Global Engagement

Student Profiles

Francis Osia OdulaFrancis Osia Odula

Age: 30
Country of origin: Kenya (East Africa, Africa)
Major at Clemson: Plant and environmental sciences
First semester at Clemson: Fall 2008

What other university/s have you attended?

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya)

Why did you choose to come to Clemson?
I was taught by two faculty who were Clemson University alumni — Professor Leonard Wamocho and Professor Victoria Ngumi — back at home. Their approach of teaching was quite unique, easy to understand and it was practical oriented. I liked it. But I asked myself, what is so unique in these two professors in comparison to other professors who had taught me earlier? It was a puzzle that I had to search for an answer. Do you know what the answer was? With an ambition, zeal and zest to become a professor, I thought Clemson is the place to pursue my academic dreams. The dream of joining Clemson University was further harnessed by a Fulbright teaching scholar Dr. Jim Faust. His message was, America worships five gods: excellence, professionalism, timeliness, work ethics and dependability for one to succeed. This motivated me to excel. Having read “one you, one Clemson” when still in Kenya I was fully convinced Clemson has a strong program in plant sciences.

What’s your favorite Clemson memory?
It’s like squeezing water from a hard, dry rock to meet the university president back at home. I remember meeting and shaking my president’s hand only two times in the four years I was in the university, and that was courtesy of best student academic excellence awards ceremonies. It’s very hard to believe that within 11 months I have been able to meet, shake his hand and share a meal with President Barker.

What advice would you give to a new international student coming to Clemson?
Clemson is the place to be to pursue your studies. The international office and the Gantt Intercultural Center support international students to settle into the new environment. The presence of many associations is a plus to international students to adapt to Clemson community. One should not forget that there is Clemson Area Transit (CAT) bus that is of help to international students and the local community. The community is full of warm and welcoming people. The weather is not all that extreme as compared to other places in the USA. You cannot, for instance, compare Buffalo College (State University of New York) to Clemson weather.

What about Clemson (or the United States) was different than you expected?
The difference is in culture, way of worship in churches that I have attended, and finally the food.

What types of on-campus activities (student organizations, research, jobs) are/were you involved in?
I am a member of International Student Advisory board, African-Caribbean Student Association, program coordinator of International Student Association, and part of Clemson Language Partner Program. I am a graduate research assistant, so research is part of me. In the spring I am privileged to teach two classes. It’s fun.
I hope that I will be one of the mentor’s for the international students this fall. I am longing for that day to share my experience with new international students.

What is your favorite place on/near campus?

Larry W. Abernathy Waterfront Park, Jaycee Park and Duke Energy stage.

What are your plans after graduation?

To embark on pursuing Ph.D. program at Clemson University. I feel at home in this place.

What are you career plans/aspirations?

My philosophy has been to be a professor and researcher. I am determined not to settle for anything less than that. I know it’s a tall order but what I need to do is to go an extra mile to achieve my goal. Yes! It’s possible.