Ambitious senior looks forward to attending OIT

By Chelsea Pettett | Graphic Designer

Senior Patricia Austin was only a baby when her cousin, Barbara Jean, died of leukemia. This, however, has not stopped the tragedy from greatly impacting her life and future plans. In memory of her cousin, Austin hopes to become a pediatric oncologist and eventually open a hospital on the Oregon Coast.

In order to give herself the best chance of succeeding, Austin, who will be recognized as valedictorian at graduation, loaded her high school years with AP and college courses and various activities. She is the treasurer for both National Honor Society and the Associated Student Body, while still finding time to volunteer at Bay Area Hospital and tutor other students. According to Austin, determination has been a large part of her valedictorian status and busy schedule.

“I just wanted something, so I went after it,” Austin said.  “I’m definitely getting less sleep, but doing all these things has really pulled me out of my shell.”

Austin moved to Coos Bay from Sacramento the summer of 2007 and got involved in school activities in the hopes of getting to know more people. ASB President Steven Pederson has known Austin since their freshman year and appreciates her generous personality.

“One of the nice things about Patricia is how willing she is to help out,” Pederson said. “She will drop anything to help someone.”

Along with Pederson, activities coordinator and ASB advisor Jennifer Bunnell said she has enjoyed watching Austin grow.

“She was very quiet when she first joined ASB, and she might not fit the typical ASB mold, but now she is a very important part of the gang,” Bunnell said.

Finding room for everything in her life has been difficult for Austin, but she said she still makes sure to have free time. She enjoys reading and spending time with friends, including senior Jirae Hogan.

“She’s been a really great friend to me, and I’m so proud of her for all her accomplishments,” Hogan said. “I know she’ll be great in whatever she does after high school.”

Austin will attend Oregon Institute of Technology after graduation and study pediatric oncology before going to medical school. She wishes to ultimately complete her medical residency at St. Jude’s Children Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. to reach her career goal.

“I really like spending time with kids,” Austin said. “I want to be able to help children with similar diseases to my cousin, and I will do everything I can to succeed.”