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Foundational Updates September 2021

September 24, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Adaya Sturkey '14

Adaya Sturkey is a 2014 GSSM graduate and a first-year medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. She returned to campus to deliver the Convocation address on Thursday, September 9.

Adaya earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Hampton University and spent a semester studying biochemistry at Oxford University's St. Anne's College as an English-Speaking Union Luard Morse Scholar. She was awarded the prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship and pursued a one-year masters in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. While there, she learned conversational Mandarin Chinese, participated in a homestay experience with a family in rural southeast China, and visited over 15 Chinese cities.

While a student at GSSM, Adaya established the Annual Empathy Walk and helped to co-author the curriculum for the interim course, “Mental Health in Pop Culture: the Psychology of Adrian Monk” with Dr. Alison Evans. During her time at Hampton University, she cofounded Flourish Mentoring Program in her hometown of Marion with fellow GSSM alum Laura Campbell.

Congratulations to GSSM's 2021 Outstanding Alum Award Recipient

Dr. Brygg Ullmer, GSSM Class of 1991 and 2021 Outstanding Alum, is Chair of the Human-Centered Computing (HCC) Division and Professor within the School of Computing at Clemson University. After GSSM, he earned a B.S. in computer engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from MIT.

From his nominator: "Over the past year of working under Dr. Ullmer as a research assistant, in addition to studying under him as a student, I believe that he really represents the possibilities available after attending GSSM. He is one of the pioneers and subject matter experts in the field of tangible user interfaces, which was the subject of his doctoral research at MIT. He is the recipient of multiple awards, among them the ACM UIST 2009 Lasting Impact Award, Business Report's 2008 40 Under 40 Awards, and a 2018 National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant for pilot development of a collaborative visualization system called “Enodia." He also leads the Tangible Visualization group in the School of Computing at Clemson University. One of the aspects of Dr. Ullmer that stands out to me as a fellow alum is his continued involvement with GSSM almost 30 years after his graduation. He has continued to engage with GSSM via his field of research, tangible visualization. Although the pandemic has dampened the ability of his research group to physically engage this summer, he has ambitious plans for collaboration in the future."

Sponsor Spotlight: AFL

AFL has been a committed partner and supporter of GSSM for more than 12 years! From supporting GSSM's summer research program, to helping launch GSSM's summer camp in the upstate, to sponsoring the Townes Award event, AFL is committed to building a thriving community and making a positive difference in the lives of others. AFL's Director of Engineering and R&D, Joe Cignarale, currently serves on the GSSM Foundation Board of Directors, and AFL recently awarded GSSM a $5,000 grant to provide financial aid for students attending GSSM summer camps.

Pictured above: GSSM students celebrate AFL's recent grant in support of GSSM summer camps

Headquartered in Duncan, SC, AFL manufactures, engineers, and installs fiber optic products and associated equipment. A subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan, AFL employs over 5,800 people worldwide and connects its customers around the world with innovative technologies, exceptional products, and high quality services. In addition to positively impacting communities by delivering superior solutions, AFL's grants program funds STEM education and youth development programs, and its employees are active volunteers in local organizations.

GSSM is proud to call AFL a partner. Thank you for investing so much in our amazing school and exceptional students!

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