CLEMSON, South Carolina – The TIGERS ADVANCE Distinguished Speaker Series, created to exhibit the extent of diversity among STEM scientists, has announced its lineup of speakers for the Spring 2018 semester. All talks will be held in the Watt Family Innovation Center auditorium.

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Howard will kick off the speaker series on Feb. 20.
Image Credit: Georgia Tech, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Robotic engineer Ayanna Howard – Feb. 20, 3-4:15 p.m.

Ayanna Howard – a professor and Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair in bioengineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology – will kick off the speaker series with a talk titled “Robots and Play: Designing Robots for Pediatric Healthcare.”

Howard’s research focuses on the development of technology for artificial intelligence, computer vision and robotics and has been funded by agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), Procter and Gamble, NASA, ExxonMobil, Intel and the Grammy Foundation.

To market her inventions, Howard founded the spinoff company Zyrobotics, LLC in 2013 and currently serves as its chief technology officer. She also directs the traineeship program in human-centered robotics for Ph.D. students and is the lead investigator on the NSF undergraduate summer research program in robotics at Georgia Tech.

Howard was invited by Yunyi Jia and Venkat Krovi of the department of automative engineering in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, where Jia is an assistant professor and Krovi is the Michelin Endowed Chair Professor of Vehicle Automation.


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Wayne will speak on March 1.
Image Credit: UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine

Neuroendocrinologist Nancy Wayne – March 1, 3:30-4:45 p.m.

The second talk in the Distinguished Speaker Series will be given by Nancy Wayne, a professor and Vice Chair for Instruction in the department of physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine-UCLA.

Wayne’s research is especially interested in how neurophysiological responses influence reproductive behaviors – studies that pave the way for her talk titled “BPA: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in our Environment and in Our Bodies.”

Assistant professor Nicole Martinez of the department of environmental engineering and Earth sciences and professor Charles Rice from the department of biological sciences collaborated to bring Wayne to Clemson’s campus.


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Reed is the third speaker in the series, to present on March 30.
Image Credit: Cornell University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary development biologist Robert Reed – March 30, 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Robert Reed, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, will hold the third presentation in the Distinguished Speaker Series with “On These Expanded Membranes Nature Writes: The Evolutionary Genetics of Butterfly Wing Patterns.”

Reed’s research is interested in how novel wing patterns occur in nature and how they vary under natural selection.

He was invited to take part in the series on the recommendation of Kara Powder, an assistant professor in biological sciences, and Michael Caterino, the John and Suzanne Morse Chair of Arthropod Biodiversity in the department of plant and environmental sciences.



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Doerge will be featured in two lecture series beginning April 9.
Image Credit: Carnegie Mellon University, Mellon College of Science

Statistical bioinformatician Rebecca Doerge – April 9, 11-12:15 p.m.

Rebecca Doerge will be jointly hosted by both the TIGERS ADVANCE Distinguished Speaker Series and the annual College of Science Discover Science Lecture Series.

Doerge is the dean of the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of both the department of statistics (Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences) and the department of biological sciences (Mellon College of Science).

She is an internationally acclaimed statistical bioinformatician who draws from multiple scientific disciplines to understand the function of DNA and the chemical compounds that bind to it, setting the scene for her talk titled “The Future of Statistical Bioinformatics and Genomics in the Automated World of Agriculture.”

Doerge was invited to Clemson by Stephen Kresovich, the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair of Genetics, and Leigh Anne Clark, an associate professor of genetics and biochemistry.


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Cooke rounds out the Spring 2018 speakers on April 13.
Image Credit: The Polytechnic School, Arizona State University

Cognitive engineer Nancy Cooke, April 13, 2-3:15 p.m.

The final speaker in the 2018 Distinguished Speaker Series is Nancy Cooke, a professor and program chair of human systems engineering at The Polytechnic School, one of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

Cooke’s research examines individual and team cognition and its application in the development of cognitive and knowledge engineering methodologies, healthcare, homeland security systems, remotely piloted aircraft and emergency response systems.

Her talk is titled “Human Systems Integration and its Role in Solving Big Societal Problems.”

Nathaniel McNeese and Kelly Caine, two faculty members in Clemson University’s School of Computing, are hosting Cooke during her visit.


TIGERS ADVANCE: Transforming the Institution through Gender Equity, Retention and Support is a program funded by the National Science Foundation aimed at reducing gender inequality and expanding career opportunities for all Clemson faculty. The purpose of the Distinguished Speaker Series is to connect early-career faculty with leaders in their research discipline to encourage networking and career development.

Questions for individual lectures can be directed to the respective speaker’s hosts. Margaret Ptacek, associate director of TIGERS ADVANCE, can take general questions about the program.