Spotlight on geekStarters: Lisa Oberding

Lisa Oberding – Mentor of synthetic biology team from Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy in Canmore since 2014. In this photo, Lisa (right) teaches the students laboratory techniques at the Lab skills workshop held at University of Lethbridge in March 2017
10 Quick Questions for Lisa

  1. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

I’d say I’m very curious, tenacious (or stubborn, depending who you ask), and I love a challenge – I love learning new things, as well as using that knowledge to either master a new skill or build things from it in new and better ways.

  1. What do you love the most about your work/school?

I love the challenge of what I do – really getting to apply what I have learned to solve problems and build something useful, and the potential to really make a difference in the process.

  1. What is your best accomplishment so far?

Probably being a part of founding FREDsense and helping it to get to where it is now while getting my M.Sc. at the same time.

  1. What is something you are working towards right now?

Outside of work, I’m currently working on learning how to code as well as learning to be completely fluent in Spanish before working on learning another language next year.

  1. How do you like to spend your downtime?

My downtime (when I get it) usually goes one of two ways; either I’ll spend hours curled up reading a good book, or I’ll go on some kind of adventure – I love to travel and scuba dive, as well as bike, hike, rock-climb, and snowboard.

  1. What is something you can’t imagine your life without?

Challenge – I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have the access or opportunity to really challenge myself and learn, see, and do new things.

  1. What is one thing that people will be surprised to hear about you?

Probably anyone who has heard me talk about diving and how much I love the ocean might be surprised to learn I am terrified of being trapped underwater and drowning – have been since I was a kid. Took me a long time to pass certain parts of my certification for diving because of it.

  1. What is something you are afraid of?

Not being able to make some kind of difference with what I do. That, and wasps. I really, really hate wasps.

  1. What would you like your work to be ten years from now?

That’s tough – 10 years is pretty far from now. I’d love to see FREDsense have become something that is really making a difference with how people know whether water is safe (for them and the environment), and I’d like to be tackling some new and exciting challenges in environmental biology and biotech…perhaps on a beach somewhere 😊

  1. What is one thing you appreciate about geekStarter?

I’d say it’s two things. Firstly, the opportunity it gives students to really delve into new and exciting fields that they would likely not get any exposure to otherwise, and supports them to really work hands-on and challenge themselves, not just learn from a lecture or a book – I know without geekStarter I would not have gotten involved with any of the amazing experiences that have gotten me to where I am today. And secondly, personally as a mentor, I really love the chance to get to mentor and teach students something new, and watch their excitement as they learn and explore new challenges.