Depth, Breadth and Belonging

Sebastian Valdez '26

Student Snapshot: Sebastian Valdez '26 

It’s not easy to attend college in another country, but a strong sense of belonging helped ease the transition for Sebastian Valdez ’26. As a Dickinson soccer player who once played on a national team in the Dominican Republic, he forged close friendships before his classes began. Valdez soon went on to accept leadership roles in Student Senate and the International Student Network. And as a Dickinson physics major enrolled in Dickinson’s pre-engineering program, he appreciates the chance to not only deepen his understanding of sciences but also broaden his understanding of physics through a rigorous, liberal-arts education. He hopes to one day become a civil engineer and help improve the infrastructure within his home country.


Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.


Physics (3+2 engineering program), with a minor in math.


Men’s soccer, Student Senate, International Student Network (vice president) and LACC.


Woodward Scholarship.

Favorite book:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Favorite movie/show/podcast:

Now You See Me (written by a Dickinson alumnus!).

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

One of the most cherished aspects of my experience at Dickinson College has been the opportunity to establish strong relationships with professors and other community members. I have found that the personalized attention and guidance offered by the faculty have been invaluable in shaping my academic and personal growth. Additionally, being part of a welcoming and supportive sports team has made my transition into college life an enjoyable experience. I have felt a strong sense of fellowship and belonging within my team, which has allowed me to develop as an athlete and an individual.

Best thing about my major:

One of the best aspects of my major is the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiments in class. Through these experiments, I am able to witness the principles and laws of physics in action, gaining an understanding of how the world operates at its most fundamental level. Physics truly is everywhere, from the motion of planets to the mechanics of everyday objects.

On choosing Dickinson:

There are several reasons why I have chosen Dickinson College. First, I was fortunate enough to get recruited to play soccer at Dickinson, which was an excellent opportunity to pursue my athletic interests while studying. Additionally, Dickinson has a rich history of academic excellence, with notable alumni.

One of the main reasons I chose Dickinson is because of its commitment to providing a strong liberal-arts education with a focus on science. As a student interested in pursuing a career in science, I was impressed by the range of academic programs offered by the college, particularly in the fields of biology, chemistry and physics.

Favorite places on campus:

Tome Scientific Building and Morgan Field.

Favorite class:

My experiences with the physics classes at Dickinson have been enjoyable, engaging and challenging, and my favorite class so far is COMP 130 with Visiting Lecturer in Computer Science Lev Fruchter. I have been impressed with the way he interacts with students and his ability to create a dynamic and energetic classroom environment. Despite the heavy workload, I love attending his classes.

Favorite professor:

Tough decision. I would have to pick three here: Lev Fruchter, Professor of Mathematics Jennifer Schaefer and Professor of Physics Lars English.

Favorite off-campus spot:

Issei Noodle and Midway Bowling.

Post-Dickinson plans:

Completing the 3+2 engineering program is just the first step toward achieving my long-term goal of contributing to the development of infrastructure in my home country. After finishing the program, I plan on gaining valuable work experience in the field of civil engineering in the United States. My aim is to learn from industry experts and gain exposure to cutting-edge technologies, tools and processes that will help me become a skilled and knowledgeable professional. My ultimate goal is to return to my home country and share the knowledge and expertise I have gained with others. I believe that this will enable me to contribute to the growth and development of the infrastructure sector in my country.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Joaquín Balaguer.

Proudest achievement so far:

Playing for the underage national soccer team of my country.

Advice for younger students:

Hard work beats talent. Develop good study habits, work on your network and take care of yourself.

Read more Student Snapshots.


Published November 8, 2023