Department of Biology – The Citadel Today Mon, 16 May 2022 21:50:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Department of Biology – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 Careers in medicine: goals realized through The Citadel’s pre-health opportunities Mon, 16 May 2022 21:50:25 +0000 "I think medicine is one of the most humbling professions and I’m excited at the prospect of building relationships and serving those around me."]]>

Photo above: Lt. Fernando Gonzalez, USN, The Citadel Class of 2016 seen second from the left, and Cpt. Dillon Graham, USAF, The Citadel Class of ’17, pictured fifth from the left pose with their classmates at the University of South Carolina Greenville Medical School graduation on May 6, 2022. Photo credit: Dr. Sarah Imam, The Citadel.

Two military doctors, an Air Force medical student and an Army nurse: all becoming servant leaders in medicine

The Citadel Director of Health Sciences, Sarah A. Imam, M.D., had two reasons to attend the University of South Carolina Greenville Medical School graduation. Drs. Fernando Gonzalez, The Citadel Class of 2016 and Dillon Graham, ’17, both completed the shared career goal of becoming medical doctors.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure being a part Fernando Gonzalez’s journey to becoming a doctor. He was a student and advisee of mine while he was a cadet at The Citadel, graduating in 2016. Now he is a medical school graduate, finishing in May, and is off to an Emergency Medicine Residency in Virginia in addition to serving in The United States Navy Reserve as a medical officer,” Imam shared following the ceremony.

Additionally, Imam was on hand to congratulate Capt. Dillon Graham, The Citadel Class of 2017 Regimental Commander.

“Dillon is a new medical doctor and a newlywed. His next step is going to a surgery residency in Greenville in addition to his promotion to captain in the Air Force. It was an exciting day and The Citadel was very well represented,” Imam added.

Every year cadets graduate from The Citadel to go on to medical school, becoming nurses, physician’s assistants or physical therapists. Imam says the college provides four years of pre-health guidance to help the cadets realize those goals.

“One of our Class of 2022 cadets who was a business major is going to medical school. Though biology might be a common pre-med major, is important to understand you can be any major and still go into medicine,” Imam stressed. “At The Citadel, we normally have 60 to 70 pre-health cadets with a variety of majors, plus our nursing majors. We make sure all cadets interested in health careers are accurately advised.”

Programs are in place at The Citadel where the cadets and students “simply have to be engaged in the two health career clubs to gain all the competencies that are needed to be considered for competitive medical programs after graduation,” Imam said.

Some of the benefits for cadets and students participating in The Citadel’s Pre-Health Society and Alpha Epsilon Delta, The Health Preprofessional Honor Society, include:

  • Discounted prep programs paid for with regular tuition (or GI Bill funds for veteran students)
  • Scholarships
  • Research opportunities
  • Mentor and job shadowing matches
  • Healthcare study abroad service experience
  • Organized and vetted volunteering opportunities

“These opportunities are carefully curated for the cadets and students to make their path to medicine a direct one,” Imam said.

Read about other Corps alumni who are successfully entering medical service below and here.

2nd Lt. Bennett Lucas, ’22, a U.S. Air Force-funded medical student

His service to others while a member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets included serving as Alpha Company Commander. Now, 2nd Lt. Bennett Lucas’s service to country is getting underway as the recipient of a coveted Air Force Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) slot. The program covers his tuition at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine: Columbia along with living expenses, with his commitment to serve as a medical officer for at least four years after that.

Lucas’s classmate, Cadet Olivia Hime, also bound for medical school, asked him and their peer, Malcom Jackson (below), a few questions about their experiences to date.

Cadet Bennett Lucas, The Citadel Class of 2022

Where are you from?

I am from Lexington, South Carolina. The most unique part of Lexington is that it has the “small-town” feel, but is close to the capital city of Columbia, as well as being a short drive to the beach or to the mountains. My family had land growing up and raised horses and chickens, so there was always plenty of work to be done as a kid.

What was the best part of being a cadet at The Citadel?

I think the best part of being a cadet is the relationships that you build. Whether it is with classmates or faculty members, The Citadel’s campus community is a really close one. This unique aspect has helped me in countless ways.

What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine? What do you plan to specialize in?

I decided to pursue medicine after an introductory Health Science course in high school. Since then, I have shadowed and had internships with many physicians who have guided me in pursuing this career path. I want to be a physician simply because I love people.

During my junior year as a First Sergeant in Sierra Company, a cadet fell over a third floor railing onto the quad. She was in my company, and I was one of the first people to rush to her side. Along with a few other cadets, we were able to stabilize her, and I called for an ambulance. I followed her to the hospital and stayed in the waiting room of the ER until her parents were able to meet us there. It was one of the most traumatic and impactful experiences I have had in my life and pushed me to continue pursuing a career as a physician.

I think medicine is one of the most humbling professions, and I’m excited at the prospect of building relationships and serving those around me. I plan on specializing in either cardiovascular or general surgery. I want to use my hands to serve those in critical need.

What is the hardest obstacle you overcame at The Citadel? In your journey to practice medicine?

The hardest obstacle I overcame while at The Citadel and in my journey to practice medicine was taking the MCAT. I took the test for the first time in January of my junior year. I didn’t put nearly enough time into preparing for the exam and my score reflected that. It was a huge setback and made me really question whether I had what it took to get into medical school. I used that experience as a motivator to study and prepare to take the MCAT again. After a second attempt, I scored high enough to get into medical school. What I thought would be a huge setback and obstacle turned into a motivator that I used to push myself toward success.

What do you like the most about the medical field? Is there anything you feel needs improvement?

I love that I can work hard to be prepared to help people who can’t help themselves. If I could change one thing about the medical field, it would be the medical disparities present in low-income areas. Especially in South Carolina, there are many places and people who don’t have access to sufficient healthcare. This should be considered a right, available to all regardless of socioeconomic status or class.

What is something you learned at The Citadel that you will take with you?

One thing I learned at The Citadel is that stress is artificial. Stress is an internal reaction to external factors, and it is up to you to decide whether or not you’re going to let things turn into stress.

What advice would you give someone following in your footsteps?

I would tell them to never stop putting yourself out there. Go for the positions of greater responsibility, apply for the internship you don’t think you’ll get and take chances. You’ll never be successful or achieve your highest potential unless you aim high. You’ll be amazed at the pieces that fall into place when you try. The worst that can happen is you get told no.

2nd Lt. Malcolm Jackson, ’22, Army nurse focused on caring for military families and veterans

Nursing Cadet Malcolm Jackson poses for a portrait in Stevens Barracks at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on April 12, 2021.

Tell us about your hometown

I’m from Bloomingdale, Georgia. It is a smaller city that is often overshadowed by its neighboring city, Savannah. Growing up in this area was unique in that it provided me with a diverse and geographically complex environment. Many athletic camps and summer programs I attended were hosted in the city of Savannah, while I grew up and attended school in the countryside.

What was the best part of being a cadet at The Citadel?

The best part of being a cadet at The Citadel was the challenges that I had to overcome to progress and grow my cadet career. I was raised to never quit and readily accept challenges, which often helped me develop my overall character, demeanor and discipline.

What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine? Are you planning to specialize in one area?

My family was the biggest influence on my career choice. My sister and my aunts were constantly beacons of success and happiness in their nursing careers. In my senior year of high school, I often visited and cared for my great-grandfather, which also pushed me to choose a medical profession that would have the most patient-practitioner interaction. I am grateful for the relationship I developed with my great-grandfather as a result of the care I provided him. This, along with the opportunities to learn and practice medicine, cemented nursing as my desired career of choice.

I plan on specializing in Psychiatry or Critical Care for active duty, veterans, their families and the surrounding communities. I understand that mental health is at a critical point in today’s society and we need support for our armed services. This is where I believe I can have a profound impact on people’s lives.

What was the hardest obstacle you overcame at The Citadel? In your journey to practice medicine?

The most difficult obstacle I overcame at the Citadel was my own complacency. My sophomore year roommate, along with my parents, motivated me to make the most of the opportunities provided at The Citadel. In my journey to practice medicine, the largest obstacle is the uncertainty that comes with inexperience and building confidence to an extent where you can actively recollect and apply knowledge from the classroom.

What do you like the most about the medical field? Is there anything you feel needs improvement?

What I like most is the ample opportunity to improve the lives of patients in different areas of healthcare practice. If there was anything to improve, that which is most important to me would be the regulation of nurse to patient ratio designed by governing boards of nursing professionals.

What is something you learned at The Citadel that you will take with you?

I’ve learned many concepts and takeaways that I’ve adopted into my way of thinking. Of these, I will always remember to lead without recourse. This means doing the right thing even when no one is looking and ensures a confident leader who will navigate morally and ethically through any adverse situation.

What is your next step?

After graduating from The Citadel I will study for my NCLEX and, after passing, proceed to my Basic Officer Leader Course in San Antonio, Texas. Ideally, I would like to be stationed in Washington D.C. to work at Walter Reed Hospital. I feel this would be a great learning opportunity and work environment.

What advice would you give someone following in your footsteps?

My only advice is to put your heart into everything you do. If you put your effort and care into your tasks, obligations or job, you will gain from it in one way or another. One of the most underappreciated gifts is often character development. We are growing as long as we live. Our only limit is what we place on ourselves.

SFC Kenneth Greene, one of the heroes of The Citadel Wed, 09 Feb 2022 17:07:32 +0000 Sergeant First Class Kenneth Greene, USA (Retired) poses for a portrait at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday, January 24, 2022.Sergeant First Class Kenneth Greene, USA (Retired) poses for a portrait at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday, January 24, 2022.By Cadet Olivia Hime, Regimental Public Affairs NCO Photo above: SFC Kenneth Greene, USA (Ret.), ’09, poses for a portrait on Summerall Field at The Citadel in January 2022. As]]> Sergeant First Class Kenneth Greene, USA (Retired) poses for a portrait at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday, January 24, 2022.Sergeant First Class Kenneth Greene, USA (Retired) poses for a portrait at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday, January 24, 2022.

By Cadet Olivia Hime, Regimental Public Affairs NCO

Photo above: SFC Kenneth Greene, USA (Ret.), ’09, poses for a portrait on Summerall Field at The Citadel in January 2022.

As Regimental Public Affairs NCO, part of my job is to help communicate what I believe are some of the advantages a cadet experience here at The Citadel provides. To me it is largely the people on campus, many of whom are veterans, who make such a difference.

There are a lot of heroes at The Citadel in my opinion. One of them is Sergeant First Class Kenneth Greene, USA (Ret.). He is the Operations and Training NCO here. Additionally, SFC Greene is the tactical officer for The Citadel Rifle Legion Drill Team.

After serving in and then retiring from the Army, he came to work at The Citadel in 2006 as a member of the Commandant’s staff. He also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Exercise and Sport Science in 2009 as a veteran student and staff member here.

I selected SFC Greene for this article based on his leadership style and his involvement on campus.

OH: Where did you grow up?

KG: I grew up right outside Philadelphia in a small town called Chester, Pennsylvania. It is exactly 20 minutes from the Philadelphia airport. Back then, people migrated up there because they were steelworkers. My mom was down in North Carolina, but there were no jobs there. So, at the time everyone was moving and Chester is where we settled.

OH: Do you have any siblings?

KG: Two sisters. I am not the oldest. I have one little sister who is back home and I have a baby sister in Virginia.

OH: Family seems important to us both. Do you know of any hardships your parents faced? Do you think you shared any with them?

KG: Back in the day, our parents always provided for us — we did not realize it until we got older — as far as food and clothing and the basics. Now it seems every time you go to a store there are things you want: I want this, I want that. It was not really like that when I was growing up and it was the same for my parents.

A prime example: when you had a pair of jeans and you had got a hole in those jeans, you put a patch over it, you didn’t just go buy another pair. Another example is that when we came home from school, we took our school clothes off and put on our play clothes. We had to take care of what we had.

It was the same thing for church. When you came home, you had to take off your church clothes. Also, there was not any riding bicycles, washing cars or playing outside on Sundays. That was the Lord’s Day, as our folks would say back then. I still hold true to those values and practices.

SFC Kenneth Greene, USA (Ret.), ’09, in 2017, inspecting cadets before Parents Weekend

OH: Who inspired you the most when you were young?

KG: I had some teachers who did, but overall I would say my mom. Everything I wanted, I had to go through my mother. You saw how hard she worked. Every parent wants their child to be better than they were. That stuck in my mind.

You really do not see the big picture until you leave the house as a young adult. Everyone always says, ‘I cannot wait to leave the house and be on my own.’ And to that I always say, ‘Be careful what you ask for.’ Nobody told you about bills, insurance, paying for electricity and things like that. We’re like a horse sometimes when we are in a small town family…blind to much of what’s around us until the blinders come off.

OH: Tell me more about your family?

KG: My wife, Sylvia, worked in Bond Hall for over 20 years, was the Registrar for The Citadel, and now she is fully retired. I met my wife right here on campus. We have one son and one granddaughter who goes to private school in the area.

I was still in the army when we had my son. I was always gone, so a strong foundation was important. I wish I could have been around more to guide him, but my main goal was to provide and put food on the table. My granddaughter is 11 years old and will be 12 soon. She comes to The Citadel football games and she plays tennis.

OH: What made you want to enlist in the United States Army? What have been some of your favorite experiences?

KG: It helped me pay for loans and got me away from home. Looking back, I have no regrets. I would do it all over again. Traveling, meeting a lot of new people around the world.

I have been to so many places including France, Germany. Korea was cold; it was rough. I had three tours in Korea. My last one was at the DMZ, which was eight miles from the border. I was in Camp Greaves. If anyone knows anything about Camp Greaves…the barracks at The Citadel close at 2300…there, when the bridge closes, you are not coming across until it opens back up. Spain, France, and some other parts of Europe were the best places I have been military wise.

When I first joined, I saw a lot of seasoned men who had been to combat. I thought, ‘Man, I would sure like to go to combat.’ I tell people that it is not what you think it is. Some things I can talk about today and others I cannot. In all, it was a good experience and I would go through it again. I would not change anything at all. I am happy where I am now

OH: What were your first few weeks in the military like when compared to your last year in the Army?

KG: Both were challenging. In the first few weeks, I was excited, young and eager. You put your life on the line several times and you stop thinking about tomorrow. It was a big adjustment

The last year, I was like, ‘Man, my career is coming to an end.’ You never think about taking the uniform off because you tend to think you will be in the military as long as you can. The next thing you know, when it is time to hang the uniform up, you think ‘What am I going to do now?’

OH: What brought you to The Citadel?

KG: I was at Fort Jackson near Columbia, South Carolina, and worked at the hospital. I had put my retirement papers in and I was looking for several different jobs. I had put in for highway patrol and had gone through the whole process and got accepted. I went to the academy in July and graduated one week before Thanksgiving. They asked me where I would like to be stationed and work. I said Charleston and they said, ‘Perfect, we are looking for highway patrol in that area.’ Two weeks before I had applied for that, I had applied for the operations job here at The Citadel. I came for an interview and it went well. They called and offered me the job. I retired in May and started here at The Citadel in February.

SFC Kenneth Greene, USA (Ret.), ’09, in 2017, inspecting cadets before Parents Weekend

OH: What inspires you about working here?

KG: The people and especially the cadets. You want to mold them, so that they see no downfalls. You don’t want them to make the same mistakes as you. I like to help guide them so they don’t leave and realize they should’ve done things differently while a cadet. You’ll realize many of the benefits later, especially if you have a family of your own.

OH: What colleges did you go to? What inspired you to go there?

KG: I went to Hampton University and then to The Citadel. I chose The Citadel after looking at alumni and their strengths. When being in the military, you never know who you are going to run into. Some people who had graduated from here told me I should think about going to The Citadel. One of them was Lt. Col. Gerhart. His son is actually here now.

Here at The Citadel there is a really good opportunity to train through the ranks. My advice is to go ahead and get your education when you can, that way you will be more marketable when you get out. That’s a true statement. It makes a difference. You have to make a living — so if you are eager, and no matter how old or young you are, you have to stay focused and get a good education.

OH: Do you think the people that have influenced you have changed as you’ve aged? Is there anyone in the army, or others whose leadership impressions stayed with you?

KG: In the military, when you come in as an enlisted member, you are always are trying to reach a certain goal and say, ‘I am trying to be like that person.’ You always have some good leaders and some bad leaders. You try to follow that one person. The person that sticks out in my mind is MSG Merritt. He was my main supervisor and I was always trying to emulate him and wanted to be just like him.

SFC Kenneth Greene, USA (Ret.), ’09, directing incoming cadet-recruits on Matriculation Day for the Class of 2025 at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday, August 14, 2021.

OH: What is your biggest accomplishment?

KG: Retiring from the military and coming back in one piece. I met a lot of people that didn’t get that. I would have given my life, if need be. That is a hard realization for some. You come back and see some friends that are still not in the right mind or on medication. Sometimes it’s hard to see.

We still keep in contact, a pack of us. You see, with age, your friends wear down. They develop health issues like heart problems or are on dialysis. I told people that when I am retired, they’ll never see me on a military installation. I’ve only been back to Fort Jackson a few times.

OH: Where do you see yourself in five years?

KG: Perhaps retired. Traveling more, golfing and relaxing. Life is too short. A tomorrow isn’t promised at all. Here, when a class graduates, you’ll never seem them as a whole again. Once they leave, life takes them.

When I retire, I will be a little sad and I will miss the conversations I have with cadets. I will miss the good and the bad people. I will miss the routine and life that exists here at The Citadel.

2nd Lt. David Days, ’19, received his first salute as a USAF officer after being commissioned from SFC Kenneth Greene, USA (Ret.), ’09, a beloved Citadel instructor, in 2019

OH: What advice would you give to your younger self?

KG: Save your money. Stop buying CDs. Go hang out with your friends more. Invest more. When you are in your 50s, you want to make sure that you can walk away debt free.

What do you think the future holds for The Citadel?

I think it is a great institution with a lot of promising leaders. If you look at the leadership that has been through here, you see each class takes it to a certain level then moves out of the way for the next wave of leaders to develop it even further.

About the author

Cadet Olivia Hime is from Holly Springs, North Carolina, near Raleigh. She is a junior and a member of The Citadel Honors Program. Hime is majoring in Biology with a minor in Leadership. She has repeatedly earned gold stars and positions on the President’s and Dean’s Lists for academic excellence.

Cadet Olivia Hime, ’22, Regimental Public Affairs NCO

Hime is a member of numerous organizations on and off campus, including The Citadel African American Society. She serves as the Scalpel Reporter, which is the official Alpha Epsilon Delta honor society journal. Hime enjoys volunteering in the community and playing basketball.

Hime will graduate one year early, in May 2022, and plans to attend medical school to become a physician.

How fuel spills impact the Lowcountry’s health and environment Tue, 14 Dec 2021 17:01:59 +0000 “Gigantic spills have catastrophic effects, smaller scale spills are less problematic," says Citadel professor Dr. John Zardus.]]>

As seen on WCIV – ABC News 4, by Charistin Clark

In the last two weeks, at least two shrimp boats have sunk, one of them spilling 50-100 gallons of fuel into Shem Creek. Experts say there are long-term health and environmental impacts that can stem from these fuel spills.

The first thing to consider is how much fuel has spilled.

“Gigantic spills have catastrophic effects, smaller scale spills are less problematic,” says Citadel Professor of Marine Biology Dr. John Zardus.

Fuel is lighter than seawater, so it will float on the surface.

“If it sits there long enough, it can start changing its conformation and it can form things like tar balls, or other materials that wash up on shores and foul beaches,” says Dr. Zardus.

Weather can also play a role in fuel spill clean-up efforts.

“If you have nice calm conditions, the oil is just going to spread and kind of float at the surface, but if you have a lot of wind or weather, that causes choppy waves, then it starts mixing it in and that becomes more problematic,” adds Dr. Zardus.

Once that fuel mixes in, it can impact the food web. Eventually, that could impact the food we eat.

“When the oil starts getting into the whole food web, then organisms are taking up toxic compounds like shrimp and oysters and fish and things that we may ultimately eat. A few of them with a small amount of toxins probably is not a big deal for us, but the more you eat and the more toxins you acquire over time, the bigger the problem could become,” says Dr. Zardus.

Dr. Zardus also advises boat owners to keep up on boat maintenance to prevent future fuel spills.

Click here to watch the on-air coverage.

Top takeaways from the National Collegiate Honors Council conference Fri, 19 Nov 2021 21:00:00 +0000 Epcot amusement park wide shotEpcot amusement park wide shotPhoto above: a provided photograph of Epcot theme park at the Walt Disney World Report in Florida. By Cadet Olivia Hime, Honors Program student and Regimental Public Affairs NCO Every]]> Epcot amusement park wide shotEpcot amusement park wide shot

Photo above: a provided photograph of Epcot theme park at the Walt Disney World Report in Florida.

By Cadet Olivia Hime, Honors Program student and Regimental Public Affairs NCO

Every year, students from college and university honors programs across the nation are selected to participate in the National Collegiate Honors Council conference. This year’s conference was held at Disney’s Epcot in Orlando, Florida.

This fall, I attended the conference with three other cadets from The Citadel Honors Program: Hannah Dion, Mason Hand and Ashely Ruiz. Our program director, Dr. Deirdre Ragan, attended with us.

During the four day conference, hundreds of students and faculty alike presented research they had been working on within the last year. Posters were inspected by graders over the course of four sessions.

NASA’s Dr. Katheryn Thornton speaking at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference.

The was also a series of speakers, including Thomas Riddle, the assistant director at Roper Mountain Science Center, and Dr. Kathryn Thornton, a scientist and former NASA Astronaut. In addition, there were speakers in breakout sessions addressing such pressing topics such as diversity and inclusion. Networking events were held in the evenings.

Sharing our research

Each student attending presented a poster demonstrating contrasting topics they’ve been researching in the past year. I am a biology student, planning to go to medical school.

My study focused on the egg development strategies of Aprostocetus hagenowii, a parasitoid wasp that lays its offspring in the egg cases of American cockroaches. I selected this topic when I was a sophomore because I was looking for something different.

Citadel Honors Program Cadet Olivia Hime, ’22, presenting her research at National Collegiate Honors Council 2021 conference in Orlando, Florida.

I have made great strides in my assessment of the organisms and in analysis of related literature with the help of Dr. David Donnell, an associate professor of biology at The Citadel.

I was a bit hesitant at first, as I do not fancy creepy crawlers, but I am so glad that I was able to partner with Dr. Donnell. We wanted to test to see if the wasps, Aprostocetus hagenowii, were pro-ovigenic or synovigenic. In pro-ovigenic species, egg maturation occurs prior to emergence from a host. In synovigenic species, maturation occurs throughout its lifetime allowing more time for host selection and oviposition. There were discrepancies in previous literature and with later studies supporting synovigeny, we decided to pursue this stance.

Our study revealed that although egg count increased before rapidly dropping off, this variation in number was not significant. We also found that the egg yolk producing protein, vitellogenin, was present in newly emerged offspring. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to conclude A. hagenowii are synovigenic. Future work includes performing an analysis on wasps in set intervals post emergence that have been exposed to a host. If vitellogenin concentration remains level, this will indicate synovigeny.

Valued research and expanding my world view

On the final day of the conference, I was notified that my research had received the highest score and I took first place in the environmental sciences category. I was pleased that my work was valued by others, especially those who have made research their career. 

For me, numerous benefits resulted from being able to attend the conference. The networking — being able to meet students, professors and researchers from across the country, and face to face — was compelling. I hope to stay in touch with several people I met.

I also developed a better understanding on how cultural backgrounds, climate and location can affect one’s perspective as a student, researcher or scientist. During the poster sessions, I visited with students presenting solutions to important issues such as microplastics pollution or invasive species in given areas. Others addressed political strategy, innovation in fine arts or analyzed literature. I realized there is no limitation to the range of subjects that interest students my age, or to the knowledge that can be obtained from studying those things. It’s more of a matter of who has the perseverance and passion to pursue their interests with serious commitment.

An interview with Cadet Col. Kathryn Christmas Mon, 08 Nov 2021 21:05:00 +0000 Cadet Olivia Hime with Regimental Commander Kathryn Christmas posing for a photograph on campusCadet Olivia Hime with Regimental Commander Kathryn Christmas posing for a photograph on campus"I grew up in a very small social bubble and because of that, I had a small understanding of what the world had to offer and how other people think."]]> Cadet Olivia Hime with Regimental Commander Kathryn Christmas posing for a photograph on campusCadet Olivia Hime with Regimental Commander Kathryn Christmas posing for a photograph on campus

Homecoming 2021 special feature

Every year around homecoming, the South Carolina Corps of Cadets Regimental Public Affairs NCO helps The Citadel family get to know that year’s regimental commander through a published interview.

Cadet Col. Kathryn Christmas (KC), the regimental commander, attends the college on a U.S. Air Force contract. She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Christmas answered a series of questions from Olivia Hime (OH), regimental public affairs NCO, who shares the results below.

OH: Where are you from? How has growing up there impacted how you view the world around you?

KC: I am from Easley, South Carolina. I grew up in a very small social bubble and because of that, I had a small understanding of what the world had to offer and how other people live and think. Everyone at the school I attended believed the same things. The Citadel is expanding my world view by helping me experience different cultures and meet new people.

OH: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

KC: My favorite thing to do in my free time is to participate in sports or go hiking. Table Rock trail in upstate South Carolina is my favorite trail. I played volleyball for seven years prior to matriculating to The Citadel, so I love the camaraderie of intramural sports.

OH: What is your favorite quote?

KC: My favorite quote is “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.” – General Norman Schwarzkopf. My dad escorted General Schwarzkopf around Europe during his time in the Air Force.

OH: What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?

KC: My greatest accomplishment thus far has been either achieving the rank of Regimental Commander or being selected for a pilot slot by Air Force ROTC. I have wanted to be a pilot ever since middle school and took flying lessons in high school. That is my dream.

OH: Why did you choose the Citadel? Has that reason changed as you’ve grown?

KC: I chose The Citadel because I had a pre-knob visit during high school. That’s when students considering The Citadel get to visit, meet cadets and professors in their academic area of interest, and spend a full day and night seeing what life is like here. My pre-knob visit convinced me that The Citadel was where I needed to be. This reason has not changed.

OH: When you matriculated, did you think you would end up leading the Corps?

KC: I did not have any idea in the slightest that I would one day become the Regimental Commander of the South Carolina Cadets. I pursued the position of regimental commander after watching those who have come before me. I wanted to make an impact on those around me.

OH: What is something that you have had to sacrifice? What have you learned from this sacrifice?

KC: Like all cadets, I have sacrificed many things others normally do in college just to be here. I have had to sacrifice my hobbies, free time, nights out with friends and sleep. This is not complaining, this is simply the truth. I have sacrificed a lot to be where I am now. I know the time I take out of my life benefits the Corps now and hopefully will continue to make an impact after the Class of 2022 graduates. The decisions I’ve made have humbled me and allowed me to see life from a different perspective.

OH: What are your goals for the Corps? Is there anything you want to change?

KC: My main goal for this year was to return the Corps and The Citadel back to normal operations after a pandemic-dominated year and a half. I am also focusing on the development of every cadet and their respective position in the Corps. I would love to change how cadets believe only the top rank holders can make a difference in the Corps. Everyone has a valuable voice and/or opinion and it deserves to be heard.

OH: What is something you will miss about The Citadel?

KC: I will miss the people and the long-lasting relationships that I have formed with them. The bonds created here are different from others because we have faced the rigors that come with the lifestyle of a cadet together. As cadets, we can always find comfort in that we can lean on each other.

OH: What is your next step after you leave The Citadel?

KC: My next step is to commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force just before graduation in May, and then to go pilot school. I plan to make the most of my time in the Air Force and to serve a full 20 years.

OH: What advice do you give to freshman, sophomores and juniors respectively?

KC: I tell freshmen to remember that they are all going through the same thing and to lean on their classmates for support. It will all be worth it. For sophomores – this is your first chance to be a leader at The Citadel whether or not you are a corporal. Succeed and fail, but make sure you learn from each instance and keep moving forward. For juniors – this is the time to learn from those around you as you work toward becoming an officer. Learn from cadet officers, and from the many other leaders on campus. Seek out a mentor and discuss what you see as successes or failures of others and the “why” behind those events. Most importantly, do your job for the betterment of others, not for yourself.

OH: If you could do it all over again, would you and why?

KC: I would absolutely do it again for many reasons. But it’s the people I’ve met and continue to meet through The Citadel that have made some of the big impressions on me. I know some will always be a part of my life. Plus, the lessons I’ve learned here are invaluable and worth experiencing knob year countless times over.

MSG Olivia Hime and Cadet Col. Kathryn Christmas pose for a portrait parade on Friday, September 17, 2021.

About MSG Olivia Hime

Hime is a Gold Star and Dean’s List cadet, who is in the Honors Program and is majoring in Biology. She is from Holly Springs, North Carolina, and will graduate a year early in May with the Class of 2022. She plans to attend medical school and to become a surgeon and is currently shadowing neurosurgeons in the Charleston area and at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Hime is the editor of AED Scalpel Reporter, and media director/community service representative for the African American Society. In addition, she is a Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) Preparation Hub Facilitator and a panel leader in the newly established Women’s Association on campus. Hime has participated in various research projects and earned a first place designation for her research presentation at the National Collegiate Honors Council this fall. She is also a member of SM3, a mentorship program organized by MUSC for student minorities. In her spare time, she enjoys organizing workouts with friends as a part of her fitness club, reading self-improvement books and practicing meditation.

My Ring Story: Remember your “why” Fri, 15 Oct 2021 20:11:21 +0000 Meet Jerry Eugene Higgins III, Class of 2022 Jerry Higgins is a cadet-athlete from Cleveland, Ohio, who is majoring in Biology. He is a basketball player and has received gold]]>

Meet Jerry Eugene Higgins III, Class of 2022

Jerry Higgins is a cadet-athlete from Cleveland, Ohio, who is majoring in Biology. He is a basketball player and has received gold stars for academic achievement. After graduation Higgins plans to attend medical school and become a physician.

Q. What is engraved on the inside of your ring and what is its significance?

A. I put two phrases inside my ring. The first is “Remember Your Why.” That will be a constant reminder to strive for greatness in everything I do. Your “why” is the reason you get out of bed in the morning and do all that you do. Your “why” is what you believe you are meant to do here. Some of us know our “why.” Some of us do not. And, for some of us it changes over the course of a lifetime. Knowing your purpose is crucial because it gives you direction. My “why” is focused on my family and the people close to me that have made me the man I am today; I truly don’t know where I would be without them.

The second engraving is “God’s Speed.” This will remind me that things will happen when they are meant to occur. Like being in the wonderful place right now of getting my band of gold. Through the journey of life, having God by my side eases my worries because I know In the end I will be alright.

Q. Who inspired you to begin your journey here at The Citadel?

A. My father has definitely inspired me to not only make the choice to come here, but to push through the hard times to success. When deciding to attend as a cadet-athlete, I was skeptical about whether I could handle sports plus the military requirements, on top of academics. I did my best to set an example of how an athlete at The Citadel should balance academics, athletics and our military requirements – all of them – like everyone else.

Left to right: Me, my father, Jerry Higgins Jr., my brother Cameron, my stepmother Svetlana, and my sister Sasha, in July when we all attended my brother’s preschool graduation.

My father assured me that he raised me to be able to endure any environment, and this was very true. His strength powers me through every day!

Q. Do you feel that you will have any special obligations now that you wear the ring?

A. Yes. Many. The ring represents everyone that has come before my class and that will come after. The same principles that I learned here will be with me as I wear the ring.

For me, wearing the ring is also showing appreciation for the people who were here in the Corps of Cadets before me. I know there have been many African American cadets that have attended this college that have paved the way for minorities to be accepted here.

Additionally, I think that it’s important that people realize that our ring isn’t your typical class ring. The ring bonds everyone that has successfully come through the gates of this school and represents sacrifices they made to be here.

Q. What are three specific things The Citadel taught you?

A. 1. Be grateful for everything. 2. Struggle is necessary for growth. 3. The importance of accountability.

Cadets Jerry Higgins and Douglas Karam, accompanied by Dr. John Weinstein, Biology, deploy an experiment to measure how face masks, rubber gloves and hand wipes decompose in the salt marsh behind Inouye Hall on Thursday, October 14, 2021.  Credit: Cameron Pollack / The Citadel
Cadet Jerry Higgins III in the marsh near The Citadel campus, setting up a biology research project to measure the environmental impacts of discarded facemasks, gloves and anti-bacterial wipes in coastal areas.

The Citadel ring, known as The Band of Gold, symbolizes more than just a cadet’s time spent as a member of The South Carolina Corps of Cadets or the time in the classroom. It symbolizes the military college’s core values of honor, duty, and respect; the same values Citadel cadets take with them to positions of leadership and military service around the world after they earn the ring and graduate.

Citadel cadets, professor launch investigation into impacts of PPE on Charleston marshes Fri, 15 Oct 2021 13:37:16 +0000 Photograph credit: Forrest Tucker WCBD TVPhotograph credit: Forrest Tucker WCBD TV“It feels like you can have an impact on something you’re going through right now."]]> Photograph credit: Forrest Tucker WCBD TVPhotograph credit: Forrest Tucker WCBD TV

As seen on WCBD-TV, by Forrest Tucker

Photo above by Forrest Tucker, News 2, WCBD-TV

Armed with boots to trench through muddy banks near the Citadel’s campus, senior cadets Douglas Karam and Jerry Higgins installed a project that the pair have been working on for much of the semester.

“The planning and the process of putting it together actually took about six to seven weeks,” said Karam.

The goal of their experiment is to see how face masks, rubber gloves and hand wipes decompose in a salt marsh environment over the next eight months. The personal protective equipment, or PPE, is screwed down on boards that will become submerged during high tides.

“It feels like you can have an impact on something you’re going through right now,” said Karam.

Photograph by Forrest Tucker, News 2, WCBD-TV

The COVID-19 pandemic created a large need for items like masks and wipes and not all of them have been disposed of properly.

According to research from Ocean Asia, an estimated 1.5 billion facemasks may have entered the ocean as plastic litter in 2020.

“There’s a myth that plastic items take decades to centuries to degrade. What we’re finding in the salt marsh environment is that it’s happening a lot quicker,” said Citadel Professor of Biology Dr. John Weinstein.

With the Lowcountry’s environment mostly made up of saltwater marshes, Dr. Weinstein and the cadets think that the PPE will start to degrade into thousands of microplastics in a much shorter amount of time.

“We believe that it will degrade in four weeks. But over time we are going to check it out at four weeks, eight weeks, sixteen weeks, and thirty-two weeks,” said Higgins. “So we will see how it degrades over time, the rate of how it degrades, and how much each product degrades.”

The research will help them gauge the impact PPE pollution has on aquatic life, including seafood caught to be served in restaurants, and humans.

“As far as their life processes and what they ingest (the aquatic life) are surrounded in water. Not only does it affect the aquatic animals, but also the people who are living in this environment,” said Higgins.

“Surfing” barnacles research earning Citadel scientist international attention Fri, 08 Oct 2021 21:11:22 +0000 Sea turtle's head with barnacles on itSea turtle's head with barnacles on it"We thought, ‘Ah, these guys are moving around so that they can get close together for reproduction.’"]]> Sea turtle's head with barnacles on itSea turtle's head with barnacles on it

Barnacles can move? Seriously who knew? Apparently not many people.

Research by a marine biologist at The Citadel is popping up science news outlets after his work was published by The Royal Society Publishing. The academic piece is entitled “Five hundred million years to mobility: directed locomotion and its ecological function in a turtle barnacle.”

The abstract states that Professor John Zardus, Ph.D., and his co-authors “confirm that the epizoic sea turtle barnacle, Chelonibia testudinaria, has evolved the capacity for self-directed locomotion as adults.” 

Yes, the barnacles that spend their lives attached to sea turtles actually move around on the turtle, they are not stagnant. And, according to the research, they often leave behind a little trail of their sticky “cement.”

Recorded Chelonibia testudinaria barnacle movement on plexiglass plate
Courtesy of Benny K.K. Chan and JRI-Chi Lin

“The goal of movement ecology is to determine how, why, where and when organisms move,” said Zardus. “And that’s what we set out to discover with barnacles.”

Here’s a look at two popular magazine articles about the findings.

Some Barnacles Can Move Around to Improve Feeding Position

The Scientist spoke with marine biologist and barnacle researcher John Zardus about why turtle barnacles—previously thought to be immobile—in fact slowly travel. He thinks the answer is food

As seen in The Scientist, by Chloe Tenn

Almost by definition, barnacles are immobile: these crustaceans cluster on surfaces such as whale heads, sea turtle shells, coastal rocks, and ship hulls. Once barnacle larvae mature, they travel on ocean currents in search of an anchoring place, preferentially settling in locations with good water flow, which often happen to be moving marine animals. Barnacles stick to host locations by secreting an adhesive cement, typically from a rigid plate on their undersides, that glues them to the surface. The general consensus has long been that barnacles then remain permanently cemented to their chosen surfaces, never to move again.

But a 2008 paper described an exception in barnacle immobility in the turtle barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria. This unexpected observation inspired John Zardus, a marine biologist and professor at The Citadel in South Carolina, and his colleagues to investigate barnacle locomotion on turtle shells. In a study published October 6 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, they report that not only is Chelonibia testudinaria mobile, but it navigates purposefully toward locations of high water flow where the barnacles can more easily feed.

Barnacles are classified as filter feeders, extending a small fiber-like fan appendage that captures particles and miniscule organisms from the surrounding seawater. They may be able to feed more effectively if they are positioned so that currents push food particles into their fan. Zardus and colleagues hypothesized that Chelonibia testudinaria position themselves to capture more food, and tested this idea in multiple aquarium tanks around the world. The researchers observed that the barnacles moved up to 78.6 mm over the course of a year and could change directions. They also found that the barnacles situated on turtle shells tended to move toward the turtle’s head, against the flow of water that passes as the turtle swims, which would give them access to stronger currents and thus more food.

The Scientist spoke with Zardus about why it matters that these barnacles can move around, and how these slow-moving animals travel over turtle shells.

The Scientist: What interested you in studying animal mobility?

John Zardus: I was originally interested in barnacles that live on other animals. My real question was, how did these barnacles find the host that they have to live on? There are some [barnacles] that are specialized for sea turtles, some for whales. It was just by accident that we came across this species that moves. We weren’t the first ones to discover this. There was a paper published in 2008 by Julia Moriarty. She had contacted me and sent me some photographs, asking, ‘Can barnacles that live on turtles move around?’ I answered, ‘No, no, barnacles don’t do that. Once they’re stuck, they’re there.’ She sent these photos of a time series of turtles over time with barnacles on them. She was using the barnacles to keep track of which turtle was which. She realized that the barnacles seemed to be moving. When I looked at her pictures, I was really blown away by it. We’ve been looking at how that phenomenon could happen ever since. We finally were able to conduct some laboratory experiments that completely confirmed it, and then started asking questions about why they do it.

TS: According to the paper, the study finds barnacles have directed movement for feeding purposes. Could you expand on what this means about the current understanding of barnacles?

JZ: You have to understand a little bit about how a barnacle operates. Basically, they’re like a shrimp in a shell, living upside down, with their head pointed down, and they kick their legs out to capture food. They’re filter feeders, feeding on whatever’s in the plankton. When they attach to a turtle, probably the big benefit [of attaching] is feeding currents. If you take a barnacle, and it’s living in still water, it will take its appendages and stroke them through the water very actively. But once you provide some flow, then they’ll just sit there and passively capture their food. It’s much easier for them to do. They don’t have to expend any energy. This species and others that live on mobile hosts are probably taking advantage of the flow for feeding.

The bottom [of a barnacle shell] is very flat. They sit right on the surface. How does it [move around]? It doesn’t have little legs down there. We don’t know how it’s doing it. We just know that it is [moving] very slowly. It takes weeks or months for it to travel any significant distance. Most barnacles, on their bottom, secrete a basal plate that is made of calcium carbonate, and it’s solid. But this one doesn’t. It has a membrane. There’s a few [barnacles] that are like this with a soft bottom. We’re pretty sure that that’s an important component of the movement.

TS: What surprised you about this ability of barnacles?
JZ: We were pretty sure it was reproduction, but we were wrong. It turned out to be for feeding.

Let me tell you a little about reproduction in barnacles. They are mostly hermaphroditic. They have both male and female components, but they can’t fertilize themselves. They need to have a neighbor. It’s very typical for barnacles to live in clusters so that they can fertilize their neighbor next door. They have direct insemination, with the world’s largest penis per body size. They reach out and copulate with their next-door neighbors. We thought, ‘Ah, these guys are moving around so that they can get close together for reproduction.’

We set up some experiments where we put them in different arrangements, tightly clustered together or separated far apart. We figured that in the ones that were separated far apart, that over time, they would move closer together. But they didn’t. They ended up moving randomly. Only when we put flow on them from the jet in the aquarium did they start moving, and they moved towards the flow.

When you looked at them on sea turtles in the wild, they were mostly moving toward the head of the turtle or towards the anterior part of the turtle shell. That’s going to put them in higher flow. It seems to be that they’re really responding to flow, and that is probably more for feeding, and they don’t seem to be doing it so much for reproduction.

I also have another study that’s in press right now with this species demonstrating that it’s the only barnacle we know of that does not do active feeding. If you give them no flow, a barnacle will typically stroke its appendages to get food. If you put this one with no flow, it does nothing. It’ll die. It will never even actively feed. It relies 100 percent on passive feeding, so it really has to be in a high flow environment all the time. Which makes sense if you’re living on a turtle—you’re going to get a lot of flow.

One of the reasons it might not be so concerned about getting close together with other individuals is [this barnacle] has dwarf males that live attached to it. They’re really tiny, only a few millimeters in size, and a single hermaphrodite . . . may have 30 to 40 of what they call complemental males. They’re tiny individuals and they live in these crevices. They specifically settle in there and then they just provide sperm to the central hermaphrodite. If [the hermaphrodites are] carrying their own males, they probably don’t care if they’re near a neighbor or not because they’ve already got what they need. This one has a really cool biology. All sorts of interesting things going on.

TS: When you were observing these barnacles in the aquariums, were there any challenges that arose with the experiments?
JZ: We had to figure out how to get them attached to surfaces in the lab. We tried two approaches in my lab here in South Carolina. I started raising them from the larval stage, and I could get them to attach onto PVC pipe, and then grow them in the lab just fine. But for whatever reason, those that lived on PVC didn’t move.My colleague in Taiwan, Benny Chan, tried a different approach. He found some crabs that this barnacle was living on. He would catch the crabs, bring them into the lab, euthanize the crabs, cut the crab shell around the base of the barnacle, and then let it sit for a few days until the crab shell dissolved. Once it was dissolved, he could take the barnacle that was intact and healthy, put it onto a plexiglass panel, and let it sit for a few days. It would create some new glue and cement itself onto it. That was the real success. Once we got those glued onto glass panels, those were the ones that we could put into flow and move them around from aquarium to aquarium for the different experiments and do time lapse studies on them.

TS: Do you think that your findings could be extended to perhaps other types of barnacles or sessile animal models?
JZ: I think we should certainly look for it. I don’t think we’re going to find it happening very much. Do I think other barnacles are doing this? I doubt it. Maybe under very special circumstances. We would need to look at those. I think some of the prerequisites for this guy to move is it’s got this very flat, broad base with a membranous bottom. There aren’t too many barnacles that are like that. Those would be the candidates that I think we might look at.

Regarding other animals, there was a recent paper that came out about some deep-sea sponges that they found moving. Again, they don’t know how, but they could see tracks in the sediment or on the surface where the sponges had travelled. That was unexpected. I think it would be interesting to look in other places, but I don’t think it’s going to be widespread phenomenon.

Citadel Professor John Zardus, Ph.D. working with a sea turtle during his research on the epizoic sea turtle barnacle.

TS: Where do you see the future of the research going? What would you like to explore next with these barnacles?
JZ: I think the big question people really want to know is, how do they do this? What’s the mechanism? That’s where we’re headed. We don’t have a lot of tangible evidence for how it’s happening right now.

TS: Do you have any ideas or any suspicions of how barnacles could be moving?
JZ: I think it’s got to do with the glue. Barnacles, when they first attach to the substratum—almost all species—they start secreting a glue that permanently fixes them in place, and then they continue to secrete that glue throughout their lifetime as they get larger and larger. This one’s doing the same thing, but it must also be dissolving its glue. We want to look at that and see if somehow the glue is being laid down, then the animal is somehow severing that connection, and then reapplying the glue in periodic intervals.

We also want to examine this glue more carefully. We know that it looks a little different from some of the other glues we’ve seen in barnacles. It gets put down in different layers and the composition is different just looking under the electron microscope. That’s never been reported in barnacle glue before. That’s one part that we think is going to be important to figuring out.

Also reported on

It moves! Supposedly immobile barnacles can ‘surf’ across turtle shells
By Rachel Fritts

Courtesy of Prof. John Zardus, Ph.D., The Citadel Department of Biology

Barnacles are notoriously clingy creatures. The filter-feeding crustaceans—familiar sights on rocky shores or the hulls of boats—were long thought to be completely immobile. But a new study has confirmed that at least one species, which settles on top of sea turtle shells, can slide across surfaces to places where it’s easier to snag a snack.

Chelonibia testudinaria live predominantly on the backs of sea turtles and occasionally hitch rides on other seafaring creatures like manatees and crabs. Whereas their larval forms swim freely, adults cement themselves to a surface, where they were believed to hold fast for life. But in the early 2000s, researchers found there might be a little more wiggle room than previously thought: C. testudinaria barnacles on wild green sea turtles seemed to move around on the turtles’ shells, often against the current, over a period of months.

In 2017, other scientists tracked 15 barnacles’ movements on an acrylic surface in a lab (see video, above). After 1 year of observations, they found the barnacles used incremental secretions of their cement to “surf” to a new position, they report today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. They suspect the barnacles are after food, as they moved toward areas of higher water flow—which carry more food particles—when exposed to a current.   

The barnacles won’t be winning any races—they averaged a distance of about 7 millimeters over 3 months, with one barnacle moving 8 centimeters over 1 year. But scientists say this is still a notable feat for a group of animals once considered incapable of relocating.

A new kind of Frankenstein: bringing cadavers back to life in the classroom Fri, 24 Sep 2021 15:38:11 +0000 Cadets work with Dr. Clinton Moran, Biology, on a new Anatomage table, the newest addition to Duckett Hall’s state-of-the-art anatomy and physiology lab at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The CitadelCadets work with Dr. Clinton Moran, Biology, on a new Anatomage table, the newest addition to Duckett Hall’s state-of-the-art anatomy and physiology lab at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The Citadel"This is absolutely going to make learning anatomy more memorable and more fun."]]> Cadets work with Dr. Clinton Moran, Biology, on a new Anatomage table, the newest addition to Duckett Hall’s state-of-the-art anatomy and physiology lab at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The CitadelCadets work with Dr. Clinton Moran, Biology, on a new Anatomage table, the newest addition to Duckett Hall’s state-of-the-art anatomy and physiology lab at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The Citadel

Take a peek into the new Anatomy and Physiology Lab at The Citadel

Forget the dusty plastic leg, torso and skeleton models clattering around from hooks in the back of the labs. Their usefulness in the anatomy lab is coming to a close at The Citadel.

Instead, turn down the lights and illuminate the beating heart, manipulate the moving circulatory system, or bring the cadaver of a man who died of cancer back to life digitally to observe the tumors as they grow, before virtually dissecting him.

Cadets work with Dr. Clinton Moran, Biology, on a new Anatomage table, the newest addition to Duckett Hall’s state-of-the-art anatomy and physiology lab at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Credit: Cameron Pollack / The Citadel
Cadets work with Dr. Clinton Moran on the college’s Anatomage table in The Citadel Anatomy and Physiology Lab August 31, 2021.

The Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics is now using an Anatomage table and learning system that enables cadets and students to examine real medical case studies with a technology that transforms cadavers into digital living bodies that function and respond.

“The virtual dissection table unscrambles the complex layers of the human body for cadets and students getting degrees in biology, nursing, or health and human performance,” said Clinton Moran, Ph.D., a professor of physiology at The Citadel. “There are many animal cases also, so we won’t need to order and dissect preserved animal specimens. The potential for cross-disciplinary learning through our new Anatomage technology is also expansive.”

In addition to the dissection table, two large wall monitors show the entire class what those at the table are doing. Moran’s class was one of the first to use the Anatomage in the college’s new Anatomy and Physiology Lab this fall.

“This is really something. It’s crazy-real,” said Cadet Reed Reichel, a junior from Beaufort, South Carolina, after using the table for the first time. Reichel is majoring in exercise science and plans to go to graduate school with the goal of becoming a physical therapist. “This is absolutely going to make learning anatomy more memorable and more fun.”

How does it work?

The Anatomage system offers four gross anatomy cases, more than 20 high-resolution regional anatomy cases, and more than 1000 pathological examples. These digital human models function as practice patients for medical schools, physical therapy schools and colleges/universities across the country. 

Cadets work with Dr. Clinton Moran on the college’s Anatomage table in The Citadel Anatomy and Physiology Lab August 31, 2021.

A few things it can do:

  • Help students visualize the microstructures of the brain, ear, and eyes.
  • Enable students to visually examine how cardiac and other vital functions are carried out in an active, living human body.
  • Involve students in hands-on kinesiology simulation activities to understand how a living body physiologically produces motions. 

“Anatomage provides an interaction with anatomy inside a living human body that we could never offer before,” said The Citadel’s Swain Family School of Science and Mathematics Dean, Darin Zimmerman, Ph.D. “The Citadel is deeply grateful to the Swain family for helping provide this unparalleled learning experience.”

Cadets work with Dr. Clinton Moran on the college’s Anatomage table in The Citadel Anatomy and Physiology Lab August 31, 2021.

The software for The Citadel’s system will be upgraded as new functionality becomes available. For example, the next software update, Table 8, includes a digital pregnancy, from beginning to birth.

Want a closer look?

See what the Anatomage technology can do in the demonstration video below.

The Citadel honors the excellence and efforts of its faculty Thu, 29 Apr 2021 19:10:20 +0000 Dr. Mary Katherine Watson teaching an engineering course at The Citadel in a classroomDr. Mary Katherine Watson teaching an engineering course at The Citadel in a classroomAfter a year of overcoming unique challenges, The Citadel is recognizing some of its outstanding faculty members.]]> Dr. Mary Katherine Watson teaching an engineering course at The Citadel in a classroomDr. Mary Katherine Watson teaching an engineering course at The Citadel in a classroom

Photo: Mary Katherine Watson, Ph.D., whose upcoming sabbatical was announced at the general faculty meeting, teaching cadets in 2019.

After a year of overcoming unique challenges — both academic and across the board — The Citadel is recognizing some of its outstanding faculty members.

At a general faculty meeting held via Zoom on Wednesday, April 28, Provost and Dean of the College Sally Selden, Ph.D., along with members of her team, expressed their deep gratitude to the entire, outstanding faculty that persevered through the immense challenges of the academic year.

Also at that meeting, they recognized the following professors at a general faculty meeting held via Zoom on Wednesday, April 28.

This year’s awards, promotions and recognitions include:

Faculty Excellence Awards

New Faculty Excellence Award – Kweku Brown, Ph.D.

Kweku Brown, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Brown has amassed an outstanding record of achievement in teaching and service. He exemplifies how professors and engineers can work together to strive for the highest standards of excellence.

He is a recipient of numerous awards including the American Society of Civil Engineers Educator of the Year Award.

Brown has authored numerous journal articles, research publications, and national conference proceedings, and is involved in multiple service initiatives that are supporting student enrichment and furthering the academic reputation of The Citadel, including Educational Liaison to South Carolina Society of Professional Land Surveyors and Faculty Advisor to The Citadel Surveying Competition Team, which recently placed 2nd in a regional competition.

Excellence in Research Award – Scott Yost, Ph.D.

Scott Yost, Ph.D., is a professor of Physics. 

Yost has made important contributions to particle physics and string theory.

Since 2016, his work calculating processes at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, has resulted in a significant level of scholarship including journal articles, conference proceedings articles, and talks at major international conferences.

In 2016, he spent a nine-month sabbatical at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Science. In addition to his work in particle physics, he co-authored several seminal papers in string theory, some of which were based on his dissertation at Princeton University.

Collectively, these papers have over 3,000 citations, in part because some of them played a foundational role in subsequent, emerging theoretical models.

Excellence in Service Award – Dimitra Michalaka, Ph.D.

Dimitra Michalaka, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Michalaka serves as a mentor and faculty leader through far-reaching service initiatives to support others, advance transportation engineering and strengthen the engineering community.

She has been recognized through previous awards, including the New Faculty Excellence Award and the South Carolina American Society of Civil Engineers, Young Civil Engineer of The Year Award.

She also serves as faculty advisor to The Citadel’s Society of Women Engineering.

Michalaka’s service includes her role on several institution-level committees, as well as coordinating events for Women in Industry Day at The Citadel.

She leads engineering students, faculty and professionals in “Introduce a Girl Scout to Engineering,” an annual event for 80-120 Girl Scouts, who learn about the principles of engineering through an engaging three-hour program.

She successfully led student workshops at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville, SC, engaging students in math, science, and engineering curriculum focused on analytical problem-solving skills.

Excellence in Teaching Award – Kevin Skenes, Ph.D.

Kevin Skenes, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Skenes has produced an impressive record of teaching and course development. Since January 2016, he has taught 17 different courses at The Citadel including graduate, engineering and general education courses.

He utilizes new resources such as the Daniel Library Makerspace and the Engineering Fabrication Shop and is genuinely open to students’ opinions and eager to grow and learn with them.

Skenes engages student discussions of moral and ethical concerns as well as practical engineering applications, using real-life scenarios so that students can see themselves solving similar problems in their careers.  

He serves cadets and students as an excellent instructor, mentor and advisor. He has maintained one of the highest student evaluation ratings. He is a favorite among students who give him top marks while simultaneously noting how hard they have to work in his classes and labs.

The Medbery Award – Stephanie Laughton, Ph.D.

The C.A. Medbery Excellence in Teaching Award was established by the Medbery family in honor of the late Professor Clint Medbery.  The award is presented each year to a faculty member in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Civil, Electrical, or Mechanical Engineering who makes a strong impact in freshman-level programs.

The year’s recipient is Assistant Professor Stephanie Laughton, Ph.D., from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Laughton’s department head, Jeff Davis, Ph.D., states: “Through her dedication as an enthusiastic educator, well-founded pedagogical methods, skills as a fantastic faculty collaborator, expansive knowledge of curricular content and enthusiasm for civil engineering, she has effectively dedicated her passion and energy towards creating an outstanding foundation for student success, the benefits of which are immeasurable.”

Laughton’s impact on students is reflected in the following quote from one of her freshmen students: “Dr. Laughton is a great teacher. She is extremely understanding and knowledgeable. Along with that, she has an extraordinary amount of patience. The Citadel is lucky to have her and she is a great asset to the Civil Engineering Program.”

Provost’s Team of the Year

The Citadel Provost, Sally Selden, Ph.D., selected the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, Learning and Distance Education as the Provost’s Team of the Year. 

As The Citadel moved to the highly unanticipated need for fully online instruction in March of 2020, this team provided crucial support to faculty and students.

The team trained more than 400 faculty and students last fall alone, and continues to remain flexible and focused as new challenges arise or additional coaching is needed.

Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Award – Danny Gustafson, Ph.D.

The inaugural Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Research Award goes to Biology professor Danny Gustafson, Ph.D.

Gustafson has an impressive record of mentoring students for the past 18 years at The Citadel. Students and colleagues are better positioned for success with his support.

He has built a record of working with students who might normally shy away from undergraduate research, such as athletes and military veterans.  His enthusiasm for research and learning is infectious and admired.

Claudia Rocha, Ph.D., whose upcoming sabbatical was announced at the general faculty meeting, setting up Zoom to teach a class in spring 2021.

Other recognitions

Emeritus status

David Allen, Ph.D., professor of English; associate provost for Academic Affairs

Juan Bahk, Ph.D., professor of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Jim Hutchisson, Ph.D., professor of English

David Trautman, Ph.D., professor of Mathematical Sciences

Elise Wallace, associate professor of Library Science

Bill Woolsey, Ph.D., associate professor of Management and Entrepreneurship


Claudia Rocha, Ph.D., Department of Biology

Guy Toubiana, Ph.D., Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Mary Katherine Watson, Ph.D., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Col. Ron Welch, Ph.D., USA (Ret.), dean, School of Engineering

John Weinstein, Ph.D., Department of Biology

The following faculty members will receive a one-semester sabbatical:

Nancy Aguirre, Ph.D., Department of History

Robert Barsanti, Ph.D., Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Michael Verdicchio, Ph.D., Department of Cyber and Computer Science

Tenure and Promotion

Monika Bubacz, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering
Promotion to professor

William Money, Ph.D, Department of Marketing, Supply Chain Management & Economics
Promotion to professor

Audrey Parrish, Ph.D., Department of Psychology
Promotion to associate professor and tenure

Chris Sole, Ph.D., CSCS,*D, Department of Health and Human Performance
Promotion to associate professor and tenure

Jennifer Albert, Ph.D., Zucker Family School of Education
Promotion to associate professor and tenure

Kewku Brown, Ph.D., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Promotion to associate professor and tenure

Melanie Maddox, Ph.D., Department of History
Promotion to associate professor and tenure

Richard Robinson, Ph.D., Department of Mathematical Sciences
Promotion to associate professor and tenure

Roy Fenoff, Ph.D., Department of Criminal Justice
Promotion to associate professor and tenure

Sarah Imam, M.D., Department of Health and Human Performance
Promotion to associate professor and tenure

Timothy Wood, Ph.D., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Promotion to Associate Professor and Tenure

Jeffrey Lyons, Ph.D., Department of Mathematical Sciences
Promotion to associate professor

Jan Goldman, Ed.D., Department of Intelligence and Security Studies

Andrea Gramling, Department of Biology
Promoted to senior instructor

Service Pins

20 Years

Frances Frame, Ph.D., Department of English, Fine Arts, Communications

Licia Hendriks, Ph.D., Department of English, Fine Arts, Communications

John Weinstein, Ph.D., Department of Biology

10 Years

Dan Bornstein, Ph.D., Department of Health and Human Performance

Rene Hurka, Department of Physics

Antara Mukherjee, Ph.D., Department of Mathematical Science

Tiffany Silverman, Department of English, Fine Arts, Communications