College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences; Graduate School

Clemson University was the ‘perfect’ fit for Ph.D. candidate Abby Boyd


Abby Boyd was working as an assistant lab coordinator at Mercer University, her undergraduate alma mater, while deciding what her next move would be. She knew she wanted a graduate degree and to become a professor but wasn’t  sure which school she wanted to attend.

That was when her research advisor at Mercer, Dr. Adam Kiefer, suggested she check out the engineering and science education program at Clemson University.

Abby did some research on the program and others like it and decided to become a Tiger. 

“When I visited Clemson, I was like, ‘This is what I want. This is perfect,’” she recalled.

When Abby arrived on campus, she pursued two degrees at the same time. Abby recently received her first one, her master’s in chemistry, and she continues to study for her Ph.D. in engineering science and education.

Her dissertation is focused on how science students get involved in undergraduate research and improving the equity of the process. For some students, shyness and other factors could keep them from finding a connection like the one she had with Dr. Kiefer, Abby said. 

“I’m trying to look at the different ways students can get involved so they at least know about what opportunities they have, and they can make the decisions for themselves,” she said.

Abby has distinguished herself as a standout student since arriving at Clemson, earning the Outstanding Graduate Researcher Award in the Department of Engineering and Science Education.

Abby said all the department’s faculty has been supportive and that she has grown close to her advisor, Dr. Kelly Best Lazar. She also has an assistantship with Dr. Bridget Trogden in the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

Now in her third year as a Clemson graduate student, Abby said she feels more comfortable in her research and as a professional than when she first began. 

“I just feel more confident in my place as a scholar,” Abby said. “Now I can see where my path is leading.”

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