Kennedy's honored for continuous service to GSSM, state see more
The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science + Mathematics (GSSM) and its Foundation honored Lou and Bill Kennedy with the 2021 Townes Award during “Empowering STEM Leaders,” the 27th annual Townes Award Celebration, Wednesday, March 17, 6-9 p.m. at 1208 Washington Place in Columbia.
“GSSM was honored to present the Townes Award to Lou and Bill Kennedy in recognition of their transformational leadership and commitment to empowering future generations of scientists, engineers, and innovators,” said Beth Dinndorf, executive director of the GSSM Foundation.
“GSSM seeks out and advances our state’s most talented and motivated students,” said Danny Dorsel, GSSM Interim President and GSSM Class of 1990. “Charles Townes and Lou and Bill Kennedy are shining examples for these young minds to challenge themselves to be innovative and make a difference in our world.”
Named for South Carolinian Dr. Charles Townes, whose visionary spirit and pioneering research led to the invention of the laser, the Townes Award recognizes individuals, businesses, and institutions that have transformed South Carolina and the world.
“Bill and I are very deeply humbled and really excited to accept an award named in honor of an extraordinary South Carolinian who was able to achieve the Nobel Prize and the Templeton Prize, as well as many other things. This is such an auspicious group, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Lou Kennedy said in her acceptance remarks.
Lou and Bill Kennedy are co-owners, and Lou is the CEO, of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a South Carolina-based company that develops and produces safe, affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products, including those used to treat severe respiratory distress symptoms associated with COVID-19.
AI efforts to fall under Artificial Intelligence Research Institute for Science and Engineering see more
Clemson University is consolidating its ongoing and future artificial intelligence research and education initiatives under one umbrella: the Clemson Artificial Intelligence Research Institute for Science and Engineering.
Eighty faculty members, including some researchers who have used and researched AI for years, will work under the umbrella organization, which also will spearhead STEM workforce development projects at the school to strengthen skills in science, technology, engineering and math, according to a news release. The move follows a presidential executive order last year that called for intensified AI training across the country, which led Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon to establish AI labs.
“AI is pervasive now, and we have to prepare our students for a different world,” professor Mitch Shue, executive director of AIRISE, said in the news release. “Combining all of Clemson’s resources in one institute will help us recruit top students and faculty and better compete for federal grants that fund cutting-edge research.”
Feng Luo, AIRISE’s director and founder, hopes the institute will help open new opportunities for Clemson students to meet mounting demand in the field.
“The requirement for AI from industry has dramatically increased. When a company has data, it wants to make sense of the data, and AI is one of the ways to help them,” Luo said in the release. He is also a computer science professor.
One of Luo’s earlier AI projects included an initiative to help quell citrus-greening disease with a $4.3 million federal grant, according to the release. Other studies undertaken by Clemson researchers include deploying a cyber attack defense system for autonomous vehicles, inspecting vehicles on an assembly line for defects and earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
“With AIRISE, Clemson will be well-positioned to play a key role in conducting cutting-edge research and creating the STEM workforce of the future,” Amy Apon, director of Clemson’s School of Computing, said in the release. “We have a real opportunity to help enhance economic development and U.S. competitiveness.”
SCBIO's Morgan Nichols Named Miss South Carolina 2019 see more
COLUMBIA – Miss Clemson, Morgan Nichols, is the new Miss South Carolina.
The Lexington resident and SCBIO associate received a $60,000 scholarship — the highest of any state pageant in the nation and $10,000 more than Miss America received last year. She will go on to compete in the Miss America pageant this September.
It was Nichols’ first appearance in the pageant — a rarity among Miss South Carolina winners.
“I’m just in shock right now,” she said. “I can’t believe it. This my first time ever competing in the Miss South Carolina organization. And I’m just so happy.”
Nichols lists as her platform a commitment to STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – with a goal of convincing students to stick with those fields. She plans to seek her Master of Business Administration at Harvard.
Nichols, 22, was crowned by former Miss South Carolina Davia Bunch. Bunch, 22, received a $50,000 scholarship last year. She plans to complete her senior year at the University of South Carolina in political science and go to law school.
“There is just a lot of emotions,” Bunch said after relinquishing her crown. “I have gotten so close with all the girls throughout the year and am so proud of all of them.”
On Friday, Miss Columbia Teen Kellan Fenegan of Lexington was crowned the new Miss South Carolina Teen.
There were 51 contestants for Miss South Carolina and 50 contestants for Miss South Carolina Teen — all winners of regional pageants held statewide.
This year, the Miss South Carolina pageant and Miss South Carolina Teen pageant are awarding $240,000 in scholarships, including $60,000 to Miss South Carolina, the highest winning scholarship in the nation and even more than the Miss America 2018 scholarship of $50,000.
Also, Miss South Carolina has led the nation in raising money for Miss America’s charity, the Children’s Miracle Network., for eight years. The charity raises funds for children’s hospitals, medical research and community awareness of children’s health issues.
Last year, the contestants raised $154,000. This year, they have raised $135,000, with more donations to come.
Contestants for Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen compete in three categories: talent, evening wear/question and judge’s interviews. Teens also compete in sportswear.
Talent carries the most weight at 35 percent, and the competition includes a large number of singers, dancers, baton twirlers and musicians. But during the preliminaries there were also speed painters (to both music and dialogue), monologues and clogging to soul and pop music (anything but bluegrass) and one contestant who “sang” in sign language.
Interviews count for another 35 percent and fitness and evening gowns/questions count 15 percent each. Thirty-five percent of a contestant’s composite score in the preliminaries is carried over to the finals.
This is only the second year of the sportswear competition since the Miss America organization dropped the swimsuit competition last year in a pivot called Miss America 2.0. The women and teens compete by performing an aerobic exercise.
In each category, the contestants are judged from 1 to 10 by five judges with the high and low scores thrown out. The preliminary scores will narrow the competition down to 15 finalists. A 16th, called the People’s Choice, is chosen by viewers of the pageant’s live streaming broadcast at miss-sc.org.
SCBIO's Morgan Nichols is a STEM advocate, marketing guru and Miss America candidate. see more
CLEMSON, South Carolina – When Morgan Nichols takes the stage at the Miss South Carolina pageant this June, she will fulfill a dream – but maybe not the kind viewers would expect.
Nichols was recently named Miss Clemson and her excitement about the opportunity to showcase her passion for Science is evident in her platform “Stronger with STEM,” which inspires students to stick with STEM through exploration, education, and innovation.
Nichols is a Lexington, South Carolina, native and a senior in the College of Science‘s department of genetics and biochemistry. With a minor in business, she is blazing a career path that she is defining along the way.
SCBIO's Membership & Marketing intern is an emerging voice for life sciences in South Carolina. Read the full story here.