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Clemson University astronomer a true ‘SHE-ro’ of the Upstate

July 23, 2017

Amber Porter is a lecturer in the department of physics and astronomy. Image Credit: Bethany Wimmer

Amber Porter is a lecturer in the department of physics and astronomy.
Image Credit: Bethany Wimmer

By Jim Melvin

CLEMSON — Clemson University scientist Amber Porter was recently honored by a prestigious Upstate women’s event for a range of accomplishments that includes coordinating “Eclipse Over Clemson,” a viewing party for the upcoming Aug. 21 total solar eclipse.

Porter was named a “SHE-ro” by SHE — the Upstate Women’s Show  — which will be held the Friday and Saturday (Aug. 18-19) before the eclipse at the TD Convention Center in Greenville.

“We were delighted to select Ms. Porter as a SHEro, because she embodies the characteristics we want to celebrate. Not only is she a woman succeeding in the field of science, but she’s so enthusiastic about passing her knowledge and enthusiasm on to her young students,” said Stephanie Crunkleton, event director at SHE. “She is an encouraging role model for girls who can see themselves represented in the professional scientific community.”

The multifaceted Porter, who is a lecturer in the department of physics and astronomy in the College of Science, has spent almost a year directing the event-planning for “Eclipse Over Clemson.” She also organizes and leads numerous off-campus outreach programs throughout the Upstate with a special focus on children. She is director of the university’s on-campus planetarium, where she has led thousands of visitors on journeys through the cosmos.

“My goal as an astronomy teacher is simple: I desire to pass my fascination with the cosmos on to each student and to increase their confidence in their personal scientific literacy by developing their critical thinking skills,” Porter told the SHE staff. “My favorite concept to teach is most eloquently expressed through Carl Sagan’s famous quote, ‘We are made of star stuff.’”

In her off hours, Porter is a member of the Upstate Roller Girl Evolution (URGE), a roller derby team based in Easley, where she is good-naturedly known as “Dr. Disintegrator.” In addition to providing athletically challenging entertainment, URGE also benefits the community by partnering with All Dogs of Pickens Transport (ADOPT), a nonprofit organization that saves the lives of unwanted dogs and cats by helping them find new homes.



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