Check out who we had fun learning with last year. The 2023 profiles will be posted soon.
Dr. Enoch Adogla
(B.S., University of Ghana, M.S., New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Ph.D., University of South Carolina) joined Francis Marion in 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Prior to that, he worked for a year with the medicinal chemistry team of GlaxoSmithKline, designing and making novel anti-HIV drugs. He teaches General and Organic Chemistry lectures and labs, and has an active research group of undergraduate students. His research focus is in the design of fluorescent molecules for labeling biomolecules. He enjoys playing ping-pong, watching soccer, and spending time with family and friends.
Dr. Patrick Briggs
(B.A., California State University at Sacramento; Ph.D., University of Kansas)has been a professor at The Citadel for 40 years. He has taught lower- and upper-division Physics classes, and he is in charge of the Freshman Astronomy courses. He has been extensively involved with both teachers and students in improving science education in South Carolina. He is also fan of Sumo and classic rock, and he used to play chess.
Dr. L. DeWayne Cecil
(PhD. in Earth Science from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) founded Destination SPACE, Inc. in March 2017 with a vision of providing students with space related interactive science education. As the Director of Destination SPACE, Dr. Cecil draws upon his extensive background in applied earth sciences and remote sensing. He went on to serve as Chief Scientist of the Applied Sciences Program at NASA Headquarters and as Senior Science Advisor at NASA Langley's Systems Engineering Office. He also served as the Western Region Climate Services Director at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
Dr. Patricia Craig
(B.S., Florida Institute of Technology; Ph.D., University of Arkansas) is a science team member on the CheMin instrument onboard the Mars Science Lab Curiosity rover currently exploring Gale Crater, Mars, for evidence that Mars may have once supported life. She helps with the day-to-day operations of the instrument and participates in discussions about where the rover should drive and what rocks it should analyze. To help put the rover data into context, she also conducts experiments on how certain microbes might survive in Mars-like environments and what biosignatures they might leave behind for future rovers or manned missions to Mars to detect. When she's not in the lab, she enjoys board games, painting, reading, cooking, and playing with her dogs.
Mr. Travis Dalton
(MBA, Western Carolina University; MIS, UNC Greensboro) is an Instructor in the Integrated Information Technology department in the College of Engineering and Computing at The University of South Carolina. He is pursuing a PhD in Informatics at The University of South Carolina. Prior to arriving at USC, he taught business and computing courses at Columbia College while also serving as the Business and CIS department Chair. He also is a facilitator for Code.org where he facilitates computer science curriculum. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, exercising and getting outdoors whenever possible.
Dr. Zachary Davis
(B.S., Erskine College, Ph.D., Purdue University) joined the Newberry College faculty in August of 2013, and teaches analytical and physical chemistry courses, as well as the general chemistry sequence. He is the faculty advisor for the Newberry College chapter of the American Chemical Society, and also serves as secretary for the Western Carolinas Local Section. Dr. Davis’s research interests lie in the intersection of food chemistry and instrumental analysis. Within the realm of food chemistry, of particular interest to Mr. Davis are antioxidants and flavor compounds, especially those due to the Malliard reactions.
Dr. Dave Eslinger
(Ph.D., Florida State University) is, by training, an Oceanographer. He has a Ph.D. in biological oceanography and did post-doctoral work at NASA, both efforts specializing in using satellite remote sensing to study the surface ocean and in writing computer models to simulate the plankton and physical dynamics in the upper ocean. However, he loves robots and robotics! He has been a coach for four LEGO teams over three years (all of whom competed at State), and co-coach of 4 VEX robotics teams over 2 years, three who have made it to the National competitions. He enjoys learning new things and taking broken (usually) stuff apart to try to figure out how it works and to fix it or scavenge parts for other uses. After having to keep his hands off all the kid's robots for so long, he gave up and designed his own Arduino-based robot platform to experiment with. That platform is designed to be as flexible as possible to allow testing of different aspects of sensors and robotics.
Dr. Anders Gårdestig
(M.Sc., Ph.D., Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden) currently is a test developer at Educational Testing Services. Previously he taught physics and pre-engineering at GSSM Accelerate and at a variety of institutions of higher education. He has done research in theoretical nuclear physics. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, exploring and learning about the world around him through hiking, camping, reading, or just hanging out with good friends. He also enjoys playing Legos and various board games with his younger son (the older son is now married), cooking, baking, snow sculpting, and woodworking.
Dr. Barbara Gordon
(BS Ashland University; MD, MS Medical College of Ohio at Toledo) is a physician who is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and medical genetics. She practiced obstetrics and gynecology for ten years and medical genetics for 5 years. She has taught many medical students and residents during her career and enjoys interacting with students. She has two children and enjoys running, painting, and hanging out with her family in her free time.
Mrs. Julie Mixon
(B.F.A., Barton College; M.F.A., East Carolina University) has taught as an Associate Professor of Photography at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, since 2012. Prior to teaching at FMU, Julie taught as an Art Instructor at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, North Carolina, for eight years. Julie specializes in alternative photographic processes and explores the combination of analog and digital photographic processes. She has exhibited her work regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Dr. Kiley Molinari
(B.A. Franklin Pierce University; M.A. University of Idaho; Ph.D. University of Oklahoma) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Francis Marion University. Her research focuses on topics such as material culture studies, Indigenous new media, language and cultural revitalization and retention, digital cultural heritage, and collaborative research in Native North America. In her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, and trying new restaurants with her husband and dog.
Dr. Rahul S. Renu
(B.E., VTU India; M.S., Ph.D., Clemson University) is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Mechanical Engineering at Francis Marion University. His research focuses on the use of artificial intelligence in engineering design and manufacturing. Much of his research has been performed in collaboration with companies such as BMW, GE Healthcare, Bicycle Corporation of America, and Sonoco. In his free time, he enjoys traveling with his wife and running.
Dr. Gary Salazar
(B.S., Baylor University; Ph.D., Louisiana State University) joined the GSSM faculty in January of 2008. Prior to that, he served as a visiting assistant professor at Trinity University in San Antonio for six years. At GSSM, Dr. Salazar serves as the sponsor for many of the academic teams including the Math Team, Mock Trial and Quiz Bowl. His research interests include coding theory and polynomials over finite fields.
Ms. Bethany Spencer
(BA, BS Converse College; MA, Western Carolina University) is currently a graduate student completing her Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology at Western Carolina University. In addition to her current degree program, Bethany holds a certificate in interprofessional assessment and treatment of autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities from ProjectINTERACT at WCU. Bethany also currently teaches an Introduction to Psychology course at WCU. Her research interests lie at the intersection of psychology and outdoor recreation and education, with a focus on the efficacy of summer camp experiences as interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Bethany also volunteers with Tourette Information and Support assisting with social media management and serving as a counselor at Camp Twitch and Shout. In her free time, Bethany enjoys playing with her dog, crafting, and hanging out with friends.
Mrs. Aliceann Talley
(BS Computer Science, Clemson University; MS Computer Science, University of Tennessee Knoxville) is a web developer contracting for the Department of Energy. Her most recent projects have focused on database management applications and search indexing. Previously, she conducted Human Computer Interactions research involving 3D simulations, eye tracking, virtual interactive training simulations, wayfinding tools, and 3D modeling. In Aliceann's free time, she dances Lindy Hop with her husband, plays with her beagles, and improves her cooking skills.
Dr. Kemper Talley
(B.S Physics, Clemson University, Ph.D. Energy Science and Engineering w/ concentration in Nuclear Science) conducted his PhD on beta-delayed neutron emission and fission product yields to improve nuclear reactor modeling. Kemper works as a principal investigator for Teledyne FLIR and leads science and technology development in Augmented Reality for visualization and detection of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear assets. His early scientific work started in biophysics with protein modeling at Clemson University as a rising senior at GSSM. He is a GSSM alumni from the class of 2007. Kemper loves discussions about science and enjoys seeing scientific advancements make their way into public use.
Dr. Henry Tucker
(B.A. Mathematics, UC Berkeley; Ph.D. Mathematics, Univ. of Southern Calif.) is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside. His research is in algebra and representation theory; specifically, the theory of categories associated with Hopf algebras and von Neumann algebras. His work is also motivated by questions in low-dimensional topology and physics. Henry is also a 2006 graduate of SCGSSM. Apart from math, he enjoys old European cars, film photography, and collecting junk.
Prof. Bob Twiggs
(M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University) is the Chief STEM Mentor for Destination SPACE. Professor Twiggs provides guidance for the entire Destination SPACE team and leads various lessons for our camp participants. He has served as a mentor in each of our summer programs and never fails to get students laughing and excited for their upcoming challenges. During his time at Stanford University Professor Twiggs became well-known for co-inventing CubeSats, a disruptive technology that has changed the satellite industry around the world. In 2010 he was selected by the Space News publication as one of 10 American space professionals “That Made a Difference in Space”. The other two selected from the United States were Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, and former US President, Barack Obama.