Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives
Senior Stories
Travis Valadez

Travis Valadez excelled in the classroom, which is why he was the 2011 recipient of the American Chemical Society Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior in Chemistry and Biochemistry, but if he had one wish it would be to have had more time to pursue music and take more foreign language classes while at Southwestern. "I did really love taking the time to just sit on the mall with friends," he says. "I always had someone to talk to, even if I was alone!"

He adds that the best part of attending a small, academically challenging but rewarding liberal arts school was the opportunity to "grow, learn and find yourself." According to Travis, it helps that Southwestern professors are happy to work with students on an individual basis. And, his dedication and ability to be self-reliant made it especially easy for his professors to work with him.

As he pursues a career in research, Travis plans to continue to "Be Southwestern" by "using the work ethic and desire for intellectual and personal growth" that he learned at Southwestern. He will most certainly also continue the love of costume design he developed with friends in his Southwestern residence hall. "A group of us once dressed up as the Seven Deadly Sins," he laughs.

Seriously though, having learned to work harder and more efficiently from other students, Travis has taken his scholarly behavior - and his love of silliness - to Manhattan where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Columbia University.

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