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Meet a Mentor: Lisab

  1. Dec 5, 2013 #1
    Meet a Mentor is a fun series to help you get to know your wonderful Mentors better.

    Constructive questions and comments are welcome!

    Today we meet: Lisab

    Give us a brief history of lisab

    I didn’t follow the usual education route. I dropped out of school in about 8th grade to hang out with my hoodlum friends and do hoodlum things. But I would also spend a lot of time hanging out in the county library . I was obsessed with the classic American authors: Steinbeck, Twain, Faulkner, Hemmingway, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams. Truth be told, I got a decent education on this unconventional path.

    Teenage brains can be mysterious and illogical. Proof? In my teenage mind: I was going to attend a University and study science! In reality: I had not had a real math class since 7th grade, I had not taken the standard high school curriculum, and I had no idea how to even apply to college. There was a huge gulf between how I saw my life going, and how my life was actually going.

    But eventually I got my act together. At 19 I started my formal education at a community college with “Introduction to Algebra”, which most people take when they’re about 12 years old.

    Fast forward to today: a year ago I got married and my husband and I live on a farm outside of Olympia, Washington. I have a daughter and three step-kids, all in their 20s. I worked ~20 years doing materials science and chemistry kind of stuff, and I’m currently an Analyst.

    Why did you choose physics as your field of study?

    I started as a Chemistry major until I took Physical Chemistry. I couldn’t believe a class could kick my *** so thoroughly. So I decided to follow that path, which ended with me getting a BS in physics. I graduated from the University of Washington.

    What were some of your biggest challenges while at university?

    As everyone here knows, in a typical college curriculum you need to take classes in a certain order. The schedule is designed for full-time students. I could only afford to take one or two (or zero) classes a quarter and this was problematic, since often classes are only offered every two years. There were frequently long gaps between when I took a class, and when I took its prerequisites. That was a huge challenge!

    And normally you make friends with other students because you see them again and again as you take the same classes. But only rarely would I see a fellow student I knew from a previous class because I was on the slow path. And by “slow path” I mean, it took me 9-1/2 years to get my BS.

    Money was a major issue and I was even homeless at one point.

    I can’t say why, but I had no rapport with any of my professors, ever.

    But everyone has their own challenges, and getting a STEM education is hard no matter what your obstacles are. My experience has given me considerable empathy for non-traditional students. One reason I love PF is I get to give them encouragement and advice!

    What are some on your favorite spots around the Pacific Northwest?

    They change all the time! Right now, I love being home on my farm. In a few weeks we are going to plant about 300 apple trees, to grow cider apples for hard cider!

    Why the raven as your profile photo?

    No explaining it – I’ve always had a strong affinity for crows and ravens.

    How does being an optimist shape your real life and PF life?

    It gives me tremendous perseverance through hard times. This can have a bad side, though – sometimes I stay in a fight long past the time rational people would (wisely) give up.

    What are some of your favorite threads on PF?

    This may sound strange, but I really don’t have any real favorites. Random Thoughts is full of gems, so is Quotations and Best Songs. There was a thread on students applying for REUs that I followed like a soap opera! And Bell’s theorem threads are often compelling.

    As a member of the PF Sisterhood, can you fill us in on it's recent activities and any good gossip on it's leader Evo?

    Sure! At our last meeting, we met in ██████████████ █████████████. The plan was to go to ███████████████ with 50 liters of ███████ █████████████████, some ████████████, and lots of chicken bones. We built slingshots and climbed █████████████████ ███████ with some beakers, a bale of catnip, and arsenic. Once we got there, ███ █████████████████████ chicken bones ████████████ ████████████ and a horse.

    Evo is great, she went ████████████████████████████████████ until the horse’s tail ███ █████████!!1! The chicken bones ████████ █████████████ ███ under the horse’s ███████████████ ███ ██████ and it was Borek! We were shocked to see him there, he’s not supposed to be at a Sisterhood meeting! He ████████████ the arsenic and then ███████████████ ██████, ██████████████. Of course, we posted his bail. Later that night, we heard him █████████████████████ with some catnip and ██████████ chicken bones ███████ the horse’s ████████████ with a slingshot! Last I heard he got across the border OK, but I’m not sure how he will explain that tattoo to Marzena!

    By then, the chicken bones smelled really bad. We cooked the ████ ██████████████ █████████████████ and went back to the sauna. We drank more ████████████ catnip ████████████ until Evo ██████ ██████████████████ chicken bones ████████████!! You wouldn’t think chicken bones would do that!!

    Thanks for participating Lisab! Next interview will be posted next week!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2013 #2
    Love the fill in the blanks Lisa! :D
  4. Dec 5, 2013 #3


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    So Borek was at a Sisterhood meeting?! Rhut-Rho...

  5. Dec 5, 2013 #4


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    No idea what I was on, but I don't remember that trip.

    (and the tatoo must be in some place I can't normally see, but I am afraid to ask... sisterhood is not something to be taken lightly)
  6. Dec 5, 2013 #5


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    Learned Algebra late
    Changed from Chemistry to Physics
    Long time getting BS
    Planted Apple trees
    Follow QM threads

    Question: 300 apple trees? :surprised I hope you'll have lots of help. They are very costly and time consuming just keeping them healthy. I only planted 16 and they wore me slick. Good Luck.
  7. Dec 5, 2013 #6

    Doc Al

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    Redacted for security! Love it!
  8. Dec 5, 2013 #7


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    I of course knew all of this, when I first saw your picture:


    Analyst, eh?

    What's your analysis of this weather?

    A. Sell Alaska back to the Russians, and make them take it home.
    B. Tell the queen she can keep Canada, as long as she drags it away.
    C. Get off your old dead butt Om, and cut some more firewood.
    D. See you at Burning Man next year!
    E. Fill in the blank: ________________________________________
  9. Dec 5, 2013 #8


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    Very inspiring story of dealing with challenges and getting your degree despite the hardships. What you went through should be mandatory reading for every member in Academic Guidance that feels discouraged.

    Oh, so Borek claims not to remember that night, eh? Lol, that story is a very funny side of you that I wasn't aware of. :approve:
  10. Dec 5, 2013 #9


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    Nice bio lisab. Glad to see that you were able to complete your degree. The redacted stuff made me laugh. It's funny because I was thinking about posting something like that yesterday in response to the dkotschessaa and Oms dream posts in Random Thoughts yesterday.

    Redacted, redacted, redacted. And then I woke up. :tongue:
  11. Dec 5, 2013 #10


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    Here's the deal: I do the fermenting stuff (it's all chemistry, anyway!), my husband does the orchard. I will pass your tidings of luck to him :tongue2:. He's gonna retire in a few years, anyway!

    They are all dwarf or semi-dwarf, btw. We're using a new-ish system of growing that restricts the tree to two or three branches, and they only grow about 6 feet tall. This way, you can plant trees very close and you don't need ladders to harvest.
  12. Dec 5, 2013 #11
    This is cool, I stopped HS after 9th grade and also started community college in algebra!
  13. Dec 5, 2013 #12


    Staff: Mentor

    Great bio Lisab!

    I imagine if we check the Snowden papers we'll be able to find the unredacted version of Borek's adventure with the Sisterhood of the Traveling PF.

    In the meantime, we could start a madlibs game with the note, if you could tell what blanks are nouns,verbs, adjectives and all those other funny metawords for words.
  14. Dec 6, 2013 #13
    This is going to keep me awake for a few nights...but then perhaps after I do get it I might not be able to sleep ever again....the sisterhood is scary... *gulp*
    (Vinegar is only thing that comes to mind with the unusual chicken bones....)
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  15. Dec 6, 2013 #14


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    Very nice and interesting bio!

    I had a feeling you'd done chemistry (from reading something by you in another thread). I didn't know you switched to physics. Interesting and inspiring to read, and good luck with the apple trees!

    Will you produce cider too?
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  16. Dec 6, 2013 #15


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    Oh yes indeed. We have 10 gallons fermenting now :biggrin:, in two 5-gallon carboys.

    When the trees really start producing, which will be in ~5 years, we'll have to invest in an actual fermenter.
  17. Dec 8, 2013 #16
    This has made one high school dropout much more optimistic.
  18. Dec 8, 2013 #17


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    Excellent :approve:.
  19. Dec 8, 2013 #18


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    Wow, well done on getting the degree! That's some serious determination there given how hard it must have been to do it that way, very impressive.
  20. Oct 24, 2014 #19


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    Hi Om,
    I guess I have been away awhile.......but I have to say if someone ask me to describe perfection, I think I would use lisab's picture as an example.
    I may be old but I do know "good looking" when I see it...WOW!!

    Good picture Lisa :)
  21. Oct 24, 2014 #20


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    Excuse you? ?:)

    You do realize that we were here first, right?​
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