We love when we get to reconnect with our alumni! Some live around town and we get to see them more often than others. Some fly in for a day or two of SISE. And some we bring in to help us run the show.

Patrick Eells (SISE 2014) returns to Chicago to help us run SISE 2018. We caught up with Patrick to see what he's been up to -- other than taking #patnaps -- and to introduce him to all our incoming SISE family.


So Pat, what have you been doing since you attended SISE?

I attended SISE in 2014, the summer after I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. That September I started working at Accenture where I was a management consultant until January 2018. At Accenture I focused on projects in the power generation sector, trying to find ways to help our clients run their power plants more efficiently with improved software and business processes. I loved my job as a consultant, but after 3 years the engineer in me was still itching to get involved in building something tangible so I decided to start a career transition towards software development. 


You recently went on a European adventure. Tell us about it!


On July 19th I got back from a trip through Europe. I arrived in Copenhagen on May 5th and from there my itinerary was something like this:

Berlin -> Neuzelle -> Amsterdam -> Bruges -> Paris -> Andernach -> Barcelona -> Lisbon -> Madrid -> San Sebastian -> Paris -> Basel -> Rome -> Orvieto -> Florence -> Siena -> Bozen -> Munich -> Antwerp -> Charleroi -> Prague -> Olomouc -> Prague -> HOME!

So roughly 21 cities in 75 days! It was an amazing trip, to say the least. Seeing so much history and culture was inspiring, humbling, eye-opening, and mind-expanding. I am a huge public transport and biking nerd and it was super inspiring to see so many high functioning transport systems that aren’t car dependent. We have a lot to learn in the US! I met some amazing people along the way as well, which is really what made my trip special. 


Not many people come back for the full two-weeks - but you are! What are you looking forward to doing??

SISE is a unique setting - it attracts an interesting and diverse set of people and gives them the tools and resources to think deeply about hard problems. I had an amazing time at SISE 2014. The relationships I made there have stayed with me and I want to be a part of creating a space for this cohort to build their own relationships and have their own unique experience. 


What advice would you give the incoming SISE Fellows?

There is always something interesting going on at SISE, whether it is a lecture, a conversation with friends, a group session, or going out to explore summertime Chicago. It is intense and exciting but it can also be exhausting. Be thoughtful about how you spend your time, and try to stay balanced as you experience it. In my year I was (in)famous for taking naps at random times during the day, but honestly taking a little time for myself to rest was really important for me to stay present and engaged in the rest of the program, so I am glad I did it even if it means there are now a lot of Facebook photos of me sleeping on benches. So my #1 advice would be to make sure you take care of yourself and pay attention to how you feel so that you can be at your best throughout the program. Two weeks is a long time, but at the end it will feel like it flew by. 

2nd piece of advice is that, while the SISE program itself is amazing, the group of people you will meet is equally impressive. Make sure to take time to get to know your fellow SISE'ers!


What's your best cat story or memory - OR - do you have any good cat jokes or memes?

No, but I have this collage of me with my two little orange nephews, Louis and Charlemagne.