Our Team

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CUSOC Instructor and Lab Technician

Cathy Brooks holds a B.S. degree with a double major in chemistry and biology from Berry College as well as a M.E. degree in science education (grades 6-12) from the University of Georgia. While at UGA, Cathy worked in a research lab performing protein purification from bioluminescent marine bacteria. Cathy taught eighth-grade science in addition to being the lead teacher for chemistry at the Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia. She has also taught biology and chemistry labs for the College of Charleston, Old Dominion University, and Truett McConnell University. Outside the classroom, Cathy enjoys volunteer work, gardening, and hiking in the mountains with her husband.

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Director of Science Education Outreach and the Science Outreach Center College of Science

Renée Lyons earned her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction of science education from Clemson University in 2017. Renée taught K-12 science for eight years, both internationally and in Upstate South Carolina. As a public high school teacher, she gained a deep passion for creating high-quality, equitable science learning for all students. This passion led her to focus her Ph.D. research on how to broaden participation in science and address barriers to equity. After completing her Ph.D., she accepted a position with the South Carolina Department of Education, where she led science standards and learning for the state. Renée is excited to further develop the Science Outreach Center into a resource for all teachers and students of South Carolina.

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Program Coordinator

Hello! I’m Donna Buss, and I’m delighted to serve as the Program Coordinator for the Clemson University Science Outreach Center. Let me share a bit about my journey and passion. I began at Clemson University Summer Scholars in 2020, and since then, I’ve been wholeheartedly dedicated to fostering scientific curiosity and engagement for youth. I joined the Science Outreach Center in 2024. As a master’s graduate in Clemson University Youth Development Leadership, I bring a wealth of experience to this role. My professional journey has been varied—I’ve worn many hats! From being a camp counselor to a public-school teacher, a trainer, a preschool director, and an office manager, I’ve immersed myself in various educational settings. But above all, I cherish my role as a family member. Speaking of family, I’m a proud parent of two wonderful girls—Harper and Ainsley. And my husband, Michael, has been my partner in life’s adventures for over 29 years! Life has a way of leading us to unexpected places, and I’m thrilled that it guided me to Clemson. The Science Outreach Center here is brimming with exciting opportunities, and I can’t wait to explore them alongside you all.

Our Mission, Vision & Goals


The Clemson University Science Outreach Center fosters curiosity, ignites passion, and cultivates scientific literacy. Through dynamic hands-on experiences, engaging discussions, and collaborative partnerships, we empower learners of all ages to explore the wonders of science.

At the Clemson University Science Outreach Center, we believe that true learning happens when we step outside our comfort zones. Just as a seedling pushes through the soil to reach the sunlight, growth occurs when we embrace discomfort. We encourage learners of all ages to explore the wonders of science, not only in the safety of familiar spaces, but also in the uncharted territory of the ‘challenge zone.’ It’s in this space that resilience is built, creativity flourishes, and new horizons unfold.

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The Clemson University Science Outreach Center’s vision is to be a guiding light of scientific curiosity, seamlessly connecting science with the vibrant communities we inhabit. We aim to address real-world challenges through scientific inquiry and ignite inspiration, fostering a future where everyone embraces their inner scientist regardless of age or background.

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Expand Reach: Increase participation in science programs by 20% by 2029.

Comprehensive Engagement: Collaborate with underresourced communities to ensure ease of access.

Innovative Offerings: Introduce new STEM experiences.

Educator Support: Enhance professional development opportunities for classroom teachers.

Impact Measurement: Regularly assess the impact of our programs through feedback and metrics.