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Office of the Vice President for Research


Jory Fleming's Magellan Story

SC Flood Alters Research Plan


Name: Jory Fleming
Hometown: Columbia, SC
Majors: Marine Science and Geography (Class of 2017)
Magellan Programs: Magellan Apprentice, Magellan Mini-Grant
Magellan Projects: "Determining small scale variability in aeolian sand transport through studying instrument degradation"; "Gauging student and teacher dispositions toward interactive teaching methodologies with a case study utilizing National Geographic's Giant Traveling Map"
Magellan Mentors: Dr. Jean Ellis, Dr. Blaine Griffen, Dr. Jerry Mitchell


Jory Fleming had to think fast. He had teamed up with education major John Howellon a research project to bring the National Geographic Giant Traveling Map to several local elementary schools to study its impact on science education. However, the recent catastrophic flooding in the area rendered his original plan impossible. He coordinated with his mentors and found an alternate location to stage the 35-foot wide educational tool at Richland County Public Library, just 48 hours before it was scheduled to be delivered. The cost to rent the map can be upwards of $700 and Jory and John were able to use funding from the Magellan Mini-Grant towards that expense.

This wasn't the first time in Jory's Magellan experience where he had to apply problem-solving skills. "I've learned I enjoy solving problems and applying various methods [like] data analysis and visualization to do so. Research is not a static experience; projects change and visions shift as new information becomes available or you come up with a new idea. My future career, even if that is not research, must have that element of change and excitement."

Prior to his Mini-Grant project, Jory participated in the Magellan Apprentice program. He worked with Dr. Jean Ellis on a marine science project he says impacted his future plans. "I am interested in the application of Geographic Information Systems to oceanic environments, as well as marine technology, instrumentation, and programming. My goal is to use technology to integrate science and create information for decision makers." Jory's relationship with Dr. Ellis began before he was even a student at USC. "I initially talked to Dr. Ellis in high school when I was taking classes here," he said. "I probably interrupted something important she was doing, but she still took time to talk to me about my interest." Jory continues to work with Dr. Ellis and says they have a great relationship. "We regularly send funny cat videos to each other at the end of emails!" he said.

Jory says his Magellan experience has paid off in his role as a University 101 Peer Leader. "I know for me, I initially thought research was only for graduate students, so I wanted to share about OUR to my class," he said. He says it also helped him develop "soft skills like time management and communication" that help him in his role in class. When asked what specific advice he would give to students regarding Magellan Programs, Jory said "Apply for everything! Your chances of winning are pretty good, and even if you don't win you'll get experience in applying for a big opportunity and feedback that could help you win the next time around. If you want to get involved in research but don't have an idea how to get started, just stop by the office and say hi."