2021 Presidents Leadership Institute Cohort

Member Bios

Tracy Arwood

Tracy ArwoodMs. Tracy Arwood is currently the Associate Vice President and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at Clemson University. In this role, she manages an enterprise-wide compliance and ethics program that provides guidance and oversight with respect to the vast range of legal requirements affecting institutions of higher learning.Formerly, she was the Assistant Vice President for Research at Clemson University. In that role, she managed the operations of the Office of Research Compliance, to include the IRB (Human Subjects), IBC (Biosafety/rDNA) and IACUC (Animal), and the Office of Research Safety (Lab Safety, Chemical Safety, Biosafety, Radiological Safety and Hazardous Waste Management). As the University's Research Integrity Officer, Ms. Arwood also provided oversight for the handling of research misconduct allegations and the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training program. Previously, Ms. Arwood was the Director of Regulatory Compliance at Mississippi State University (MSU). While at MSU, she also served on the MSU IRB based on her experience as an Ombudsman within the Virginia Department of Corrections. Ms. Arwood holds a BS and a MS in Criminal Justice from Radford University in Virginia and is a certified paralegal.

C.C. Bates

C.C. BatesC.C. Bates is a Professor of Literacy in the College of Education and the Director of the Clemson Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Training Center. Her research agenda focuses on the use of digital tools to enhance and deliver professional development for reading interventionists and K-2 classroom teachers, which stems from her ongoing inquiry into the teaching of children who are having difficulty learning to read and write. Bates has 30+ scholarly publications, has received $10,000,000 in external funding, and developed the Record of Reading app for oral reading assessment, which has been downloaded over 400,000 times. She is married and has two children.

Beth Bell

Beth BellBeth Bell serves as Director of Advocacy in Clemson’s Office of Governmental Affairs in Columbia. She manages Clemson's advocacy program and manages a database of 4500 active alumni volunteers who are called upon to advocate with lawmakers on behalf of Clemson and higher education.

Beth earned a B.A. in English from Clemson University in 1994. She began her career at CBS Sports in New York. During her career at CBS, she covered such events as the NCAA men's basketball tournament and the Final Four, SEC college football, the 1998 Winter Olympic Games, the PGA tour and U.S. Open Tennis.

In 1998, she joined the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament in Hilton Head as director of corporate hospitality and sponsorship sales and fulfillment. In 2000, she joined the executive staff of South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges as Director of Scheduling. Prior to coming to Clemson, she worked as a national corporate lobbyist and public affairs specialist for Advance America Inc.

Anthony Bernarducci

Anthony BernarducciAnthony Bernarducci is an associate professor of music and serves as the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Clemson University. He is the conductor of the Clemson University Men’s Choir, Cantorei, and Clemson University Singers. He also teaches courses in music theory and composition. As an author, Anthony published articles on topics ranging from music education to performance practice. Most recently, GIA Publications has released his book titled "Listening Awareness: Build Independent Creative Listeners in Choir.” Dr. Bernarducci is an active composer and has works published with GIA Publications, Hinshaw Music, and ECS Publishing Group. He has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as The Westminster Williamson Voices, The St. Olaf Choir, and The United States Soldiers Chorus. His compositions have been performed around the world and on such notable stages as Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall, and Mechanics Hall.

Brenda Burk

Brenda BurkBrenda Burk joined Clemson University Libraries in 2014 as the Head of Special Collections. As part of the Clemson University Libraries, the Special Collections and Archives houses the University Archives, Records Management, Manuscript Collections, and Rare Books. Previously she was the Philanthropic Studies Archivist at IUPUI University Library and Public Records Archivist at the Wisconsin Historical Society. In her current position, she continues to build a premier research collection that supports the university and creates an environment encouraging scholarly inquiry, creative thinking, and lifelong learning. Her research interests include information seeking behaviors of users, course-integrated instruction, public awareness and perceptions of archives. Brenda graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in History and a MA in Library and Information Studies with an emphasis in archival administration.

Johnell Brooks

Johnell BrooksJohnell Brooks is a Human Factors Psychologist passionate about improving the quality of others’ lives while educating the future workforce. Her research led to the development of 3 styles of clinical driving simulators for assessment and rehabilitation. Over 65 DriveSafety simulators are deployed in civilian, DOD, and VA facilities as well as schools serving students with special needs. She has 87 commercialized copyrights and has trained clinicians on three continents. Her other interdisciplinary activities use robotic furnishings to promote independent living. The team integrates robotics into existing home environments to empower individuals to remain independent even as their physical capabilities decline. In the automotive engineering department, her role initially focused on the Deep Orange (DO) program serving as a co-leader for DO 2 through 7. DO students produce a new concept vehicle annually, providing experience in vehicle design, engineering, development and prototyping.

Matt Chambers

Matt ChambersMatt Chambers joined Clemson University in 2008 and is the executive director of visual analytics for CCIT. Serving as a resource to the campus, he provides data visualization, analytics, and architecture solutions that help leadership find insights and make strategic decisions. Chambers is a two-time Tableau Zen Master which is Tableau’s highest honor for the year’s most outstanding practitioners of data visualization using the company’s software. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Anderson University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Clemson University, and he is currently pursuing a PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design at Clemson University. Chambers is a South Carolina native and lives in the Upstate with his wife, Melissa, and two sons, Carter and Clay.

Meredyth Crichton

Meredyth CrichtonMeredyth joined Clemson in 2021 as Executive Director at the Dominion Energy Innovation Center at the Clemson University Restoration Institute campus in North Charleston. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a Master Degree in Engineering Management from the University of Akron in Ohio. Meredyth has 10 years of experience in the automotive industry at The Timken Company and 14 years of experience in the Wind Energy Industry at General Electric. For the last three years she has led the mechanical and electrical test labs for GE Onshore Wind.

Sarah Custer

Sarah CusterSarah Custer is the director of emergency management where she and her team are responsible for ensuring the University effectively prepares for, responds to, recovers from, and mitigates the effects of the probable hazards and threats it faces. She coordinates the Emergency Management Council and manages and oversees the organization of the Emergency Operations Center that was activated to prepare for and implement the University’s COVID-19 response. Prior to joining the Clemson Family in 2018, Custer’s 16-year EM career was focused on the military; serving as an Air Force member in multiple locations, then as a Navy civilian, and finally as the Installation Emergency Manager for Joint Base Charleston. An Ohio native, Custer earned her Bachelor of Arts in emergency and disaster management in 2010. Most importantly, she has been blessed with a wonderful family including Rob and Kailey, her husband and daughter, who are the focus and joy of her life.

Nicole Davis

Nicole Davis Dr. Nicole Davis is an Associate Professor of Nursing and the AGNP, MSN-Education, and Nursing Administration Graduate Program Coordinator within the School of Nursing. She is a board-certified Adult and Gerontological Nurse Practitioner with a career that spans 23 years. She is a National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence Distinguished Educator in Gerontological Nursing. She is also a Faculty Associate in the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging, a CUSHR Faculty Scholar, an Embedded Scholar at Prisma Health-Center for Success in Aging, a member of the Board of Directors of Upstate Area Health Education Consortium, a Core Member of the Clemson University Center for Research on Health Disparities, and an appointed member of the SC Lieutenant Governor’s Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center Advisory Council. She has served as an expert consultant for the AARP and is a National Institute on Aging, Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research Scientist.

Saara DeWalt

Saara DeWaltSaara DeWalt is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and has led the Department as Chair since July 2019. She received her AB in Biology from Brown University and PhD in Biological Sciences from LSU. She received a Fulbright to study ethnobotany in Bolivia between the two degrees. Prior to coming to Clemson in 2005, she was a Huxley Research Fellow at Rice University. Her research focuses on plant ecology in temperate and tropical forests, specifically studying invasive plants in their native and introduced ranges, woody vines, and succession. Her research takes her across the world, most recently the Caribbean. She is Past-President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) and was a Subject Editor for Biotropica, the journal of the ATBC. She has taught courses in plant biology and ecology, and co-teaches a course for GTAs. As Chair, she strives to be inclusive, promote individual growth, and provide the best educational experience for students.

Dustin Foxworth

Dustin FoxworthDustin joined the Office of the Provost & Academic Affairs in 2017 and is currently the Chief Business Officer. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Charleston, bachelor’s degree in accounting from Clemson University, and a master’s degree in professional accountancy from Clemson University. Before starting at Clemson University, Dustin worked as a governmental contract worker for the Department of State and as an auditor with a public accounting firm. He has served on the board of numerous community nonprofits, including the Clemson Free Clinic. As the Chief Business Officer for the Office of the Provost & Academic Affairs, Dustin is responsible for budgetary and financial matters across academic units and satellite locations in Charleston at the Clemson University Restoration Institute. In his free time, Dustin enjoys traveling to new places, reading, and being outdoors.

Mandy Hays

Mandy HaysMandy Hays has been a member of the Division of Student Affairs since 1993. Currently, she serves as the Assistant Vice President for Campus Life, a post that she has held since 2015. Mandy arrived at Clemson University as a freshman in 1987 and subsequently completed her Bachelor of Science in Education. She then received her Master’s in Student Affairs. She started her professional career working in the arenas of housing and fraternity & sorority life. Later, her responsibilities grew to include all aspects of campus activities, student leadership, and civic engagement. Major event planning and management then became a part of Hays’ duties when she served as the Director of Campus Activities & Events, which included the management of Littlejohn Coliseum. A native of Spartanburg, Mandy is married and has two sons.

Matt Hersom

Matt HersomDr. Matt Hersom is the Professor and Director of the Piedmont Research and Education Center (PREC). At PREC he oversees 4,500 acres that include the animal and agronomic production research and teaching facilities for the Aquaculture, Beef, Dairy, Musser Fruit, Poultry, Organic, and Sheep Farms; Simpson Station Crop Unit and Cherry Farm Service Unit. Prior to joining Clemson University in 2020, Matt spent 16 years as Extension Beef Cattle Specialist at the University of Florida, Department of Animal Sciences. Matt balances his professional life by being active in his community, having served as an elected City Commissioner, Planning and Zoning Board and Historical Board member for the city of Newberry, FL. Matt and his family have been passionate about raising awareness and money for charities associated with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Matt is an avid runner completing 6 marathons and 11 half-marathons.

Matt and Kris, his wife of 25 years, have three children, Cole, Sam, and Kaitlyn.

Andrew Hurley

Andrew HurleyDr. Andrew Hurley, Associate Professor, teaches packaging design, mentors student competitions, and chairs several graduate research projects each year. He founded PackCamp in 2017 to introduce packaging to high schoolers which led to a finalist in the 2019 InnoVision Awards.Hurley developed the Certificate of Mastery in Packaging Management—offered through the Center for Corporate Learning—that prepares professionals for successful packaging careers. He is the Chief Learning Officer of PackagingSchool.com, a postsecondary institution he founded to meet the demand for continuing education in the packaging industry.He currently chairs his Departmental Curriculum Committee and has served on eight committees at the department, college, and university levels. He was a Fellow at the Spiro Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership (2014-16). He was awarded with Clemson’s Ralph D. Elliot Endowed Award for Outstanding Service to Off-Campus, Distance, and Continuing Education (2020).

Shontavia Johnson

Shontavia JohnsonShontavia Johnson is one of the nation’s foremost experts on digital brand building, intellectual property law and inclusive entrepreneurship. As Clemson's associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation, Johnson acts as a connector between students, corporate partners, businesses and other universities.Johnson has twice been named one of the Top 40 Young Lawyers in the United States. Her long list of awards include being a Fulbright Specialist Roster Candidate, one of the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s 42 Under 40, and the 2014 Outstanding Alumnus of the SC Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics. In 2018 and 2021, she was named one of 200 Black Women in Tech to Follow on Twitter. She is an in-demand speaker, having spoken at Google, TEDxAtlanta, and SXSW.As host of Handle Your Business, a web series and podcast, Johnson tackles the most common questions about starting and growing a business and personal brand.

Mikah Jones

Mikah JonesMikah Jones serves as the Director of Finance for the College of Science; in this role she leads and manages accounting and financial planning/analysis for the College including account management, funding strategies, and reporting. Jones supervises the College's team of financial analysts, and reports to the Chief of Strategy and Operations. Jones has her MBA from Clemson University.



Rodney Jones

Rodney JonesRodney Jones is the Industry Project Manager for CUCWD. He presently oversees the BMW contract and serves as a SME for curriculum development. He has more than 21 years of experience in the industry field and 12 years of experience in Management. Last year 2020 he had his second article “Understanding Industry: Innovation and Training Must Evolve Together,” published in the May issue of the Greenville Business Magazine. Prior to coming to Clemson, he was the Academic Program Director of Mechatronics at Greenville Technical College. Under his leadership he advanced the curriculum to one of the top programs in the Upstate. His leadership skills go beyond the workplace to his local church, where he is Chairman of Deacons. He also enjoys working with EPI at Clemson home Football, Basketball, and Softball games, where he was recognized as the Spotlight Employee of the month for October 2020. Rodney and his wife of 24 years, Nawkea, live in Anderson with their two boys, Dominique and Donovan.

Arthur Leonard

Arthur LeonardArthur Leonard joined the Clemson University Office of Internal Auditing in 2013 as an Audit Manager. He is responsible for planning, coordinating, and managing a comprehensive program of internal audits (financial, operational, compliance, and investigative) within the University and other related organizations. Prior to joining Clemson, Arthur held positions in both the Internal Audit Department and Business and Finance at the University of South Carolina (USC) and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration- Accounting from USC and a Master of Business Administration from Winthrop University. He is a Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Fraud Examiner. Arthur and his family are always looking for the next opportunity to take advantage of the many recreational opportunities in our beautiful state, whether that may be a mountain hike, cruising a lake, cycling the Swamp Rabbit Trail, or enjoying a lazy day at the beach.

Matt Lombardi

Matt LombardiMatt Lombardi currently serves as the Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services. In this role his responsibilities include supervision of the academic support staff in the Nieri Family Student-Athlete Enrichment Center, as well as coordination, implementation and evaluation of academic support services provided to student-athletes. Prior to his promotion to Associate Athletic Director in 2021, Lombardi was an Assistant AD and Director of Football Academic Services at Clemson University. Lombardi is a 2003 graduate of Clemson University with a degree in Science Teaching. During his time as an undergraduate, Lombardi was also a student-athlete in track and field and member of four ACC championship teams. Lombardi holds master's degrees in Kinesiology and Counselor Education from Georgia Southern University. He lives in Clemson with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Claire. The couple is expecting their second child in September.

Nathan Long

Nathan LongNathan Long serves as the Executive Director of IT Customer Services in CCIT, where he leads a diverse team of IT professionals in pursuit of providing the best possible level of customer service and responsiveness to support teaching, learning, and service throughout Clemson. In this role, he has spearheaded numerous strategic projects and initiatives directly tied to providing more effective and efficient service to faculty, staff, and students. Long began his Clemson career as a student employee at the IT help desk in 2001 and has served in multiple roles throughout the organization, including design and programming of audio-visual and classroom systems and director of central support. Prior to Clemson, he led customer-focused teams in retail operations. A South Carolina native and Clemson graduate, Long lives in Anderson with his wife, Tara, and two children, Camden and Alaina.

Ryan Mullins

Ryan MullinsRyan Mullins is an award-winning professor focused on helping organizational leaders improve sales force performance. Ryan's research work has appeared in several academic and practitioner outlets with several in the Financial Times Top 50 business journals in the world. Ryan is also the director for Clemson’s Sales Innovation Program (SIP) with the goal of being a global leader in sales research and education. In line with this mission, Ryan teaches courses focused on personal selling, sales management, selling in healthcare, and sales leadership and is co-author of the textbook Professional Selling. Dr. Mullins also regularly engages in industry collaborations with small and large (Fortune 500) companies, both global and domestic. This real-world engagement has helped Ryan be recognized as an insightful speaker to sales organizations, accomplished trainer, and also enabled the delivery of innovative teaching in the classroom.

April Purvis

April PurvisApril S. Purvis is originally from Florence, South Carolina. She attended Francis Marion University and received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2003. She then attended Florida Coastal School of Law and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 2007. From 2007 – 2012 she practiced law at the Wukela Law Firm in Florence focusing on family law, probate, and general tort litigation. April currently serves as the legal counsel and corporate secretary for the Clemson University Foundation and has been with Clemson for seven years. Since 2012, she has served as an Adjunct Instructor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. April is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association, the Greenville County Bar Association, and the South Carolina Women’s Law Association. April lives in Greer, SC with her husband and two children.

Kenneth Robinson

Kenneth RobinsonDr. Kenneth L. Robinson is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Clemson University and an Extension Specialist. His teaching, research and outreach interests include rural sociology, entrepreneurship, and African-American rural life. Dr. Robinson was a research associate at Cornell University, where he received his Ph.D. in Development Sociology. Also, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to examine small-scale, commercial agriculture in the economically disadvantaged, former homeland areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Dr. Robinson is also a graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, where he was a student of the late Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Afterwards, he relocated to Washington, DC, where he served as a Presidential Management Intern with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and as a Housing and Community Development Specialist in the Texas Governor’s Office of State-Federal Relations. He and his wife Lisa Harris reside in Clemson, where he is locally active.

Marissa Shuffler

Marissa ShufflerMarissa Shuffler is an Associate Professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, a CUSHR Faculty Fellow, & Director of the DIGITAL Lab, with expertise in designing and studying innovative tools to develop, sustain, and maximize teamwork. Shuffler has led large multi-site interdisciplinary research projects, serving as PI or Co-I for over $13 million in funded research, including current work on future human-robot-AI teams in construction, military, healthcare, & automotive manufacturing. In 2017 she was awarded a prestigious NSF CAREER grant for her research on team development interventions. Shuffler received her PhD in 2013 from the University of Central Florida. Her scholarly work to date includes an edited book, over 65 publications, and more than 200 presentations. Shuffler also serves as an advisor for professional team science development efforts at Clemson, partnering with programs such as Grad360, Creative Inquiry, Watt Center, Student-Athlete Development, CECAS, & CUSHR.