SC State Hosts the 2011 SC Academy of Science Annual Meeting

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Accomplishments from esteemed faculty are demonstrated every day at SC State University.  The University not only produces but attracts many graduates to serve in important capacities that inspire students to follow in their footsteps and serve as great leaders in their individual professions.

Recently appointed as president-elect of the South Carolina Academy of Science (SCAS), Dr. Judith Salley-Guydon, ’75, personally identifies with this model.  A native of Orangeburg, S.C., she attended Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School then came to SC State University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in biology education. She then attended Ohio State University and obtained her master’s degree and Ph.D. in zoology.  In 1983, she returned to her Alma Mater to serve as professor of biological science.  Currently, she serves as chairperson of the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, a position she has held for more than 20 years.

It is clear that Salley-Guydon has achieved great success throughout her professional career, but during the 2011-2012 academic -year, she will make history as the first African-American female to hold the position of president of the SCAS, the only statewide interdisciplinary science organization designed to promote the creation and dissemination of scientific knowledge within the State of South Carolina.  Her appointment comes three years after serving as vice-president and after receiving a nomination from the executive council of SCAS.

“It’s an exciting time to assume a leadership role,” says Salley-Guydon who first became affiliated with the organization in 1983 when the late Dr. Emmanuel Keepler, chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at SC State, became president of the SCAS.  “I have very vivid and fond memories of my early years as a member of this prestigious organization,” she said.  During this time, the organization’s membership was amassed with presidents and vice presidents from various research-extensive colleges and universities across the state of South Carolina.  Presidents from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were also frequent members of the organization.  “I’m excited about the potential for increasing our membership while re-establishing vast diversity in the SCAS,” she adds.

Salley-Guydon’s appointment as the 2011-2012 president of the SCAS comes at an acute time, not just personally, she says, but for the entire University to include faculty, staff and most importantly the students within the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences. In July 2010, the University completed construction on the Leroy Davis Sr. Science and Research Complex, a three-story annex which houses the Department of Biology and Physical Science and includes the areas of biology, chemistry and physics. The original plans for the building began more than 10 years ago, but today the annex stands constructed and fully equipped with an office tower, research space, two auditoriums, five conference rooms and state-of-the art classrooms and laboratories.

“It took a lot of perseverance, hard work and dedication for this annex to be constructed. It has been very challenging but I’m glad that we are now able to see our vision come alive,” says Salley-Guydon.  “We have excellent students within our department who are very motivated and happy about the new Hodge Hall Annex.”  The completion of the annex comes at an ideal time as SC State University will serve as host to the 2011 SCAS annual meeting and Junior Academy meeting, which takes place on Saturday, April 16, 2011.

“We are honored and excited to host this year’s meeting at SC State University, the first time at an HBCU in the state of South Carolina.  We are equally proud to host several oral and poster sessions and training workshops in our new state-of-the-art Hodge Hall Science Complex, the facility’s first major conference home since its construction in July 2010,” notes Salley-Guydon.

Co-Sponsored by the Louis Stokes South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation Program (LS-SCAMP) and  the Division of Research and Economic Development, the annual meeting themed, “Building a Secure and Sustainable Energy and Environmental Future: A National Paradigm,” will welcome more than 400 conference participants and presenters. 
The opening session features keynote speakers, S.C. Congressman James E. Clyburn and Dr. Terry A. Michalaske, director of the Savannah River National Laboratory.

“I’m very excited about our morning session because this is the first time we will open it to members of the community,” says Salley-Guydon. “We have two of the very best to address the important theme of alternative energy and environmental science technologies.  We hope that the impact of their message will be carried back to local, state and national bodies,” she says.

Additional activities will include scientific oral  presentations, poster sessions and workshops, all relating to  research and sustainability. Some of the dynamic workshops include: “Green Bio-fuels Production,” designed for middle and high school teachers, “Get Over It,” a robotics challenge for middle and high school students, along with “The Astronomy in Harry Potter,” to be featured at the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium. High school students will have an opportunity to win cash prizes for best scientific presentations, while more than $8,000 will be awarded to outstanding researchers in both oral and written competitions. Recipients of the 2011 Governor’s Awards will be honored for Excellence in Scientific Awareness and Research during the SCAS Award Luncheon, and a graduate school symposium and luncheon will be held for LS-SCAMP undergraduate students.

“This is the opportune time for students and professors to not only engage in learning but demonstrate the prominent research taking place within our middle and high schools, as well as colleges and universities across the state,” says Salley-Guydon.

As she continues to plan and prepare for her appointment as president, Salley-Guydon has clear goals for the future.  “I would like to see the Academy linked to more professional societies in South Carolina.  It’s important for us to collaborate with scientific business and industry partners so that we can host a major South Carolina event that will bring all of these entities together with the outcome of showcasing excellence in sciences in the State. We want to be sure to establish more sponsorships in order to provide financial awards for our students in STEM disciplines.”

As the state executive director for LS-SCAMP, aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of minority students successfully completing STEM baccalaureate degree programs, and increasing the number of students interested in, academically qualified for and matriculated into programs of graduate study, Salley-Guydon has long begun to fulfill the mission of helping students succeed. She has spent the last 23 years training and motivating minority students, especially females, to pursue careers in the STEM fields.  She has been successful over the last 23 years in attracting more than $13 million in grant funding to the University in the science, mathematics and engineering disciplines. 

Throughout her career, Salley-Guydon has received numerous accolades and awards for accomplishments, but the greatest award to her is the successful careers her former students have attained.

For more information on the 2011 SCAS Annual Meeting and Junior Academy Meeting, contact Dr. Judith Salley-Guydon at (803) 536-8513 or Ashley Elliott, assistant director of public relations, at 803-533-3802.