Have You Met...Pat?

Have you met Pat, a recent science graduate and avid bird lover? Spend the next few minutes getting to know her a bit better!


What three words best describe your U of A experience?

Exploratory, challenging, nocturnal.

Why did you decide to study your major?

I was originally accepted into the neuroscience program, but changed my mind last minute to a general sciences degree because I was unsure about committing four years towards a subject I had only briefly been exposed to in a single topic of high school biology. Instead, I ended up doing a double major in biology and psychology through which I was able to take many of those same neuro classes, and also some incredibly diverse classes like ASL, marine sciences at Bamfield, and a course in the Yukon through the Faculty of ALES.

What advice would you give to your first year self?

400 level classes are better GPA boosters than 100 levels (and also a lot more applicable to real life in the field). 

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

Someone recently asked me this question and I had to think for a long time before I decided on Tenzing Norgay. Norgay and Edmund Hillary were the first to summit Everest in 1953. I would be curious about what he considered to be both the cultural significance and the implications of having conquered this mountain that had such a strong religious significance with the local people. And I'm interested in how he grew from, and what he learned from, the experience, and how he views modern mountaineering (including the commercialization of Everest). History often follows the European men and their stories, so Norgay’s view would be fascinating. 

What is your favourite way to unwind after a long day?

Both running and rock climbing have been instrumental in my unwinding and stress relief since undergrad. Setting goals outside of academics and working towards them reminds you of the other things in life. Staying active gives your mind and body a chance to relax, allows you to think about the course of your day, and plan whatever you have upcoming. Socially or individually, I don’t know what I would’ve done without those outlets. 

What do you miss most about campus/in-person classes?

In Bio 208, my prof Lien Luong brought hissing Madagascar cockroaches into class for us to hold, and it was the coolest thing I’ve ever had in the palm of my hand. Hard to transfer that feeling over Zoom. 

What are you most proud of?

In my fourth year, I was the science team lead of an interdisciplinary team called SPEAR (Space Exploration Alberta Robotics) where we worked to build a prototype Mars rover for 2 major competitions (one in Utah and one in Drumheller). Throughout that year, we were able to secure sponsorships from companies to build a spectrometer, ran a wide range of random experiments that we dug out of old lab manuals and outdated research papers, and ended up receiving a score of 15/16 on the competition submission (....projected to have taken place in May 2020…)!

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

My little non-stick frying pan. I make this thing called “egg bread” where I cut a hole in some bread (realistically, rip out a hole), fry an egg inside it, then flip it over and add some cheese to melt on top. There are days where I’d have this for all three meals, I don’t think I could survive without it. 

What is your go-to study snack?

Mini Eggs if I feel like splurging, 25 cent jolly rancher lollipops from SubMart if I don’t. 

Who inspires you?

Lynn Hill, one of the strongest climbers in the world and the first to do the free ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite. She shaped rock climbing for women, and continues to stand as a massive inspiration of what a woman can do in male-dominanted spheres. 


About Pat (She/Her)

Pat is a new graduate of the Faculty of Science, having double majored in biology and psychology, with a certificate in sustainability. She is currently in the pursuit of deciding what she plans to do with said degree, but will appreciatively listen to you tell her about your favorite birds in the meantime.