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Meet the EUREKA! 2017 Counselors

2017 E! Counselors


Jillian Laird | Engineering | jtlaird@g.clemson.edu

E! Head CounselorHey everyone! My name is Jillian Laird and I am the head counselor and a rising sophomore majoring in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Biomolecular Engineering from Fleming Island, Florida. Last summer I was able to have the time of my life in the 2016 EUREKA! Program and this summer I have been blessed with the privilege of being your head 2017 EUREKA! Counselor. Last summer I worked with Dr. Stephen Moysey and Dr. Lazar on Understanding the Fate and Characteristics of Dispersed Oil Remnants from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Persisting Impacts to Gulf Coast Beaches and have continued it as a UPIC internship during the school year. However, this summer I look forward to pursue research with Dr. Mark Blenner on Precision Genome Editing for Improving Renewable Chemical Production in Microbes.

I will always remember the summer of 2016 with the EUREKA! Program as one of the most incredible I have ever had. From white water rafting, a trip to the Carowinds theme park, spontaneous Y-beach trips, exploring both Atlanta and Greenville, and just spending time with 35 great new friends, every second was a memorable one. I owe a lot of my college success to the EUREKA! Program. Not only does the program provide a great advantage in terms of research experience and a focus on a student resume, but it allows students to form a strong student community, get to know the campus, and familiarize themselves with the college atmosphere.  My goal is to help you all have one of the best, most unforgettable summers ever, while also helping you develop your own EUREKA! experience, become comfortable with the enumerable activities Clemson has to offer as a new college student, and fall just as in love with the school that I love so dearly. If you have any questions about the EUREKA! Program, Clemson University, or anything, please do not hesitate to contact me! I can’t wait to meet everyone and make the 2017 EUREKA! Program an incredible part of your summer and college experience. Go Tigers!


Nathan McDowell | Physics | nmcdowe@clemson.edu

E! CounselorHi Everyone!  My name is Nathan McDowell, I am from Boiling Springs SC, and I am a rising sophomore whose major has been all over the place.  My latest majors are biochemistry and genetics, with a minor in political philosophy. Despite my academic indecision, I can say with certainty that EUREKA! was one of the most fulfilling experiences of life.  For my research, I explored the connections between cardiac vagal tone, evolutionary life history theory, and self-control.  I was fascinated by both the subject and the process and am continuing to work with Professor Poehlman on expanding our knowledge of human behavior.

I have never had five weeks fly by as quickly as this past summer.  Whether I was pushing the boundaries of human understanding in the lab or going on roller-coasters with my new friends, I was always doing something new and exciting.  Coming to college is usually accompanied by fear and excitement, but by the end of the program all my apprehensions had melted away, leaving me simply excited for the future.  I came out with a confidence in my intellectual capabilities and over 30 close friends, not to mention a knowledge of how to get around and all the cool places on campus.  While the program itself is unforgettable, it has even more significantly impacted my future, and I can’t wait to meet all of you and be part of your EUREKA! experience.  Go Tigers!


Amanda Rickert | Engineering | alricke@g.clemson.edu

E! CounselorHi everyone! I’m Amanda Rickert and a rising sophomore. I am pursuing my B.S. in Industrial Engineering and planning to minor in International Engineering and Science as well as Spanish Modern Language. I am from Greenville, South Carolina where I went to Mauldin High. I can honestly say that participating in EUREKA! 2016 was the best summer decision I have ever made. I am beyond thrilled to come back as a counselor for EUREKA! 2017 and can’t wait to watch you all grow into adventurous tigers before your freshman year. I worked in the Multiscale Manufacturing Lab last year with 3D printed food and continued my research into the school year. I still have a great relationship with my professor and all the graduate students I worked with. I can’t wait to get back into the lab this summer!

After 5 incredibly short weeks at EUREKA!, I didn’t want to leave. This experience truly made my summer fantastic. Beyond that, it made my first year of college considerably better. I entered college with tons of new friends, a connection to a helpful professor and some awesome graduate students, experience in research, knowledge of the campus, and excitement for the year. I can truly say EUREKA! made my first year of college the best it could be. My goal for EUREKA! 2017 is to introduce a group of new tigers to each other, the campus, and college life. This will be life changing and a great introduction to the freedom and responsibilities of college life, the fun of Clemson and the surrounding areas, and the incredible world of research. I know that there are doubts, believe me I had them too, but I cannot imagine how boring and unproductive my summer would’ve been without EUREKA! Please feel free to contact me and we can make some pro-con lists (coming up with cons will be hard, believe me) for being a EUREKA! 2017 participant, talk about your exciting new journey as a Clemson tiger, or anything else! I can’t wait to meet everyone! Go tigers!


Meet a EUREKA! Faculty Mentor

Dr. Srikanth Pilla is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Automotive Engineering at CU-ICAR (Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research). His research focuses on fundamental understanding of the synthesis-processing-structure-property relationships in polymers, biopolymers, polymer derived ceramics, multifunctional composites, nanocomposites, thermoelectric materials, microcellular foams and LCA modeling and analysis. The title of his EUREKA! research project “Sustainable Composites for Lightweighting Automotive Structures” allows students to explore unique fiber architectures, novel renewable matrices and synthesis/manufacturing techniques for use in automotive interiors, exteriors and load-bearing structural applications. For the past two summers Dr. Pilla has worked with EUREKA! students who share his research interests and common desire to make notable contributions to the automotive industry.

Dr. Pilla’s EURKEA! experience
Since joining CU-ICAR in August 2013 Pilla continues to enhance the minds of his students while also showcasing their accomplishments after only a short time under his mentorship. In summer 2014 Pilla worked with incoming Honors freshman Kelly Krumm on a research project titled “Next Generation Sustainable Biocomposites for Automotive Applications.” Krumm won Best Poster award (first prize) in the undergraduate category at the 2014 Society of Plastics Engineers - Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition. Pilla emphasizes the importance of performing rewarding research but also having research rewarded at industry conferences. Krumm wasn’t the only contributor at this conference; his graduate students also received honors. Pilla continued his research in summer 2015 with two additional EUREKA! students. For him, the EUREKA! program is an opportunity to mentor some of the best minds that come to Clemson University. “Being a graduate (only) department, we have minimal opportunities to work with undergraduates but thanks to EUREKA! the doors have opened for access to these wonderful students, who might be our future recruits for graduate study,” says Pilla.   

What Dr. Pilla has to say about the Honors College and EUREKA!
“The Honors College is providing a wonderful platform for incoming students with unique opportunities such as EUREKA! I commend their efforts and encourage continuing to do more to sustain the relationship, experience and scholarship, which will eventually benefit these students to pursue STEM graduate careers.”

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