College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Ph.D. student Libby Flanagan finds support from Clemson Family while raising newborn


Libby Flanagan had just graduated from her master’s program on Dec. 28, 2021 when she gave birth to Addie, a beautiful, eight-pound, one-ounce baby girl.

At nine weeks old, Addie is starting to track objects, sleep through the night and beam her heartwarming smile at the people around her.

Libby Flanagan cradles her daughter, Addie, while sitting a rocking chair at their Pendleton home.

“It’s been really amazing to see her learn things that you don’t even realize need to be learned, like how light casts shadows,” Libby said, while cradling the newborn in their Pendleton home. “It’s been really amazing to watch her little brain take it all in.”

Just as Addie learns, so does Libby.

She is continuing her education, pursuing her Ph.D. in engineering and science education while raising Addie with husband, William, a street sales development manager for Ecolab.

“Everyone has been super supportive,” Libby said. “My advisor, Karen High, is a mother herself, and I think she has an understanding of what this time is like.”

It also helps, Libby said, that she is able to take online classes that allow her to watch videos and study from home while Addie is napping.

“She gets some funny bedtime stories that sound like academic papers,” Libby said. “I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what I’m reading to her. It’s just my voice that is soothing.”

Addie is fortunate to be born with deep roots in the Clemson Family. Libby’s father, Frank Zanin, received his Bachelor of Science in financial management in 1988. Libby holds a Bachelor of Science and master’s in biosystems engineering. William received his Bachelor of Science in marketing in 2017.

Libby said that among those most influential to her at Clemson include: High; Caye Drapcho, associate professor of environmental engineering and Earth sciences; and Beth Stephan, director of academics in the Department of General Engineering.

After graduation, Libby would like to be a professor.

Preferably at Clemson, she said.

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