Ask An Alum: Dr. Myrtede Alfred

November 22, 2019

Dr. Myrtede Alfred is a Ph.D. alumna working in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. She returned to Clemson this semester as a speaker in the IE Graduate Seminar Series, giving a lecture on “Examining Systems Safety and Equity in Maternal Care.”

Dr. Alfred is conducting research on surgical instrument reprocessing, medication safety in anesthesia, coordination in robotic-assisted surgery, and maternal health. Among her achievements, she has over 10 peer-reviewed publications and is a co-investigator on a $2.4 million AHRQ patient safety learning lab grant. Dr. Alfred also runs a STEAM education nonprofit, called Marie’s Kids, in North Charleston.

Name: Dr. Myrtede Alfred
Year Graduated: 2017
Degree from Clemson: Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering

What are you doing now?

I’m currently a research assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. I conduct patient safety research and work on a few different projects at the hospital.

How did you get to where you are today?

Hard work. Determination. And a multitude of family members, friends, teachers, and coaches who mentored me, helped me grow, and just kept me on the right track. I didn’t pull myself up by my bootstraps (can I say that’s [not a thing]?); I had a lot of help. And I’m grateful for it.

How did your experience at Clemson University help you after graduation?

Probably in a million ways but mostly by teaching me the skills I needed to succeed in a research career and helping me develop a network I could leverage to find a position that was a good fit for me.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Hmmm… that’s a tough question. Our experiences—the amazing, the embarrassing, and the tragic—all shape who we are right and I’m pretty cool with who I am. But I guess, holding everything as constant as possible (i.e. no butterfly effect), I would have continued to play chess. I was really good as a kid and I stopped playing in high school. Not saying I’d be Garry Kasparov or anything, but it could have been a good side hustle.

What advice would you give to current IE students?

It’s okay to struggle. You don’t have to get straight As and you don’t have to understand everything the first time you learn it, so don’t become discouraged. If engineering is what you want to do, then find your team—PEER/WISE, NSBE, IISE, HFES—take advantage of the resources available (test banks, office hours, tutoring, academic success, etc.) and do what you need to do to get your degree.

What was your favorite part of your time at Clemson?

The people. Without a doubt. I met some amazing people at Clemson—faculty, staff, and students – who encouraged me, challenged me, supported me, and made Clemson a wonderful experience.