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Forestry and Environmental Conservation

Undergraduate Spotlight

Jim Farrell: Determined Spirit

Jim visited Clemson as a prospective student and immediately knew Clemson was where he wanted to be. Jim is from Marietta, New York and chose Clemson because there was a different feeling here than any other school he had visited and the faculty he met in the Clemson Wildlife and Fisheries Biology (WFB) program made a great impression. He enrolled in Spring 2022 to begin his Clemson Experience.

Attending Clemson is no small feat for Jim. As a high school sophomore, Jim had brain surgery to treat Moyamoya disease caused by blocked arteries. After surgery, Jim had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to talk. Rather than stay close to home where he would have family and friends to assist him, he still chose Clemson because “Clemson has the best wildlife program in the country, and my dream is to become a wildlife biologist.”

In the Fall of 2022, Dr. Greg Yarrow met Jim in his Wildlife Damage Management Class. Greg stated “Jim had come to me before classes began to talk about his disability. As he came into the room, I noticed that he had difficulty walking and talking. Since he couldn’t speak very well, he used a small iPad to communicate with me. I asked him where he was from. He typed in Upstate New York.” Dr. Yarrow asked if he could share Jim’s story with the class and he agreed. “I watched as the semester progressed, how Jim worked hard in class and in the lab, which was often in the field and sometimes required strenuous work. He never complained. I also watched how his classmates rallied around him to help him when he needed it. Jim also registered for the WFB wild hog Creative Inquiry (CI) this past spring, and in the summer, he interned with the SC Department of Natural Resources. Jim’s passion and determination, despite his challenges, have been an inspiration and provided our students with an opportunity to become more compassionate and understanding with their classmates and others with different challenges. “

Jim’s journey can be difficult, but he has faculty, students, and staff that support him. As Jim talked about a different feeling when he arrived — there really is “something in these hills”.

Keep that determined spirit Jim and go change the world!

Dr. Dobbins with EELI participants

“When I met Jim Farrell and learned his story, two phrases immediately came to mind. The first was “Against All Odds “and the other was “Determined Spirit.” Just a few years ago, every time I was on the Clemson University home page, Determined Spirit was listed as one of our “mottos”. After seeing Jim around Lehotksy, I knew Determined Spirit was meant for Jim because he would beat the odds. ”

Greg Yarrow
Interim Dean
Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation
Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation | 261 Lehotsky Hall Box 3403317 Clemson, SC