Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Senior Stories

Patrick Flanigan

image Patrick Flanigan sees himself as a mad scientist, and considering his biochemistry major and all he was involved in at Southwestern, one can see why. Patrick was an undergraduate researcher and chemistry tutor, a resident assistant, captain of the swim team, a healthcare volunteer, and a lifeguard … oh, and he spent a semester studying in Spain and was on the Dean’s List.

Lesson learned at/from SU?
Get to breakfast early or there may not be any chocolate milk left. Seriously though, SU helped show me that my professors could be some of my best friends and that my friends could teach me volumes about the world and myself.

What do you know now that you didn’t know as a first-year? 
I learned that when you’re comfortable with yourself and comfortable with the possibility of failure, it frees you up to tackle the challenges in front of you. 

What advice do you have for an incoming first-year?
Don’t do everything with a purpose or expectation. Just be fully engaged in the present and focus on understanding what’s in front of you. And, don’t take yourself too seriously. 

What was your favorite class/teacher, and why? 
Neurobiology with Dr. Rebecca Sheller, associate professor of biology. In that class, I thought of Southwestern’s motto—“engaging minds, transforming lives”—and realized that it’s happening here every day. 

What activities or groups on campus were you involved in?
I was involved in a little bit of everything, from collegiate soccer and swimming to debating my freshman year to being an Upward Bound tutor and a member of Kappa Alpha Order.

What’s your favorite memory of the University?
Orientation/Pirate Training, because as soon as I came to Southwestern, I could tell things were different here. It was as if I were a kid again and could be whatever and whoever I wished to be. 

If you had a super power, what would it be?
The ability to make people laugh; laughter is powerful medicine and is so important in our day-to-day lives.

This summer, Patrick did translational research in ophthalmology. He is now in a five-year medical school program at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine that focuses on training physician investigators. He aspires to become a neurosurgeon.