FSU’s Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship honors pair of researchers with named professorship

Associate Professors Jessica Ridgway Clayton and Meredith McQuerry of the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship.
Associate Professors Jessica Ridgway Clayton and Meredith McQuerry of the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship.

The Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship at Florida State University is awarding a pair of its professors with the endowed Carol Avery Named Professorship.   

Associate Professors Jessica Ridgway Clayton and Meredith McQuerry are recipients of the honor, which goes to Moran College faculty who have achieved excellence in teaching, research and service.  

Carol Avery was a professor emerita of FSU’s Department of Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising, where she served as department head from 1979 to 1995. Fields of study in that department are now housed in the Moran College.   

“It is very fitting to name Dr. McQuerry and Dr. Ridgway Clayton as Carol Avery Professors to highlight Dr. Carol Avery’s legacy,” said Susan Fiorito, dean of the FSU Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship. “Meredith and Jessica are not only leading researchers in their fields but also care passionately for their students and are excellent role models and leaders for their students and colleagues.” 

McQuerry is director of the ThermaNOLE Comfort Lab® and Textile Testing Lab and is a leading expert in clothing comfort physiology and personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders, soldiers, athletes and industrial workers. She was recently awarded a $1.5 million, three-year grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to continue her research into reducing the risks female firefighters face due to ill-fitting personal protective equipment. It is the largest award in the college’s history. 

McQuerry has earned multiple international awards including a Rutherford Teaching Award, Emerald Literati Award and the 2022 best paper award in the Fire Technology Journal. She has received nearly $4 million in funding during her time at FSU and said she’s benefited greatly from the support inside the Moran College, in particular from Fiorito.   

“I know that I have her support and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am in my career, with this award, or the many other grants or labs without her, and FSU’s tremendous support,” she said. “It is incredible to be in an environment with that kind of backing.”  

McQuerry added: “From what I know about Professor Avery, she had a rich history and tradition here and left her mark throughout international textiles. So there’s big shoes to fill in a professorship with her name. It’s an honor to receive it alongside my colleague, Dr. Jessica Ridgway Clayton.” 

Ridgway Clayton is an international award-winning creative and functional design scholar whose research includes exploring user-centered design approaches to improve the lives of new mothers and their babies, specifically those requiring care in neonatal intensive care units.  

She has two U.S. patents pending originating from this line of research and has also earned five university-level teaching awards, including the 2023 University Teaching Award for Community Engaged Teaching. She is also director of Graduate Studies at the Moran College and helped develop master’s programs, a graduate certificate program, and the combined pathways program within the College. 

Ridgway Clayton credited Fiorito with creating an environment at the Moran College that empowers faculty and spurs innovation. She called the Avery Professorship a validation of her work as a researcher and teacher.  

“It serves as motivation to continue to strive for excellence in all areas of my job, including research, teaching, and service,” she said.  

The Avery name gives the honor extra meaning, Ridgway Clayton said. 

“Dr. Avery was a tremendous leader in our field, and her research was focused on meeting the needs of specific end users through the use of apparel,” she said. “I certainly identify with this goal as my research focuses on improving the NICU experience for moms and babies through clothing that reduces barriers to breastfeeding and kangaroo care. I think we both share an affinity for improving people’s lives through our research.”