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Barbara Speziale



  • Higher Ed: Science, Higher Ed: Administrator 


A native of Cedarhurst, New York, Dr. Speziale pursued undergraduate studies in biology and in English literature at the State University of New York at Binghamton. She earned a Master of Science degree in Botany at the University of Minnesota in 1977 and a Ph.D. in Zoology at Clemson University in 1985. Her appointments at Clemson University include serving as a Research Associate, with projects in limnology and science education, an Extension Associate and Associate Dean in Public Service, as well as her continuing appointment in the Department of Biological Sciences. Her career has blended limnological research, public service, and science education.

Dr. Speziale has developed numerous programs that increased scientific awareness in the population at large and especially among teachers and precollege students. She developed award-winning environmental education programs such as South Carolina Home A Syst which guided homeowners to protect water quality around the home and Life at the Water's Edge which extended guidance to landscape practices near waterways, which received the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation's 2005 Outstanding Achievement Award. The 4-H20 Pontoon Classroom program engaged children in hands-on science on waterbodies throughout South Carolina, earning honors as a 4-H Centennial Program of Excellence in 2002, a 4-H Program of Distinction in 2006, and receiving the Natural Resources Conservation Service Youth Environmental Award in 2005. With funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dr. Speziale developed the South Carolina Life program, using natural history to spur interest in science. Since 1998, the program has produced science programs and lessons for thousands of precollege students and teachers, and has supported 500 undergraduate student research projects. Dr. Speziale also established the South Carolina DNA Learning Center to provide molecular biology education to children and adults. Her accomplishments were recognized in 2004 by the Society of Environmental Toxicology's Menzie-Curie Environmental Education Award. IN 2010, Dr. Speziale received the South Carolina Governor's Award for Scientific Awareness.

Dr. Speziale is an ambassador for diversity in education with a natural interest in providing opportunities for people from underserved populations to explore science. Since 1995, she has sponsored thousands of precollege students from low-income schools for science experiences at Clemson University. In 2005, with funding from the National Science Foundation, she created the FIRST program to assist students who are the first in their families to attend college succeed in Clemson University science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Her work in promoting diversity was recognized by Clemson University in 2008 with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Excellence in Service 


biology, limnology, science education