscTIMES Vol. 24, No.9 | May 9, 2013 USC Times is published 20 times a year for the faculty and staff of the University of South Carolina by the Division of Communications. Managing editor: Liz McCarthy Designer: Linda Dodge Contributors: Peggy Binette, Craig Brandhorst, Frenché Brewer, Glenn Hare, Thom Harman, Chris Horn, Page Ivey, Steven Powell, Megan Sexton, Jeff Stensland and Marshall Swanson Photographers: Kim Truett To reach us: 803-777-2848 or firstname.lastname@example.org Campus correspondents: Patti McGrath, Aiken Candace Brasseur, Beaufort Shana Dry, Lancaster Jane Brewer, Salkehatchie Misty Hatfield, Sumter Tammy Whaley, Upstate Annie Smith, Union The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetics, sexual orientation or veteran status.