While most people’s jobs require that they look down or forward, this Tiger looks up. In fact, she’s been looking up for the past two years to study this week’s total solar eclipse, which grabbed the attention of the nation — and the world.

She’s been a staunch advocate of the wildly successful Eclipse Over Clemson event — and in educating, exciting and engaging non-technical audiences about the mysteries and opportunities of the cosmos.

Meet Amber Porter.

Title: Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Years at Clemson: Six years as a graduate student, one year as a lecturer

What I do at Clemson: I teach large-lecture astronomy classes to primarily non-science majors, manage the Clemson planetarium, and oversee the astronomy laboratory courses. I also played a lead role over the past year in helping to organize the Eclipse Over Clemson event.

What I love about Clemson: I love that the campus has a beautiful natural setting with nearby hiking, waterfalls, and the Botanical Gardens are right next door.

What was a defining moment for you at Clemson:  I felt like I was in the right place at the right time within my first few months of teaching. My students responded to my probing discussion questions, laughed at my jokes, and even admitted that they were starting to like astronomy.

Pic of Amber Porter at Eclipse Over ClemsonAccomplishment I’m most proud of: Eclipse Over Clemson! I watched every empty space near the center of campus fill with seas of people all wishing to stand under the shadow of the moon together.  The gasps and the applause throughout totality and witnessing the “diamond ring” were the best parts of a magical day I will not soon forget. With the Eclipse Over Clemson event, I also had the chance to travel throughout our local community to help people understand how this August 2017 eclipse was going to occur, educate them on the can’t-miss moments, and teach them how to safely look at the sun. It was a blast getting so many new faces interested in space and astronomy, and I have the Eclipse Over Clemson event to thank for the experience.

Where I see myself in five years:  I will still be enchanted with the night sky. I also hope that I will continue to mentor young people, especially young women, in their budding careers as scientists and leaders.

Last thing I watched on TV: Parks and Recreation because Leslie Knope is my favorite.

Guilty pleasure:  I don’t agree with the word guilty in “guilty pleasures,” but I love reading all kinds of books in my down time and spending time outside.

Pic of Amber Porter in roller derby gearOne thing most people don’t know about me:  I hadn’t been in skates since elementary birthday parties when I first started last August, but within my first season of playing, I have become obsessed with roller derby. I love how brains are just as important as brawn in the game and the uniqueness that each woman brings to the team.


Want to nominate a colleague to be featured in Meet a Tiger? Contact Jackie Todd at jtodd3@clemson.edu.