BHSc Alumni Spotlight

Bioinformatics 

Patrick Wu

Patrick Wu, BHSc'13

Freelance UI/UX Designer and Consultant 

  • BHSc - Bioinformatics - University of Calgary
  • Masters of Biomedical Technology (MBT) - University of Calgary

My Bioinformatics degree gave me exposure to programming, which gave me exposure to web design, which gave me exposure to design and communications as a whole.

Patrick Wu, BHSc'13

What is your favorite BHSc memory?

I remember we had study sessions for physiology where a group of us would book the downstairs lecture theatre and one of my friends would prepare an actual lecture with slides to tutor the rest of us. We studied best while reviewing stuff with him, and he studied best while teaching it to us and making sure he understood everything. It was a pretty good arrangement.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself as a student?

Having a goal for your career is great, but you have to accept that those plans probably won't happen like you imagine. There are a lot of people whose careers have nothing to do with what they studied in university. What's most important is to stay flexible and be open to new opportunities. Every job you take is a learning opportunity you can bring to your next job.

What is the best thing about your current job?

I have a lot of flexibility as a freelancer to work on a wide variety of projects from all sorts of industries. They're always changing so the things I get to work on always keep me on my toes. Nothing gets monotonous.

How has your career evolved?

Although my first few jobs were biotech-related, my career path eventually moved away from strictly biotech to technology and innovation as a whole. I went from sales for a small biotech start-up, to industry advocacy for biotech in Alberta, to supporting tech start-ups in Calgary, to now working as a freelance digital product designer and user experience consultant. If you had asked me what I'd be doing back when I was in undergrad, this wouldn't even be in the realm of possibility for me.

How did your BHSc degree help you get to where you are now/current career?

My Bioinformatics degree gave me exposure to programming, which gave me exposure to web design, which gave me exposure to design and communications as a whole. Nobody will ever let me near an R or Python script anymore, but I think I still have a very engineering and problem-solving focus on the work that I currently do.

What is the best piece of advice you have received during your career journey?

You work to live. You don't live to work. It is critical to maintain boundaries and work-life balance for the sake of your own mental health and physical well-being. This is especially true for working remotely as a designer. You can't show up at your best if you don't give yourself space for creative rejuvenation. Never let work be the only defining feature of you or your personality.