In Death Valley, a knitted tiger hat crowns one fan’s head. The student has painted a giant tiger paw on her face, the only interruption on it being her giant smile. A camera click later, she will be a face of Clemson as part of an admissions brochure. She will show her Clemson spirit to thousands of prospective Tigers.

Kara Robertson stands on campus to have her picture taken.

Kara Robertson has spent the past four years writing stories about Clemson students and faculty.
Image Credit: Clemson University

It’s a spirit that spoke to at least one.

Kara Robertson received that brochure as a junior in high school. Before then, the Charlotte native had never heard much of Clemson. But when she saw that girl, Clemson became her number one choice.

“She looked so happy. I told myself, ‘I want to be her, and I want to be there, at Clemson,’” Robertson said.

Four years later, Robertson has, in a way, become the girl in the Tiger hat: She is a voice of Clemson to future students. Not only has she been a front row fan at football games with her own face painted like a Tiger, she has spent her college career telling the Clemson story.

Since her second semester on campus, Robertson has worked as a writer for Clemson’s Creative Services, which creates and manages much of Clemson’s marketing and branding materials. Intimidated when she first heard about it, she almost didn’t apply, but a deeper connection with the position changed her mind.

“I found out that the office also manages the admissions material. I told myself, ‘Alright, you’re doing Creative Services,’” Robertson said. Eventually, her writing position became part of Clemson’s UPIC on-campus internship program.

Robertson’s responsibilities occasionally include writing copy for brochures like the one she received, but she mainly writes stories for the University’s website. If you’ve ever read a story featured on the students webpage, there’s a good chance it was written by her.

Remember the Tiger Mascots? Robertson.

Remember Maj the Duck? Robertson.

Remember Scotty Haas, the guy with the giant orange mohawk? Robertson.

Her mentor throughout the internship has been Crystal Bennett, the University’s web content developer. She works with Robertson and other interns on developing their writing by encouraging creative critical thinking. Based on her experiences with Creative Services — and especially because of how much she has valued Bennett’s mentorship — Robertson thinks every student should have an opportunity at an on-campus internship.

A screenshot of the images and text in a Clemson Admissions brochure

The Admissions brochure that inspired Robertson to be a Clemson Tiger.

“I think it’s rare that you find a person who you care about as much personally as you do professionally. For me, Crystal is that person,” said Robertson. “She comes up with incredible story ideas that capture what it means to be part of Clemson, these ‘uniquely Clemson’ stories, and inspires me to reset my own standards every day.”

But it’s Robertson’s uniquely Clemson persona that makes her such a good voice for Clemson.

Like any good fan, Robertson is “All In” for her team. She carries an orange backpack every day and has a closet full of orange shirts. She’s never missed a home football game, and when students camped out for tickets, she was always out there with a tent. Her passion isn’t limited to the field; she also goes all out for basketball games and other sporting events.

“My college bucket list definitely included getting on the Jumbotron at a football game. I did that last year,” said Robertson. “Plus, in this job, it’s cool to see and meet people like Scotty Haas who love Clemson sports as much as I do.”

She does more than cheer for her Tigers, though: She learns about real ones too. A former member of the Tigers for Tigers (T4T) organization, which seeks to protect and care for tigers in the wild, she will be going to India over spring break with a biodiversity class led by the faculty organizer of T4T.

“I also used to be involved with the sailing club … but I failed my key test! Maybe I can get it by the time I graduate?” said Robertson.

She will be graduating in May with a double major in communication studies and English. Her biggest interest lies in studying how different media changes message.

“My senior seminar class was about how the narrative of Game of Thrones changes in adaptations,” said Robertson. “I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan.”

Robertson has maintained a 4.0 throughout her college career — and she doesn’t plan on letting it slip. After graduation, Robertson will be working at Red Ventures in Charlotte, N.C., as a web copywriter and website designer where she’ll be working with telecom companies (like AT&T) on digital marketing campaigns.

But for all of her accomplishments outside of her job and her future in bigger markets, Robertson is extremely proud of her work as an undergrad.

“I love Clemson so much, and I’m honored to tell the stories of the students here,” said Robertson. “I hope that I’ve shared stories that make people love Clemson more.”