Global Engagement

Student Profiles

Alfredo Picado-Valenzuela

Alfredo Picado-ValenzuelaAge: 31
Country of origin: Costa Rica
Major at Clemson: Ph.D. in Chemistry
First semester at Clemson: Fall 2008

What other university/s have you attended?

University of Costa Rica

Why did you choose to come to Clemson?

There is a Clemson program for recruiting students abroad, they went to the University of Costa Rica and gave us a talk with many details about Clemson University and the lifestyle of a graduate student. Definitely, Clemson offers an excellent reputation in academia, great assistantships and the facilities are wonderful for doing research all year long. All this together in a friendly area with a short winter, just four hours by plane away from my country and with many places to visit in South and North Carolina for recreation make the life around the University more beauty.  But the main point of my choice was because I had the chance to visit Clemson before applying to graduate school, and I realized that the program in chemistry was perfect for my development as an organic chemist.

What’s your favorite Clemson memory?
The first time I came. It was the middle of February, around midnight. I had the chance to walk on campus a little bit, it was chilly, not that cold, but everything looked to be gorgeous, and I thought “this is a perfect place for living the Alma Mater.”

What advice would you give to a new international student coming to Clemson?

Check in detail the department that you want to apply to, request for an assistantship in your own department, choose at least three professors you would like to work for. Ask other graduate students how it is working with these professors. Write to other students asking for a hand with housing. Bring enough money for the first three months.

What about Clemson (or the United States) was different than you expected?

Clemson the city was smaller than I thought at the beginning. The city by itself does not have many new things after a year of being around. The good thing about it is that you easily become a Clemson citizen, and you can get in its peaceful rhythm and enjoy it.   

What types of on-campus activities (student organizations, research, jobs) are/were you involved in
By the end of my first year, I was getting involved in research full time. I also attend meetings in the Hispanic Student Organization and the SACNAS Chapter (scientific organization focus in minorities). We plan academic activities such as talks, seminars, poster sessions and recreational activities to get funds for the organizations, and have fun at the same time.

What is your favorite place on/near campus?

The main campus in the fall. It is beautiful, all the change in colors and temperature in the scene day by day.

What are your plans after graduation?

After the Ph.D., I would love a postdoctoral position in a research institution in Europe, to get the chance to apply my expertise, get more experience and get involved in a new culture and learn another language.

What are you career plans/aspirations?
Continue practicing organic synthesis in a research institute or in academia. There are many ways in which the chemical modification of compounds can improve the life of humankind, and as a Clemson Graduate School slogan says, “Change the World…”