Another year draws to a close as the graduating class of 2014 steps out of the Clemson scene and brings their potential to new jobs, graduate programs and other opportunities. On May 9, approximately 3,282 graduates will obtain their undergraduate and graduate degrees, showing the world that they’re ready to take on new challenges.

During this year’s commencement, Dr. James P. Clements will be inaugurated into the office of president of the University. At each of the three commencement times, President Clements will be given specific articles of office and will address the graduates, their families and the extended Clemson Family. All three ceremonies will be live streamed on the Clemson University website at

Let’s take a moment to see what some members of our graduating class have been up to during their time here.

College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

Nicole SchutteNicole Schutte
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Food Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)
Hometown: Oakland, Maine

If there’s one thing Nicole Schutte isn’t afraid of, it’s change. The Maine native started her college career as a political science major at a small school in Massachusetts but was inspired to head 1,000 miles south after realizing how difficult it is for someone with dietary restrictions to eat in a school cafeteria. “I really wanted to make a difference,” she said.

And she has. Since transferring to Clemson, Schutte has already earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and will earn her Bachelor of Science in food science this May. While it certainly wasn’t easy, Schutte was never afraid to take on a challenge or make a change. “When I took my introductory psychology class, I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I decided to minor in psychology, but I ended up going for the whole degree.”

Her flexibility was tested yet again last summer when she participated in a food service internship at Yale University. Schutte had planned on pursuing a career in food service after graduation, but after learning more about clinical nutrition she realized her passion for understanding the relationship between food and the body in a hospital setting.

After five years and two degrees, Schutte is excited for the next big change as she moves from Clemson to Connecticut for her dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital. This experience is a required step on her path to becoming a Registered Dietician and will provide nine months of classroom work and hands-on experience in community, food service and clinical nutrition.

“As a Registered Dietitian, it could be my job to meet with a person who was recently diagnosed with liver disease or a burn victim and then determine their different nutritional needs based on their condition,” she explained.

“I am really excited to graduate,” Schutte said. “But I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had at Clemson for anything.”

College of Engineering and Science

Jessica LauJessica Lau
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Waiting for a graduate program interview in Chicago, the first thing Jessica Lau noticed when she got the call was the area code — 617, Boston. She missed Harvard University’s call, but fortunately they called her back with the news that she’d been accepted into their Ph.D. program in immunology and infectious diseases.

Just over four years ago, Lau, a native of England who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, chose Clemson University’s Calhoun Honors College for her undergraduate education. When it came to choosing Clemson, Lau remembers, “I knew I wanted to get in the lab as soon as possible. At Clemson a lot of professors are open to having undergraduate students come work for them, especially through things like the Creative Inquiry program.”

Since then, she’s conducted multifaceted research in both the chemical and bioengineering departments, tackling subjects like fighting gastrointestinal infections through developing more advanced drugs.

As well as excelling in her own field, Lau’s time at Clemson has been defined by an interdisciplinary approach. In addition to her extensive work within her own department, Lau has also worked as a Clemson Writing Fellow and written both for her department and for The Tiger, Clemson’s on-campus newspaper.

Whether studying French in Belgium or residing in one of Clemson’s Living-Learning Communities, Lau’s time as a Tiger will stick with her. “Clemson’s faculty make you feel like an individual; they challenge you to move beyond the classroom,” she said.

Whatever Harvard has in store for Lau, she seems ready: “It’s just the beginning.”

College of Business and Behavioral Science

Andy Brown
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Economics, minor in Legal Studies
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

Former NEC Director Gene Sperling, left, and Clemson studentAndy Brown.

Former NEC Director Gene Sperling, left, and Andy Brown.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Andy Brown

Andy Brown’s passion for racing found a home in Clemson’s Formula SAE team. Starting this fall, he’ll make that passion his life’s work as he gets a law degree and pursues a career in corporate sponsorships with racing teams.

“I knew I wanted to do corporate law, but my involvement with Formula SAE taught me that I could pursue a legal career in racing.”

Brown’s involvement at Clemson has extended beyond the racetrack. This past summer, he was able to take advantage of an Oxford Study Aboard program, and during the fall semester, Brown was selected to be on the National Economic Council through the White House internship program.

“The White House internship experience provided me the opportunity to see how economics impacts policy to form positive solutions. It really provided me a greater understanding of the large-scale issues we face.”

Brown has been accepted in UNC’s School of Law and was awarded a full Chancellor’s Scholarship. His choice to study economics as an undergraduate was motivated by a desire to see the world more objectively, and he credits his success to the strong academic foundation he received from the Department of Economics.

“The economics department is really involved with theirs students. Dr. Bill Dougan provided invaluable advice to me throughout my time at Clemson, and Dr. Howard Bodenhorn’s course on law and economics showed me how economics will help me make better decision as a lawyer in the future.”

College of Health, Education and Human Development

Leigh YarboroughLeigh Yarborough
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Health Science
Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina

The acceptance letters just kept rolling in — University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, MUSC. They all wanted senior Leigh Yarborough to be part of their entering class in 2014, but it was Harvard that won her heart. In August, she will turn her compass north toward Boston to complete her studies for a DMD at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

“I had known since a young age that I wanted to be in the health care field because through it I could use my love of science and people.” Yarborough said. “I am fascinated by dentistry because it combines two of my favorite things — art and science.”

From the moment Yarborough came to Clemson as a freshman, she delved deep into academia through on-campus opportunities such as the Calhoun Honors College, undergraduate research, Dixon Global Policy Scholars and coordinated summer internships. Each new venture brought its own unique challenge that ultimately prepared Yarborough for her application to dental medicine programs.

Even though Yarborough will be moving north, she will be leaving the beginnings of a legacy behind.

The Mountain Lakes AccessHealth Dental Clinic, located in Oconee Medical Center in Seneca, is set to open during Summer 2014 after a yearlong effort by Yarborough who served on the advisory committee and helped plan an educational curriculum for patients.

Speeding through University in just three years, Yarborough still felt her education was always about much more than just the books. It was a period that shaped her and her values.

“I will always treasure my valuable time at Clemson,” Yarborough said. “As a student here, I have learned to fully embody a ‘determined spirit.’”

College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

jenny and brad goshorn

Brad and Jenny Goshorn
Image Credit: Courtesy of Brad Goshorn

Brad Goshorn
Master of Landscape Architecture
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

Like over half a million Americans, Brad Goshorn was pushed out of his job by the 2009 economic downturn. Unlike most however, he will say he was “thankful for the opportunity to be kicked out of the nest.” It was the push he needed to pursue his dream of being a landscape architect through Clemson’s Master of Landscape Architecture program.

It’s been three years of caffeine-fueled, sleepless nights. Three years of a commuter marriage (his wife, Jenny, is an educator in Charleston). Three years of proposals and projects that pushed his boundaries to help him realize his capabilities.

By the end of it all, Goshorn will present his thesis and return home to Charleston — “and my wife,” he says grinning — to begin work on his goal to restore the connection between communities and their public spaces by revitalizing overlooked parks.

“Having that appreciation for historical preservation and enjoying the beauty of the natural landscape, I would really like to find a way to do urban park design on a smaller scale in an historic area,” Goshorn said.

Goshorn is an imaginative visionary, the one always up for adventure and, most importantly, the one with the gumption to see it through. It was after a year of living in Berlin before he began his undergraduate degree that he realized how to combine both his life-long affinities for hands-to-earth contact with nature and the essence of organization that comes with photography.

“Landscape architecture is just as much about advocating for a change or being an advocate for change,” Goshorn said.