Francisco Campos Arguedas

Graduate Student - Kovaleski Lab


Al Kovaleski

Research Focus

Horticulture PhD


Patarrá, a small town located in Desamparados, San José, Costa Rica

Where did you complete your undergraduate/master’s/PhD?

I did my undergrad in agricultural science at EARTH University in Costa Rica and my master’s was in plant biology, which I did at Laval University in Canada.

What is your research about and what is the impact? How does it relate to the horticulture industry, what is the goal?

My research focus is to determine how climate change is affecting the plant responses to winter, specifically in terms of cold hardiness and dormancy, and how this is reflected on local adaptation. Right now, I’m mainly working with four species: Black Spruce (Picea mariana), American Larch (Larix larcina) and two understory species from the Ericaceae family.

Why did you choose UW-Madison? What is your favorite part of Madison?

When looking to different places to apply, the balance was inclined to UW-Madison because of my advisor, he has experience working with abiotic stress responses in plants (one of my biggest interests), specifically cold hardiness and dormancy in different species.

My favorite part of Madison is the conifer collection (specially the spruce area) in the Arboretum (Longenecker Horticultural Gardens). I’ve never paid attention to conifers until I arrived to Madison and I’ve discovered how amazing and different they are from one another.

What was the path you took to work in plant sciences? And then what advice would you give to your younger self to get into the field/career you are in today?

My passion for horticulture grew thanks to my grandfather, who has always been really passionate about cultivating fruits and legumes. His passion about plants encouraged me to try to deeply understand the things he was doing. However, the more I studied the more questions I had (and still have) and that is why I am now at UW.

Some advice I will give to my younger self would be to trust the paths of life even if sometimes they don’t make any sense, everything will eventually intersect and would make a lot of sense, so chill and enjoy the process, and you don’t have to have everything figure it out, trust. (I guess this is for my younger, present, and older self)