University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Patrick Foley (B.S. Astrophysics)


I work at Technical Services, Epic, and am happily living in Wisconsin.

I’m working for software company Epic, which provides electronic medical records, the one who installed at the Fairview location this last year. Focus is on service and support while dipping into a little development here and there. I'd characterize my role like the NASA team on the movie Apollo 13. Remember the scene where the techs need to devise an air filter to fit a square peg into a round hole with only a box of stuff only in the LEM? That's a lot like what I do. I was fortunate to T.A. the Introduction to Astronomy lab during my undergrad. Part of those duties is to host the telescope viewing nights on the rooftop of Tate. My first-ever gig, I get there an hour early to try and set up telescopes. The other experienced T.A. was late. I scramble to set things up. Meanwhile, a troop of Boy Scouts patiently waits. All of a sudden more students pour in. A group of ten. Then ten more. Another ten. And another. By far, the largest showing, and again, it's me all alone. A line out the door and wrapping down to the stairs. Why all the crowds? Turns out, the student paper MN Daily did a column for the top-ten cheap dates. During campus visits and orientation, the joke is to tell students that a free and cheap college date is to take them to the telescope viewings on Friday night. The Daily did this too and put the telescope as number one date. Most freshmen were gullible and didn't get the joke, so we had a record showing of around 100 people when an average night is maybe 10. Nevertheless, the sky was clear, the night was warm, the moon was out, and Saturn was beautiful. Everyone had a great time while listening to Dark Side of the Moon. My favorite class by far Introduction to Cosmology. Fascinating field. It was a 4000- or 5000-level course, but I would like to see it as a lower-level one too. Might attract more minds. Introdution to Astronomy, the lab portion. The moon-phase project incorporated many scientific principles of observation, data analysis, and prediction. While it is easy for students to cheat, it's simple and practical. During my last year as a T.A., there were talks of scrapping the project. I hope it remains in the program because I firmly believe it was a valuable teaching tool. Can't pick a favorite professor. I enjoyed the privilege of attending every one of their courses.