As the Class of 2015 prepares to graduate, see where six of them are headed next
Alyssa Daniel makes you believe that there are more than 24 hours in a day. During her four years at Clemson, the accounting major has crunched an unbelievable number of leadership roles and experiences into her time as a student. But at the heart of her super-human schedule is a very human factor — family.
“I have a younger brother and a younger sister here at Clemson and setting a good example for them is super important to me,” Daniel said.
Reflecting on her Clemson experience, Daniel said that she owes a lot of where she is today to her involvement with the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. During her three years in the organization, Daniel has served in multiple executive positions. It was also at the encouragement of Delta Sigma Pi that Daniel was prompted to take on her biggest challenge; spending a semester abroad at Aarhus University in Denmark.
“I always think I can throw something extra on my plate,” Daniel jokes.
In addition to the time that Daniel spent honing her accounting skills with Delta Sigma Pi, she was also involved with Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor organization for financial information students, served on the Student Advisory Board for the School of Accountancy and Finance and worked as a student assistant in the Office of Student Enrichment.
“I think that Clemson has a 1,000 things to offer you and that it’s just a matter of pursuing them,” Daniel said. “It’s important to surround yourself with people who are just as academically motivated as you.”
And it’s that idea of a hard-working community that Daniel will continue to carry with her. This summer she will complete her second internship, this time with the Charlotte consulting firm Deloitte, before moving to Alabama to work on her Masters in Accounting at Auburn University.
College: Agriculture, Forestry and Life Science
Hometown: Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Even before he arrived at Clemson, Nate Diehl had delved heavily into research at the University of Pennsylvania where he spent the three summers between his sophomore year of high school and high school graduation immersed in cancer-related protein research. As a Clemson undergraduate, the biochemistry major continued to explore the medical field with both his undergraduate research and through outreach opportunities such serving as a member of Alpha Delta Epsilon and taking two summer medical trips to Panama and Costa Rica.
“Those trips were confirmation that I was doing the right thing,” Diehl said. “Seeing the look on people’s faces after you helped with even just the smallest thing gave me an incredible amount of joy.”
Wanting to combine his love of research, medicine and people, Diehl applied for M.D./Ph.D. programs. Programs from across the nation flocked to accept him — eight in all. Diehl says the deciding factor came down to the students.
“I knew that I could become a physician scientist in any of these amazing programs,” Diehl said, “But the Chapel Hill students were incredible to be around. They seemed very similar to the people at Clemson, and the people were one of the best parts of Clemson for me. The students here have made my experience. They’re absolutely awesome; I’ll never forget them.”
Diehl plans to continue his cancer research throughout his program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the eventual goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist.
College: Engineering and Science
Major: Environmental Engineering
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
If you’d asked Nateisha Drayton five years ago where she thought she would be today, she would have said she’d be a proud member of the military, rising through the ranks, seeing new parts of the world. And it’s still true she has traveled. But instead of being in a uniform, she’s been in a lab coat.
“College was just never an option that I’d thought about,” the Charleston native said. “I’d thought that I would join the military like so many of my family members before me. I didn’t know the first thing about filling out an application or the Free Application for Financial Student Aid paperwork.”
At the encouragement of her high school teachers however, Drayton took her first (and last) college tour at Clemson.
“I knew it was the right place for me. I didn’t need to look anywhere else,” Drayton said.
Since, the first-generation college student has forged her own dynamic path through Clemson while also lending her hand as a caring PEER mentor for the past two years. For the past 20 years, PEER (Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention) has been responsible for welcoming and encouraging underrepresented students in the College of Engineering and Science through its mentoring program and student support resources.
“My own PEER mentor did so much for me. If it hadn’t been for him that first semester of university, I don’t know if I would have made it through,” Drayton said. “I wanted to give back to the same program that was in fact the main reason I was still here in the first place.”
During her time at Clemson, Drayton has also completed three research projects — one at Clemson, the other at Rutgers and the third in Singapore — all centered on the environmental impacts of cancer research compounds in addition to other contaminants and their biodegradability. Drayton will be able to take all of these experiences with her as she accepts her selection into the Air Force’s Officer Training School where she fill an environmental engineering position.
College: Health, Education and Human Development
Major: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, with a focus in Community Recreation, Sport and Camp Management
Hometown: Sumter, South Carolina
Neyle Noyes doesn’t pull out job acceptance letters to talk about the future. He pulls out a handwritten bucket list that he keeps in his wallet. His dreams include: graduating, skydiving, watching “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway and dancing in the rain.
He got hooked on the organizational side of athletics after taking a “Trends and Sports” class, which examined sports through data analysis. Later, he connected with a prospective student’s father while giving a campus tour, a chance meeting that led to an internship with the Houston Astros minor league team in Greeneville, Tennessee.
But it was his senior project analyzing NBA trends that really captured his attention. He wants to take number crunching to basketball. For those unfamiliar with sport statistics, he’ll be doing what Brad Pitt did for baseball in “Moneyball.”
“I’ll be changing the game, but not the heart behind it,” Noyes said.
Having heart has always been important for Noyes. He says the high-fives, hellos, and student passion he saw on his own prospective tour of Clemson clinched his college decision.
“At Clemson, we build and breathe the idea of getting close and taking time to know each other,” Noyes said. Ever since, he’s added to that tradition with his own big smile as a campus tour guide and sharing life with his Kappa Sigma brothers on the quad.
He knows he’ll miss Clemson, but, according to his bucket list, he’ll hopefully have tickets to one football game a season. And, if we’re lucky enough to see him again?
“Watch out,” he said. “I’m a hugger.”
James E. Vines
College: Eugene T. Moore School of Education
Major/Program: Ph.D in Educational Leadership/Higher Education
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
“It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to help improve those numbers,” Vines said.
To do that required his own navigation of graduate school waters, which is how he docked at Clemson.
“I heard about the outstanding reputation of the School of Education. Clemson was at the top of my list,” Vines said. While getting his doctorate here, he worked as a research assistant for the Charles H. Houston Center for the Study of the Black Experience in Education.
“I had no idea what to research for my dissertation. Thankfully, I had an amazing adviser, Dr. Patricia First, who helped me from day one,” Vines said.
His current research agenda includes cyberbullying, especially focusing on advocacy coalitions in the policy-development process. After graduation, he will be doing a fellowship at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, where he’ll be an academic adviser in the Office of Academic Enrichment.
“I’ll miss being able to find my quiet spot in the Cooper Library — I have gotten so much stuff done while writing and getting coffee in Java City,” Vines said.
But he says that more than finding a quiet space, building strong connections with his professors, classmates and Phi Beta Sigma brothers contributed to his positive Clemson experience.
“The support you get from other students is invaluable, and people who can motivate you will go a long way,” Vines said.
College: Architecture, Arts and Humanities
Major: Language and International Trade, French track
Hometown: Como, Italy
It had been a fortuitous love, found almost entirely by accident, but Aurelia Wurzel discovered rowing. Tired of sitting on the bench for basketball, Wurzel needed little prompting to follow her older sister to the boathouse one day. And that was that.
“I was short, I was on the bench and that wasn’t working,” Wurzel said. “Then my sister brought me with her to the boathouse, put me in a double with her, and I’ve been rowing ever since. It just clicked.”
Years later, Wurzel’s passion for the sport was responsible for bringing her halfway around the world, from her hometown of Como, Italy to her new home in Clemson when she was recruited for the women’s rowing varsity team.
“Coming to Clemson allowed me to pursue the two things that I was really passionate about — sports and academics,” Wurzel said.
Most of Wurzel’s mornings these past four years have been spent on Hartwell Lake as a member of the University’s women’s rowing team. Growing up in Italy, she spent hours after school each day rowing on the lake by her parent’s home. And coming to Clemson didn’t change that. For two months each summer, she returned to Como to compete in the national championship, winning seven national titles, and even rowed in the world championship for Italy.
Originally born in Frankfurt, Germany, Wurzel moved to Como when she was six where she spent the rest of her childhood before coming to South Carolina. During high school, Wurzel was enrolled in the language program where she gained fluency in Spanish, French and English. When it came time to choose a major at Clemson, Language and International Trade was an obvious fit.
“Business is really exciting because everything is centered on the economy,” Wurzel said. “And with globalization of the market, language skills are an important tool.”
The polyglot found her skills put to the test during a summer internship with the candy manufacturer, Haribo. The company was beginning to create a business-to-business product that Wurzel was able to help create through a variety of marketing, advertising and logistic measures.
Excited by this taste of the business world, Wurzel will go on to work in Switzerland.
But first, one last row for the ACC championship.