College of Science

‘Coral Crusader’ article wins silver medal in international contest


Photo of Clemson coral research team
In this July 2017 photo, members of the Clemson coral research team included (from left) Kara Noonan, Sara Rolfe, Kylie Smith, Michael Childress, Sydney Whitaker and Randi Sims.

CLEMSON – “The Coral Crusader,” a magazine article that chronicled the dynamic efforts of Clemson University student scientists determined to halt the decline of coral reefs in the Florida Keys and beyond, recently won a silver medal in the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) 2019 international contest.

The article was written by Jim Melvin, communications and marketing director in Clemson University’s College of Science. The winning entry was published in Clemson World’s inaugural Research Magazine in March 2018. An earlier version of the piece also appeared in Clemson World’s January 2018 issue.

Coral reefs in the Florida Keys, Caribbean and throughout the world are in dramatic decline. Clemson graduate student Kylie Smith – with the guidance of associate professor of marine biology Michael Childress – has made it her mission to help restore one of the ocean’s most-endangered and invaluable species. Smith, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in biological sciences, has spent hundreds of hours researching coral reefs in the warm waters of the Keys. Like Childress, Smith is also a mentor, having trained several dozen undergraduate student scientists to aid in her underwater research.

Also playing considerable roles in the production of the entry were Nancy Spitler, managing editor of Clemson World; Jesse Godfrey, director of design services for Clemson University Relations; Chris Waldrop, art director for Clemson World; and Madison Williams, a photographer and videographer who represented Clemson at the Cannes Film Festival in France, where her five-minute documentary on a passionate Tigers football fan was screened alongside work from the world’s most renowned filmmakers.

“It has been an amazing experience working with the Clemson World team and an absolute honor to have my research and mentoring experiences highlighted by such a talented group,” Smith said.

“The ‘Coral Crusader’ article was the result of teamwork across the board,” Melvin added. “The research being conducted by Dr. Childress and Kylie Smith and their ever-evolving team of students and assistants is both beneficial and selfless. This is a prime example of how the College of Science is dedicated to conducting scientific discovery that is globally impactful.”

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