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PDBE Student Spotlight

Cayla Anderson

Cayla Anderson, a doctoral student in the PDBE program, has received the Doctoral Scholars Fellowship from the Southern Regional Educational Board (SREB) and the Dupree Scholarship from American Council for Construction Education (ACCE). She holds a dual degree in Building Construction and Real Estate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her thesis, “A Cross-Sectional Assessment of CEM (Construction Engineering and Management) Curriculum Offerings at the Pre-College Levels in the Carolinas,” applies a systemic approach in examining the current state of construction education within middle and high schools. Her research contributes to the development of literature focused on construction education within the construction science academic discipline.

Cayla had an extensive career in construction management before starting the PDBE program. She has worked on projects in commercial interiors, global critical facilities, and multi-family unit housing through various engineering roles. Currently, Cayla works as a graduate assistant to Dr. Dhaval Gajjar while pursuing her graduate degree.

The goal of the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Program is to increase the number of minority and underrepresented students in the STEM who earn doctorates and choose to become faculty at colleges and universities. Since its founding in 1993, the program has supported more than 1,550 scholars who have attended 109 institutions in 31 states. The award offers three years of direct program support and two years of institutional support from the scholar’s university with an annual stipend.

The mission of the American Council for Construction Education is to be a leading global advocate of quality construction education; and promote, support, and accredit quality construction education programs. The Dupree Construction Education Fund awards an annual scholarship for a candidate pursuing an advanced degree in construction management with a desire to teach in an ACCE accredited construction management program.

PDBE Alumnus Spotlight

Dr. Jeremy C. Wells

Dr. Jeremy C. Wells is an associate professor in the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jeremy graduated from the PDBE program in 2009, worked for a few years as the lead preservation planner for the City of Denver and then as an assistant professor at Roger Williams University. He has been at the University of Maryland since 2017.

Jeremy’s research and teaching are focused on transforming the historic preservation enterprise to be more people-centered, just, equitable and diverse, which includes legitimizing the need for basic social science research in the field. His research focuses on the psychology of heritage places; making the preservation enterprise more equitable, just, and resilient; and innovative community engagement tools for preservation planners. He is currently researching how various regions of the brain respond to environmental patina and collaborating with computer scientists on the creation of a “social heritage machine” that will have the ability to geolocate grassroots heritage meanings as a planning tool.

Jeremy is the co-editor (with Barry Stiefel, College of Charleston/Clemson) of Human-Centered Built Environment Heritage Preservation: Theory and Evidence-Based Practice (Routledge, 2019). His research has been published in the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Journal of Environmental Psychology, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, and the Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin along with numerous book chapters.

In 2015, Jeremy received a Fulbright research scholarship to work at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil to explore the use of community-based participatory research to conserve cultural landscapes. He is the former Chair of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) where he founded the Historic Environment Knowledge Network to work with other academics and practitioners in addressing the person/place and environment/behavior aspects of heritage conservation. Jeremy runs the web site that explores a more human-centered approach to historic preservation practice.  

One of the reasons Jeremy chose to study in Clemson’s PDBE program is that it allowed him to combine his interests in the social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, geography) with historic preservation. The faculty associated with Clemson’s built environment programs have long had an interest in environment and behavior research and evidence-based design, which was critical for helping Jeremy to craft his dissertation research. The ability to take courses across the university, especially from the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management program, provided the interdisciplinary foundation that has since proved to be critical for his research.