Office of Global Engagement Newsletter

Spring 2015

Upstate International Month Started in March
Clemson featured first "Global Symposium"
International Awareness Workshop
OGE Students and Staff attended SCAIE Conference
Clemson hosted Cross-border Innovations in Forestry with the Canada Center
Cemson initiates partnership with Amrita University in India
Student Led Initiatives: SAGE's first English Corner launches first class
Faculty Abroad Spotlight: 17 years for Dr. Melissa Vogel in Peruvian archaeology field site
Giving Back
Other Headlines

Upstate International Month in March: "Experience the World in 30 Days!"

On February 27th at 7 PM, the gala launching March’s Upstate International Month kicked off, exhibiting this year’s theme, “A World Sensation.” Four weeks of food-tastings, language immersion, faith congregations, music venues, sporting events, art exhibits, galas, colloquiums, book readings and more awaited the people of Greenville and South Carolina’s upstate, marking the series’ 3rd year. These festivities were hosted by International Center in Greenville, a hub of internationally themed language classes and clubs, and supported by sponsors such as Clemson University and Michelin, who both contributed financially and hosted several events of their own.  During the kick-off gala, attendants promoted, celebrated and educated each other on cultures from over 100 nations around the world!

Featured Events:

- International themed concert   - International costume party and trivia night
- International film festival   - “Flavors of the World” food tastings
- Interactive dance programs   - Michelin international art contest
- International parade and soccer   - International alcohol tastings
- Foreign Language Week   - St. Patrick’s Day at the Children’s Museum

And many more!

“Upstate International” is a one-of-a-kind event, hosted by one of the few states in the nation to dedicate an entire month towards the celebration of its state’s rich international diversity and community vitality. This progressive and wholesome idea truly shows the state’s dedication and awareness to the times, which are defined by globalization and fostering a stronger sense of harmony among diverse international businesses and community members. With its three pillars of “welcoming, educating and celebrating,” it will remain an exemplary model for the infusion of a culturally aware and open-spirit within the state’s residents.

Clemson University, a platinum sponsor for this event series, hosted and participated in it's own events:

Event Date & Location
Intercultural Communication Training for Faculty/Staff March 10th: Hendrix Center, 3:30-5
“Flamenco Vivo” featuring Carlotta Santana March 11th: Brooks Center
International Leaders in Education Programs Symposium March 11th: Hendrix Center, 1:30-4
Clemson “Millennium Drive” Auto Exhibition  March 28th: CU-ICAR Greenville, 12-5
Clemson “Global Symposium” Research Colloquium March 28th: Madren Center, 8:30-4:30
Clemson University International Festival March 29th: Bowman Field, 12-4
“Introducing India” seminar for Clemson Faculty/Staff March 31st: Hendrix Center, 3:30-5

We look forward to seeing the continued community impact of this month-long celebration, and encourage all to take advantage of the festivities hosted around Greenville and in Clemson through this and next year. More information on Upstate International Month is located on their website, as well as a list of events by week.

Clemson Global Symposium

Today, global thinking, worldly innovation, and international networking have become imperative skillsets; as a top-ranking institution, Clemson’s international programs help to prepare students to succeed and lead in this newly globalized contest. Inspired by their studies and time abroad at Oxford University, Clemson alumni and Duckenfield Scholars rallied around this sentiment of international collaboration, and last year began planning the first Clemson Global Symposium. Working with representatives from Creative Inquiry, Service Learning, the Honors College, Office of Global Engagement and college offices, the Duckenfield scholars organized and moderated Clemson’s Global Symposium as a colloquium to celebrate the international activities and interests of Clemson students. The event took place on March 28th —during Upstate International Month. This Symposium was designed to both foster awareness of cross-cultural understanding and engage members of the Clemson students as global citizens; inspiring each other to take on global responsibilities and pursue research with international impact, both locally and overseas.

The day began with a keynote address by geomorphologist, Dr. Ken Addison of Oxford University. His presentation on Global Climate Change opened the floor to a daunting but necessary conversation on the global consequences our Earth’s current climate change. Over the remainder of the day, Clemson alumni, students, staff and faculty showcased their research and work abroad as well as work conducted in the U.S. but with global impact and implications. The myriad of experiences discussed exemplified the essence of what it is to be a global citizen. The presentations ranged from Study Abroad 101 to Teaching English in Nepal, from Fulbright opportunities to the interdisciplinary approach of Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries. International students hosted informational discussions about their home countries, and a roundtable discussion of postgraduate international opportunities was presented by faculty and staff members. 

The symposium is hoped to be the first of many in Clemson’s future. As an annual event, the aspiration is that it will serve as a catalyst for the university to be a more inclusive one—one that makes the development of deeper and more reciprocal relationships with our international faculty, students, staff in and outside of Clemson a top priority. The event had four expected outcomes: to create an annual forum for cross-cultural learning and discussion, to increase student cross-cultural understanding in service, research, and business, to engage the students in global responsibilities and problem solving, and to expand campus-wide international engagement through the participation of Upstate International month. It suffices to say the event’s goals were met, marked by the apt attendance of presentations and lively discussions. This event has the capacity to expose students to the many forms of global engagement and opportunities of international study, service, as well as collaboration with international students. The greatest challenge to engaging others in international work is bypassing the fear of the unknown; by capturing and sharing these student narratives, others can begin to make leaps of their own, armored with renewed confidence and the knowledge of what to expect.

"Clemson is Global" Workshop Series on International Awareness

Clemson University is home to scholars hailing from more than 80 countries worldwide, attracted to the region by international industry and Clemson’s strong reputation for academic excellence and innovative research. It’s clear that Clemson’s global imprint grows more each year, and with this expansion the community must work with the diverse faces new to the Clemson fold. It is the hope of Clemson’s OGE staff that by educating, informing, sharing, and celebrating the cultures and international diversity present in region, the faculty and staff will be more receptive to a heterogenic climate. In accordance with the buzz brought on by Upstate International month in March, Clemson hosted a series of “global” workshops and discussions designed for faculty and staff. These four sessions highlighted the customs of Clemson’s top two international countries of origin, strategies for intercultural communication, and the heritage of South Carolina’s international population. 

Immigration in South Carolina on February 5th
A discussion about the history and nature of international migrations to
South Carolina, presented by Dr. Diane Vecchio, Furman University. 

Intercultural Communication Training on March 10th, 3:30-5 p.m.
An interactive training exercise designed to increase intercultural awareness
and introduce specific communication strategies. 

Introducing India on March 31st, 3:30-5 p.m.
A focus on the second-most populated nation in the world and its diverse
cultural landscape, presented by Dr. Uttiyo Raychaudhuri and an international
student panel.

Considering China on April 21st, 3:30-5 p.m.
A focus on the social and cultural richness of China, the country from which
the largest international student population on campus originates, presented by
Dr. Yanhua Zhang and an international student panel.

Clemson Staff and Students attend SCAIE Conference

On the morning of February 6th, educators and university administrators across South Carolina assembled at Furman University for the annual South Carolina Association for International Educators Conference. There, aspiring and established members of the international community in university administration networked, brainstormed, conceptualized, and discussed; all sharing their professional experiences and strategies with cohorts across the state.

This conference is an annual feature of international education development in the Upstate, and frequently sifts through themes of university internationalization and globalization: homestay programs, visa processing techniques, improving 3rd-party study abroad programs, language school curriculums, enhancing international services, etc. Representatives from Furman, USC, College of Charleston, Clemson University, and Presbyterian College all were present. Clemson was well-represented; out of the nine presentations, five were moderated by the institution’s staff and faculty. Nine out of the thirteen Clemson Office of Global Engagement staff members attended the meeting, five of whom gave presentations throughout the day. Bryony Higgins, a staff member of Clemson’s International Services Office, remarked on attendance, “Clemson’s strong presence shows their dedicated commitment and support towards the field of international education.”

For presenters, it was a wonderful opportunity for professional development; a platform to showcase their new initiatives, discuss impediments, and share innovative ideas for the optimization of international development. For listeners—including the twelve Clemson students invited to present and attend—the chance to join the conversation on globalizing college campuses is significant. Cultivating a strong professional network as well as incorporating new ideas into their field is an invaluable additional experience to their education.

Perhaps what was most striking about this conference was its amiable energy; the atmosphere emanated a sense of solidarity rather than competition. Instead of flaunting impressive achievements for recognition, all administrators were on complete equal grounds. Successes and setbacks were humbly shared to portray the efforts towards streamlining international student services and study abroad programs; providing an instructive and reciprocal backdrop for the attendants. Bryony relates how relaxing and helpful the atmosphere was, “This was a comfortable place for me to network and meet up with people that I am normally on the phone with asking for help. We all shared ideas that would help each other out instead of the individual.” This poignant sense of consolidation between institutions, which usually navigate through such fiercely competitive atmospheres, is emblematic of the dedication these universities have to diversifying and globalizing their schools. 

The professional determination embodied by these SCAIE members is a model for other conferences and in international education; with this in mind, all can launch their programs so much farther knowing they can rely on the mutual body of knowledge shared between SCAIE members. Clemson eagerly awaits the return of the convention next year and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the 2016 SCAIE conference.

Clemson Hosts Cross-Border Commercial Innovations in Forestry Event with Canada Center

This event showcased the latest innovations in the forestry sector with a goal to commercialize cutting edge technologies needed to keep the industry cost-efficient. The forum brought together innovators looking to expose new technologies applicable to the forestry industry, as well as provide a networking opportunity in business and research. This event was hosted by the Clemson-Canada Center, the Wood Utilization & Design Institute, and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. Click here to see the full story.

Clemson initiates partnership with Amrita University in India

Clemson University has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Amrita University in southern India.  The partnership was initiated by Anand Gramapadhye, Dean of the College of Engineering and Science.  After an initial visit to Amrita by Dean Gramapadhye, he brought in collaborators from departments within the College of Engineering and Science with particular research and teaching interests that overlap with those at Amrita.  In December 2015, representatives of Civil, Industrial, Mechanical and Bio Engineering travelled with the Vice Provost of Global Engagement to visit three of Amrita’s campuses, including their teaching hospital where they explored potential research collaborations, exchange opportunities for students and scholars, as well as study abroad and service learning opportunities in India.

Amrita University is one of India's premiere research and teaching institutions and has been ranked as one of the best Indian Universities by the Ministry of Education, Government of India. It is accredited with the highest grade of 'A' by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council and is increasingly being recognized internationally as an institute of repute.

Amrita University has established various research centers in areas that correlate with research foci here at Clemson such as nanotechnology and energy, health sciences, molecular and nano-medicine, biotechnology and life sciences, wireless networks and applications, robotics and haptics, learning technologies etc.

Clemson and Amrita University share the mission to bring about change in all levels of society, both within their local communities and beyond. Amrita has been successful in taking research from the labs to the low-resourced communities in order to improve their standard of living. Various research centers at Amrita are developing innovative solutions in the areas of agriculture, energy, water, sanitation, housing, cooling technologies, communications, free health care, education, skill development etc. through a unique program named “Live-in-Labs.” 

This outreach program, involving students and faculty from around the world, provides students and researchers an experiential learning opportunity in which they directly interact, observe, and study while living in rural communities.  Students design projects that address problems and implement, test, and eventually demonstrate innovative, affordable, and comprehensive solutions.

If you are interested in learning more about the emerging collaborative projects with Amrita University, the Clemson delegates on the December 2015 visit would be happy to share more information with you.  They included Sharon Nagy in the Office of Global Engagement; Melur Ramasubramanian from Mechanical Engineering; Jimmy Martin and Jennifer Ogle from Civil Engineering; Kapil Madathil from Industrial Engineering; and, Delphine Dean and Naren Vyavahare from BioEngineering.

Student Led Initiatives: SAGE's Free English Tutoring launched first class

Student Ambassadors of Global Engagement (SAGE), a creative inquiry course composed of eight Clemson undergraduates, launched their first “English Corner” on January 28th.  The English Corner is an hour-long class held twice a week catered to international graduate students. Its’ dual emphasis focuses on improving student’s English oral-communication skills and confidence with American classroom culture. Many of Clemson’s international students hold TA positions and are expected to instruct Clemson’s native English-speakers; being college students themselves, SAGE volunteers are coincidentally qualified to teach them about American class etiquette and teaching styles.

The creative inquiry, now branded SAGE, commenced in the fall semester of 2014 after recent Clemson graduate, Becky Cibulskis, felt there was a need on campus to provide instruction for teaching English as a foreign language. For the entire fall semester, SAGE students assessed the international student climate at Clemson so as to effectively propose new ways to help them improve their English language ability. SAGE students researched what universities across the nation were doing as well as sought programs in and around Clemson that could help them. Clemson University boasts a large student population of 21,000 students, and gauging the total effort to provide for the international students proved to be a gargantuan task—many pockets of students and faculty around campus had been doing the same thing. Marshalling the combined effort of Clemson’s faculty, staff, other students, and local language schools culminated in SAGE’s “English Corner”. Each semester SAGE students will receive formal training by a visiting TESOL instructor from English for Life. “Because we’re receiving formal training on how to teach English to fluent speakers, there is a lot more direction behind this initiative. We are much more prepared than we would have been if we had jumped right into it,” says Caroline Cornish, a founding SAGE member.

Three months of preparation paid off for the SAGE members; their initial success was unfounded. On the first day over 45 students bustled in to the congested room. Overwhelmed by the unexpected deluge of interest, SAGE volunteers had to run down the hall to find more chairs mid-lesson. Aside from the exciting turnout, it was rather emotional—“After the first class I was on an academic high! The group member’s [tutee’s] ideas were bouncing off of each other and the motivation of the group as a whole was very contagious,” beams SAGE member Paige Atkins. After a successful launch of the class, students are now tasked with outlining SAGE’s future development beyond the maintenance of their English class. The general goal of SAGE is to provide services for the international students, staff, and faculty associated with Clemson and to bring students into the conversation of Clemson’s internationalization process. Keeping this in mind, these students could take the future of the group in any direction. For now, the students will place an emphasis on bolstering the campus climate for international students, in more ways than helping them with their English. Current projects include the production of an orientation video for incoming international students as well as an international alumni outreach program. Beyond this, SAGE’s future is still uncharted, and with the fires of the globalizing world igniting more of Clemson’s campus each day, who knows what lies on the horizon for the creative inquiry.

Interested in joining SAGE’s Creative Inquiry or volunteering for the English Corner? Contact Caroline Cornish at for more information, and make sure to join their facebook group for updates on the class.

Faculty Abroad Spotlight: 17 years for Dr. Melissa Vogel in Peruvian archaeological fieldsite

In 1999, the University of Pennsylvania PhD student, Dr. Melissa Vogel, ventured to the site of Cerro la Cruz on the north coast of Peru to commence her doctoral field research. Among cargo pants and sunglasses she packed with her the goal of tackling many questions about the site’s prehistoric settlement. Previously, scholars had suggested that the well-known Chimú civilization occupied the region, however radiocarbon data and artifacts contradicted this claim. The next three years of her investigation culminated in the new interpretation that the site was in fact the northern frontier of the Casma society (based on radiocarbon dates and ceramic and architectural styles). The Casma, at the peak of their political presence, played an important role in state formation along the Peruvian coast during the Middle Horizon and Late Intermediate Period.  After these new revelations and following questions, Dr. Vogel redirected her focus towards the capital city of the Casma at El Purgatorio, Peru, in the Casma valley south of Cerro la Cruz. There, she spent 7 years (2004-2011), funded by a NSF award, the Brennan Foundation, and Clemson University, operating a project concentrating on the development of Andean cities and the people who lived there.

Since Dr. Vogel’s investigation into the archaeology of the Casma state, the cultural knowledge in the region has been heavily revised, marking her as one of the most prominent experts in the region’s cultures at the time of their presence. Due to the high level of artifact preservation and the scores of untapped field sites the region has to offer, her work has been a monumental improvement on our understanding of the Casma’s rich prehistory. At El Purgatorio, she found a spectacular array of preserved artifacts, all indicating the importance of this civilization which had historically been underestimated. This has opened up new possibilities for future research and the reevaluation of Andean state formation in late prehistory.

The impact this research has had in the community extends beyond academia and into the fabric of local lives. Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Peru, and insights brought forth by new research have an impact on the local community as well. Furthermore, the recognition and knowledge derived from this research will not only contribute to potential tourism, but enrich the lives of modern day descendants. By employing locals in her research project, Dr. Vogel has not only empowered them but has bolstered her own project through the local's expertise, diligence, and hard work.

Dr. Vogel has published a variety of scholarly articles in both English and Spanish including a book called Frontier Life in Ancient Peru; she is in the process of publishing another on Andean urbanism by 2016. Today, she's planning her next project: an archaeological survey of the Casma Valley using drone-mounted photogrammetry and aerial mapping. If she is able to push her research forward, by 2017 she will be able to use this new cutting-edge technology to document the region she has performed work in for so many years utilizing a new perspective. At Clemson, her background in Anthropology, Andean archaeology, and Women’s Studies has led to her teach a variety of courses and creative inquiries. Her passion is well-known; she has brought students to her field site in Peru for years, leading Clemson students on-site from 2007-2011. Since then she has involved students in the analysis and publication process of archaeological research as well, hosting Creative Inquiries that analyze spindle whorls, lead artifacts, pigments, and organics. Providing the chance for Clemson students to join her academic research both on and off-site is a very fruitful opportunity for undergraduates. OGE is proud to have Dr. Vogel as one of their international representatives, and wish her luck on her continued investigation of Andean prehistory.

Giving Back

The financial support towards this office makes all the difference in our goal to effectively provide for Clemson’s students, faculty and staff. Your supporting donation is an investment in Clemson’s success felt by individuals and the community as a whole. Help Clemson make ripples beyond the campus and across the globe! Click here to donate to OGE today.

Stay Involved!
The Office of Global Engagement is located on the 3rd floor of E-Martin Hall. This office is comprised of three departments--Global Partnerships & Initiatives, International Services, and Study Abroad--and is administrated by the Vice Provost, Dr. Sharon Nagy. 

Comments or questions? Please feel free to contact us and share your OGE or newsletter related ideas! Email Caroline Cornish at 

Headlines from The Newsstand

We want to CU in the International Spotlight. Professors, students and projects from across the colleges are working to make the world a better place. Please see the stories in the Newsstand for highlights of international projects and recognition. Have a story you'd like to see in the Spotlight? Contact the Office of Global Engagement today!

Clemson researchers designing wetlands to clean Canadian mining water

Symposium encourages students to become globally engaged

International car cruise and festival coming to CU-ICAR

Office of Global Engagement supporting internationalism on campus

Japanese university students to visit Clemson

Clemson celebrates Upstate International Month

Read More ›