Emily Wallace helps next generation of underrepresented students
Emily Wallace has been breaking down barriers and cutting new paths since she was a student at Clemson University, and now she is helping the next generation follow in her footsteps.
Wallace and her husband, Jack, have established an endowed scholarship through the College of Engineering and Science. The scholarship targets groups who are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math.
“As a manager in technology, it’s hard to find women in technical backgrounds,” Wallace said. “But it’s not just women. It can be hard to find men, too. I’m trying to encourage more students in technical backgrounds.”
Wallace serves as senior director of the Knowledge Management Center at SAS, a software development company based out of Cary, North Carolina that employs 15,000 worldwide. Emily and Jack Wallace were among the first 100 employees when they began working at the company 34 years ago.
The husband-and-wife team returned to campus in November for Legacy Day and to see the Tigers play Wake Forest in the last home football game of the season.
Their itinerary included a meeting with Serita Acker, the program director for Women In Science and Engineering (WISE). The program offers support to female engineering and science majors, ranging from mentoring and networking to test banks and tutoring.
“I’m a strong believer in the WISE program,” Wallace said. “I love Serita. I wish we had the program when I was here.”
While at Clemson, Wallace became the first female director of Clemson University’s student radio station, WSBF. She served at a time when the campus was divided between rock ‘n’ roll and a more traditional format.
As a female math major, she was in a distinct minority. The experience helped prepare her for what was to come.
“It gave me a lot of independence,” she said. “Being among a minority of female students helped me develop a thicker skin and to deal with people who did not see my viewpoint.”
Wallace received her Bachelor of Arts in math in 1972.
The Wallaces said Tigers football head coach Dabo Swinney and his wife, Kathleen, helped inspire them to give back.
“I was so impressed with what they are doing for the community and academic programs, it made me feel like I should do more,” Emily Wallace said.
While on campus, the Wallaces also toured the Watt Family Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art building designed to link students and industry.
“I was blown away,” Emily Wallace said. “I want to come back as a student.”