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Patrick Torralba

3605

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

Bio

I am a first year Master's student at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota studying Business Intelligence and Data Analysis. I am also a first-generation, BIPOC, student and I discovered my passions at my former institution, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMNTC). At UMNTC, my interest in data science piqued when I became a research assistant and used statistical skills to find interesting trends between cyber-bullying and early childhood development. Currently, I am a Data Analytics Coordinator at a construction consultancy firm that supports an innumerable amount of individuals through varying construction projects and services. After completing my Master's degree, I intend to either become a Senior Data Analyst or become a Healthcare Researcher. As a first-generation student, I understand the difficulties of navigating academia such as the lack of academic role models. Thus, through education funded by financial aid, I can support my educational and career goals while diversifying academia as a Filipino American by representing BIPOC individuals. In my free time, I enjoy learning about different coding programs including R, Python, and SQL. I also host a podcast that seeks to support personal financial literacy by transforming technical jargon into interesting digestible snippets for college-aged students and young adults.

Education

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Master's degree program
2023 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Data Analytics

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Bachelor's degree program
2020 - 2022
  • Majors:
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences
  • Minors:
    • Psychology, General
  • GPA:
    3.6

Inver Hills Community College

Associate's degree program
2018 - 2020
  • Majors:
    • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities
    • Chemistry
  • GPA:
    3.5

Simley Senior High

High School
2013 - 2017
  • GPA:
    3.6

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences
    • Data Analytics
    • Data Science
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Research

    • Dream career goals:

      Principal Investigator

    • Dietary Aide

      Good Samaritan Society: Senior Living
      2018 – 2018
    • Pharmacy Technician

      Hy-vee Pharmacy
      2019 – 2019
    • Academic Tutor

      Inver Hills Community College
      2019 – 20201 year
    • College of Biological Sciences Circle Facilitator

      University of Minnesota
      2020 – 20211 year
    • Nature of Life Peer Mentor

      University of Minnesota
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Chemistry Lab Assistant

      Inver Hills Community College
      2020 – Present4 years
    • Research Assistant

      University of Minnesota
      2021 – Present3 years

    Sports

    Boxing

    Club
    2015 – Present9 years

    Karate

    Club
    2005 – 20149 years

    Awards

    • NA

    Swimming

    Junior Varsity
    2017 – 20181 year

    Awards

    • NA

    Tennis

    Varsity
    2017 – 2017

    Research

    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences

      University of Minnesota — Research Assistant
      2021 – Present

    Arts

    • NA

      NA
      NA
      Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Hennepin County Medical Center — Perform various tasks in the pharmaceutical unit such as clean-up, organization, and filtering
      2014 – 2014
    • Volunteering

      Loaves and Fishes — Cooking Assistant
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Inver Glen Library — Academic Tutor
      2019 – 2019

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Book Lovers Scholarship
    “I saw them lost in conversation with each other, mother and father, while their sons commanded entire sidewalks with their tricycles. The galaxy belonged to them, and as terror was communicated to our children, I saw mastery communicated to theirs.” This excerpt in its entirety describes the world in which white people live through the narrative of Ta-Nehisi Coates. This world and its inhabitants are clueless about the violence that persists inside and outside of black communities, the cycle of economic struggle, and the utopia inherited by white society through the oppression of black bodies. As an Asian American, I was extremely touched reading this piece of literature. Although I am not black, I related to Coates’s isolation as a black man. I felt excluded when Coates became an outsider whenever he entered white suburbs due to them being unaware of the racial trauma Coates and other black bodies experienced. Having grown up in the suburbs, I felt as if Coates was speaking directly to me; asking me to reflect on my identity and assess my own experiences regarding racial discrimination and prejudice. In essence, I felt the raw, unadulterated, isolation which reminded me of my isolation experienced due to my racial identity in predominantly white settings. This book also gave me more perspective regarding my own privilege. Coates speaks about black bodies being constantly surrounded by violence. Black Americans are systematically oppressed by slavery, mass incarceration, and through governmental policies which cause an endless cycle of economic struggle. Historically speaking, Asian Americans were not oppressed in the same manner as black people; and thus, do not undergo or experience the endless cycle of economic struggle and oppression that is described by Coates. Reading these passages illuminated my privilege because I was previously unaware of the systemic oppression endured by black people, and I also simultaneously benefit from institutions that continuously abuse black bodies. Ultimately, Coates dreams for a better future for Black Americans; a future where institutionalized racism is dismantled and consequently, for the cycle of economic struggle and violence to end. Therefore, I implore everyone to read “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates to understand and grasp complex themes of racial discrimination, systemic racism, and generational trauma. Doing so would help promote his dream into becoming a living reality.
    Learner Math Lover Scholarship
    Throughout my life, I couldn’t stand the sight of algebra, statistics, and shuffling through grocery store coupons with “15% off” deals caused groans. Math was cold and alien to me and lacked warmth or application. Instead, my passion was in writing. I loved to write about topics ranging from the socio-political causes of the Vietnam War, or if Frankenstein was a villain or a tragedy. The pen and paper were my brush and canvas, and I was a literary painter because I enjoyed identifying relationships, assessing arguments, and researching nuanced topics. Fortunately, my mindset completely changed when I became a research assistant at the University of Minnesota. I mutated microscopic worms and applied pharmaceutical drugs at varying dosages to reduce their mutations. Although the research was interesting, I was more engaged when I used statistics to understand the relationship between mutated worms and drug dosage. I hypothesized that stronger doses decreased mutations. However, after conducting a t-test, I discovered that an exact dosage of a 15µm drug inhibitor decreased mutations, but anything greater than 15µm increased mutations. This was extremely surprising as previous research papers with similar drugs suggested otherwise. This newfound finding sparked my love of math. I strived to understand every aspect of mathematics that intersected with research. I loved using statistics to discover hidden trends and unknown patterns. To chase this falling-in-love feeling, I’ve educated myself in statistics through data science tools such as R, Excel, and Power BI. I apply these tools to uncover patterns in my everyday life and professional interests. For example, I conduct t-tests in Excel to understand the relationship between my spending habits and the usage of grocery store coupons. I also utilize Power BI to visualize COVID-19 metrics on vulnerable populations. Math transformed me from a literary painter to an explorer voyaging across uncharted territory using statistics and data science tools to map my journey. Currently, I am at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with goals to complete a Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics. I strive to combine my love of math with my writing passion to become a data scientist. I yearn to use descriptive statistics to find hidden treasures and utilize writing skills to create research papers that highlight these treasures. Thus, achieving the Learner Math Lover scholarship will help financially support my academic and career endeavors, and additionally support my love of math.
    Your Health Journey Scholarship
    In the Spring of 2022, it was my last semester at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I was a full-time undergraduate student in neuroscience balancing out my position as a research assistant in a child psychology lab, volunteering at my local soup kitchen, and filing job applications. As a result of these combined responsibilities, I became mentally and physically exhausted, and the exhaustion played a prolonged role in my life. Although I successfully graduated, completed my research, and found a job, it was a hollow victory. For instance, it became difficult to perform simple activities such as eating meals because I was mentally preoccupied with anxieties about future goals. To help cope with my mental exhaustion, I often engaged in emotional eating. I consumed large volumes of highly processed foods to help manage my stress levels whenever I felt negative emotions. As a result, I became obese, which negatively affected my physical well-being. My energy levels were lower, my sleep quality decreased, and it was difficult for me to enjoy sports, such as jogging or tennis, with my girlfriend. I dismissed my mental and physical well-being as nothing more than sacrifices for success. I truly thought that my fate was sealed to a life of constant exhaustion until my therapist recommended I practice mindfulness meditation. I sit on a cushion with my legs crossed, slowly breathing in and out, focusing on my breath, deeply contemplating my thoughts. In this meditative state, I am able to concentrate and connect my thoughts, actions, and consequent effects. As a result of this practice, I can identify the factors that caused my mental and physical exhaustion. The cause of my exhaustion was my perceived requirements for success. I falsely believed that to achieve my goals, I needed to sacrifice my mental and physical well-being. After coming to this life-changing revelation, I took the initiative to practice self-care by utilizing healthier coping mechanisms such as mindful eating and expressive writing. I practice mindful eating by isolating unnecessary anxious thoughts or worries that distract from nourishing my mind and body. I also use expressive writing to help manage my stress levels. I write about the negative emotions I experience, and in response, I write positive affirmations to myself. These affirmations help remind me that I am strong, confident, and that I will succeed in response to challenges without sacrificing my mental and physical health. As a result of identifying the roots of my exhaustion, I am no longer reliant on emotional eating and use healthier coping mechanisms instead. This has led to healthy weight loss resulting in my energy levels increasing and sleep quality dramatically improving, and I can engage in sports with my girlfriend again. Ultimately, my daily self-care practices allow me to free myself of mental and physical burdens and inspire me to improve the overall well-being of others. My academic goal is to achieve a Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. After achieving this goal, I intend to pursue a career as a healthcare researcher that utilizes data analytics to identify the relationship between well-being and healthy coping mechanisms. Therefore, I hope to achieve the Your Health Journey scholarship to help financially support my academic and career endeavors to research and improve overall well-being.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    After lecturing, grading papers, attending the annual research conference, and writing many letters of recommendation, I can finally slide into my PJs and crawl into bed with a smile on my face, knowing that I am living my dream of being a professor.
    SkipSchool Scholarship
    Nujabes otherwise known as Jun Seba is my favorite artist because he frequently uses scientific imagery and definitive concepts to articulate complex themes. For instance, “luv sic” describes true love as a metaphysical substance that defies ideas including the theory of relativity, chemistry, and astrophysics. In short, Nujabes motivates me to become a neuroscientist that takes inspiration from varying artistic sources such as nature, mythology, and pieces of history in order to provide creative solutions to innovative questions.
    Pandemic's Box Scholarship
    My academic aspirations came to fruition in the Summer of 2020. I intended on researching plant genetics at the University of Chicago Urbana Champaign (UIUC). However, overnight the pandemic cut my aspirations short; UIUC summer research was canceled, and my uncle passed away. During the Summer of 2020, I examined my passions and went soul-searching. I majored in genetics and wanted to become a genetic counselor. However, after researching information and connecting to genetic counselors, I realized that I was no longer interested in this occupation. My family pushed their career expectations unto me, and in truth, I desired to conduct neuro-psych research. In regards to soul-searching, the unexpected loss of my uncle was life-changing. Due to restrictions, I was unable to attend his funeral and thus, I was not available in his last moments. Strongly impacted by this event, I decided to reconcile my poor relationship with my sister as I realized that life is unexpectedly short. In short, the silver linings of the pandemic inspired me to pursue a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. and has impacted me to develop comradery with my sister. I now possess a deeper appreciation and understanding of life.
    Carlynn's Comic Scholarship
    The plot of Parasyte Maxim revolves around Shinichi Izumi’s experience of being infected by an intelligent alien parasite that gives him superhuman abilities including morphing, superhuman strength, and enhanced reflexes. The parasites view humans as nothing more than nourishing food, and thus, Shinichi must battle parasites to defend himself and his loved ones. In the last episode, he reflects upon his newfound understanding of humanity’s relationship to the environment. He nihilistically concludes that humanity must protect animals and the environment because humans are selfish creatures. This selfishness drives humans to protect wildlife because environmental destruction eventually exterminates humanity. Shinichi’s reflection is extremely relevant considering the current climate change crisis. For instance, droughts and wildfires are consequential effects of human activity such as increased carbon dioxide levels from deforestation. In short, this anime has impacted me to become more concerned about my individual and collective actions towards the environment.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    “Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” -Thich Nhat Hanh. As an individual that suffers from chronic anxiety, this quote helps calm the ever-present tension in my mind. It is too easy for me to become worried by the concerns of everyday life. For example, when meeting friends for lunch I become apprehensive of my manners. I inevitably end up nervously obsessing over dining etiquette from deciding which fork to use on my upcoming salad or positioning my elbows on the table to make a pleasant meal. Ironically, I am engrossed by every minuscule etiquette detail; my lunch with friends becomes unenjoyable. My mind drifts upon these vain issues to the extent that food becomes tasteless and entertaining stories become dull. Moreover, Hanh is one of the most influential spiritual leaders in our current age and encourages others to imitate his essence. In many of Hanh’s works including “Living Buddha, Living Christ,'' “Happiness,” and “The Art of Living: Peace and Freedom in the Here and Now,” he frequently advocates and encourages mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of consciousness where one is intensely aware of their present environment. For instance, mindful eating is savoring every bite of Italian pasta while listening to the hearty laugh of a friend. In other words, mindfulness replaces the intrusive thoughts of fear and worry of the past and future with awareness of present matters. In short, I repeat this quote during brief moments of stress and anxiety as a mantra to counter the tempting trance of fear and concern of previous recollections and upcoming events. Not only am I able to enjoy meals with friends, but I am also able to enjoy my life in the present through mindfulness.
    Susy Ruiz Superhero Scholarship
    After transferring to Inver Hills Community College (IHCC) from the University of Wisconsin River Falls to better my academic and personal development, I felt like a failure. Friends and family alike disapproved of my choice to attend a community college. I was frequently told that IHCC was where academic dreams and career aspirations came to die due to the negative stigma surrounding community college. I was told that my potential was being wasted in this environment and it was impossible for me to amount to anything. At this moment in my life, the messages from my family and friends combined with my mental illness amplified my hopelessness and depression. I blindly believed that my dreams to become a neuroscientist were destined for failure. However, Chong Moua, my assigned IHCC academic counselor, had something I lacked in myself, faith. Chong believed that I had potential despite my internalized messages, and he strongly encouraged me to not give up without a fight. To illustrate, there were moments I bordered on accepting my false destiny and dropping out of school. Fortunately, Chong provided academic and professional resources including tutoring services, relevant entry-level opportunities, and a network of former alumni that could further help me. Ultimately, I heeded Chong’s insight and by the end of the semester, it was the first time in my life that I achieved a 4.0 GPA. Moreover, Chong became a surrogate father to me. As an Asian American, there were few role models I could look up to, luckily, I could look up to Chong. For context, my biological father rarely interacted with me, and the times he did, I was met with disapproval and disdain regarding my academic and career choices. On the other hand, Chong was a middle-aged Hmong father, and he supported me as if I were his Filipino son. Outside of invigorating my passion for academia, Chong helped me battle my mental illness by providing resources including lists of recommended therapists and listening to my struggles as a first-generation Asian American. As of now, I am currently a neuroscience student with a focus in psychology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities graduating in the Spring of 2022 with intentions to obtain a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Throughout my academic journey, I have been able to experience countless opportunities including research in a neurogenetic lab, aiding in experiments as a chemistry lab assistant, and assisting fellow Asian American students throughout their academic journey. In a time where everyone including myself lacked faith, Chong was the only individual that truly saw the potential inside me. As a result of his guidance and encouragement, I am able to complete post-secondary education as well as assist others in their journey.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    Ever since my childhood, I have consumed meat every single day of my life as if it were water. Filipino society holds meat to a significant cultural degree due to its inexplicable association with meals. Meals in Filipino culture create a sense of community amongst friends and family and ultimately is an expression of cultural identity. In the Spring of 2021, I broke my daily habit of consuming meat. “Sustainability in the 21st Century” was a course at the University of Minnesota that illuminated the consequential effects of everyday activities ranging from eating to sleeping into the local environment. In particular, I learned that my dietary consumption consisting of meat at least twice a day yielded disastrous effects on the environment. For example, enjoying a bowl of sisig and rice with my family meant I indirectly supported unethical pig farms while introducing antibiotics and artificial growth hormones in my body. Furthermore, striving to personally understand the difficulties of food sustainability as a Filipino American, I became a vegetarian for thirty days. This experience was difficult due to cultural obstacles. To illustrate, I could not participate in the kamayan (hand-eating) festival because the dishes were chock-full of beef, fish, chicken, and pork. Everyday meals with my family became absent as I no longer helped cook adobo or savored the umami aroma of sinigang. Instead, I quietly ate American vegetarian meals such as salads or vegan pasta. During this period, I experienced immense strain on my ethnic identity due to the lack of Filipino food. In other words, food is an outward expression of an inward cultural identity. Therefore, the inability to cook or consume these cultural foods isolated me from my Filipino identity and community. Perplexed by this experience, I initiated the “Filipinos Americans for Food Sustainability Advocacy (FAFSA) Project (https://sites.google.com/view/fafsa-project/home?authuser=0). I started this online website project to make a difference in food sustainability through the Filipino American / Asian American perspective. In particular, this project addresses the lack of vegetarianism in Filipino culture by analyzing cultural values through academic literature and by personally interviewing various Filipinos and other Asian Americans. Most importantly, this project primarily aims to encourage less meat consumption and increase food sustainability by providing vegetarian Filipino dishes in a “how-to'' video format while simultaneously addressing the Filipino identity and other challenges. Moreover, other food sustainability challenges include nutritional content and the affordability of vegetarianism. As a volunteer kitchen assistant, I frequently interact with individuals who receive meals at my local soup kitchen. Although I may never understand certain difficulties such as poverty and hunger, I use the FAFSA Project as a force of social change. My experience volunteering in a soup kitchen has given me the opportunity to understand other food sustainability challenges including nutritional content and affordability. In terms of nutritional content, the FAFSA Project aims to use ingredients that are vegetarian, nutritious, and gluten-free in order to meet individuals that cannot consume particular ingredients. In regards to affordability, I aim to create dishes that produce generous servings and contain easily accessible ingredients while keeping ingredients below fifteen dollars. In short, the change I yearn to see is awareness regarding each individual’s dietary consumption and thus, the consequential effects on the environment. I believe that reaching out to my local Asian American community through progressive dialogue and by cooking requested dishes can make a difference in my Minnesotan community, and eventually the world.