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10-20-2005

Clarkson Ph.D. Candidate & PGA Golfer Is Late Bloomer

[A Photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/mcauley.jpg]

In 1992 Tim McAuley was looking forward to graduating from Lake George High School in the Adirondack region of upstate New York and joining the Navy. "Beyond that I did not have much in the way of a long-range plan," admits the affable, self-described "C" student.   mcauley

However, about two years into his Navy hitch a light went on in McAuley's mind and he realized he craved an education.  Mary Grondahl, vice president of Enrollment Management at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America's Best Northern Universities, saw an academic mind waiting to be challenged and gave McAuley the chance he was hoping for. "Tim exhibited exceptional leadership qualities, a level of maturity usually only seen in individuals twice his age, and had done very well in his courses in the military. I knew when I met him that Tim's intellectual vigor would be a valuable addition to our community of scholars."

McAuley repaid Grondahl's trust by graduating with a degree in biochemistry from Saint Rose in 2000 with honors.  It was also about this time that another dormant interest began to surface. McAuley became seriously interested in golf and as it turns out has an extraordinary talent for the game. "I had played golf occasionally with my father while in high school, but never took it seriously.  While at Saint Rose I began playing more regularly and really got serious about my game when I came to Clarkson to pursue my master's degree."

Immersed in his studies at Clarkson, McAuley still found time to play golf and take lessons from Mary Lawrence, the golf pro at St. Lawrence University. In 2003 both his academic and athletic pursuits paid off.  McAuley was putting in scratch and under rounds of golf and even shot a course record 66 at Partridge Run Golf Course in Canton, New York. This convinced him to try and make the Nationwide PGA Tour. In the summer and fall of 2003 he qualified and competed in three PGA tournaments. He also managed to complete his thesis: Development of a Biological Fuel Cell and received a master's degree in chemistry.

In 2004 McAuley began working on a Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering at Clarkson and set aside his golf clubs, at least professionally. His research interest is researching heart rate variability caused by ambient and elevated levels of particulate. He also looks at asthma development and exacerbation through particulate deposition. "Tim has been relentlessly persistent in his pursuit of scientific information," says Peter Jaques, assistant professor of biology and one of McAuley's  Ph.D. advisors. "Because of his ability to incorporate a wide breadth of knowledge and experience to environmental research, I expect his skills to mature to a level that allows him to solve the most complex research questions." 

Competing in the PGA tour and holding a Ph.D. would seem like accomplishment enough, especially considering McAuley's modest academic and athletic beginnings, but it is not. Upon receiving his Ph.D. from Clarkson he is off to Harvard University for post doctoral work. "Tim has an enormous appetite for learning ─ you can tell just from looking at his bookshelves," remarked another of McAuley's Ph.D. advisors, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, Andrea Ferro.  "During his time at Clarkson, I have seen him explore topics ranging from religion to philosophy, society to medicine, and science to engineering. He is very committed to his studies and works with a passion you don't often see."

McAuley has already received a fistful of commendations, including the Sigma Xi Research Society Award and the National Chancellor's List for Graduate Student Leadership and Excellence Award.  He has also spoken at numerous seminars and is a member of several professional organizations.  So, what's left for this "C" student and late-blooming golfer? "Well, golf is a tough life, says McAuley. "When you are starting out, money is a constant issue and distraction. I may go back to it someday when I am more financially secure, just to see what I can really do." To reach that financial pinnacle, McAuley will finish his post doctoral research and then do corporate consulting in the area of EPA environmental litigation.

"There are still some things I haven't accomplished," says McAuley.  That's probably because he hasn't decided he wants to, yet.

PHOTO CAPTION: Tim McAuley, a Ph.D. candidate at Clarkson University in Environmental Science and Engineering at Clarkson University has qualified and competed in three PGA tournaments.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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